After her long-time boyfriend breaks up with her, Sloane Chatfield’s well-meaning friends are so determined to put her back in the saddle that they’re borderline obnoxious. When Sloane insists she’s waiting for Jamie Fraser to come along, her friends surprise her with a trip to Scotland… to find her a new boyfriend. In order not to have her vacation ruined, Sloane is determined to pre-empt them. All she has to do is find the most remote part of the Highlands, get there first, find a Scot who will pretend to be her boyfriend, then break-up before they arrive. She figures no friend will try and match her up while she’s nursing a second broken heart.
Galen Buchanan has his hands full trying to keep the family pub afloat in a remote Highland village. Everything is falling apart, he’s running out of money, and now there’s a buttoned-up American princess that has, for some reason, landed on his doorstep…. and takes his best table and hogs his wifi all day. She may be cute, but she’s also full of free advice and doesn’t like the way they do things in the Highlands. Then she proposes something completely outrageous—that he be her pretend boyfriend...and offers him enough money to save the pub. It's only for a few days, he figures. What's the worst that could happen?
a light and fun story
Going in, I expected this to be a light and fun story, and that is exactly what happened. Julia London has brought the ‘pretend boyfriend’ trope to this story of rebounding girl seeking a new connection based on her dream man. While the premise is a familiar one, the quality of the writing helped to keep me intrigued. Not that there weren’t some issues, but more on that later.
Sloane has been dumped by her fiancé and decides that her friends’ sympathies are just too much. For a while she has dreamed of her very own Scotsman, so she hops a flight to Scotland from Chicago to do just that. I found Sloane a bit difficult to embrace: city girl, a bit dismissive of the differences between urban Chicago and rural Scotland, she just didn’t make me want to know her more. Yes, her friends (mostly all well-meaning but more than a touch annoying) do care for her and want to see her happy, so they follow close on her heels to make sure she is ‘making an effort.
Galen owns a pub in the rural town: and he’s the closest version of her idea of the ‘perfect James Frasier” of her own. He’s a bit of a flirt, handsome and completely at home, even when he does stick his foot in it. Repeatedly. I’m not certain that I bought into their chemistry, although some of their interactions were cute and clever, and Sloane’s discomfiture at hiring Galen to pose as the boyfriend does lead them into some cleverly set situations.
Now, it wasn’t a bad book at all, just not entirely hitting every box for me to love it. Dialectic writing is something I have difficulty with: I can imagine an accent, I don’t need it spelled out for me. Repeated references to Jamie Frasier just became annoying- even if that was the impetus for Sloane’s fantasy man. There was a bit too much cliché overall despite the moments that rose above, for me to love this unconditionally. But as a quick summer read with little angst or conflict, this is a good choice.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.