DINNER WITH A HIGHLAND GHOST
by Julia R. Barrett
E-Book | 83 pages | May 24, 2015
Published by the Author
This book was a surprise gift from the author who is also a friend.
Emma Rose Steen arrives in the Highlands of Scotland hoping for a much needed breath of fresh air. Not only has the Arizona summer been a scorcher, she’s just barely managed to survive two miscarriages, the divorce from hell, and in the process she’s given up her life’s work—her beloved restaurant.
She never expects to encounter another living person on her first hike to Loch Ness, let alone a kilt-wearing bare-chested long-haired Highland hottie.
Pity he’s also dead.
John Charles McGregor has haunted the mountains above Loch Ness for three hundred years. Nobody has seen him, spoken to him. The solitude is torture, but in all that time he’s found no pathway leading to either heaven or hell. Until now. Until a woman from the Colonies, Emma Rose Steen, speaks to him.
He knows deep in his heart that her presence in his mountains heralds his release from purgatory.
I don’t recall reading a lot of stories with Highlanders of any sort before OUTLANDER around 1996 — not that there weren’t any they just didn’t become a “thing” for me until then. And, since I have started book blogging they have become even more of a “thing,” especially in the romance genre.
So, I get a lot of Scottish Highlander themed books, Highland faeries, time travelers, historical figures, etc. Many of them are more an homage to OUTLANDER than the authors would probably recognize.
THIS BOOK IS NOT AN HOMAGE TO OUTLANDER. That was my first fear when I saw my gift from Julia. But if I hadn’t liked the book, I would not be reviewing it. This book does feature a handsome Scottish Highlander of the nearly extinct Clan McGregor and a woman. But she is not a time traveler and doesn’t pass through a big stone to another era. She does skip some stones though.
Julia’s story offers something very different, unique, heartfelt and steamy. It also brought to mind how people are caught up in war regardless of their beliefs; how it affects life at the time and in the future.
This is a short novella at 83 pages, and Julia has to employ several devices and leave out some details in telling the story of this female baker and the semi-corporeal Culloden survivor she meets in the areas around Loch Ness. The rules behind the occurrences in the story are not explained as we would demand in a longer book and the relationship is fast-tracked.
Nessie offers the one big nod to Gabaldon in DINNER WITH A HIGHLAND GHOST.
Otherwise this is a short tale, with a heartfelt heroine. Julia’s heroines are always heartfelt and often remind me a bit of her; certainly some of her physical and metaphysical personal experiences seem to find their way into her books. She takes the adage of “write what you know” and adroitly delivers it to the page in this paranormal romance.
Julia writes hot scenes very nicely; they are blush worthy and suitable for adults but I would have no qualms sharing the book with my mother (except at 86 it might not be great to get her blood pressure up too high).
The other similarities between Gabaldon’s series and this short from Julia Barrett are the battle of Culloden and a woman of a more modern period who, familiar with the concrete — with the strictly rule driven science of baking, suddenly has to cope with something that no science can explain, as well as the elements in the unpredictable Highlands.
If you seek a paranormal short and like the paranormal romance genre, especially featuring the Scottish Highlands, I recommend this book!
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