Must Love Kilts
There’s something elementally vulnerable yet virile about a warrior in a kilt. He’s basically letting it all hang out there and fighting to the death with heavy, sharp weapons. At the least, he brings out the mother in many women; at the most, the lover in them. Mackay plays on this theme of vulnerability mixed with ferociousness in her Scottish time travel novels.
Margo Menlove has steeped herself in all things Medieval Scottish since she was old enough to know better. She loves the smell of heather and peat, the sight of kilted warriors, the sound of bagpipes, and the arcane knowledge of herbs and spells rife in the time. She knows if she could only travel to Scotland, she’d be in her own private heaven.
One day at Ye Olde Pagan Times in New Hope, Pennsylvania where she works, she pages through a tome on ancient Scotland and runs across a two page, color illustration of Highland warrior and chieftain Magnus MacBride, Viking Slayer. Magnus, she decides, is her dream man, and she must get to Scotland to meet him. To this end, she enters a drawing for a tour of the country, and wins.
Meanwhile, in 1250 in the middle of battle at Badcall Bay in the Northwest Highlands, Magnus sees a vision of Margo, buck naked and streaming wet from her shower. Magnus is stunned by Margo’s beauty. He can’t get her out of his head, however, even when a local witch, lover of a Viking leader, curses him to love the nameless woman in his dream and says the vision will be the death of him.
After the meticulous introduction of the two main characters, including their off-beat friends, and what seemed like reams on their instant attraction to each other, I was wondering if Margo and Magnus were ever going to get together, and if they did, whether there would be enough pages left to cover much of their courtship. Midway through the story Margo breaks away from her tour group in Scotland and strikes out near the site of Magnus’ battle to finally time travel to his era.
To enjoy this book readers have to love reading about Medieval Scotland and not care too deeply about the romance angle. Margo and Magnus have already made up their minds about each other, so there’s no real courtship. Magnus is a see-the-vision, have-sex-with-the-vision kind of guy. Margo doesn’t need to know much about Magnus, which means readers don’t get to know much about him other than he slays Vikings, is motivated by revenge for a former lover’s death at their hands, and now loves Margo. In fact, he hasn’t much of a personality; he only looks great in a kilt.
While Mackay has done her homework and the book is rife with details about early Scotland, readers must be enthralled with the lore and not the love story to enjoy this book.