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Book Review: My Heart's in the Highlands

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

One of the first women to attend Edinburgh University, Jane keenly feels the restrictions placed upon her as a woman living in the Victorian period. After all, she is more intelligent than many of her male colleagues. The proof: she’s invented a machine which allows her to travel through time. But when she goes to show it off to her favorite Professor, something goes wrong and she ends up trapped in the Scottish Highlands.

Thankfully, she’s found by Ainslie, the daughter of a laird and heir to the title herself. Jane needs to get home, but the longer she stays the more enchanted she becomes with 13th century Scotland, its people, and… and… Ainslie.

Can Jane bring herself to return to her Victorian life or is her heart going to remain forever in the Highlands?

This book has everything that I could ever want in a romance! Time Travel? Check. Women being awesome? Check. Promised Historical Accuracy? Check. Historical Lesbian Romance? Check. Accurate portrayal of Scots and Scottish culture? Check.

I was so looking forward to reading this book. Sadly the execution did not live up to the potential. I was disappointed, and that’s, well, disappointing.

First off, the editing left a lot to be desired. I found so many comma errors (both missing commas and randomly added ones) that it was distracting. The same was true with missing or wrong words. At one point, I was thrown out of the story at the mention of Potatoes being served in the 13th century… this is out and out impossible historically since potatoes are a New World crop and weren’t introduced to Europe until the 16th century at the earliest. Those weren’t the only anachronisms present in this book.

Nor were the anachronisms the only thing that threw me out of the book. It felt like a thinly veiled Outlander satire… and not a good one at that. Multiple times during the story I felt like I, the reader, was being attacked for enjoying highlander romance. That there was something wrong with me. It felt like the author was taking pot-shots at the genre… and we all know how I feel about that. Romance needs to be respected. It’s one of the few genres where women are the primary audience. I didn’t like feeling like I was somehow lesser for liking and enjoying romance.

I suspect that the author isn’t a romance reader, or if they do read romance they’ve really only read old school romances. Because there are a lot of beats and tropes in this which have been largely discredited in romance. The biggest of which has to do with the sex scenes. There’s no consent. Which in LBGTQIA+ romance is a particularly egregious no-no. There’s also instalove… which is not one of my favorite tropes in general. The pacing was off, and I struggled with this book. Plot points came out of nowhere… as if the author went “Oh! I like this idea!" And then didn’t go back and foreshadow it. There were many times that I had to put it down and walk away for a bit before I could continue reading it. Or times where I jumped back to reread sections because I was confused about if I’d missed something.

So what did I like about this book? First off, I did like Ainslie… mostly; she loses her shine for me as the story goes on. She was fun and funny and spunky. The author has the occasional lovely turn of phrase – there were times in this story where the prose was so lyrically lovely it made me weep. The depiction of the Scots people, language, and culture was lovely. It was nice to see a highland romance without the randomly gratuitous Gaelic that is so prevalent in the genre.  I liked the originality of having the time traveling heroine coming from a time that wasn’t “modern.”  I liked Jane’s husband. (Yes she’s married, it’s a marriage of convenience… he’s gay and their marriage is mutually beneficial.) I also liked Jane’s mentor.

There’s good here, but it’s like a diamond in the rough. It needs polishing, trimming, and shaping.

I’ve struggled with what to rate this. I liked it and I didn’t. I could see some people really going for it, especially those for whom dubcon isn’t a huge turn off.

But since I didn’t enjoy it, and there were enough other problems I really can only give this

Two Stars

I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley.

If this is your jam, you can get it here. (Note: as of the writing of this review there is no e-book available.)

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