Katie Macalister,
Men in Kilts
(Onyx, 2003)

Men in Kilts is a riotously funny, "first-person" adventure by the brilliant Katie Macalister that will have you laughing till your sides are sore. Personally, I find writing in first person a pain, and usually have a problem reading it. It makes me feel like I am crawling around inside someone's head. However, Macalister is not only at home in first person, she is a master of it and soon will convince you this "immediate" narrative is how every writer should do it.

Katie avoids all the first-person pitfalls that can make the structure slightly claustrophobic with all the "I, me and my" -- she sparkles, intrigues and is one the hottest writers today. (Look for her They Wear What Under Their Kilts? in January 2004 for the Smooch line of Dorchester Publishing -- young adult humorous lit that's a scream.) So buckle up, for Katie gives you romance, love and the whole damn thing -- sheep included -- and she blows the lid of the time honored secret of what DOES a Scotsman wear under the kilt?

Kathie Williams is a mystery writer in England for a writers' conference. She is a bit overwhelmed by jet lag and ends up sleeping through a big part of the first day -- unfortunately, it is in the lobby!

Not bad enough she naps in public, she drools on her new silk blouse. Embarrassed, Kathie is ready to crawl under the table and hide ... but for one thing: Iain MacLaren. The handsome Scotsman is also attending the conference. Sparks fly between the two and suddenly, she believes in love at first sight. Kathie falls desperately for the alpha Scot, so she is delighted when Iain insists she come visit him in Scotland after the conference ends.

Wow what a storybook romance, right? You meet the man of your dreams, he is to-die-for sexy, has a kilt and does not mind that you drooled on yourself in public! Wrong, as Kathie soon finds out. Iain is divorced with two grown sons. The first one hates her on sight and thinks she's a floozy. Luckily, the second one is more welcoming. But then, waiting for them is Iain's neighbor and once-upon-a-time lover, and she is determined to break up the romance in quick order.

Despite a man less than forthcoming about his true feelings, a neighbor who wants to bury the hatchet (in Kathie's head), a spiteful son-in-law to be, and smelly sheep, love finds a way. Then Kathie has to face a Scottish wedding from Hell, with her domineering mother and Iain's first wife making it the wedding event of the year.

Katie writes about Scotland with a true voice. Being a Scot, I often have the cringe at some of the mistakes of Yank writers when they use Scotland as a setting. She keeps it true, right down to the sheep and the harsh realities of business side of it. She gives her readers of real slice of Scotland and has done her research well into the ups and down of sheep farming.

I laughed, I cried. Don't think it gets any better!

- Rambles
written by DeborahAnne MacGillivray
published 8 November 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.