Pocket, $6.99, ISBN 0-7434-5307-7
Paranormal Romance, 2003
The sequel to Charming the Highlander. Four years ago, a stupid wizard now calling himself Daar sent twelve Highlanders from the 12th century to the present day. Now, to make up for his mistakes, Daar is on a quest to match his men with their dream women. Now that’s a nice thing to do, isn’t it? As opposed to giving the men a few million dollars and a harem instead?
Janet Chapman is still on a Mary Sue bent in Loving the Highlander, only this time she pairs the same type of hero – the alpha male – with an even more vapid heroine. Mercedes “Sadie” Quill is one of those annoyingly teary-eyed guilt-ridden twits that want to start up a park as a monument to her father. She doesn’t know that the people that hired her wants her to lead them to some great treasure hidden in the wilderness of Maine. She stumbles upon Morgan MacKeage naked and snaps a photo. He catches her at it and gives chase, culminating in some hot-muscled alpha male grappling that has Sadie thinking that she could have been raped or killed but ooh, that hot body. This is what happened when romance heroines think they are too pure for magazines with naked men – their brain melts into a pool of slime.
On his part, Morgan thinks that this woman is perfect for him despite his reservations about her intentions regarding the park. Soon he will be going on and on about how she is now part of his territorial and possessive world and she best get used to it. They will meet again when her mother (who is dating Callum, another time-traveling guy) sets her up with Morgan on a blind date. Can they find love while he tries to stop the park from being built when all she wants is for Daddy to be remembered always because Sadie is the type of woman that will feel guilty for everything and more than happens in her life?
Morgan… well, he’s Morgan. What else can I say? Sadie on the hand is pure 100% contrivance, from her unrealistic motivations to her limited range of emotions to her complete passing off the responsibility of safe sex to Morgan (which, of course, he doesn’t do as he’s all about “spilling his seed” into her). Sadie and her mother are double the Mary Sue quota of this story as they both end up enjoying the company of two similar macho males.
I don’t really enjoy Ms Chapman’s very obvious Mary Sue elements and I wish she would show me why Morgan is worth it instead of telling me that macho is good and macho is the real deal when it comes to what a “real man” means. In this story, both Morgan and especially Sadie come off as rather dim. Daar plays a bigger role in this story, but his role is strictly deus ex machina, appearing in perfect timing to rescue Morgan and Sadie from trouble again and again.
While Ms Chapman’s writing has noticeably improved, her plotting and characterization have taken a turn for the worse in Loving the Highlander.