It’s always such a pleasure to feature Lizzie Lamb and her lovely books, so when I heard Rachel was organising a tour for Harper’s Highland Fling I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share my review just once more. For the duration of the tour, the e-book will be available for just 99p/99c (and of course, you can always read it for free via Kindle Unlimited) – and it’s also available as a paperback.
I think this book is the best that Lizzie’s ever written, and it was always guaranteed a place in my 2020 Books of the Year list – Rocco has to be one of my favourite romantic heroes, and the book’s locations are firmly on my “must visit” list once the brakes are taken off once more.
Let’s take a closer look:
After a gruelling academic year head teacher Harper MacDonald is looking forward to a summer holiday trekking in Nepal. Her plans are scuppered when her wayward niece, Ariel, leaves a note announcing she’s running away with a boy called Pen. The only clue to their whereabouts is a scribbled footnote: I’ll Be in Scotland.
Cue a case of mistaken identity when Harper confronts the boy‘s father – Rocco Penhaligon – accusing him of cradle snatching her niece and ruining her bright future. At loggerheads, Harper and Rocco set off in hot pursuit of the teenagers, but the canny youngsters are always one step ahead. And, in a neat twist, it is the adults who end up in trouble, not the savvy teenagers.
Can Cupid convince Harper and Rocco that they have found their soul mates?
Fasten your seatbelt for the road trip of your lifetime –
It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
And here’s my review, just one more time…
Well, I think I’ll pin my colours to the mast with this one at outset – I loved every moment. I knew I was going to from the moment Rocco Penhaligon emerged from under that car he was working on, all dirty and hot and sweaty – I’ve always been rather a pushover for wild corsairs – and I fell for him straight away. It takes Harper MacDonald a 713 mile road trip to feel quite the same way – and it did take me a while to warm to her too, all superior and buttoned up in her business suit, executive headteacher of the federation of the Three Pols village schools, about to depart on her three-week walking tour of Nepal. Two very different people thrown together by the flight of their teenagers – Harper’s niece Ariel, Rocco’s son Pen – reluctantly and uneasily united in pursuit.
They could so easily have been stereotypes, but they never are – both have rich back stories that gradually emerge, and considerably more emotional depth than you might initially expect. The spark of attraction between them slowly grows – very slowly, as they fight against it with dogged determination, focused on the task at hand – and I really loved the parry and thrust of their every exchange, the most wonderfully written dialogue that really sparkles and fizzes throughout.
The road trip itself, starting in Cornwall with a few detours and false leads, is excellent – first in borrowed leathers on a restored Bonneville motor bike (with definitely no room for Harper’s Mulberry luggage) and then in a leaky and failing jeep, with a few stops and encounters along the way that provide insights into their characters and background.
At first, their final destination looks like Gretna – hopefully in the nick of time – but they find they’re thrown together for rather further than that. I’ll admit that Plockton in the Highlands has been on my bucket list for a while now, and I thoroughly enjoyed this visit – the author draws it quite perfectly, with its tight community, its micro-climate replete with gardens and palm trees. But the climate’s also changing in their relationship – things really start to sizzle, their edges begin to distinctly soften, and they find that being thrown together might just not be quite the dreadful experience they were both determined it was going to be.
As romances go, I have to say that this book delivered absolutely everything I wanted – so superbly written, driven forward by that wonderful dialogue, and with a perfect emotional touch – and although the main thrust of the story is all about that chemistry between Rocco and Harper it’s only enhanced by the introduction of a few additional really well drawn characters. And I haven’t mentioned the humour – so well judged, making it a story you read with a smile on your face throughout, although it’s certainly not lacking in moments of real poignancy too.
I came late to Lizzie Lamb’s books, but I’m so glad I discovered her writing – this was a story I thoroughly enjoyed, from the very beginning to its perfect end. This was my favourite of hers so far – and really highly recommended.
About the author
After teaching her 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided to pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), quickly followed by Boot Camp Bride. She went on to publish Scotch on the Rocks, which achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon and her next novel, Girl in the Castle, reached #3 in the Amazon charts. Lizzie is a founder member of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press, and has hosted author events at Aspinall, St Pancras and Waterstones, Kensington, talking about the research which underpins her novels.
Lizzie romance Take Me, I’m Yours, set in Wisconsin, also achieved BEST SELLER status >travel>USA. Her latest novel – Harper’s Highland Fling – has been declared her ‘best one yet’ by readers and reviewers. In it, two warring guardians are forced to join forces and set off in hot pursuit of a runaway niece and son. She has further Scottish-themed romances planned and spends most of the summer touring the Scottish Highlands researching men in kilts. As for the years she spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste as she is building a reputation as a go-to speaker on indie publishing, and how to plan, write, and publish your debut novel.
Lizzie lives in Leicestershire (UK) with her husband, David.
She loves to hear from readers, so do get in touch . . .