After I finished reading “The Henna Artist” (which I will be adding to my blog soon), I decided to go for something lighter and from the description of it, “Highland Fling” by Meghan Quinn sounded enticing. It was supposed to be a light story of two American girls heading to Scotland to help out in a cafe in a Scottish village and eventually falling in love with Scotland but also some locals. Sounds good, right?
In reality, I found the book to be a bit too light. Initially, when I started reading the book, I was on a plane coming from the team meetup and had nothing else to read. The book was okayish from the start and if I had a choice, I would have probably probably switched to something else. But a long trip with nothing to do made me stick with it.
The story itself revolves around two main characters – Dakota and Bonnie – who are looking for a change for different reasons and decide to take a leap of faith and travel to Scotland from the sunny California to work in a cafe. As you can guess from the title, both of them fall in love with two locals and stay in the village. When you start reading the book, you kind of know how it is going to end but there is some comfort in that. This was the part that I liked.
There were also some parts that I did not appreciate as much. I found the writing to be too simplistic – when the author was trying to convey emotions of characters, they were bluntly written on their faces instead of intricately hidden so that you would peel them like layers. When I was studying my bachelors in literature, I got spoiled by reading some of the best pieces of writing out there. I like when the author makes you think and tinker with ideas rather then directly points their finger at something. I found that this book was missing some sophistication in writing.
Similarly, this brings me to the second point of how Meghan Quinn worked with her characters. For instance, when they would start having conversation in a book, they would jump straight into deep matters and issues which is really not how the conversations flow in real life. Her characters have some personal issues and I assume the author wanted to convey important messages through her story such as the topic of being gay or finding yourself or proving yourself – but instead of setting on a journey of exploration, it felt like I was preached a lesson in every dialogue.
While I found the setting and the idea of the book charming, the writing made it not that easy to enjoy the story. Maybe next time?