What Happens In Scotland
by Jennifer McQuiston, historical (2013)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 978-0-06-223129-1


Avon seems to be pushing Jennifer McQuiston as the next big thing in romance, even giving her debut effort What Happens In Scotland a special introductory "low" price of $5.99, but if this effort is anything to go by, the whole hype is more like what happens when Cathy Maxwell goes on a drunken spree, hangs her petticoats on the hottest lampshade in town, and vomits all the glory on some blank pages at the end of the party.

The heroine Georgette Thorold's party was almost as hot, since she wakes up at the start of the story naked, in bed with a naked guy who reeks of brandy. Oh no, are they married? Naturally, Georgette realizes that she may have had a penis inside her so she is now a slut forever destined to burn in hell. She flees the scene like a nun who had been caught red-handed by the Pope stuffing ten dollar bills into the G-string of a stripper. After knocking the man out with a chamber pot, of course.

James MacKenzie thinks that Georgette has amazing watermelons hanging from her vine, but because she knocked him out and he is missing his money when he comes to, he knows now that she is a thief. He will see her hang! Bitch!

When these two meet again at about the midway point of the story, lots of "funny" miscommunication errors, jumping to wrong conclusions, and generally stupidity overflowing like a sewage disaster just keep happening all over the place. It's fun for the whole family, truly.

Georgette is that kind of heroine - irritatingly and unrealistically neurotic in such a way that she immediately acts like she is the worst woman in the world because she, a widow, sleeps with some guy in an incident that nobody else will know unless she gets stupid and tattoos the word "I am a slut so please kill me, thanks!" on her forehead. Even then, she'd probably misspell everything because she's that stupid. After a predictably disastrous marriage, she is now free and loaded with money. so Georgette's first action of independence is to get drunk and do things that she will spend the next few hundred pages despising herself for doing. Yes, this is an imbecile incapable of being happy even when the means to do so fall onto her lap because, I don't know, maybe the hamster running on the wheel that turned in her head killed himself out of shame a long time ago.

In addition, she's horribly judgmental and inconsistent. She hates the idea that she may have slept with a servant because she's a lady, you know, but when she discovers that her drunkard bed partner is of noble lineage, she can't be happy because having a penis inside her means that she is an evil harlot and thus, she can never be loved again. Also, she doesn't want to marry again because her late husband sucked and he told her that her bedroom skills suck (and, of course, he had to be telling the truth), so she sucks, marriage sucks, and this book sucks so much more. Georgette finds any excuse here to berate herself for everything and anything when she's not acting like she's going to experience a nervous breakdown. She's tiresome, and I feel so exhausted just following her train wreck antics for the first hundred pages.

James is pretty dumb too, but since he's a guy, he has the privilege of being right once in a while. Also, he doesn't act like a sexually insecure pea-brained hen full of self-loathing and "I-hate-my-vagina" complex, so he's practically a catch compared to his big-breasted floozy girlfriend. If I can overlook his constant state of bleary-eyed haze (alcohol may or may not be included in the charming package) and clumsy efforts at thinking, that is.

This story is manic, happening over a period of 24 hours for the most part of it, and the characters go from "crazy stupid" to "crazy stupid... but in love!" in an abrupt manner. The author insists that these two are in love, and frankly, they are dumb enough to believe that it is true. Well, I can only hope that they somehow walk off a short pier during the honeymoon, because I have such a wonderful time reading this story. I almost feel as stupid as these two by the time I reach the last page.

Rating: 41


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