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The Highland Fling
by Meghan Quinn
If you decide to read this one, be sure to pick the correct Highland Fling. When looking for a book cover image to use, I learned that there are approximately 7 million books also titled The Highland Fling. It makes sense, it’s a cute play on words, but wow it must get confusing. Anyway, we’re talking about Meghan Quinn’s version today!
Book: The Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Spice Level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Content Warning: Cancer, hospice, end-of-life care. Loss of a brother. And coming out but not on your own terms.
Tropes: Grumpy Sunshine, Small Town Romance, Forced-ish Proximity
🏴 🐮 🪨 ☕️ 🥐 🍰
This cute book popped up in my library app as a suggested read, and I’m glad it did! I hadn’t read any of Meghan Quinn’s books prior, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised!
Although come on, place any book in a small, charming Scottish town full of kind Scots and highland cattle (aka ‘hairy coos’ ) and make a screaming goat named Fergus a lovable main character?
I’m obviously gonna love it no matter what happens in the story.
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What’s It About?
Bonnie and Dakota are fulfilling the dream that every American girl has had at some point in her life: moving to Scotland to work in a coffee shop for 6 months. (Or wait, am I the only one with that fantasy?)
They’re both at that rough, quintessential mid-twenties place - fresh out of a relationship, floundering at work, struggling to find themselves, you know the drill.
Luckily, Scotland and all its charms know exactly what these young lasses need. Turns out, being surrounded by sweet people, hunky repairmen, hairy coos, and freshly baked butteries can cure all that ails you.
It’s a sweet story of best friendship, new love, the importance of family, and most of all, community. It made me want to book a flight to Scotland immediately, but instead, I settled for learning how to draw hairy coos.
The first half of this book is a sweet, very spicy romance filled with sarcastic banter and charming, hunky Scots. The second half of this book takes you THROUGH. IT. EMOTIONALLY. I won’t give anything away, but Bonnie hits the dark forest of her story feeling very alone thanks to a series of misunderstandings, and you really can’t help but feel awful for her. But fear not, friends. This is a rom-com after all, and you know I wouldn’t recommend a book without a Happily Ever After.
There are some heavy topics in this book, so here is a quick content warning:
Loss of a Brother - a main character recounts the loss of his brother. Understandably, this loss has had a profound effect on his family dynamic, and his outlook on life.
Cancer/Hospice/End-of-Life - I swear it’s a rom-com! A main character is dealing with the end of their father’s life, and obviously, it’s a major turning point for their entire family unit. Again… Cancer Suuucks.
Coming Out - one of the characters is gay, and we know this from the onset, so there isn’t a big “coming out” story. However, there is a scene where one character takes it upon herself to tell her friend’s story without her permission, and it causes a big rift in the relationship. We all have unique and nuanced stories, those in the LGBTQ+ community especially. But those stories are ours to tell, on our own terms.
Now, how to make your reading experience a bit more fun?
🥐 Food Pairing: In the story, Bonnie is determined to make Scottish Butteries, and although I’ve never had one, after reading this story all I want to do is travel to Scotland and eat buttery, flaky, doughy snacks. Here’s a recipe if you want to try them yourself - hopefully you’ll fare better than Bonnie did on her first six attempts!
🍰 Another Food Pairing: Baked goods are present throughout this book so you’re going to get a little peckish while reading. Bonnie loves cake and considers a day a total waste if no cake was consumed. Luckily, bake shop owner, Isla, keeps her in ample supply of Dundee Cake, which, despite never tasting, I was definitely craving by the end of this book.
🐮 Etsy Listing: The hairy coos are the silent stars of this book. There are a lot of reasons I want to visit Scotland, but my #1 reason is these sweet beasts. Just look at this Moody Coo Daily Mood Flipbook! Or this hairy coo enamel pin! Or this hairy coo canvas! *cries in cute*
As always, I encourage you to see if The Highland Fling is available from your local, indie bookstore. Don’t know where one is? Try this Indie Bookstore Finder! You can usually purchase it directly from Meghan Quinn’s website but it looks like she’s currently out of stock - Go Meghan!
Your local library is also a great place to look for this and other books. And, of course, all the big-name booksellers will certainly have what you’re looking for.
Alright, don’t forget to have some cake on hand when you read this spicy little Scottish adventure!
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!