Kathie, a divorcée on a three-week vacation in England, has given up on love. But when she sets eyes on Iain, a taciturn and studly Scottish farmer, Kathie finds herself falling in love at first sight. When Iain invites her to Scotland, Kathie happily agrees, though she knows next to nothing about farming, can hardly understand Scottish accents and must return to Seattle before her visa expires. Men in Kilts follows Kathie’s journey from a single and independent woman to a lamb-loving, haggis-consuming expatriate living in the Highlands.
Plot Overview: Love, Trust and Conflict
Deep into a whirlwind romance, Kathie is a woman trying to find her balance. The speed of her relationship with Iain leaves them both doubting themselves – and each other. When Bridget, Iain’s neighbor and former lover, makes it clear that Kathie is only a temporary fixture at the farm, Kathie’s insecurity takes a hit.
Compounding matters is Kathie’s inability to maintain a cordial relationship with Archie, one of Iain’s sons, and to understand the practicalities of farm life. The resulting tears, frustration, arguments and resolutions provide for an emotional, over-the-top ride.
Criticisms and Compliments
Katie MacAlister has written several witty and romantic novels, all featuring funny, bumbling and slightly overweight women. Hard Day’s Knight is a sweet love story set at a Renaissance festival; The Corset Diaries examines one woman’s search for romance on a reality television show; the Aisling Grey, Guardian series taps into the current trend of vampires, demons and the clever heroines who hunt them. Men in Kilts, however, is a disappointment.
MacAlister clearly put in time studying sheep farming, but aside from her research abilities, Men in Kilts falls flat. Kathie’s far from likable; she’s a mercurial, overly-sensitive woman who suffers from bouts of jealousy and insecurity. Iain is a shallow character, one who barely makes a ripple on the page, even though he is the motivation behind Kathie’s every thought and move.
The only interesting character is Bridget, Iain’s neighbor and Kathie’s rival. Kathie and Bridget’s interactions are the highlights of this so-so novel; had MacAlister made their relationship the focus of the novel and included more verbal sparring and prank-playing, Men in Kilts could have been catapulted from a stale cookie-cutter romance novel to a vaguely humorous chick-lit read. Instead, it is a lackluster story, one where MacAlister tries too hard to be funny. While her other novels are worth a look, Men in Kilts is one to avoid.
- MacAlister, Katie. Men in Kilts. Onyx (Reprint edition), 2003. ISBN 9780451411136