Locus Focus: Take Forty!
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I just remembered that we don't have a theme for March.
What do you all think of war- and battle-related settings? I got the idea because next month is when I've planned my big J.R.R. Tolkien reread and scheduled a certain non-fiction book about the bombing of Manila during WWII.
But as always, I'm open to suggestions from other Locus Focus participants, so please let me know what you think! =)
Kiss of the Highlander
by Karen Marie Moning
. . . It had taken [Gwen] only a few days to figure out that she never should have embarked upon this ridiculous quest.
But back home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as she'd peered out the window of her cubicle at the Allstate Insurance Company, arguing with yet another injured insured who'd managed to amass an outstanding $9,827 worth of chiropractic bills from an accident that caused a mere $127 of damage to his rear bumper, the idea of being in Scotland--or anywhere else, for that matter--had been irresistible.
So she'd let a travel agent convince her that a fourteen-day tour through the romantic Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland was just what she needed, at the bargain price of $999 . . .
When it comes to settings, Karen Marie Moning isn't very believable. There was no point in the entire novel when I believed her story was taking place in Scotland--whether the Scotland of our own time or of the sixteenth century. Yet although Moning can't deliver an authentic sense of place, she still expertly sets the stage for romance.
We can all relate to someone who feels stuck in "love limbo," perfectly symbolised by a cubicle workspace in some bureaucratic company's building. And we can understand the intense desire to break out of the funk which inspires the heroine to buy a plane ticket to Scotland. Any exotic location would have done, really, but serendipity--a true accomplice to romance--sets her up for Scotland.
And at first it seems like a huge mistake. The tour package is such a bargain, she discovers, because it's for a senior citizens' bus tour. She is the only young person there, and the only one who doesn't have a significant other. And she feels kind of pathetic.
Which means she's totally ready for her big, hard fall . . .
When the ground gave way beneath her feet, it was so sudden and unexpected that she scarcely had time to gasp before she plunged through the rocky bottom of the crevice. She fell for a terrifying few seconds, then landed with such force that the impact knocked the air out of her lungs.
As she struggled to draw a breath, crushed rock and dirt showered her where she lay . . .
She'd fallen hard and felt bruised from head to toe. Her hands were bleeding from her panicked attempt to catch herself as she'd plunged through the jagged opening, but, blessedly, it didn't appear that she'd broken any bones.
Yes, it's a literal fall--but since she lands on a sleeping man who has been sealed up in that forgotten cave for hundreds of years, she has fallen upon love, if not quite in it yet.
The Scottish background might be no more than what Romance fans call "wallpaper," but the soul-sapping cubicle, the exotic country and the hidden cave have a richer archetypal status. The heroine finds herself in a land where impossible romances can happen and two hearts which should have been separated by the walls of centuries can share a love that lasts forever.
I should totally have written this post last week.
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I can't wait to read what everyone has to say! =D
Image Source: Kiss of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning