Katie Watson and her other single women friends in London are dismayed over the dating situation. The 2001 census in London showed that women outnumbered men by 180,000, confirming their own perceptions that finding a good date was nearly impossible. Katie’s alienation is increased after she is mugged on the way home from one of their bar nights. She decided leaving town was the answer to her problems. She applied for a PR job in the Scottish Highlands with the Fairlish Forestry Commission to help fight the destruction of the forest by a company planning a golf course. After an appalling meeting with the curmudgeonly man in charge, Harry Barr, she turned down the position. Then to her consternation, her boss in her London PR firm sent her back to take on Harry as a client. Katie’s roommate Louise, suffering from heartache after a man she liked was stolen by Katie’s sister, insisted on accompanying her, and off they went.
The resulting culture clash, eventual acculturation, and romantic entanglements (Fairlish was replete with men and suffered a dearth of women) eventually wins over the girls. Their hearts get captured as well, although from unexpected directions.
Evaluation: In many ways this was a predictable “chick lit” book, but the send-ups of stereotypes of Londoners versus Highlanders, satire, and dialogue had me roaring with laughter. I thoroughly enjoyed this diverting novel.
Republished in the U.S. by William Morrow Paperbacks, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2020 (first published 2005)