Author: Jessa McAdams
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Copy: ARC via Entangled Publishing
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: American lass seeks brawny Scot...
As if being newly single isn’t brutal enough, Sloane Chatfield's friends are getting obnoxious about setting her up. When Sloane insists she's waiting for a certain sexy fictional Highlander to come along, her friends surprise her with a trip to Scotland to find her a new boyfriend. She’d rather have a root canal. But if she can find a Highland hunk to “break her heart” before her friends arrive…
In a remote Highland village, Galen Buchanan is struggling to keep the family pub afloat. Everything is falling apart, he’s running out of money, and now there's an opinionated American lass parked at his best table, driving him mad. But then Sloane asks Galen to be her pretend Highland boyfriend...and offers him enough money to save the pub. It’s only for a few days, he figures. What's the worst that could happen?
I’ve read a few of Julia London’s historicals and she’s one I want to read more of. When the opportunity came to review a contemporary under the pen name, Jessa McAdams, I was intrigued. When I read the plot involved the Scottish Highlands, I couldn’t pass up the chance!
Character development is a bit weak. Sloane Chatfield is an American girl who decided to leave it all behind for a few weeks to find her real life Jamie Fraser in Scotland. If you’re not familiar with who Fraser is, you’re not alone! Even our hero Galen Buchanan had no idea who he was, but I’ll be kind to you. Fraser of course is the hero in the Diana Gabaldon novels and one who has stolen the hearts of thousands of women. Sloane is in Scotland to heal a broken heart and she’s a trust fund baby who works in her family’s charity foundation. We don’t really get to know Sloane, as her likes and dislikes aren’t mentioned and all we know is that her fiancée thought she was rather a cold fish. Galen’s initial reaction to her isn’t very flattering because in his mind she’s an American Ice Princess who wears button-up shirts. As for Galen, he’s a lawyer who took over his grandfather’s business. For a lawyer, he’s not very bright when it comes to the pub and its finances. For the sake of the plot, I’ll let it go. We have a few secondary characters are supposed to play a role, but in many ways fall sort. We have Slaone’s friends who are well off like her and were rather unlikeable many ways. Then there’s her ex-fiancée who is a complete bore.
I had some problems with The Perfect Bargain and most of it had to do with the way the language is portrayed. By that I mean, we get the Scottish brogue here and there and it was easy to hear Galen speak in his accent as I read, but at times it felt a bit drawn out. Also, there were several Americanisms used by Galen when in real life no Scottish person would use or anyone who is British. For example, Galen says to Slaone that probably went to a prestigious college. When I lived in Scotland, it was university and no one ever referred to it as a college. Reading that took me out of the element. Also, I had some problems with the way both Americans and the Scottish were portrayed. Galen was very much anti-American and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why. I don’t think it has to do with his disdain for Starbucks. Then there’s Slaone and her friends who think Highlanders are some hillbillies who aren’t living in the current century. Furthermore, the romance felt forced. At no point did I feel those butterflies and the anticipation of falling in love. Instead we get a forced fake relationship.
Overall, Jessa McAdams’ The Perfect Bargain had potential but fell flat. I only hope the rest of the series doesn’t involve Slaone’s friends winding up with their own Scotsmen because if they do, it’s not a series I would consider worth continuing.