Review: "Somewhere My Lass" by Beth Trissel

Review by Jenni

Graphics designer guy, Neil, has had a rough day at the office, but things don’t get much better when he comes home to find his housekeeper murdered at the bottom of the stairs. After calling 911, he looks around for forced entry or any items that might be missing but instead stumbles upon a tartan-clad lass, plucked straight from 1602 Scotland, knocked out in his upstairs hallway. Surely this must be the housekeeper’s niece that was coming to visit, right?

Certain that she is seeing Niall, the man she was to marry in Scotland, Mora introduces herself to Neil as his betrothed. Neil is truly mystified by this freckled beauty from the Old World, but things get even stranger when Mora explains that she was chased through a stone passageway by “the MacDonald,” before passing through a door that landed her in Neil’s home. Naturally, Neil thinks a head injury is to blame for the lass’ ramblings since the door she apparently came through has been kept locked ever since the balcony once outside that door collapsed from disrepair. But Mora is here, now, in the present! And it appears that a MacDonald from 400 years past is running loose in Staunton, Virginia. But why?

Mora insists that the MacDonald clan is hell-bent on getting rid of the MacKenzie clan, which doesn’t bode well for Neil since his last name is MacKenzie. Suddenly his skin gets prickly and things are starting to feel very strange… but also very real. Could it be that Mora speaks the truth? Could there be a connection between Neil and Niall over the chasm of time?

With the help of best friend and geeky gadget guru, Fergus, the story highlights the power of friendship when Neil and Mora embark on their mission to discover why the MacDonald is after Neil, with Fergus in tow. But as Neil’s feelings for Mora grow protective and strong, we are reminded of Niall. What happened to the man Mora was to wed over 400 years ago? And more importantly, how will their actions in the present affect what has already happened in the past?

Somewhere My Lass is a paranormal romance that tangles an intriguing mystery between a town in present day Virginia and the Scottish Highlands of the 17th century. Creatively complex, this story moves quickly since all the events take place within a few days time. Along this journey, Fergus entertains us with his plethora of tech-gadgets, movie references, and a preparedness MacGyver would envy. Add Fergus’ Goth cousin, Wrenie, to the mix and poor Mora is lost as she struggles to grasp modern conveniences and trends, much like Giselle from Disney’s Enchanted. Fergus’ mother also lends her talents, preparing Neil, Mora and Fergus for what is certain to be the adventure of a lifetime.

This book is the second in Beth Trissel’s Somewhere series, although the books are stand-alone. This story is a page-turner, so if you enjoy Scottish Highland stories and seek a taste of time-travel, this would be a good book for you! The author paints a bonny picture of the ancient times, down to the structures and wardrobes, and I found the Scottish brogue mild enough to be a minimal distraction, yet enough to keep up the appearance of authenticity. My one gripe, aside from the editor’s repeated misspelling of the word ‘ambulance,’ were the references to popular movies and gadgets. This added a very fun and enjoyable dimension to the story, however it became tiresome having to read an explanation for each movie or item mentioned. A little confidence in the reader’s knowledge of pop culture (or the ability to look up something unfamiliar) would have been nice. The end of the story was satisfying but it did leave many questions unanswered. And I was stunned that there was no epilogue! Big opportunity missed here, in my opinion, especially after Neil’s conversation with Fergus at the end of the story.

I’m still fairly new to paranormal/time-travel stories so I have to work a bit harder to suspend belief and not think about how much the present-day side of things would have been altered as a result of history that was changed. But hey, this is fiction! And on that note, can I share how much I was really hoping Fergus would pull out a Light Saber and attack the MacDonald?