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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn
Features Writer

The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Paranormal romance proves disappointing

Browsing through the romance section at a local book store, I spotted an author I’d never seen before. Curious, I picked it up and quickly read the blurb on the back. The book’s premise was interesting enough to make me want to give it a chance. But this novel by Allie MacKay – who also writes medieval romances under the name Sue-Ellen Welfonder – starts out promising but flounders with each successive page.

All romance novels must fulfill two criteria: The story must focus on the romantic relationship between two people and it must have a happy ending.

Even paranormal romance novels – stories that have otherworldly traits like ghosts, time travel or magic – have to obey these rules.

And even after they meet these requirements, it still doesn’t guarantee it will be good. “Highlander in Her Bed” is one of those books that doesn’t leave a reader satisfied. Even when Mara cried, “Don’t stop,” I wished it would.

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In present day London, Mara McDougall, a self-employed tour guide from Philadelphia, needs a breather from the ghost tour group she’s been leading around the city. Slipping into an antique store, Mara spots a beautiful medieval, four-poster bed which she buys.

What she doesn’t know is that her new bed is haunted by the ghost of Sir Alexander Douglas – a Scottish knight who was murdered by Mara’s ancestor, Colin MacDougall, 700 years ago.

He has vowed that no one from her family will have a peaceful night in his bed. But when Alex and Mara meet it’s lust at first sight.

MacKay can write well, but seems to slip into gimmicky phrases. The most abundant being “Hottie Scottie” which, at one point, appears four times on a single page. Alex is Scottish and he’s very handsome. We get it.

The major flaw is the novel’s utter lack of romance. The lead characters are too preoccupied with physical lust to really learn anything about one another other than basic personality traits. The chemistry between Alex and Mara boils down to nothing more than “Hey you’re hot, let’s do it.” Their love is unrealistic because it doesn’t seem rooted in anything but infatuation.

Thankfully, MacKay’s book isn’t all “Hottie Scottie” and Mara. The novel boasts a delightful cast of supporting characters ranging from the disgruntled, old castle caretaker, Murdoch, to Alex’s best friend, a perpetually horny ghost called Hardwick (pun intended). Their quirkiness adds to the color of the Scottish highlands as well as the humor of human interactions. Sadly, the supporting characters are highly underused. They act as quick flashes of delight that are gone before you know it.

One character, Prudentia MacIntyre, is Mara’s cook and believes that she can commune with the spirits that haunt the castle. Since one of the main characters is a ghost, you’d think we’d see more of her antics but she only appears in two memorable scenes. The best scene has her discussing the presence of a ghostly spirit with Alex, when both are surrounded by his ghostly friends.

“Highlander in Her Bed” is a one night stand that fizzles out before the night is through, and with a price tag of $6.99, you can find a better paranormal romance than this book for the same price or cheaper.

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