Tess Mallory





Love Spell, February 2003
Reviewed by Sissy Jacobson
Time Travel
The Highlands of Scotland, 1605

Handsome, virile Griffin Campbell, heir to Meadbrooke Castle, Chieftain of Clan Campbell, leader of men and a warrior to fear, has a few problems. Griffin must marry in order to keep the title of Chieftain, thus he is betrothed to Maigrey MacGregor, a woman he cannot bring himself to touch. Truth be known, he has never found any woman he could even kiss without throwing up. While hiding from Maigrey, he learns that she doesn't want to marry him, either. She is in love with his father, Red Hugh, a widower. His second problem is, he really doesn't want to be Chieftain of the Clan. He is a scholar, a poet, and a scientist who would prefer living in his cabin in the forest surrounded by books and writing poetry. Once he learns Maigrey loves Red Hugh, and knowing that Red Hugh really wants to be Chieftain of Clan Campbell, Griffin comes up with a plan. He will go into hiding, certain if he is not found after a period of time, his father and Maigrey will marry, and Red Hugh will become Chieftain.

Griffin flees the castle astride his horse, Firestorm, with few possessions tied behind his saddle. He cannot go to his cabin; for he knows that's the first place his father will look. He remembers a magical cave his cousin Duncan once told him about, before he disappeared, never to be seen again. Leaving Firestorm at the base of the hill, Griffin searches until he finds the opening to the cave. Once inside, Griffin discovers Duncan had been right. The cave is magical, with an eerie light glowing overhead, and a pool of blue- green water with emerald green crystals shimmering just below the surface. Griffin, reaching to touch the crystals, is pulled into the water and swept down into a swirling vortex…

Scotland, 2003

Chelsea Brown has returned to Scotland for a celebration marking the first anniversary of the wedding of her friend Jix to Jamie MacGregor. Shy, scholarly Chelsea wishes she had never let Jix, and their friend Samantha Riley, talk her into leaving her studies to attend a party where she knows she will not fit in. Chelsea believes she can't compete with Jix and Sam when it comes to beauty and fashion, and considers herself as mousy brown as her wardrobe. While taking a walk, trying to think of a way to improve her looks, she meets a stranger who, though disoriented, seems to be a friend of Jamie's. After leading Griffin Campbell back to Meadbrooke Manor, Chelsea begins to suspect that her best friends since childhood, Sam and Jix, and Jix's husband Jamie, are keeping a secret from her. The secret seems to have something to do with Griffin, who is the most handsome, compelling man Chelsea has ever seen. Hurt by her friends' secrecy, Chelsea confronts them. They decide to tell her about their adventures of the year before when they had traveled back to 1605, where they met Jamie and Griffin. Chelsea the scientist, who admits she has been studying the possibility of the space-time continuum, is not only intrigued by Griffin and his story, she is the perfect person to understand and help him. Their attraction to each other is immediate.

Griffin is a wonderful hero. The modern world frightens him, but this warrior overcomes his fear time and again, while trying to find his place in a fascinating era he doesn't understand. I couldn't help but fall a little bit in love with Griffin Campbell, no matter what era he was in. Tess Mallory, who is marvelous with characterization, brings Chelsea to life as a timid, creatively intelligent woman who wants to break out of the scholarly rut in which she has been living, and experience the joys and excitement of life and love. Where Chelsea sees her imperfections, Griffin only sees her beauty. Since Jix and Jamie, along with Samantha Riley were in the first book, HIGHLAND DREAM, their characters are not as fully developed in HIGHLAND FLING, and this is as it should be.

HIGHLAND FLING by Tess Mallory is only the third time-travel novel I have read, but I loved it. The characters of Griffin and Chelsea are beautifully portrayed, and the narration has laugh out loud moments that kept this reader in stitches. Surely Ms. Mallory has a story in progress for Samantha Riley?

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