Strip the Willow and Rip the Bodice

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A Surprising Ending May 21, 2010

Sometimes I think I just save .gifs randomly – seriously, the above one is just one I found sitting on my computer (it’s from last week’s episode of Doctor Who).

A surprise ending. AND the last official post on Mayhue’s A Highlander’s Homecoming. Overall, I think I’m getting into some sort of … swing as to how I’m going to handle this blog. As I’ve mentioned, I’m really open to suggestions so, if you want to see me handle anything different (talk about something else, linger on something more – and yes, I am going to talk about the sex just not yet, there is a method to my madness on that subject – but anything else) email me. Comment. You get it.

So – why did the ending ‘surprise’ me. Well, mostly because I didn’t know what to expect. I think I remember writing in the first post on this novel that I was sure what happens after the hero and the heroine get together.

Are we supposed to care about the plot?

Are we supposed to expect the tying up of loose ends?

More examples of Mayhue’s favorite deus ex machina at play?

What surprised me wasn’t any of the above questions being answered. I guess we’re supposed to care about the plot – I think, at least with this novel, you care somewhat (though, as I said before, it’s a secondary aspect – I’m not sure if I would consider the ‘ending’ part of the plot – but more on that). The loose ends? The deus ex machina? Hand-in-hand, of course.

Summary: Robbie is dying from the wound that he originally went forward in time for – Isa embroiled in some sort of politics and marries some other guy – but then they find the ‘power’ ‘magic’ ‘whatevs’ to go back into the future to live happily.

And have sex in the bathroom. That’s, of course, the first thing they do – which, I have to say, is strange. I mean, Isa’s from the 1200s … I think I’d have a few more questions about where I was than immediately having sex in a modern day bathroom.

My reaction in .gif form of another Doctor:

Anyway – beyond the sex and the time change – there’s the surprising bit. The bit I don’t really consider part of the plot: the ending.

There’s always been this idea – for Robbie more so than Isa at first – of family. Of Soulmates. Of children and so on.

So how does the story end beyond the quick summary I just gave you?

“Robert glanced back toward the picnic table under the tress where his beautiful Isa poured cups of iced juice for the children.

When she caught him staring she laughed, placing a hand on the delicate basket at her side. By this time next year, there would be another MacQuarrie future footballer toddling around in the mix. His precious daughter, who he hoped would grow to look exactly like her mother. Though barely four months hold, she already had the wild red hair.” p.337

“This was his home.

It had taken him almost a decade of self-doubt and the near loss of his life – twice! – but all the wonder that he saw as he looked at the friends and family surrounding him left with no questions.

This was what made this highlander’s homecoming worth every minute of his life.” p.340

Okay – all of that is so full of cheese you’d need an entire bottle of wine to weed through it – I had whiskey. Good enough. The last line is particularly wonderful – so wonderful I laughed out loud when I read it and just now when I typed it.

But beyond the cheesiness – this was something I mentioned in a previous post: home. Mayhue, at first, wasn’t very clear at what ‘home’ was to Robbie. At first, I thought it was the Keep back in the 1200s, but strange Robbie is very distant to his home. We see his father once, his mother twice.

It is only when he gets with Isa and when he is settled that he has a definitive home and that the novel can end. This idea of ‘family’ and ‘settling’ is attractive in itself – no, I don’t mean yay! Isa’s barefoot and pregnant (yuck no) – I mean, there’s no more conflict, they have a nice little family, blah blah blah American dream, I guess you could say.

Is this the other high of these novels? That you get the sex, the fantasy, but in the end a happy family? Hello post-it note.

I think Robbie himself is a distinct character – what I’ve read of the next book (which I’m keeping a surprise until Monday mwahaha) makes the male character out to be quite different – but I could be wrong. It will be interesting to see – is there talk of soulmates? Talk of children? Talk of a home?

What will the ending be?

Will the reader get the second high of seeing a happy family?

Or is that just another personal preference of mine?


That’s the bad thing about this being the ‘first novel’ – I don’t have anything to compare it to yet. What you’ve read so far are only my thoughts on a single novel – I get to read eleven more.

But you know what I haven’t shown you?

The back cover.

Not quite Fabio (and her hair looks like she was photoshopped to be a ginger)

Look for the next book on Monday!



Mayhue, Melissa. A Highlander’s Homecoming. New York: Pocket Books, 2010.