It certainly didn't take me five days to read Carla Laureano's first MacDonald Family book, but Five Days in Skye was all it took for Andrea Sullivan to fall in love with Scotland, and with James MacDonald--the famous chef/restauranteur. From looking over Carla's website, I get the idea that Carla usually writes inspirational fantasy, but this contemporary romance certainly has its own charm and inspiration.
Carla has given Andrea strength and talents that endear her to James, but Carla also wove in quite a bit of vulnerability and fragility. With James, he's got a reputation he doesn't really deserve, and his own baggage, but he really wants to help Andrea find hope and healing from the slings and arrows life throws. In the end, both of them find the healing they desperately need.
Andrea is a hospitality consultant for a company that helps make hotels and motels successful. She's good at what she does, she does her research well, and she takes no guff from anyone--evidenced by decking a client who assumed she provided services she just wasn't willing to provide. Instead of allowing her to take her Tahitian vacation, her bosses sent her to Scotland to acquire a contract with James MacDonald for the family hotel he wants to reopen.
After James meets Andrea, he makes it his goal to get her to fall in love with his beloved Scotland. He acts as tour guide and teacher about all things Scottish. A side benefit is that he's making Andrea fall in love with him--because he's falling in love with her. Something that is a bit bothersome is that everywhere he takes Andrea, there is someone there he's known or dated before, and that reinforces Andrea's idea of him as a playboy.
Here's what Carla has done right: The settings are an integral part of the story and Carla has done well in giving the details that make the settings stand out without detracting from the story. The characters are empathetic with honest feelings, easily relatable, and true to life conflicts. She also integrates spiritual ideas and tenets that are honest to the characters and make them more believable. The only criticism I have is that there aren't any recipes for some of the things James cooks for Andrea.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a gourmet meal made by a professional chef.
Many thanks to David C Cook for allowing me to read and review this book.