November 2, 2016 by kitmoss
DUET by Eden Winters
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
REVIEW by Christopher Hawthorne Moss
I started out a little baffled by this book. It was a typical “Englishman seeking wild love in the Scots Highlands,” but as I read I kept finding references to names that weren’t Scottish and other references that just didn’t fit the setting. I could be dead wrong about this, but I kept reading so that I could find out where I was. I read that the book was taking place after Culloden, so I had a better idea of the mood of the Scots Laird’s son Ailill who insists on speaking Gaelic and wearing a kilt. That name I actually found is a town name in Scotland. When reference is made to Culloden, which took place in 1745, you know the one in the Lord John series by Diana Gabaldon. This time period was suggested by various points.
So Malcolm travels all the way to Scotland to become the tutor for the four younger sons in a grand household. The household consists of the future Laird, his oldest son Ailill and his four younger brothers. Malcolm is the younger boys’ tutor, and his exposure to the Highlander is mostly when the Scottish man comes in and glares at him for doing something English , or as he puts it, Sassanach. When Malcolm comes to the defense of one of the other boys, however, Ailill starts to look at him afresh. A couple of erections while they’re swimming in the loch outs them to each other, and they become lovers. Not too long after this, Malcolm becomes ill and dies in Ailill’s bedchamber. The rest of the story involves Malcolm and Ailill, the former becoming reincarnated into other lives while Ailill stays as a ghost in the house. The two have occasional brushes with each other, including other incarnations of various relatives, and ultimately they discover each other’s violin playing and a reunion is a possibility.
While I found the story rather vague on time and place once in a while, it became magical enough when they were both moving through time that it caught my imagination. I did enjoy the book. The two main characters made a romantic pair, the taunting tales of near misses fascinating and all well told.