A Dance through Time (MacLeods Series #1)

A Dance Through Time - Lynn Kurland 2.5-3 starsI really, really wanted to love this book... the description is enchanting, and being an "Outlander" fan, I was caught by a "Jamie" being the Highland lord, and the "lady" being from 1996. But this book just... didn't... do it... for me... at all. *sigh*My apologies to major fans of this book, because I can see the appeal. But perhaps I'm a decade or two too late, because the story seemed disjointed. And the anachronisms between 1996 and 14th century Scotland, instead of being charming and funny, just seemed very wrong. For all her research about Scotland - and for wanting to be a romance writer at that - the main character, Elizabeth Smith, just wasn't all that interesting. Or it seemed very interested in that time. Rather than using it to find out more about the people and the times, she seems to be intent on imposing her will on the people and the times. Elizabeth grew up with 5 brothers, big hulking tough dudes. And she lives in New York City. So you'd think she'd know a thing or two about how to fend for herself and fight off men. Yes, she was tackled soon upon her "arrival" in the past - that she couldn't help. But not long after, she's almost being raped by 4 men. They're sure to have laid in wait for her, yes; but somehow, the circumstance seemed too much like a plot point than a happening. Elizabeth surely wasn't stupid enough to wander around alone, was she?James "Jamie" MacLeod - the Highlander of her dreams is anything but in person. He's almost a caricature of a Scottish laird, except I can't see many men following him anywhere with his hot head. He's grown up without a mother and without women in his life, and that's just fine with him. He has a son, Jesse, from a mistress who died giving birth to the lad. But Jamie really hasn't any idea about love or romance or sex - certainly not much more than the basic, rudimentary parts. Jamie has to ask his friend/cousin Ian for advice on how to pleasure a woman. What? In this way, Jamie is anything but the typical Scottish laird - is this supposed to be what's different about him from other romance lairds?And where are the TOWNSPEOPLE? A laird is responsible for the villages around the castle, and the crofters and other tenants on his land. You can't tell me that not ONE WOMAN is allowed to be part of the warriors' lives? Maids? Cooks? Washerwomen? Healers? Nope. For all intents and purposes, the only women we even really meet are Elizabeth and Megan, a lass that Jesse has disguised as a lad so that Megan has a place to sleep and food. What? From this, Jamie MacLeod is one of the WORST lairds of all time - he apparently cares nothing for his people beyond being his possessions. Yes, he rides out to see the damage done to crofters' homes on the border, a brutal raid supposedly by the Fergussons. And yes, Jamie does seem to be touched by the brutality, especially to the women. Except only when it hits him that Elizabeth could have been attacked that way. No real sympathy or caring for the crofters. UNBELIEVABLE.The villain, Nolan, is such a set up from the start of the book, that it's a no-brainer as to what will happen. Even the neighbor, the horrid Guilbert McKinnon, is no real enemy. He's another plot point.No, I found both Elizabeth and Jamie rather boring and almost unlikeable, except for their mutual love and the way that they treated Jesse and Megan. Until they decide to "return" to Elizabeth's time in 1996. The book actually started to get almost good at that point. But unfortunately, that, too was cut short by weird history and trying to return things to how they should have been without the villain's interference. Bleh.The time travel mechanism was a forest. Huh. We're told horrible beasties live in the forest and can tear a man apart. But no stories of faeries or superstitions about people who routinely disappear (with one small exception, Jamie's brother). Nothing really to make us think that this stretch of Scottish forest is anything other than trees. So how in the world anyone ever figured out the secret of the forest is beyond me....This book WANTS to be a good book. It has many of the required elements. Unfortunately, IMO, it's a victim of a poor story, poor writing, and poor editing. And yet, there are MORE of these books! Yes, this is only the 1st in a full-blown series that this author wrote, so obviously someone reads them and likes them. When I purchased this book, I also purchased "The Very Thought of You", marked as book #2; but it seems to be an entirely different story and set of people in the past. Once again, someone from the 1990s ends up in 14th century Scotland or England, but this time it's a man who goes in search of a woman. Since I own the book, I'll read it. But likely, I'll donate them both to my local library and be done with them. I wondered why my library didn't own any copies; I can see why now. Some convoluted and very small chart at the front of the 1st book supposedly shows how these books all relate, but frankly, the print and pictures are too small to follow. And I have no desire to figure it out.