Title: A Scottish Highland Surprise
Author: Julie Shackman
Published on: 22 April 2022
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
Wedding planner Sophie Harkness finds herself unemployed when she refuses to move a friend’s wedding to accommodate a rich and spoilt bridezilla. The bridezilla, Ms. Bonnington complains to the higher management of Castle Marrian and claims Sophie behaved rudely. Sophie is asked to apologize to the bride and everything will be forgotten. But Sophie will not do it. Three years of working as a wedding planner at Castle Marrian, she’s been taken for granted and there is no concept of work-life balance, she decides to quit.
Sophie’s gran had passed away a few weeks ago and Sophie learns her gran purchased the local florist shop for her. Sophie had always loved everything about crockery – her gran taught her all she could. Before dying, Sophie’s gran made sure her granddaughter is taken care of. She left behind four antique tea sets and a shop.
Sophie leaving her job is like an icing on cake. She decides to go ahead with her gran’s plan and start a crockery shop in town. During the renovation, a woman leaves a box and walks away before Sophie could question. Sophie opens the box to find an antique tea set.
Sophie is introduced to an art critic named Xander North – his expertise includes antique crockery. When he arrives at Sophie’s shop to see the antique tea set, Sophie finds a letter in the box. This piques her curiosity and she wants to learn more about the tea set and its original owner.
A dash of romance, a dash of mystery and oodles of feel-good vibes, A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman is a charming and delightful read.
The story begins with an overworked Sophie trying to control her temper. The bridezilla creates quite a fuss about petty issues and Sophie is not at all happy! She’s already overworked, underpaid and her manager does not respect her work-life boundary. Sophie used to vent about it to her gran but she cannot anymore. Her gran passed away two weeks ago.
Sophie parents suggest they go to gran’s place and handle all her stuff before selling the house. Sophie finds a letter addressed to her on the table. It’s from her gran, asking her to have a loot at the closet below the staircase. Sophie finds four antique tea sets in the closet and a deed for the florist shop in town. Her gran has purchased the shop and wants Sophie to start a crockery business.
When a spoilt and rich Ms. Bonnington says she wants a Christmas wedding and forces Sophie to move the already-booked-Christmas-wedding to a previous date, Sophie says no. When the HR intervenes and asks Sophie to apologize to the spoilt bridezilla, Sophie quits her job.
Renovations at the florist begins a few months later and Sophie cannot wait for the store to open. A woman comes over, leaves a box with Sophie and walks away without giving an explanation. When Sophie opens the box, she finds an antique tea set. Sophie is introduced to Xander North, a handsome but aloof art critic.
Xander tells Sophie it might be an Ernest Telfer tea set and might sell for a lot of money. Sophie finds a letter in the box containing the tea set and doubts if it is stolen merchandise.
The story is divided into three parts. Sophie’s life, her gran’s past and the tea set owner’s past (in the form of letters.) Turns out, Sophie’s gran had quite an interesting past – hiding her employment from her husband to her love for crockery.
Sophie’s story is all about her curiosity to learn more about the mysterious tea set and its owner, learning Xander’s past, almost falling in love with the wrong guy and of course, her journey from wedding planner to crockery shop owner.
As a mystery lover, I really liked the story behind the mysterious tea set. Also, the good-guy/bad-guy scenario (Jack and Xander) kept me guessing for more – who would finally win the ‘game?’ only time will tell… Sophie was betrayed in love once and she does not plan to fall in love with the wrong guy again. But, looks like things are going sideways once again…
I read this book in one sitting. I absolutely loved the story. The writing is simple marvelous and the characters are likable. I found the story to be charming and heart-warming. I am looking forward to reading more of Julie’s works.
I received an ARC from One More Chapter and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.