Finding Fraser by K.C. Dyer

Finding Fraser by K.C. DyerFinding Fraser by K.C. Dyer

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Berkley on May 3, 2016
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars      three-flames

Did someone mention Jamie Fraser?  Yep, I perked right up when I saw that this book was tied to Outlander and Jamie Fraser.  I may have acquired a mini-obsession over this series about five years ago when I started the first book in that series.

I was eager to read a story about a woman who went beyond loyal fan and book boyfriend crush to shaping her whole romantic hopes on tracking down her own real life Jamie Fraser and not just any place, but by tramping through the Scottish Highlands.  It was a story of finding one’s self, growing as a person, and in the process of trial and- pitiful, sometimes embarrassing- error getting exactly what is needed for happiness.

I took the time to read through an author interview transcript and even some other readers’ thoughts before I dove in which is not my usual way of taking up a story.  See, I didn’t want to make the mistake of having the wrong expectation of this book.  Which, if I had gone into it with just a cursory read of the blurb or the seeing the cover, probably would have happened.

This book is not about Jamie Fraser or Outlander.  It is a book about a woman who obsesses about Jamie Fraser and Outlander.  Knowing this makes the difference in how I approached the book.

But that is not to say that there is not plenty of Outlander and other Scottish goodness along with heartwarming story and characters to appreciate and enjoy.  I laughed and sighed.

After, losing the latest boyfriend and then her job, Emma Sheridan, takes stock of her life.  Nearly thirty, no steady career, no relationship, a bit of tension around her perfect younger sister who has already achieved?  Yeah, time to go about this life thing very differently.

Only Emma’s idea of figuring out life is a scheme that has her family and best friend convinced she is insane.  Emma sells nearly everything she owns and let’s her Chicago apartment go.  Everything she owns fits into her luggage including her laptop and well-read copy of Outlander.  Emma has started a travel blog, Finding Jamie Fraser, and that is exactly what she plans to do.  From selling it all, there are funds enough for a two month journey.  She is going on a trek to Scotland, follow in the Outlander heroine’s footsteps and along the way, she will find her own handsome, Highlander warrior.

Romance convention, Jamie Fraser stripper, castles, cheap hostels, dubious encounters in pubs, wrong side of the road, ghost?, a professional thief, Fraser sightings, Scottish ways, seeing the sites, detours, quirky people, Highland Games, Loch Ness monster maybe, blogging, police, and Braveheart.

Along the way, she goes from feeling alone and scared, unsure, but determined, rigid in what she thinks she needs and needs to happen, then learning to step away from the plan and follow instinct.  She draws a following on her blog, encounters some quirky and interesting people, some are good for her and some not so much.  But Scotland?  No matter what happens, Scotland was always a good idea and she learns to love it and find home.  Love and Jamie Fraser stay elusive until she finds them in a surprising place.

This story was ultimately one of triumph after many different stops and starts along the way.  It’s a steady story that is more women’s fiction than romance and yet romance is one of the themes at its core.  Not to say there aren’t some exciting moments and it is never dull around this girl who gets into scrapes and situations without even trying.

Emma is the central figure of this story and how the reader feels about her will determine if this is a win or a disappointment.  I went from seeing the heroine as a flake who just needed a reality check to seeing her as one of those rare someones who have trouble fitting in.  She really did get lucky with the adventure of a life time that led exactly to where she needed to be.

In the process, she grew on me and I started rooting hard for her.  The character development was teased out and was an ongoing process until the end.  Emma was made known through the blog posts throughout the book, but also her thoughts and actions.  She is introspective very often and it makes sense since she has to find herself even though she thinks her adventure is about finding her soulmate.

The background characters who people this story- some in passing and some recurring- are colorful and engaging.  There were quirky Outlander fans or Scottish personalities, there were those who helped Emma along the way and those who seemed good, but turned out to be disappointments for her, and there was her family.  I enjoyed the friendships she formed along the way and the sometimes humorous experiences and interactions.  Humor is rife through this book.

As to setting, I felt Scotland was well drawn.  As modern Scotland- city and countryside, but also the feeling of the history and mystery of the place.  There are a couple occasions with the reader is left wondering if there was some ancient magic happening and a bit of magical realism.  Also, the author did a nice job of describing Emma’s story, but also showing her great love and appreciation for the world of Outlander.  Like I said earlier, this is not about Outlander, but for a fan there were several scenes and moments that bring a smile and the itch to snatch up a copy of the book or the show and immerse one’s self.  The reader had Emma’s description of locales, but also her reaction to it which for me, made me very envious of Emma.

So, I found this an engaging read that had me disappointed when it was over.  I loved this ‘finding herself’ travel adventure.  The quest, humorous, and heartwarming moments were sheer delight.  Contemporary romance who don’t mind a mild romance and women’s fiction fans should definitely give this a try.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #163 CR
New to Me #69 author
Books N Tunes #19 Runrig’s Loch Lomond

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • I really like that cover

    • Me, too! There is an older cover that is just white, but I love this blue one. Definite pop!

  • Oooh I like a good contemporary and this one sounds good! 😀 I’ll try to check it out.

    • Definitely worth it if you like humor and a travel setting, Bee! Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  • Debbie Haupt

    Well you’ve definitely made me want to read the book, thanks Sophia Rose 🙂

    • Excellent, Debbie! I love tempting other readers. 🙂

  • This book sounds like a lot of fun. Or as I would call it, brain candy. I haven’t read Outlander, but this one sounds good. Maybe I’ll give it a try. 🙂

    • She has some crisis moments, but there is a lot of humor, too. Hope you get the chance. 🙂

  • I know nothing of Outlander but this sounds fun.

    • It’s okay if you don’t, Mary. You just have to understand book obsession. This gal was a hoot, but she wasn’t as crazy as her friends thought she was.

  • Ahhh I skipped this one but was going oh yeah I know a few ladies who would like it. lol Glad to hear it was so good!

    • I’ve had to sift through and turn aside books that looked interesting, but it’s the only way not to be buried under a pile of review books. It was fun. In real life, I would be one of the ones thinking she was nuts, but it was fun to read in fiction. 🙂

  • I haven’t read Outlander because if the length of all if them. I just don’t have the time.However, I am absolutely in love with the tv show! So I must say you have me very intrigued. Scotland as a setting is a favorite of mine as well. Great review!

    • If you think it sounds good, don’t worry if you haven’t read the books. This one focuses more on the girl and her journey than Outlander itself though I think you’ll recognize all the references without having read the book. Love the Scottish backdrop of this one, too, Lorna. Vicarious travel! 🙂