Friday, May 27, 2016

Finding Fraser by KC Dyer

*This review was originally posted on*

As an Outlander fan, I really wanted to love KC Dyer's Finding Fraser. The concept was absolutely brilliant: Emma Sheridan—a 29-year old woman reeling from the loss of her job and recent divorce—travels to Scotland in order to not only find true love, but seek out her very own, real-life Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series. Unfortunately, this brilliant concept was not executed as well as I might have hoped. Just because a book is based off a series you love, there are no guarantees that the book will be your next favorite read.

Finding Fraser started out great. I was immediately pulled in by Emma’s hilarious and original voice as she writes about her decision to chase after a fictional character on her blog. These blog posts are scattered throughout the book in between scenes, and really helped propel the narrative. Unfortunately, I found myself confused and occasionally annoyed at how unrealistic the story was. I was also underwhelmed by the author introducing a variety of quirky characters throughout Emma’s journey who could have ended up being interesting, but were never fully developed, as they only appeared in the span of four to five pages.

Despite her fun, quirky voice, Emma was, at times, unbelievable and even irritable. Emma grew up in Chicago, and, like all major cities, Chicago requires its inhabitants to be aware of their surroundings at all times. However, Emma is constantly too trusting to—midway through the book, she meets a friend whom she spills her entire life story to, and who ends up robbing her of all her money and possessions. I so admired Emma’s will to give up everything to find Jamie Fraser—and maybe even find herself—during her journey in Scotland, but I was disappointed that she never managed to figure out who she was. Perhaps acquiring self-awareness was never an essential goal of Emma’s, but I have a hard time believing that a person who travels halfway across the world does not learn at least some valuable life lessons about herself. I enjoyed Emma's voice so much that it would have been nice to see her reach her true potential.

Emma does end up finding her Jamie. The only problem is that she is so focused on finding a man who matches Jamie’s physical appearance—red hair, sexy accent, bulky frame—that she ends up failing to notice the perfect Jamie Fraser right in front of her. I found it unrealistic that a 29-year-old could be so focused on the physical details of a fictional character she loves that she could disregard his personality entirely. And it is not just Emma whose age does not fit her character: Emma’s younger sister Sophia, who is supposed to be 27, acts as though she is Emma’s guardian. Throughout the novel, she continues to beg Emma to come home via blog comments and occasional phone calls. The dissonance between character and age was another reason why I had a hard time believing this story.

The book had great potential to be a fresh, witty and endearing read, but it fell short in many ways. There was minor character development, especially on the part of the protagonist. Many aspects of this book were unrealistic (I never understood how Emma’s blog went from 0 comments to 60+ in just a week. How does one end up with a large following in a such a short period of time? Someone please give me advice…) which is understandable for what is supposed to be a fun, chick-lit about travel. However, I just kept expecting growth from Emma and never got it. In spite of all that, this was not a bad story, and I enjoyed the romance aspect of the book. I was constantly cheering Emma on during her quest to find Jamie Fraser, and was thoroughly satisfied once she got him in the end. Although this is not necessarily a believable tale, it will certainly make for a fun beach read, especially for Outlander fans.

Rating: 3/5