Miller’s debut novel follows an ad exec’s unexpected trip to Scotland’s Machrihanish Golf Course.
Ever since her parents divorced when she was a child, Kate McMalonan has organized her life down to the smallest detail. Having excelled in academics, school politics, and athletics, she has now, in her early 30s, assumed a powerful management position in the Los Angeles office of a New York advertising firm. Her future has been mapped out just as carefully; she plans to make partner by 35. She has no time for messy romantic entanglements that might divert her from her path, and communication with her parents has dwindled to a few calls a year. In the aftermath of his divorce, Kate’s journalist father, John, began to make annual pilgrimages to Machrihanish, a golf course in Scotland where he fell in with a raucous, bighearted group of golfers who welcomed him back every year. On one of these trips, however, John is killed in a car accident before reaching the course, obliging his Scottish compatriots to call Kate and arrange for her to travel to Scotland to identify the body. Thrown from her scheduled life into the world of thick accents, unfamiliar idioms, beer, and the warmth of genuine human connections, Kate must relearn how to take life as it comes—which means trusting not only other people, but also herself. Debut author Miller has woven an insider’s homage to golf with a story about a father and daughter reconnecting, even after death. Golfers will revel in the stats, the history, and the famous course landscapes, while those with little to no familiarity with the sport may find those sections a bit of a slog. While Miller’s transliterations of Scottish inflections take a bit of getting used to, over time they add charm.
A blend of emotional epiphany and golf fandom makes for a reasonably enjoyable read.