Constance Cameron, heroine of Cathy Maxwell's IN THE HIGHLANDER'S BED, is kidnapped from boarding school and isn't really too unhappy to be snatched away.

She's miserable at school and can't wait for some adventure. But Constance's loathing of school is sort of interesting to me. Perhaps because when I was a teenager, I always had the fantasy of going to boarding school. And I don't think I'm alone...

Books aimed at teenagers are chock-filled with boarding school stories--from today's popular series IT GIRL and a terrific YA novel called A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY, to the books I loved as a child, like DADDY LONG LEGS, which I don't think anyone reads any more.

Of course, not all the boarding schools I'd read about were great places to be: Jane Eyre was miserable in hers. Jane's creator, Charlotte Bronte, had two school experiences as a teenager--one horrific and one quite positive.

Poor and Sara Crewe, from THE LITTLE PRINCESS, ended up in the attic, taunted by classmates, when her father left her penniless. Holden Caulfield in CATCHER IN THE RYE fled his boarding school, but then he definitely had issues.

But good or bad the boarding school seems a staple of literature, especially young adult literature, that's here to stay. Why is this? Perhaps there's something tantalizing about been a teenager away from parental control. Teachers are authority figures, to be sure, but there are always ways of getting around them somehow. Holden bolts, Sara gets a miserious benafactor who turns her garrett into a refuge, and even Jane has her moments of escape. As for those kids in the IT GIRL books, they never seem to pay attention to anyone over the age of 16 at all.

Of course, Constance Cameron could never have been kidnapped by handsome highlander Gordon Lachlan, if she's been safely in London, getting taught by a governess. But far away from the city and society, Lachlan has his chance to whisk her away to a life more adventurous than she could ever experience otherwise.


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