Now if my internet and Netflix will comply, I’ll get to watch “Stay Close” one of these weekends!
Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, and peaceful day! Hugs & Cheers! Grati ;->
P.S. Andi Osho also co-starred as Maisie in 2021’s wonderful “A Castle for Christmas” on Netflix starring Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes. Love that film! I hope they make a sequel to it!
I even teased Andi Osho on Twitter that I had a sequel story plot ideas in that regard. So below are my ideas:
“A Castle for Christmas 2” finds our happily castle cohabiting lovebirds Sophie McGinty and her Scottish Duke Myles going through some relationship growing pains two years later—one year after her new book “Heart of a Warrior” was published and becomes a smash hit.
Sophie loves Miles deeply as her forever love. And Myles loves her—more than he could have ever hoped for. It is just that each of them has a secret that could thwart their fondest wishes of lovingly growing old together. Sophie wants to marry her Duke, but she fears that he will need an heir to inherit his dukedom—and she knows that her health prevents her from risking another pregnancy and childbirth, since her daughter Lexi’s birth 20 years ago was very problematic and Sophie and her baby almost died. And though Duke Myles hints broadly to her for his wish to marry her and to make her his Duchess, he does not understand her demurring to discuss marriage with him. And that hurts his feelings, him wondering if they will ever get married, as he wishes they will.
Whereas Myles’ secret is related to who actually is the current heir to his Dukedom and the surrounding farm and parkland—a young man whom the Duke has been estranged from for nearly fifteen years. And though Sophie bought Dun Dunbar Castle two years ago when she and the Duke first met and fell in love–to save the castle from becoming a hotel, or demolished to make way for pricey condominiums—the land is still entailed to the Dukedom which will go to Myles’ closest blood relative heir.
Sophie is also concerned that her daughter Lexi—who is taking a year abroad from the U.S. at a Scottish University to be near her Mom Sophie who now lives full time in Scotland—is too serious all the time, and wary of men because of her philandering father whom her Mom Sophie divorced, and who is also now divorced from his 2nd wife, and searching for his 3rd wife. However, Lexi Brown finds herself drawn to a tall and brash Graduate Student Teaching Assistant for a general education class in entrepreneurship that her Scottish roommate Rhona is taking. Yes, that Rhona, who is pursuing a double major in the culinary arts and small business management—since she wants to open her own bakery someday, and one day have her name Rhona be synonymous with sweet desserts and pastries throughout Scotland and the British Isles.
The broodingly tall Graduate Student Teaching Assistant James Bothwell also has a blond angelic look about him, when he isn’t frowning—despite his fractured family and upbringing that has caused him much pain over his thirty years. (Think actor Ben Lamb for casting.) But he will not discuss his family history as he and Lexi get to know each other over some pints at their Scottish University’s local pub when they happened to bump into each other, literally. Lexi was walking into the pub with her arms full of yarn from her car, so that Rhona’s new student knitting group could have some starter lessons from Rhona. And she spilled them all when he bumped into her. Then he promptly helped her pick everything up. And Lexi being a bubbly, friendly, and pretty American twenty year old views James as an interesting challenge to get to know better—as a friend, if nothing else.
And over the next few weeks, Lexi and James find that they do get along well together, yet they have not technically become boyfriend and girlfriend—which Feminist Lexi views as outdated social constructs of male and female relationships. And though they have not shared their family histories in detail, they share the broad strokes of her Mother being so in love that she wants her daughter Lexi to fall in love, too—whether or not Lexi wants to fall in love with anyone currently. And for James, he only briefly met his father a few times during his later childhood years. And then they had a falling out when James wanted to choose a different career path and major at university than his father wanted for him nearly 15 years ago. So although his father paid for his undergraduate education, James has won scholarships that fund his graduate education and supports himself.
Everything rather comes to a head as Lexi agrees to visit her Mom and Duke Myles with her male friend James for an American Thanksgiving feast at Dun Dunbar Castle that Sophie is hosting for her Scottish Friends. Of course, amusement ensues because Turkeys are not plentiful nor desired as food in Scotland, and Sophie will have major headaches with the meal—only to have Hamish the dog make off with several slices of duck (substituting for turkey) before the dinner guests can have their holiday meal.
And since Lexi was driving James and her roommate Rhona to Dun Dunbar Castle, it is not until they get into the vicinity of the village of Dun Dunbar—and Rhona starts waxing poetic about the romance of Lexi’s Mother Sophie McGinty and Duke Myles, that James now understands where they are going. Realizing that he has unknowingly put himself into an extremely awkward and likely explosive situation, James does not explain why, but insists that he takes a hotel room in the pub—rather than stay with Lexi’s Mother at Dun Dunbar Castle. And Maisie cordially puts James in a guest bedroom at the pub, despite feeling that she has seen him somewhere before, and she wonders if he will cause trouble or if he will become a welcome addition to the community.
However, eager to see her daughter Lexi—and encouraged by the guest chefs she brought in to make the Thanksgiving feast to leave their Dun Dunbar castle kitchen—Sophie and Duke Myles decide to surprise Lexi and her male friend and meet them at the Dun Dunbar town pub. With Duke Myles assuring her that the young man can’t be that bad if Lexi likes him. Though Lexi has consistently refuted any romance rumors. She had James are just friends. So when Lexi goes to James’ pub guest bedroom to bring him downstairs to meet her Mother and the Duke, he nearly hyperventilates from the stress of it all—and Lexi can’t understand what the big deal is, but she helps him calm down.
So a compromise is reached with Lexi’s mother Sophie, she alone may come up to James’ guest bedroom to meet him with Lexi, but not Duke Myles. Lexi’s excuse is that James is shy about meeting a Duke, since she had not given him the full details of their visit. So James will work up to it. And Sophie meets her daughter Lexi’s male friend James and finds him charming, but at 30 years old is about ten years older than her daughter Lexi—which she is not sure that she likes. Never mind, that Duke Myles is Sophie’s senior by almost 10 years—with her being 44 years old and Myles being about 54 years old.
And since Duke Myles waits around the Pub to drive his love Sophie back to Castle Dun Dunbar, it is perhaps inevitable that he catches a glimpse of Lexi’s male friend James looking down at them getting into their car from his 3rd floor pub guest bedroom window. James couldn’t resist taking a peek at the man he hasn’t seen in almost 15 years—Duke Myles, his father. And Myles almost thinks that he is seeing a ghost when briefly seeing Lexi’s male friend James standing above them in that 3rd floor guest bedroom window at the pub—it is a ghost of himself as a young man, in the face of this young man that he intuitively knows must be his estranged son and heir.
And a chill runs through Duke Myles as he now feels that his love Sophie’s Thanksgiving homecoming feast will be frought with old disagreements and tensions. Because both Duke Myles Dunbar and his son Ewan James Bothwell Dunbar are stubborn and prideful creatures as Scotsmen. Neither will concede nor acquiesce their position. Yet, in their private thoughts, they are glad to see the other looking well, albeit older than the last time they spoke face to face nearly fifteen years ago.
Then later back at Castle Dun Dunbar this same night—with Lexi situated in her own guest suite down the hall from her Mother Sophie and Duke’ Myles bedroom suite—Myles explains the full story behind the final breakdown of his relationship with his son Jaimie, Lexi’s male friend, due to a falling out they had nearly fifteen years ago about Jaime’s future career and education, then ultimately his being his father Duke Myles’ heir.
You see, young Jaimie had staunch republican leanings as an impressionable teenager who had not grown up on the Castle Dun Dunbar estate since his parents divorced twenty five years ago when he was just 5 years old—his Mother had custody of him. And though Myles had tried to see his son many times during Jaimie’s younger years, his ex-wife usually rebuffed him—and young Jaimie was left to wonder if his father did not love him since he rarely saw him. And by the time that Duke Myles finally retained an attorney to take his ex-wife to court to get her to exercise his fatherly rights to see his son, the damage had been done as the then 10 year old Jaimie rebelled at having to visit his absent father because a court told him he had to. So Myles found ways to see the important public moments of his son, but going incognito to his graduations, school plays and concerts, etc., even if he couldn’t interact with his beloved son.
And yet now, two years after his Mother died, Jaime feels his orphaned state most keenly—even though his has long been an adult. And with time, Jaimie’s rancor has diminished toward his father. So he joins his friend Lexi—Sophie’s daughter –and several of the local friends of Sophie and Myles up at Dun Dunbar Castle for a real American Thanksgiving feast the fourth Thursday in November. Lexi is reassuring and calm with James, encouraging him to just take things as they come as they walk into the majestic 2story entrance hall of Castle Dun Dunbar. Because although her Mother did not breach Duke Myles privacy by not sharing his pain with her daughter Lexi, Lexi’s male friend James did reveal to Lexi some of the pain caused by the constraint of the father and son’s fractured relationship.
There is a short receiving line as guests file in to Castle Dun Dunbar, consisting of Duke Myles and his love Sophie. Then guests are guided to a large dining room where a buffet is set up along one wall. Lexi and James are the last to arrive at Castle Dun Dunbar, and there is only Sophie and Duke Myles there to greet them. Their other guests have gone into the dining room. Sophie warmly greets, hugs, and kisses her daughter Lexi, then Duke Myles also gives her a peck on her cheek, him giving her a wan smile. Then all eyes turn to James, Jaimie. Sophie graciously and warmly greets James as Lexi’s friend—then she hugs him too, since she knows that James, Jaimie is Duke Myles long estranged son.
Then it is Duke Myles turn to greet James, Jaimie, his son. The thirty year old James holds his head high, but still has a look of uncertainty about him—for the many years he had wished as a young boy to have his father come see him, but he didn’t—him not knowing that his Mother had kept his father away from their son. Hesitating in how to greet his father, James settles on bowing his head as he addresses Duke Myles as Father, rather than more formally as Your Grace. Sophie and her daughter Lexi hold their breaths. For what Duke Myles reaction will be, they do not know.
Duke Myles hesitates as well, but only for a fraction of an instant, before he embraces his son Jaimie and hugs him tightly, saying one word in almost a whispered prayer, Jaimie. Jaimie returns his father’s hug and they hold each other for several minutes. Sophie and Lexi are both tearing up at this heartfelt father and son moment. Then as they release their embrace of each other, Duke Myles breaks the emotional tension of the moment with his usual dry wit and a wry smile by observing, I see that ye have cut your hair since the last time I saw you at your college graduation. I almost did na recognize ye, Jaimie.
Then Jaimie also proves that the apple does not fall far from the tree in his reply to his father Duke Myles. Well Father, and I could say the same for you, with regard to your … smile, like I remember from my early childhood years. It’s a good look for you. For the last time James remembers talking to his father face to face, they were both angry and had hurt feelings.
Then Duke Myles bursts out laughing, with James/Jaimie joining in, before the Ladies start giggling, too. There will be much to discuss between these two, Father and son, in the coming days for this American Thanksgiving feast visit—with more chats over the phone leading up to the Christmas season that Jaimie also agrees to join them at Dun Dunbar Castle.
And now with Sophie feeling relieved that her love Duke Myles has his hoped for heir afterall, she accepts Myles next proposal of marriage—with the wedding taking place over the Christmas Holidays this year, with much love in abundance. And as Duke Myles and his son Jaimie make efforts to know and to understand each other better in order to repair their Father and son relationship, they find that their goals for the Castle Dun Dunbar estate, farms, and parkland are not so very different.
You see, James’ former teen aged radical idealism has been tempered over the years with the realities of practical logistics and his experiences with several land management internships that he participated in. And Duke Myles has also learned to give and take more. It is just that James wants to introduce some new thoughts, processes, and projects to complement his father Duke Myles environmental sustainability initiatives—including thoughts about wind farming, etc. And Duke Myles listens constructively to his son’s suggestions—without his previous knee jerk defensive reactions to them.
And somewhere in the future for this expanded family of now four with Duchess Sophie and Duke Myles and their grown children Lexi and Jaimie, respectively, a deepening friendship might lead to romance in the coming year.