"O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent;
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content"
Robbie Burns

Friday, September 17, 2010


Welcome to Fiction Friday

I have been reading romance and historical fiction for over 45 years, yep I am that old. I am not sure what the draw is to reading Scottish historicals but I like to think that it is a bit of genetic memory on my part that I want to relive the past, if in fact I am the soul of my ancestress from Scotland. There are so many books that could appear in this first Friday of books so if you don't see your favs you might in the next couple of weeks or months. I have bookshelves of favorite Scottish romances but these are the ones I try to re-read each year.

However, it goes without saying that if you are talking Scottish historical fiction then you have bow down to the grand dame--- Dorothy Dunnett and her Lymond series. Also for many romance readers, though I don't believe her books are romances in the "traditional" sense there is Diana Gabaldon, whose saga of Jamie and Claire through the mists of time in Scotland are legend. Though I can't say I have enjoyed all of the books in the series, the first and second will continue to be my all time favorites set in the Jacobite period. Gabaldonn is the "queen of time travel romance fiction".

Now I have a favorite English author whose style is to write two storylines in her book and interweave them: one a historical and one present. She often takes real personas from history and pits them against their present day counter parts. Plus in most of her books especially the Scottish ones
she always has an element or two of paranormal often Celtic in nature be it Scottish, Welsh, or Briton. The author I am talking about is Barbara Erskine . She has had a number of Scottish or northern England set books that I am sure that Scottish romance readers will love. Two of the classic ones are THE KINGDOM OF SHADOWS which includes the story of Isabel MacDuff (see last post) and THE CHILD OF THE PHOENIX which is the fictionalized account of one her own ancestors taken from family lore and history. This is one of her most sweeping books because the story unfolds in Wales, to England and then Scotland. Her heroine is the compost of two women who probably saw more of Scotland's history unfold as both a participant and an observer and all the loves along the way. This is one of those books you take on vacations so you can read it from cover to cover all 944 pages. She is probably most famous for her LADY OF HAY which is set on the English/Welsh border. She has a number of other books set in Scotland I suggest you check out her site. Here is video of her latest book called TIME'S LEGACY which is set in present day Glastonbury and
ancient Glastonbury during the time of Romans and Druids.

LADY OF THE GLEN by Jennifer Roberson
This book is one of those rare finds that has a cover that is as much a work of art as the story between the covers. If only all historicals and romance covers could be so beautiful.
This is the story of the Glen Coe Massacre told through the love of the children of bitter enemies. Our heroine is Catriona Campbell who is smitten and then loves the second son of her clan's bitter enemies the MacDonalds of Glen Coe. If you know any Scottish history you have probably heard about how the Campbells in charge of government troops were billeted with the MacDonalds at Glen Coe (1692) who showed them every bit of Highland Hospitality and yet the Campbell leader had directions from the King and his Scottish minions to kill every man woman and child of the MacDonalds. He and his troops fell upon the clan in the early hours of the a Highland winter morning with the intent to destroy the MacDonald Clan as a deterrent to other rebellious clans. Will the lover's survive?

How a romance between these two young adults from such warring families unfolds in a period of great political turmoil makes this story one worth seeking out. Roberson grabs you from page one and doesn't let go. That it is written by a master storyteller is the key but don't expect a "traditional" romance here. This is historical fiction at its best, though the romance of the young couple is at the centerpiece of the story. Well worth the find though it will probably be used as it has been out of print for a while.

THE WINTER SEA by Susanna Kearsley
Did you every read a book that made you cry because the love was so bittersweet but you could put it down despite the tears? That is that is the case of my next book THE WINTER SEA by Canadian author Susanna Kearsley ( this book is titled SOPHIE'S SECRET in some editions). From the author's page....

“History has all but forgotten the spring of 1708, when an invasion fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors, and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory...making her the only living person who can know the truth of what did happen all those years ago - a tale of love and loyalty...and ultimate betrayal.”

This is a must read but have the tissues ready you will need them.


I love stories with women from history and Ciji Ware's THE ISLAND OF THE SWANS is just one of those books. This is the fictionalized story of Jane Maxwell who when her childhood friend and lover,Thomas Fraser dies while fighting in the frontier of America, she marries the Duke of Gordon. Later as she settles into the life with her husband she finds out that Thomas didn't die but had been wounded and was living in the colonies and has recently returned home to Scotland . Now stuck with a man who she suspects might have had something to do with their quick marriage Jane is resigned to her life with him. They are the couple of the Gay Gordon fame in music. Gay not meaning happy for this couple.

And what a life, unlike her husband who would prefer to stay upon his Aberdeenshire estate, Jane, Duchess of Gordon charges to London to become one the grand dames of the London Society pitted against the likes of the Duchess of Devonshire. It is in her home where the likes of Burns and other Scottish notables are introduced to London Society as well Society is introduced to Scottish literature and music. She had a large family, mostly girls and all but one of her girls married a Duke She was often the butt of many a political cartoon about her fierce determination to see her girls marry well placed and her humble beginnings in the streets of Edinburgh riding a pig. But her life wasn't always so great. but she compensated and to tell more would spoil it for you. Get the book!!

The Starry Child by Lynn Hanna

Eight-year-old SASHA NIELSON hasn’t spoken since her father was killed. As she withdraws into a secret world of her own, her mother, RAINEY, places her in special schools and counseling, only making Sasha more distant. After a chance meeting with her neighbor, EMMA, a native of Scotland, who sees a video of Sasha before her dad died, she’s astonished to discover Sasha was speaking fluent Old Gaelic and claimed to be an exiled queen. Rainey hires MATT MACINNES, a professor of ancient Celtic languages to help. Matt becomes the only one Sasha communicates with and discovers her secret. That secret will take Sasha, Rainey, Emma and Matt on a journey to the Highlands of Scotland to discover the key to Sasha and Rainey's future and if Matt is in it. For those of you who love the paranormal or that element of Gaelic magic you will find it tenfold in this story. Lynn Hanna is an untapped author who has disappointedly disappeared from the publishing world. She has a follow- up story that is good but not quite the caliber of this unique story. Five stars for an original plot.

The BELOVED saga by Mallory Burgess tells of the family of Michel Faurer and Madeleine de Courtnay during Scotland’s war of independence.

BELOVED KNIGHT, the first in the trilogy, sets the stage for future books; set in a backdrop complete with Templar Knight betrayals and the struggles of Robert Bruce's fight for Scotland's freedom.

BELOVED HONOR next in the saga offers the story of son, Rene and his struggle to capture the feisty Cat Douglass, while struggling with a legacy his father left him and a way for Rene and Cat to secure their love and Scotland's future.

BELOVED LORD is the final book of the original trilogy and the best one.This is the story of Anne Faurer, the daughter who has her mother's beauty and her father's determination to fight for Scotland's cause. However, she loses her heart to the English Lord who now occupies her parent's home and their lives are interwoven in her race to save a brother and possibly lose the only man she could ever call her Beloved Lord with a ending the keeps your reading to the last page.

BELOVED HEARTS is a cherished ps. to the BELOVED saga. This book jumps 400 years later to the conflict of the final Jacobite rebellion and how it affects those members of the house that Faurer love built.

Can you tell I really love fictionalized stories of real heroines. Master storyteller Marsha Canham doesn't disappoint in the fictionalized story of the Jacobite Anne, Lady Moy in MIDNIGHT HONOR...

"Powerful, brave, irresistibly seductive, Angus Moy, chief of Clan Chattan, was everything Lady Anne could desire in a husband and a lover. But that was before the winds of war tore through her homeland. While Angus was pledged to fight for the English, Anne embarked on a course no ordinary woman would dare. Fiercely loyal to the Jacobite cause, she led her clan in battle-with the dangerously attractive Captain John MacGillivray at her side.” Source:

These are just some of my all time favorites and I hope that you will post some of yours in the comment section. This will be an ongoing Friday feature so if you have a book published set in Scotland help me promote it here by contacting me a


Chicks of Characterization said...

I love, love, love Marsha Canham, her novels NEVER disappoint! I haven't read some of the others, but I will now! Thanks so much for the recommendations!


Jody said...

I love Canham earlier books set in Scotland but I haven't read them in years. She does her research and plots so well you feel like you are there.

Cathie Dunn said...

I think Kingdom of Shadows by Barbara Erskine is one of my favourite Scottish novels. It's timeless and even over 15 years after first reading it, it's still fresh.
Like you, I prefer the first two of the Jamie & Claire saga - the rest just didn't do it for me at all.

I must say that I'm put off by some authors' attempts of a Scottish twang in novels - a light hint is fine but writers often give all Scots - Highland and Lowland - the same accents which was never really the case.

I noticed you mentioned Slains Castle as setting to The Winter Sea - that's the most eerie ruin I've been to. Sadly, we found bodies of headless birds there, and ashes. Very negative energies there now. :(

Mary Hughes said...

I adore Dorothy Dunnett! That woman could make words sit up and beg. Thanks for this wonderful post, Jody. So enjoyed it!

mjmuse said...

Thanks for sharing these Jody. These are all new to me. I've looked some of them up in my local library-nothing. Grrrr. That's what you get living in a small town!