Scotland -- fiction

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

Promising young archaeologist Verity Grey ventured to the wilds of Scotland for a job interview little knowing that she was leaving behind her secure London flat for encounters with ghostly visions and the threat of madness in Susanna Kearsley’s Shadowy Horses.

The King's Swift Rider: A Novel on Robert the Bruce by Mollie Hunter

The King's Swift Rider: A Novel on Robert the Bruce by Mollie Hunter

From where he stood on the hill above the valley, Martin Crawford saw that the leader of the war band was in serious trouble. When a hunting horn sounded from behind, the leader ordered his men to scatter before the onslaught of English soldiers. They were on him in moments, but their numbers broke as they chased the leader's scattered men. In all his sixteen years, Martin had never seen a man fight as this one did, swinging his great sword beside his companions until the last living enemy fled in fear.

Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies

Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies

In 1972, Richard Adams’ classic fantasy novel Watership Down was first published. This exciting adventure follows the travels of a group of rabbits seeking a new home after the destruction of their warren.  Evocatively written and imaginatively plotted, this novel excelled in portraying the world we humans perceive as mundane as a place filled with danger and mystery, and also excelled in its depiction of the primitive religion and folklore the rabbits created to explain the natural environment.  After I finished reading Watership Down a couple of months ago, I searched for a similar fantasy told from the perspective of animals, but finding a novel of its caliber proved difficult.  Many of the other animal-centered fantasy stories I found were either too deliberately whimsical or too childish to live up to Adams’ novel. Eventually I found David Clement-Davies’ Fire Bringer and decided to give it a try based on the recommendation by Adams on the back cover.  Filled with adventure, suspense, and gripping depictions of the natural world, this novel lived up to my lofty expectations.

Thistle and Thyme: Tales and Legends from Scotland by Sorche Nic Leodhas

Thistle and Thyme: Tales and Legends from Scotland by Sorche Nic Leodhas

In the far-off days when the Picts and the Scots were dividing the ancient land of Scotland and fighting amongst themselves to decide who could get hold of the most of it, there came good men from over the seas to settle the land.

--“The Drowned Bells of the Abbey”

Firelight and drumbeat were the original backdrop for these tales, true and added to and some imagined altogether, that are retold in Sorche Nic Leodhas’ award-winning book, Thistle and Thyme.

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

Gemma Hardy’s story parallels Jane Eyre’s experiences—both have an evil aunt and have to work for their educations at boarding school as charity girls.  Both girls are bullied and treated unfairly by family, school staff, and students. Both girls have disappointments with men who have secrets.  If you enjoyed Charlotte Bronte’s gothic tales or Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, you will love The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey. Set in the 1950’s and 1960’s in Scotland and Iceland, the author uses the imagery of birds and flight to underscore Gemma’s journey.

Holy Terror in the Hebrides

By Jeanne M. Dams

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Dorothy Martin has a weakness for fine food, and when her friends Tom and Lynn inviter her to spend some time with them at a cottage on the island of Iona in the Hebrides, promising fresh crab and exquisite salmon, and since her, well, dear friend Chief Constable Alan Nesbitt is away in Brussells, she gives in and agrees to join them. The first thing that goes wrong are Tom's chest pains, keeping the Andersons in London. The second thing that troubles Dorothy are the folks traveling with her - an ecumenical group from Chicago that is anything but ecumenical. The third problem is the weather forecast. A storm is bearing down on the island, and the threat inherent in that news is enough to make even the most stouthearted think twice.

To make Dorothy's arrival even more of a horror is the fact that in her haste to leave home, she left the key to the cottage behind. The food had better be all that it was said to be; she has to spend the first night of her holiday with the bickering religious from America. Her first full day is a holy terror. The storm is building, but an opportunity to go to fabled Fingal's Cave cannot be passed up, even with the ever more cantankerous Americans along for the ride. What she wants even less is the next event: one of the group falls from the rocks in the cave and disappears beneath the waves.

It is clearly an accident, an unfortunate happenstance, and everyone is willing to accept it as such. Except for Dorothy. As the island of Iona is isolated by the storm, Dorothy begins asking questions no one wants answered, and finding answers that reveal things that she might not have wanted to know.

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Winter Solstice

By Rosamunde Pilcher

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"Elfrida Phipps, once of London's stage, moved to the English village of Dibton in hopes of making a new life for herself. Gradually she settled into the comfortable familiarity of village life -- shopkeepers knowing her tastes, neighbors calling her by name -- still she finds herself lonely. Oscar Blundell gave up his life as a musician in order to marry Gloria. They have a beautiful daughter, Francesca, and it is only because of their little girl that Oscar views his sacrificed career as worthwhile. Carrie returns from Australia at the end of an ill-fated affair with a married man to find her mother and aunt sharing a home and squabbling endlessly. With Christmas approaching, Carrie agrees to look after her aunt's awkward and quiet teenage daughter, Lucy, so that her mother might enjoy a romantic fling in America. Sam Howard is trying to pull his life back together after his wife has left him for another. He is without home and without roots, all he has is his job. Business takes him to northern Scotland, where he falls in love with the lush, craggy landscape and set his sights on a house. It is the strange rippling effects of a tragedy that will bring these five characters together in a large, neglected estate house near the Scottish fishing town of Creagan. It is in this house, on the shortest day of the year, that the lives of five people will come together and be forever changed."
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Outlander

By Diane Gabaldon

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Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another... In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach, an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord...1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

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A Highland Christmas

By M. C. Beaton

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Left alone in chilly Lochdubh, Scotland, while his family spends Christmas in Florida, Constable Hamish Macbeth copes with a missing cat and the disappearance of a town's holiday tree and decorations, while searching for a way to make a little girl's Christmas dreams come true.
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Silver Bough

By Neil Miller Gunn

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A lyrical story of an archaeologist who finds unexpected spiritual renewal while excavating a prehistoric Scottish burial cairn. Written in 1948, the depiction of the Highlands and its people is memorable.
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