Archive for July, 2018

Six Novels That Explore the Magic of Scotland

July 31st, 2018

Scotland has long captivated authors and readers alike with its almost mythical aura of romance and mystery. It’s a nation with a dramatic history and a ruggedly beautiful landscape, where the people take pride in their heritage and ancient folklore is as prevalent today as it was a century ago. With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why authors like Annalena McAfee choose it as their setting for their books.

McAfee’s latest novel Hame is a spellbinding literary mystery set on a remote island in the north of Scotland. The story follows Mhairi McPhail as she searches for the truth behind a great poet, and for a new path in her own life. With such an idyllic location, Hame is a great choice for reading groups seeking a clever beach read this summer.

For more Scottish flavor, peruse our list of other novels set in this enchanting country. Including everything from historical fiction to contemporary love stories, this collection of titles will have you dreaming in tartan.

Hame by Annalena McAfee

“Bristling with life and passion and wit.” —Boston Herald

With her young daughter in tow, Mhairi McPhail flees her crumbling marriage in New York and accepts an assignment on the remote Hebridean island of Fascaray, where her grandfather was born. There, she will set up a museum in honor of the island’s celebrated poet, Grigor McWatt, and write his biography. As Mhairi struggles to adapt to island life and put her troubles behind her, she begins to unearth the astonishing secret history of the poet, who has long been regarded by many as the custodian of Fascaray’s—and Scotland’s—soul.

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44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

“McCall Smith’s assessments of fellow humans are piercing and profound. . . . [His] depictions of Edinburgh are vivid and seamless.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh’s most colorful characters. Love triangles, a lost painting, intriguing new friends, and an encounter with a famous Scottish crime writer are just a few of the ingredients that add to this delightful and witty portrait of Edinburgh society.

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One Day by David Nicholls

“One of the most hilarious and emotionally riveting love stories you’ll ever encounter.” —People

It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

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The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

“The finest living writer of historical fiction.” The Washington Post Book World

It is 1547 and Scotland has been humiliated by an English invasion and is threatened by machinations elsewhere beyond its borders, but it is still free. Paradoxically, her freedom may depend on a man who stands accused of treason. He is Francis Crawford of Lymond, a scapgrace nobleman of crooked felicities and murderous talents, posessed of a scholar’s erudition and a tongue as wicked as a rapier. In The Game of Kings, this extraordinary antihero returns to the country that has outlawed him to redeem his reputations even at the risk of his life.

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The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert

“A brilliantly compelling and powerful work, told in beautiful, lean prose.” —The Economist

Stevie hasn’t set foot in his hometown for years, and he can’t decide whether to let his family—what’s left of them, anyway—know he’s back. He wasn’t the first to cut and run—in their own ways, his mother, his father, and his uncle all fled before he did—but should he be the first to come home?

Moving between Stevie’s life as a construction worker in present-day Glasgow and the story of his parents when they were young, The Walk Home is a heartbreakingly powerful novel about the risks of love, and the madness and betrayals that can split a family.

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Elizabeth and Mary by Jane Dunn

“Superb. . . . A perceptive, suspenseful account.” —The New York Times Book Review

The political and religious conflicts between Queen Elizabeth I and the doomed Mary, Queen of Scots, have for centuries captured our imagination and inspired memorable dramas played out on stage, screen, and in opera. But few books have brought to life more vividly the exquisite texture of two women’s rivalry, spurred on by the ambitions and machinations of the forceful men who surrounded them.

Against the backdrop of sixteenth-century England, Scotland, and France, Dunn paints portraits of a pair of protagonists whose formidable strengths were placed in relentless opposition. That two such women, queens in their own right, should have been contemporaries and neighbors sets in motion a joint biography of rare spark and page-turning power.

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