August 30, 2011

Guest Post "Scottish Book Tour" by Ex Libris

Welcome everyone to the first stop of the Guest Blogger Days at The Book Garden!

Stella from Ex Libris will be entertaining you today. She's not only my blogging neighbor, seeing how Hungary is just around the corner of Austria, but jumped at the idea of a Scottish book tour right away as she has quite a soft spot for the country. So, while I will be walking the streets of Edinburgh today, Stella will introduce you to the literary side of Scotland ...


Hey Everyone!

First of all I would like to thank Birgit for inviting me over and trusting me enough to take over her blog for a day. When I heard that Birgit was leaving for Scotland I was ecstatic for her, because I love Scotland and quite soon realized that since my enthusiasm for Scotland knows no bound, I should make use of my guest post and tell you more about this wonderful country and how I came to love it.

If you asked me how did my fascination with Scotland start I wouldn't be able to answer you. It happened a long time ago and so gradually that I don't remember the details. But what I remember with perfect clarity is what started it: books. I read a couple of books which first featured characters originating from Scotland, then stories set there. The obvious love and admiration of the authors for this country, its history, sights and people was palpable through the stories and I fell in love with Scotland, or at least how I imagined it to be based on my reading.

The first Scottish themed books I remember reading was Nora Robert's the MacGregors series, which remains one of my favourite ones to this day. Though the series is set in the 21st century and the family lives in the US, they somehow retained their love and emotional connection to Scotland.

Nora Roberts is wonderful in this aspect, this is how I became enamored of Ireland after her many Irish trilogies (went there, fell in love with Ireland and want to go back), but that's not the topic of today's post, so let's get back on track. She describes the places, the people in such a way, that not only does she capture the magic of these places but conveys it to the readers wonderfully.

Another set of books and author whose wonderful stories made me enamored with Scotland and Scottish heroes was the Highlander series by Monica McCarty.

Highlander Untamed: A Novel Highlander Unchained: A Novel Highlander Unmasked: A Novel

This series is what really started my love for historical romances and more specifically Scottish/Highlander novels. I loved that beside a dreamy hero (who is - besides being strong and virile and very handsome - warm-hearted gentle and compassionate), Monica McCarty spent time on developing secondary characters just as interesting and that besides the romantic storyline one got to experience a bit the Scottish rugged landscape of the Highlands.

But if I tell you about the books that made me fall in love with Scotland I absolutely must mention THE book. The one which is the alpha and omega of all the fantastic Scottish novels, and it is none other than Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

It is such an incredible story! It will suck you in and you will live and breath with the characters they are so real, they seem to step off the pages. If you haven't read this series yet, I urge you to do so, it is so much more than a romantic story, I'm sorry I can't do justice with my simple words, just trust me that you don't want to miss out on this incredible journey! (and don't let the number of pages scare you, the story will flow naturally and the pages will fly by)

So if you would like to get some literary introduction and go on a virtual tour of Scotland here are a few novels you could read (all are the first book of the series):

Cross Stitch (Outlander 1) The MacGregors: Serena ~ Caine: Playing The Odds\Tempting Fate The Secret Darkfever (Fever Series, Book 1) Highland Warrior: A Novel

And if you'd like to try out something different than historical romances:

The Crow Road by Iain Banks

Ian Rankin's detective Rebus books are set in Edinburgh and environs

Candace Robb has a series of crime novels set in Scotland at the time of Robert the Bruce

You can find more books connected to Scotland at either of these links:

Novels set in Scotland and Books from Scotland

After my literary love at first read of Scotland I finally went there two years ago and seeing everything in person, I wasn't disappointed in the least, I fell even harder. It is an incredibly beautiful and magical place! The old cities ooze history, they have such a palpable gothic and romantic atmosphere, then the countryside *dreamy sighs* Scotland's nature is breathtaking. It will steal your breath and make you speechless. You will fall in love with the little white sheeps on the green rolling hills, the ragged scenery, the sky clear lochs (lakes) and the castles (ruins) you will see everywhere.

I had a wonderful time in Scotland and plan on returning many times more, I would even like to go there for my honeymoon when I'll have one ;-)

I know that Birgit will have an amazing time and I hope she'll keep Scotland and fond memories of her time there in her heart. I can't imagine anyone going to Scotland and not falling under its charm. It is spellbinding. Who knows, maybe the little fairies who live on the Scottish hills are to blame for its magic... ;-)

Are there any novels you would recommend which are either connected to Scotland or are so evocative that when they read it they felt as if they were visiting that place?

You can find me at my blog Ex Libris, on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.


  1. I'm not familiar with any of these books, but I do love Scotland and I can relate to your passion for this region :) It's simply idyllic!

  2. Scotland is my DREAM vacation! I have been reading Highlander books from way back and swoon!

  3. The Outlander is one of my favorite books too, Stella! :) I've only been to Glasgow so far, but we are planning a tour through Scotland - Edinburgh is a must. Even the road to Glasgow was fab, all these mountains... Plus I do love Scottish brogue! It sounds so charming :)

  4. Nice post, Stella! All of these great photos make me want to go to Scotland, too. :-)

  5. I've dreamed about visiting Scotland since I was a little girl. Someday! Thanks for this wonderful post!

  6. I love the post Stella :=) And those pics, just awesome. My dream is to visit one day

  7. Those pics are so pretty!
    amandarwest atgmaildtocom

  8. Great post Stella, thanks for the pretty pics. I have read countless Highlander books. You mention Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, but how about her Highlander series? Love those even more. And Melissa Mayhue has gorgous Highlander books, Donna Grant, Bertrice Small has some great Border Lord's books.
    I've read the first 5 Outlander books by Diana Gaboldon and enjoyed them.

  9. I can't make any recommendations, myself, but I do have Diana Gabaldon's Outlander on my wish list. I was actually supposed to receive it as part of a prize through another book blogger, but the reneged. In time, I guess.

  10. Oh, yeah, Outlander is the ULTIMATE Scotland book, I thought of that one immediately. Great post and beautiful pictures!

  11. I love books set in Scotland. I would love to visit there someday. I am so envious of Birgit. :)

  12. A very interesting post, Stella; I really enjoyed it. Some other authors that come to mind include Karen Ranney and Sue-Ellen Welfonder. Their love of Scotland is evident in every word. Thanks for the list of authors and titles to check out!

  13. I love highlander romances. I haven't read the Outlander book but you mentioned Nora Roberts MacGregor series and I love all of them.

  14. I love Monica McCarty's books too! They are so great that they just draw you in and make you feel like the characters are real.
    I have to admit that I have not read Outlander yet. But I have read many other wonderful highlander authors: Hannah Howell, Lynsay Sands, Karen Ranney, Michelle Sinclair, and so many more.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  15. I haven't read any books set in Scotland, but I've been meaning to. Outlander has been on my TBR for ages, but it's always out at the library (I don't usually like to buy books when I haven't read them/any of the authors other books). I actually meant to try some Highlander books but instead ended up reading the entire Fever series by Karen Marie Moning in about a week. Anyway, Scotland seems amazing and I would love to go there some time.

  16. Thanks for giving me some wonderful additions for my to read list. Someday I will get there...I just know I will.
    I love highlanders.
    musicalfrog at

  17. I love reading about Scotland & Highlanders. I have added a few more to my book reading list thank you.

    You have mentioned those I have read already, so no new books to recommend.


  18. I've been to Scotland and I agree with you on how lovely the countryside is. I can't think of a book that you haven't mentioned that takes place in Scotland. I know there are several mysteries I've read including one very recently but the titles escape me.

    As far as I'm concerned, the best ad for Scotland is Sean Connery, who still looks mighty fine in his kilt.

  19. I'd love to go to Scotland as well! I've always envisioned the green rolling hills and the castles and the rain.

    The Outlander series is on my TBR list, and I actually am signed up for the Outlander challenge for 2011 but doing terribly since I haven't started the series yet!!

    Wow, enjoy your vacation in Scotland!! How exciting!

  20. I've recently read Blakness Tower by Lillian Stewart Carl, which is set in Scotland, and it really made me feel as if I'm there while reading it.

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  21. I agree completely that Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series is the alpha and omega! I read it years ago and I still remember how it made me feel when I read it :)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  22. Scotland is on my wish list, and after reading your post, Stella, I want to go more than ever!

    aprimeau at onebearcat dot com

  23. I want to go! I hope to make it there someday. In the mean time...I will continue to enjoy the highlander books.

    ssosborn atgmail dot com

  24. In my case what first comes to mind is the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger, I love Lord Maccon and his scottish accent, the books are mostly set in London but still.
    I've read good and bad things about the Outlander series but haven't decided yet whether to give it a try, but I'll check out all the Scotland related book suggestions, maybe I'll find something in there.
    Also I'd love to visit Scotland myself sometime.

    eveningreen AT gmail DOT com

  25. Such a great post. I can't really think of any Scotland-based books off the top of my head, but reading Maeve Binchy always makes me long to be in Ireland and I can just envision the places. And there is something about the lyrical way that Michael Cunningham describes New York City that makes me want to see it just like that when I'm there.

    tommygirl828 (at) gmail (dot) com