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 ...
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.
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):
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?