Nicola here! I’m feeling pretty happy because in a few days time I am heading North of the Border on a holiday and research trip to the Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands. I’ll be visiting Dunvegan Castle, home to the Chiefs of the Clan Macleod for centuries and one of the most imposing medieval castles in the islands. My research will also take me to the Talisker Whisky Distillery – strictly for academic study purposes, of course.
Then there’s the holiday reading. I have every intention of spending a lot of time eating, drinking and reading (and I need to be prepared for rain or even snow) so I must have a good supply of books. One thing I do enjoy about staying in cottages all over Britain is discovering the books left on the shelves there for visitors to peruse at their leisure. But just in case it rains for the whole holiday I also like to take along my “Scottish Island Keepers,” old favourites to re-read and new books to delve into. Here are a few of those books that are already in my bag (yes, I’m so keen to go that my book bag is already packed!)
An all time keeper for me, I loved this book from the first time I read it at school in my teens. The story of the Ninth Legion disappearing into the Scottish mists has been one of my favourite historical mysteries ever since. I even watched both recent films based on the story, Centurion and The Eagle.
Glenrannoch by Rona Randall
I can’t believe this books dates for 1976! Does any one else remember this? It's another throwback to my youth when I first read and adored romantic suspense. This book has a wonderful Highland setting and a fabulous Scottish alpha hero. Like The Waiting Sands by Susan Howatch it’s a Scottish set book that inspired my love of that country.
Heartstone by C J Samson
This is the latest Tudor mystery featuring the lawyer Matthew Shardlake. You can practically taste and feel Tudor London in the pages of Samson’s books and I do love a good historical mystery. This is 600 pages of a vivid, riveting historical read!
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
Elizabeth Woodville, wife to King Edward IV, has always fascinated me as a historical character. This is her story written with Philippa Gregory’s trademark passion for history.
Persuade Me by Juliet Archer
Juliet Archer writes contemporary versions of Jane Austen’s classic books and I adored her first book in the series, The Importance of Being Emma. Persuade Me is a modern take on the story of Ann Elliot and Frederick Wentworth, and as I love Persuasion more than any other Jane Austen book, this is one that I can’t wait to read. In fact I’ve already started – cheating, I know, but I already love this Wentworth as much as the original.
Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart
Set on the Isle of Skye, this always was one of Mary Stewart’s books that both terrified and fascinated me. Romantic, vivid and compelling but also so atmospheric that I’m not sure I will dare set foot outside the door of my Skye cottage after I’ve read it!
Which books would you pack for your desert island – or Scottish Islands – reads?