Jul 9 2014 8:30am

Top 10 Scottish Historicals: A Verra Opinionated Opinion

Outlander by Diana GabaldonIs it really true that if you’ve read one Scottish romance, you’ve read them all? Not even close. Within this hugely popular subgenre, there is an amazing amount of variety. History can be a major player in the romance itself, or a backdrop to it, and time periods are wide open. What’s your pleasure, Highlanders, lowlanders, border lords (or ladies?) Medieval, Victorian, or somewhere in between? Soldiers, rebels, courtiers, highwaymen? All of the above and then some? Why not? When it comes to Scottish romance, there can’t be only one.

Try a few of these on for size:

1) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Step into the standing stones along with Claire Randall and let this classic tale whisk you back through time from the twentieth century to the eighteenth, into the arms of Jamie Fraser, brawny Scotsman, ginger, virgin alpha male, and many readers’ choice for favorite romance hero of all time. There’s also the wee matter of the TV adaptation that’s only a month away, so why wait?

2&3)  The Pride of Lions and Blood of Roses by Marsha Canham
Set against the tumultuous Jacobite Rebellion, English Catherine finds herself married by haste to a man who is not what he seems. Though she’s determined at first to end their marriage and return to her comfortable life in England, Catherine, through her love of Alexander, his home and his people, chooses to stand by his side and fight for her adopted homeland. Readers will be eager to see Alexander and Catherine as supporting characters in the third book in the trilogy, Midnight Honor, featuring Colonel Anne Moy. Yes, you read it right. Colonel Anne.

4) Threads of Destiny by Arnette Lamb
Lady Suisan Harper will do anything to retrieve the tartan patterns that mean life or death for her family’s weaving business, even if such displays of Scottish identity are outlawed. She’ll disguise herself as a maid and travel to London to steal them back, but there’s the small matter of Myles Cunningham, alpha male, sworn enemy, and definitely not the weakling she’d expected. This won’t be an easy job for Suisan, or an easy book for readers to put down.

Return of the Border Warrior by Blythe Gifford5) Return of the Border Warrior by Blythe Gifford
Why should Highlanders have all the fun? Border lord John Brunson, descendant of a legendary brown-eyed Viking, has family issues. Only by royal decree will he return to his ancestral home to keep the peace. Peaceful is not the word any would use to describe his future bride, Cate Gilnock, whose past wounds and inner demons keep all men at arm’s length. When neither will be swayed from their chosen paths, love can be their salvation or their undoing.

6) Highland Rebel by Judith James
Jamie Sinclair, English peer, converts to Catholicism for political reasons, and marries a camp follower to spare her from a dire circumstance. Catherine (Cat) Drummond, Laird of Clan Drummond, isn’t a camp follower, and she doesn’t want to be married to Jamie. Which is fine by him, as he’d like the marriage annulled. Not an easy feat when Cat’s clan rescues her from his clutches, and the chase is on…and so is the war.

7) Highland Velvet by Jude Deveraux
Englishman Stephen Montgomery is late to his wedding by four days, which does not endear him to Bronwyn MacArran, laird of her clan after father falls to the hated English. If Stephen is going to live in Bronwyn’s world, he’s going to have to play by her rules, including taking her name as his own.

8) Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain
After witnessing her grandfather’s death at Culloden, Sabrina Verrick leads a secret life as the highwayman, Bonnie Charlie, to support her younger siblings. Lucien, Duke of Camarigh, isn’t going to let the holdup go down without a fight and plots his revenge. When he discovers Charlie and Sabrina are one and the same, the game changes.

The Lass Wore Black by Karen Ranney9) The Lass Wore Black by Karen Ranney
Catriona Cameron lives as a constantly veiled recluse in Victorian Edinburgh after a traumatic accident that may not have been an accident at all. Mark Thorburn, a dedicated physician, masquerades as a footman to gain access to his patient Thus begins a meticulous and emotional peeling back of layers until both doctor and patient can fully heal their wounded hearts.

10) To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt
Helen Fitzwilliam, runaway mistress of a powerful duke, with her small children in tow, seeks legitimate employment in the Scottish castle where Sir Alistair Munroe hides from the world. Alistair and Helen both learn to look beyond her beauty and his scars, so that they can work together to wrest their future from their past.

No matter the tone, era, or level of historical accuracy, the spirit of the Scottish romance continues to inspire writers and enthrall readers. Which Scottish romance is your favorite?


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Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.

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Regan Walker
1. Regan Walker
I've read most of these (and am putting the others on my to read list). The Pride of Lions is on my Alltime Top 20 list. But you've missed a few I might recommend: Bride of the MacHugh and My Lord Monleigh by Jan Cox Speas; Heartstorm and Without Honor by Elizabeth Stuart; and On a Highland Shore (and her 5 others) by Kathleen Givens. All 5-star Keepers!

Regan of Regan's Romance Reviews
Jennifer Proffitt
2. JenniferProffitt
I'm surprised Karen Hawkins is nowhere on this list--I always automatically associate her with Scottish Romance. Love the Elizabeth Hoyt, though!
4. Kareni
Portions of Jennifer Ashley's Mackenzie series take place in Scotland.
Dolly Sickles
5. Dolly_Sickles
My favorite medievals are from Julie Garwood. Ransom is my favorite Scottish tale, but The Prize (England) is my absolute favorite Garwood. Great list, by the way!
Anna Bowling
6. AnnaBowling
@Regan Walker, great minds think alike on The Pride of Lions. Utterly amazing. The Speas, Stuart and Givens books are on my TBR list; can't wait to read all of them.

@JenniferProffitt and @romancebooks, the Hurst Amulet books are on my TBR list.I have very fond memories of reading Much Ado About Marriage in its original format.

@Kareni, I have very fond memories of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.

@Dolly_Sickles, so glad you liked the list. Julie Garwood's historicals are classic. Ransom is definitely worth the read.
Regan Walker
7. Glittergirl
My all time favorite Scottish author and the one who started this crazy love affair is HANNAH HOWELL. Her Highland Bride with Gillyanne is my very favorite.

Oh and how can you forget Bertrice Small and her Skye O'Malley series...just awesome.
Regan Walker
8. Nicola Onychuk
Worth noting: Bertrice Small's The Kadin features a Scotswoman transplanted to the Ottoman empire. Most of it takes place outside of Scotland, though.
Anna Bowling
9. AnnaBowling
@Glittergirl, Hannah Howell is beyond compare. Both her Murray family books and her vampire Highlanders are well worth the read. Bertrice Small's Skye O'Malley, while Irish, does have Scottish cred, as Skye's mother hails from the Isle of Skye.

@Nicola Onychuk, Small's The Kadin was my first Scottish historical read, and my first historical romance read ever. I knew from the first page. I had found what I wanted to read and write for the rest of my life. A true classic.
Jessica Moro
10. JessicaMoro
Jennifer Ashley's MAckenzie series is one of my favorites!!! I love her scottish alpha males and their fiesty spouses! Nora Roberts the Macgregor's is also a favorite.
Jessica Moro
11. JessicaMoro
Jennifer Ashley's MAckenzie series is one of my favorites!!! I love her scottish alpha males and their fiesty spouses! Nora Roberts the Macgregor's is also a favorite.
Anna Bowling
12. AnnaBowling
@JessicaMoro, Jennifer Ashley certainly made her mark with the Mackenzie series, and is it any surprise Nora's MacGregors have their fans?
Elizabeth Halliday
13. Ibbitts
I am verra fond of Monica McCarty's Highland Guard Series, Jennifer Ashley's Highland Pleasures Series and Karen Marie Moning's Magic Highlanders Series.
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