Guest contributor Connie Brockway is a best-selling Romance author, eight-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award, and two-time recipient for My Dearest Enemy and The Bridal Season.
My alma mater, Macalester College, used to hold a Scottish Faire during which Bonny lassies would cheer hirsute Braveheart wannabes to their best endeavors in a modern rendition of the Highland games. Now, I’m not claiming that the sight of brave young laddies in kilts heaving telephone poles (aka cabers) around a football field engendered my love of Scottish romances, but it sure didn’t hurt.
Alas, the Highland Fair fell victim to the last economic downturn and it’s been several years since the ghost of Robert Burns has goosed the co-eds on Olin Field. My love of Scottish romance has not dimmed, however, so this past month I asked my readers to submit their all-time favorite Scottish romances. The results were unsurprising (to see a full list of the titles submitted, subscribe to my newsletter), but there were some “Hey! I haven’t read that one,” moments. In fact, there were so many fine suggestions (for both old and newer titles) that I simply can’t do them all justice in one column. So, next month it’s “Hoot Man, Part Two!”
Bewitching by Jill Barnett
Barnett pairs a somewhat inept, always adorable Scottish witch with a chill, pragmatic nobleman in this light-hearted take on Bell, Book, and Candle. I loved watching the cold duke’s heart being melted in spite of himself by the lovely Scottish girl whom he weds in haste, unaware of her magic propensities.
Highland Surrender by Tracy Brogan
Believing her in-laws murdered her mum is a valid reason for Fiona Sinclair to be an unhappy bride. And concern over whether his new bride's going to make herself a widow might dampen the spirits of a lesser man, but—need I say this?—not Scotsman Myles Campbell. Treachery and political intrigue provide a well-textured backdrop for a poignant romance in which a young girl, well out of her depths, struggles to reconcile what she thinks she knows with what her heart tells her. A classic sweep-me-away tale of romance and daring-do!
Son of the Morning by Linda Howard
Dumb Connie never read this book, despite the hype. But now that’s been rectified, and wowza, am I ever glad. Heart-pounding suspense, cool arcane tidbits, time travel, hearts afire across the centuries--this book is the whole package! An archeologist in possession of history-altering info is pursued by uber-bad guys and protected across time by a burning hunk-of-gorgeous Knight Templar. I know, crazy. But it works!
Laird of the Mist by Paula Quinn
This is as far from the tender Bewitching as you’re likely to find: Paula Quinn doesn’t hold back on the grit and gore in this tale of star-crossed lovers from bitter enemy clans. Callum MacGregor's set on revenge for the genocide of his clan--clearly, not without justification--so when fate delivers a fierce, fiery, and equally justified in hating his clans' guts lassie into his hands, it's up in the air whether he'll bed her, wed her, or dead her. (Couldn’t resist the rhyme.)
The Last Debutante by Julia London
London's in full winsome mode in this lovely Scottish romp. Spinster Daria Babcock hits the Highlands on a mission to rescue her dear old gran, only to discover the old lady tending a bloody laird (no, that’s not a oath--he really is bleeding) who'd come to reclaim the money the old lady had stolen and been shot by the same. The confounded Scotsman takes Daria hostage, and so begins a battle of the sexes and hearts. Great, great fun! --Connie Brockway