Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Reading on a Theme: Set in Scotland

This post is inspired by Caroline Leech's new book, In Another Time, which came out this week. The book is set in Scotland during World War II, and, as you know, I love a good setting and I love a good WWII book. All of these books set in Scotland truly make the setting come alive. Take a trip through the history of Scotland with these great reads.

The 1930s:
After her grandfather's death, Julia Beaufort-Stuart returns home to his estate, which is to be sold and transformed into a boys' school. The Pearl Thief is partly about Julie saying goodbye to her grandfather and her childhood. It's also a mystery involving a missing employee and a forgotten cache of Scottish River Pearls. Elizabeth Wein paints a very vivid picture of Julie's Scotland. I love that this book brought to my attention a lot of things that I knew nothing about, such as Scottish River Pearls and Scottish Travelers (disparagingly called Tinkers). The relationship between Julie and the Travelers explores prejudices, social casts, and economic classes. 

The 12th Century:
After her mother's memorial service, Hope finds out she's been invited to visit her mom's sister in Scotland. Once there, a family secret is revealed and Hope learns she must travel through time to save her mother. Others will try to thwart her and her companions at every turn. Janet B. Taylor's Into the Dim reminded me of Ruby Red; both books are about time traveling families with abundant resources that allow them to fit in in any era. I really liked Hope and the mysteries surrounding her. I liked the Medieval setting. I haven't read many books that feature that particular time period, and I enjoyed the history and Hope's reaction to the time period. I am eager to continue the story with Sparks of Light.

World War II:
Maisie McCall is determined to join the war effort. Her age and lack of qualifications limit her options, but she finds she's well-suited to the Women's Timber Corps and life as a lumberjill. Stationed in the wilds of Scotland, Maisie's company works alongside the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit, and Maisie grows especially close to one member of NOFU, John Lindsay. I adored Caroline Leech's debut novel, Wait for Me, and was so thrilled to be back in her capable hands in WWII Scotland. I didn't know anything about lumberjills before I read this book. I loved how WWI poetry played a major role in the story, and I appreciated how PTSD was handled. In Another Time is out August 28, 2018. Review copy from Edelweiss.

The (Fantastical) Present-Day:
Daisy Winters may be your average American girl, but when her older sister announces her engagement to Prince Alexander of Scotland she's thrust into the tabloids. To keep the situation under wraps, the Palace arranges for Daisy to spend the summer in Scotland where they can keep an eye on her. Like it or not, Daisy is now roped into the royal life. Royals is so much fun. It's pure fluff, but the best fluff around. This is a book for romantic comedy lovers; it would a be lot of fun to see this book on screen--all those gorgeous people, the parties, the setting. Daisy is truly delightful and witty. Her quips made me laugh, and I was totally on board for the romance. Even the royals won me over by the end. Out May 1st, 2018.

The 19th Century:
The Falconer is a steampunk tale of a damaged but resourceful girl. Fierce and reckless, Aileana hunts and kills the deadly faeries that killed her mother. The book takes place in 19th-century Scotland, and I liked reading about the Aileana's delicate (or not so delicate) balancing act between her place in society and her duties as a Falconer. Derrick is a real treat, and I thought things started to get really interesting when Gavin was introduced. Then there's Kiaran Mackay, a fae with a lot of secrets who's training Aileana. Mackay's secretive past, and seemingly contradictory nature, was one of the most gripping parts of the story. The final book in Elizabeth May's trilogy was published in 2017.

The Pearl Thief, In Another Time, Royals, and The Falconer reviewed by JoLee.
Into the Dim reviewed by Paige.

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