A fascinating study of an important Scots figure

Mary Queen of Scots’ Secretary: William Maitland is a long overdue account of a man left out of the history books. William Maitland was a politician who played a crucial role in defending Mary, Queen of Scots’ throne and was behind the Scottish Reformation, altering the future of the country drastically and permanently. Stedall explores…

Read More

Weaving fact and fiction for St Andrews Castle siege

For his debut novel, The Castilians, author V E H Masters cleverly weaves fact with fiction in a detailed story of the siege of St Andrews Castle in 1546. Written in compelling prose, and packed full of gripping drama and a smattering of romance, the 16th-century streets of the Auld Grey Toon are brought to…

Read More

A celebration of Scotland at the Olympics

Not only does this marvellous book, Scotland’s Track and Field Olympians tell us stories of the lives, successes and significance of Scots athletes, but it places them in the wider context of the Games. From the very beginning, it is plain to see that Keddie is Olympics mad: he delves into the history of Scotland’s…

Read More

A fascinating read – whether you like a dram or not

Don’t worry – The Language of Whisky is not a book which takes an oaky sip of Scotland’s finest and turns it into a seven-verse poem. No, this is about the extraordinary journey of whisky: from the Scottish Highlands to New York and Tasmania. This surprising book also takes us to the origins of our…

Read More

Jenni Fagan’s latest novel is the most compelling yet

Prize-winning author Jenni Fagan does not disappoint with her latest novel, Luckenbooth, which is easily her most compelling yet. In her usual poetic style, Fagan tells of a nine-storey Edinburgh tenement just off the Royal Mile that is creaking with secrets. Throughout this haunting novel, characters’ secrets and memories live on in the howling gales…

Read More

Some holistic ponderings about life in new book

On opening this book, it becomes clear that the title, A Quiet Wife, gives away nothing about the nature of our protagonist.  And thank God for that. The opening sentence – ‘Sheila enjoyed her reputation as a ruthlessly efficient PA’ – is far more fitting. Sheila is 60, newly retired and dissatisfied with her self-indulgent…

Read More

Stories from the people who live in Blair Atholl

As most Scots will know, Blair Atholl is a pretty patch. This book compiles stories of Atholl from the people who inhabit it, although this is not just a book for Atholl residents – the stories have such a touching humility to them, it would be a shame for them not to receive a wider…

Read More

Brookmyre’s latest thriller is a Cut above the rest

Dark humour and jittering suspense underlines the twisting narrative of Chris Brookmyre’s latest thriller. Expertly crafted, our unconventional characters Millicent and Jerry narrate us through their turbulent lives. Scarred by and scared of the world around her, we are introduced to Millicent, who has spent 25 years in jail for murder, but who is now…

Read More

A celebration of our beautiful trees and outdoors

For The Love of Trees: A Celebration of People and Trees is not just for 21st-century hippies or ‘forest bathers’, it is a beautiful reminder of the benefits of the outdoors. A host of household names including Judi Dench, Aldo Kane, Miranda Hart and Chris Packham contributed to this book, heralding the benefits of being…

Read More

The lost letters of two literary legends are assembled

Until recently, JM Barrie’s letters to Robert Louis Stevenson were presumed lost. In this fascinating book, Shaw compiles these lost letters into a chronological record of the pair’s written correspondence. He sheds light on their friendship, careers and shared love for Scotland. Their friendship would not have been so remarkable nor the book so readable…

Read More