by the Proofreader’s Reads (a guest post)
Well, it has happened! Those of us who love hot Scots, strong women, adventure, heartache, and true love now have a double hit: two more months until book 6 in the Kaitlyn and the Highlander series, and the end of Outlander’s fourth season. In an effort to secure emergency sustenance, I’ve started putting together a reading list.
The Novels of Loch Moigh by Barbara Longley. There are four volumes, each may be read independently but there are interesting character overlaps. Time travel, a bit of magic, good men who also have a sense of humor, Ren Faires, 15th century Scotland, an eye to colorful details, marvelous personalities, and genuinely fun adventures. I have re-read these – LOTS!
The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. Dame Dunnett was herself a Scot! She was awarded an OBE for her work. This is her best known, six books that take place in England, France, the Holy Land, Renaissance period, with an amazingly brilliant hero, rather a cross between Magnus, Jamie, and James Bond! These books are dense, highly detailed, and not the fastest reads, but they are richly rewarding. The bonus is, they will certainly keep you occupied for a good while!
de Wolfe Pack by Kathryn Le Veque. If you can overlook the odd anomaly, or a word that’s a bit ‘off’, the fifteen volumes that swirl around this family dynasty provide a deep dive into a more medieval world, spanning time from roughly 1066 to around 1400. No time travel, just some pretty amazing tales of knights in armor, men of honor, strong women who too often are being crushed by circumstance, and then it’s the handsome warrior who changes her life forever. Le Veque has authored some sixty books at this point, so this is just a beginning.
The Saga of Roland Innes by Wayne Grant. Aha! Finally something written by a man! Again, no time travel in this series. For you who are not comfortable with sexy bits, Mr. Grant wrote these stories for his own sons, and romance is not on the menu. But they are great adventure reads, a young man coming of age, and a tale that is reminiscent of what I grew up reading about Robin Hood: friendship, honesty, bravery, and standing firm for what is right. If you have kids who don’t like reading, this might be one way to hook them, and you’ll enjoy the books, too!
The Highlander Books by Karen Marie Moning. Six plus volumes, and each can certainly be read independently. Good magic, dark magic, the Ancient Ones, amazing men, lovely women, great sex (warning!), curses and spells, hair-raising challenges, and very good storytelling. Each can be read as a standalone, although there are relationships that occur between characters throughout the series. My favorites are The Dark Highlander, and Immortal Highlander.
The Circle of Ceridwen by Octavia Randolph. This is a six book series that begins in the British Isles in the year 871. England as we know it doesn’t really exist yet, Vikings will insist on showing up, life is hard on many different fronts, but – Ceridwen (ker-id-win) is a brave young woman, very well educated for her time, and certainly not one to back away from a challenge, even if it includes marrying a blinded nobleman. Ms. Randolph has very well researched her material; there is a an almost tangible air of Middle Ages settled within the pages of her work.
A break here – because, you know, there are so many different reasons to read, so many different threads to follow. Do you like the romance most? Are you looking for adventure? Is it the fascination with life lived in another time? Is it the time traveling wonders that pull you in? So, I may start ranging a little farther afield – or not, depending on your outlook.
Rashi’s Daughters by Maggie Anton. Historical fiction that takes us to France in the eleventh century, this trilogy follows the imagined stories of Yocheved, Miriam, and Rachel, three daughters of one of the most revered Jewish scholars ever. Rashi himself made his living as a vintner, growing grapes, making wine. His grandsons became famous scholars. His daughters? Ms. Anton crafts an extraordinary life around them, brilliant women living in a man’s world.
Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati. Six volumes that follow a family in upstate New York, later in the 18th century. The fact that our hero is best pictured as Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans certainly doesn’t hurt! The best stories always are tales of conflict, and these are no exception. Anglos against Indians, family factions, intelligent women holding their own, escaped slaves to be saved, even a missing link SCOTTISH connection – all against the backdrop of an amazing North American wilderness in all of its ferocity and wonder. Familiar characters, both fictional and historical, also make appearances. The first volume is my favorite, but all are fabulous reads.
You really like the time-travel aspect, right? Well, try this:
Morna’s Legacy by Bethany Claire. So far, eleven books, including Love Beyond Time, Love Beyond Reason, and Morna’s Legacy. Real plots, romance, a mysterious woman who knows more than she’s telling, a castle ruin that has its own secrets, and the tension that carries us on the journey when modern life crashes headlong into the past. A bonus with these: there are edited versions produced by Ms. Claire herself, that sweeten the romantic bits, leaving texts that are safe for teens with a taste for time-travel and parent-approved love.
If you have your own suggestions, we want to know about them! Tell us the title, the author, a bit about the story and why you like it. In the meantime, this Proofreader will keep reading, and I’ll let you know what else piques my interest!