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HIGHLAND GAMES

Do you dream of the misty Highlands of Scotland?  Is tartan a turn-on?  Do you long for a hero who's earthy, untamed, and perhaps a wee bit stubborn?  Have you ever wondered if it's true what Scots don't wear beneath their kilts?*  If your answer to any of these questions is "yes," it's time to prep your armchair for a literary visit to Scotland!

Why Scotland in August?  The Cowal Highland Gathering, known worldwide as the largest, grandest Highland Games in the world, kicks off today.  I suppose you could cook yourself a nice haggis or try your hand at caber tossing to commemorate the event (though for your own safety, don't try either of these at home), but for me, this is the perfect opportunity to talk about Scottish romances.

"But wait," I hear you say, "you already talked about medieval romances and Regencies... where do Scottish romances fit into all of that?"  The answer is, everywhere and then some!  You may have noticed that I mostly sidestepped Scottish titles in my earlier historical surveys.  It's not that I thought them unworthy of inclusion-- far from it!  These period titles will certainly appeal to lovers of historical romance.  Scottish romance comfortably encompasses medieval Border lairds, Jacobite Highlanders, polished Scottish peers, budding industrialists, and that handsome rascal down at the pub in the tight jeans and Arran sweater.  You may even spot a fey creature or two.  For that matter, why stick to one historical period?  Time travel is a widely-used device-- look at Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, for example.  The difference is that Scottish romance doesn't focus solely on the time period; the setting and character of the country also play an important role.  This is why Scottish romance often gets classed as an independent subgenre. 

Oddly enough, I find that Scottish romance's appeal (for me) has a lot more in common with the American West than with its nearer neighbors.  Consider, the settings of Scottish and Western romances are similar in many respects: rugged and scenic landscapes, tumultuous histories, and an unsettled society in which family (or clan) often claims a stronger bond than law.  Both subgenres feature characters (male and female!) who are fiercely independent, proud, tenacious, and brash. In fact, I think the looser bonds of society allow the female characters greater freedom and power in these two settings than is generally their lot in more "civilized" climes. 

If I had to choose between them, though, Scottish romances would win hands down: as romantic heroes, Highlanders will always beat cowboys.  Why?  Anyone can put on a ten-gallon hat, but only a REAL man can wear a kilt!

Are you ready?  Pour yourself a wee dram, then, cozy up in that plaid throw, and come meet a few hot Scots:

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley (PbkRomance Ashley)
Beloved Highlander by Sara Bennett (PbkRomance Bennett)
The Blood of Roses by Marsha Canham (Fiction Canham)
The Kilt Maker by Anne Douglas (NewFiction Douglas)
Highland Fling by Katie Fforde (Fiction Fforde)
The Highlander's Sword by Amanda Forester (PbkRomance Forester)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Fiction Gabaldon)
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (LP Garwood)
Charming the Devil by Lois Greiman (PbkRomance Greiman)
The Exile of Sara Stevenson by Darci Hannah (NewFiction Hannah)
How to Abduct a Highland Lord by Karen Hawkins (PbkRomance Hawkins)
The Border Hostage by Virginia Henley (Fiction Henley)
Highland Beast by Hannah Howell, Heather Grothaus, & Victoria Dahl (PbkRomance Highland)   
Bride of a Wicked Scotsman by Samantha James (PbkRomance James)
The Bodyguard by Joan Johnston (PbkRomance Johnston)
Some Like It Scot by Donna Kauffman (PbkRomance Kauffman)
Highland Dragon by Kimberly Killion (PbkRomance Killion)
The Pursuit by Johanna Lindsey (LP Lindsey)
Highland Scandal by Julia London (PbkRomance London)
Highland Warrior by Monica McCarty (PbkRomance McCarty)
The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros (LP Medeiros)
The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning (Fiction Moning)
Captured by Desire by Kira Morgan (PbkRomance Morgan)
Ravished by a Highlander by Paula Quinn (PbkRomance Quinn)
Till Next We Meet by Karen Ranney (PbkRomance Ranney)
Devil of the Highlands by Lynsay Sands (PbkRomance Sands)
Tamed by a Laird by Amanda Scott (PbkRomance Scott)
A Dangerous Love by Bertrice Small (Fiction Small)
Runaway McBride by Elizabeth Thornton (PbkRomance Thornton)
Seducing the Highlander by Emma Wildes (PbkRomance Wildes)
The Island Harp by Jeanne Williams (Fiction Williams)
To Conquer a Highlander by Mary Wine (PbkRomance Wine)

* Yes, I stole this line outright from Mike Cross's "The Scotsman" (a.k.a. "The Scotsman's Kilt" or "The Drunken Scotsman.")

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