The best historical romance books set in Scotland

The Books I Picked & Why


By Diana Gabaldon

Book cover of Outlander

Why this book?

Yes, I know this one appears obvious – but Outlander is a reader favorite for a reason! This novel is epic on all levels. Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser’s romance is unforgettable, set against the backdrop of the Jacobite rebellion in 18th Century Scotland. Gabaldon’s writing is vibrant, as is her world-building – but it’s her characters that shine. The protagonists feel like real people. It’s easy to root for them, yet they have their flaws, while the antagonists (with the exception perhaps of the evil ‘Black Jack’ Randall) have their redeeming qualities, making them just as fascinating as Claire and Jamie. It’s a heart-warming story that literally ‘transports’ you to the past.

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The Laird

By Grace Burrowes

Book cover of The Laird

Why this book?

If you haven’t picked up a book by Grace Burrowes before, you’re in for a treat! The Laird is a tender, nuanced historical romance set in Scotland. But it’s also a confronting, and at times haunting, story that addresses some sensitive issues. The hero, Michael, returns home after nine years at war, to find his bride, Brenna, furious at his prolonged absence – and far more beautiful than he remembers. Both Michael and Brenna are strong, likable, characters, and their story is both heart-rending and beautiful…and, as always, Burrowes’s writing evokes strong emotion.

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Wishing for a Highlander

By Jessi Gage

Book cover of Wishing for a Highlander

Why this book?

I know this is 'another’ Scottish time travel historical romance – but I’d been looking for a novel in this genre and this one was great. There are also touches of humor throughout that were reminiscent of Gabaldon’s writing style. Single and pregnant (yes pregnant!) museum-worker, Melanie gets transported to 16th Century Scotland when she examines an ancient wooden box. There, she meets Darcy – a brave yet innocent young man who becomes her unlikely protector when she’s accused of witchcraft. This novel grips you from the first page. Gage evokes the setting and time period brilliantly, and the romance is realistically portrayed and emotional. 

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The Sinclair Hound

By Caroline Lee

Book cover of The Sinclair Hound

Why this book?

The hero of this story steals the show. Gregor the "Sinclair Hound" was hanged as a boy. As a result, he bears a scarred neck and a damaged voice. I do love a ‘wounded’ hero, and Gregor’s suffering is palpable. But he’s unwaveringly loyal and is infatuated with his laird’s daughter, Pearl. Little does he know that she too has a fascination for him – and when he’s charged with escorting her to a nunnery, sparks fly. The novel’s opening line drew me in, and I had to keep reading: "It wasn’t his duty to follow her, to watch her, but it had never stopped him before."

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The Chief

By Monica McCarty

Book cover of The Chief

Why this book?

Set upon the Isle of Skye in the early 14th Century, The Chief is an exciting historical romance, with a lot of depth. The hero, Tormod MacLeod, is a man on a mission, to support Robert the Bruce in his struggle against the English. When he’s tricked into marrying Christina Fraser, a young noblewoman whose father was imprisoned for supporting William Wallace, he’s determined to keep his wife in her place. He has no time, or interest, in love. However, control slowly slips from his grip. This novel has one of the best kiss scenes I’ve ever read, and the setting at Dunvegan Castle upon the Isle of Skye is beautifully researched and depicted.

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