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Scottish Author ~ Book Review ~ The Queen’s Grace by Nigel Tranter

I was introduced to the works of Nigel Tranter when discussing Scottish Literature with Alex at The Wee Shoppe in Kinghorn; if fact I borrowed several of Nigel Tranter’s books from Alex.

41GVH5TMS3L._AC_US218_The Queen’s Grace, is but one of those books, which I have recently reread. Tranter was proficient in the skill of weaving credible and nail biting tales around known facts. His novels were always well researched but also so eloquent that they draw us, the readers, back in time as if we were there. This novel is set at the time of Mary Queen of Scots when she was all but captive by her brother, James who plots for her throne. Clansmen swear their allegiance to their Queen but change sides the moment they feel it is prudent to do so. Men’s heads are cut off for crimes they have not committed and yet their honour is their bond.

Alongside these, sometime gruesome scenes are moments of warmth, tenderness and even humour, especially with those surrounding the queen herself. Her loyal subject Patrick Mac Ruary shines throughout the novel and is the constant to the end; his romance with Mary Mackintosh adding a wonderfully human touch, which I enjoyed greatly.

Not only was this an excellent book but it is a wonderful introduction to the intrigues and intricacies of Scottish history, its battles, victories and failures. What a proud nation, justly so, and it has helped me to understand the fractious, almost love – hate relationship between the Scots and the English at times to this day.

The Queens Grace was originally published in 1953 but this edition was reprinted by B & W Publishing House in 1996. It is the first of Tranter’s novels which I have reread, but I doubt if it will be the last.

I met Nigel Tranter on my walk along the Fife Coastal Path and enjoyed a wonderful conversation with him in The Healing Paths of Fife.

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Scotland, Scottish authors, The Healing Paths of Fife, Uncategorized

Diana’s Virtual Tour of the Kingdom of Fife ~ Pettycur

 

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We are fortunate that Pettycur Bay and harbour are only a few minutes away from where we live. In fact, we lived in a flat at Pettycur Bay back in 2013 with a view over towards The Forth Bridge.

In days gone by it was from here that the ferry took the traveller over the water by ferry to Leith, Edinburgh.

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It was at Pettycur that King Alexander III fell off the cliffs and died and a monument commemorates his life and death near to The Bay Hotel on Burntisland Road. (which over looks the bay and towards Edinburgh on the opposite coast)

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Kinghorn’s own skiff, built by local boat builders and launched with aplomb, is called Yolande after the late king’s wife.

Pettycur Steps

Witches were said to have met their deaths from the cliff top near the cemetery and on a dark day this is not hard to imagine as you walk up Pettycur Steps, part of The Fife Coastal Path.

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For me, it is a wonderful place to walk and the stroll out to Black Rock and back can take well over an hour. Black Rock is also famous for The Black Rock Race where hundreds of runner make their way over to the rock and back. Some even venture at night time later in the year, using lamps on their heads to guide their way.

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Filed under Fife, Fife Fantasy, Scotland, The Healing Paths of Fife, Uncategorized, Virtual tour of Fife

Celebrating Scottish Authors December ~ The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan

Sunlight PilgrimsI found Jenni’s name on a list of ten good contemporary Scottish authors and loved the sound of the title. I’m interested in pilgrimages, as those who read my other blog might know ~ and also allegories.

I’m happy to say that Sunlight Pilgrims drew me in from the start. I had no expectations of the book before I began to read it on Kindle. You must admit that Kindle can be a sterile way to be introduced to a book you know little about but I plunged in.

~ The world is freezing over. Rumours are spreading of an apocalypse. Temperatures in the world are plunging lower than any know records. Is it heading for another Ice Age? A massive iceberg is heading for the coast of Scotland as recently bereaved Dylan heads to his late mother’s caravan for a Highland retreat and to spread the ashes of his mother and grandmother.

This novel is spellbinding in its description of the changing climate. The unusual mix of characters are struggling to stay alive, but alongside this 2020 vision is an intimate internal struggle of families and individuals facing prejudice, dark family secrets, complex love triangles alongside the impossible attempt to stay warm in a small caravan park as temperatures plummet. There are many magic moments but also tense heart breaking times too.

As I said I had no preconceived ideas as to what this novel was about, but it has continued to haunt me for days after I reached the 100% on my kindle and I can highly recommend it.

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Scotland, Scottish authors, Uncategorized