It is currently book week Scotland and here at Cosy Wee Reads, we’re all about celebrating Scottish fiction. In honour of this, here are 5 books that are sure to help you fall in love with Scottish fiction. These are the type of books you can expect to find in a cosy wee reads package and you can find out more about our subscriptions and one-off gifts here.
The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle - Kirsty Wark
Martha, alongside dealing with her mother's dementia, finds out her mother has inherited a house on Arran. The house belonged to Elizabeth and having lived her whole life on Arran, she leaves the house to a stranger she saw passing her house with a pram 30 years previously. With no obvious reason as to why Elizabeth would have done this and unable to get answers, Martha heads to Arran to investigate. In a dual narrative, we follow the story of Elizabeth's life on Arran through her journal and Martha's current situation. With a gentle pace, beautifully describing Arran, this story at it's heart is about female relationships and the details of their ordinary lives.
The Unquiet Hearth - Kaite Welsh
Set in Victorian Edinburgh, Sarah is a fabulous, feisty, feminist character - a fallen woman, banished from London polite society to live with her Aunt & Uncle and she is one of the very first group of female medical students at Edinburgh University. In an attempt to rescue her reputation, Sarah is engaged to Miles, but she no intention of marrying him or quitting her medical studies. As well as dealing with hostility from all sides regarding her studies, she falls into another murder investigation (as you do!) when Miles is arrested for a crime she is certain he didn't commit. The book's setting - from the genteel drawing rooms of Marchmont and the New Town, to the dark slums of the Cowgate – evokes a picture of Edinburgh in the 1890s.
The House Between the Tides - Sarah Maine
Set in the Outer Hebrides, Muirlan House is Hetty's crumbling ancestral home, which is only accessible when the tide is out, adding to the gothic atmosphere in this novel. Hetty sets about restoring the abandoned house, but when she discovers human remains her plans are stalled and she finds herself drawn into an into an investigation of the distant past, which the locals seem to be extremely reluctant to discuss. Back in 1910, the famous artist Theo Blake, brings his new bride Beatrice to live in the house. Crofting life is beautifully described as Beatrice explores the island discovering the residents, scenery and wildlife.
The Health of Strangers - Lesley Kelly
A mixture of dystopian and crime fiction and the first in a series, this book is set in near-future Edinburgh, where a deadly strain of influenza virus is killing young people & needs to be contained. The Health Enforcement Team have the unenviable task of locating those that fail to attend their mandatory, monthly health screening. An unlikely group of colleagues, the story is set over a fast paced, 5 days where Mona and Bernard are led into an increasingly murky world in the search for 2 missing female students.
The Sewing Machine - Natalie Fergie
This multi generational story spans 100 years, starting with the mass strike in the Singer factory in Clydebank in 1911 and ending in 2016 Edinburgh. It follows the lives of several characters with chapters switching between the interwoven storylines. Firstly, in 1911, there is Jean a worker on the Singer testing line, in 1954 we meet Connie and her mother, a seamstress, in 1980 we follow Ruth trying to complete her nursing training, whilst hiding her pregnancy and finally in 2016 we meet Fred, when he newly inherits his Grandfather's Edinburgh flat. The Singer sewing machine is ever present throughout the years and is eventually inherited by Fred, along with notebooks that record every item made on the machine with a tiny scrap of fabric and a short description and he becomes involved in researching the history.