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I love how books set in a certain country can have a distinctive feel to them, and this list of books set in Scotland is no exception. Scotland books tend to be mystical and ethereal, from classic fairytales to darker and more forboding books.
But don’t worry, our list includes something for everyone, whether you like cozy contemporary fiction, mysteries, reflective memoirs, or if you are looking for books for kids. I hope you’ll find a book set in Scotland that is perfect for you!
Novels Set in Scotland
Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
This beloved book set in Scotland brings together five very different people in a small Scottish fishing village during the Christmas season. Their lives have all gone off-track a bit, and when they come together it will change everything. For fans of cozy, feel-good, contemporary fiction.
Summerwater by Sarah Moss
This novel told through interconnected stories visits families vacationing on a rainy Scottish loch, almost all of them discontent with their lives in some way and/or anxious about the future. They watch each other through the windows, wondering what the other families are up to, and it all builds up to a tragic ending. For fans of literary fiction with a dash of stream-of-consciousness.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
No list of books set in Scotland would be complete without the popular Outlander series. These historical romances center around Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser after Claire, who is on a second honeymoon with her husband in 1945, travels back in time to 1743. For fans of historical romances and long books.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant is an office worker in Glasgow, Scotland who expects life to operate in a certain expected way and struggles with social interactions. When she meets Raymond, she finds a friend who upsets her routine, but who can also help her find healing. (Content warning for childhood trauma and abuse.) For fans of contemporary fiction and ‘book club’ books.
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Writer Carrie McClelland is trying to write a historical novel set in 1708 centered around the Jacobites. She travels to where the story took place, and it begins to come to life in ways she didn’t expect. This book is described as appealing to fans of Outlander, and is for readers who love historical romances.
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
Readers love Jenny Colgan’s Scottish Bookshop series, and this is the first one. When Nina loses her job as a librarian, she moves to a small Scottish village and turns an old van into a bookmobile, which changes her life. For fans of cozy and heartwarming contemporary fiction.
Beside the Ocean of Time by George Mackay Brown
Thorfinn is the son of a farmer in Scotland, and he should be working. But instead he is daydreaming himself into Scottish history— from Vikings landing on the shore to the fields of the Battle of Bannockburn. This lyrical novel was nominated for the Booker Prize and is for lovers of literary fiction.
The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith
The first book in Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series, The Sunday Philosophy Club introduces us to amateur detective Isabel Dalhousie. When she witnesses a man fall from the balcony at a concert in Edinburgh, she is determined solve the mystery of what happened. For fans of cozy mysteries.
The Highland Witch by Susan Fletcher
In 1692 Scotland, Carrag is accused of being a witch in the aftermath of a Scottish massacre. She tells her story while imprisoned and awaiting execution to a man looking for information to condemn the king. While this is a novel, it is based on a real historical event. This book is for fans of historical fiction.
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Kidnapped is an 1886 novel from Stevenson, where David Balfour is kidnapped to be sold into slavery. But when his boat is shipwrecked in Scotland, he must escape his captors in the midst of fights between the Scottish and English in 1745. There is certainly an allegorical element here of the Scots vs. the English, and this novel will appeal to fans of adventure stories and classics.
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf’s classic book To the Lighthouse is set against the Isle of Skye in Scotland, as a family is on holiday and travels to a nearby lighthouse. The mundane details of this intended trip reveal familial complexities and relationship tensions. For fans of classics and literary fiction.
You might also like our list of books set in England!
Non-Fiction Books About Scotland
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shuan Bythell
If you’re a bookworm you’ve probably heard of the bookstore in Wigtown, Scotland you can actually rent as an Air BnB. Wigtown is known as Scotland’s Book Town and, while Shuan Bythell’s store isn’t the one of Air BnB fame, it is just down the street. This memoir/dairy recounts his days as a bookseller — from managing his staff to interacting with customers. For fans of books about small town life and people who love bookstores.
The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee
In the 1960s, John McPhee decided to return to the land of his ancestors — the island of Colonsay in Scotland. He learns about the relationships between the landowner (the laird) and the tenants (the crofters) on this fairly isolated island. This book is short, but filled with Scottish history, reflections on the landscape and way of life, and stories that have been passed down through generations. For fans of thoughtful memoirs and travel writing.
Delve into the history of Scotland with this Neil Oliver’s book, which makes the complicated story of Scotland accessible and readable. A great book for a solid overview of Scottish history without feeling completely overwhelming. For fans of history.
The Outrun: A Memoir by Amy Liptrot
After years of living an intense London life (lots of hard partying), Amy Liptrot returns to her home on Orkney where she looks for healing in the landscape and her family. This book landed on several “best of” lists in the UK and is for fans of thoughtful and reflective memoirs. (Content warning for alcoholism and sexual assault.)
Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey by Madeleine Bunting
The Hebrides (the islands off the northwest Scottish coast) have both a fascinating history and landscape. Here, Madeleine Bunting explores what makes them so unique and the long history these islands have while also contemplating the meaning of home. For fans of thoughtful memoirs.
Children’s Books Set In + About Scotland
The Selkie Girl by Janis Mackay, Illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane
This traditional Scottish tale tells the story of Fergus, a boy who lives by the sea and longs for a friend. When he finds a fur blanket on the beach, he doesn’t actually know that it belongs to a selkie, who needs it to return to the sea. Recommended ages: 4-7 years.
A Scottish Year: Twelve Months in the Life of Scotland’s Kids by Tania McCartney, Illustrated by Tina Snerling
Follow Scottish children throughout their year, from every day life to holidays and festivals. Recommended ages: 4-8 years.
Nessie the Loch Ness Monster by Richard Brassey
You have to include a book about Nessie in a list of books about Scotland! This children’s book follows the history of Nessie against the backdrop of the history of Scotland with bright and colorful illustrations. Recommended ages: 5-7 years.
Katie in Scotland by James Mayhew
Join Katie on an adventure in Scotland as she and her family tour some of Scotland’s most famous sights with Nessie! Plus, you’ll fall in love with the warm watercolor illustrations. Recommended ages: 5-8 years.
The Big Katie Morag Storybook by Mairi Hedderwick
Join Katie Morag, a beloved character, on the Isle of Struay in Scotland and follow along with her adventures — from searching for treasure to rescuing a baby seal. Readers love these heartwarming stories and happy illustrations. Recommended ages: 5-9 years.
Speed Bonnie Boat briefly tells the story of Bonnie Prince Charles and his journey to the Isle of Skye. Here, Belli has taken the lyrics to the Skye Boat Song and brought them to life with illustrations. Recommended ages: 5-8 years.
This is Edinburgh by Miroslav Sasek
Miroslav Sasek’s books make such great introductions to cities and countries around the world. Here he takes us to Edinburgh, walking children through all the city’s major sights. Recommended ages: 5-10 years.
The Adventures of Hamish and Mirren: Magical Scottish Stories for Children by Moira Miller, Illustrated by Mairi Hedderwick
Set on a Scottish loch, Hamish and Mirren seem to live a quiet farm life. But their world is actually filled with magic and mischief — from fairies to witches. These humorous tales make up a delightful Scottish classic. Recommended ages: 6-8 years.
An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Theresa Breslin, Illustrated by Kate Leiper
Scotland is known for its mythical tales, and here Theresa Breslin compiles a collection of them for children — including adventures with everyone from selkies to dragons to goshawks that will delight readers of all ages. Recommended ages: 6-12 years.
Middle Grade and YA Books Set in Scotland
The Story of Scotland by Richard Brassey and Stewart Ross
The Story of Scotland is exactly what it sounds like — the history of Scotland from the Vikings to the present day. Here, it is told in a friendly graphic novel style, making it accessible and fun for elementary schoolers. Recommended ages: 7-10 years.
Little House in the Highlands by Melissa Wiley
Little House in the Highlands fictionalizes the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s great-grandmother, Martha. Martha lives in the highlands of Scotland, and while she is supposed to be a proper lady (she is the daughter of a laird after all), she would much rather be running free through the Scottish highlands. Recommended ages: 8-12 years.
Journey’s End by Rachel Hawkins
In this middle grade novel, Nolie travels to Scotland with her father to study a mysterious fog called the Boundary, which people enter into and then never return from. But when someone does return — a hundred years after he disappeared — and the Boundary starts creeping closer to the village, Nolie must go on a magical journey to stop the fog. Recommended ages: 8-12 years.
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
After a drowning accident, Cass discovers she can enter the world of ghosts. When her family starts hosting a paranormal TV show and travels to Edinburgh to hunt out haunted places, things get even more complicated. Then she meets someone else who can see ghosts, and Cass realizes she has a lot to learn. Recommended ages: 9-12 years.
The Art of the Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander
After her twin brother drowns, in the North Sea, Elsie tries to piece together what happened that day. You wouldn’t think she would start freediving, but a cute new boy introduces her to it and she hopes it will give her the answers she’s been looking for. Recommended ages: 14 and up.
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