21 Best Books About Scotland to Read Before Your Visit

Books About Scotland to read

We are not sure where our obsession with books about Scotland began. It may have started with Outlander, we cannot be sure. What we do know is that the breathtaking landscapes and enchanting cities, make Scotland the perfect setting for any book.

Scotland has a rich history, vibrant culture, and untamed beauty that cannot be found anywhere else. From love stories spanning centuries to tales of epic battles, the literary tapestry of Scotland is as diverse as the country itself.

In Books About Scotland, we are giving you our list of favorite books set in Scotland. You can choose between historical fiction, romances, and more in a literary journey through the pages of these books set in Scotland. We hope the essence of Scotland will jump from the pages and that you find these books as unforgettable as we do.

*Scotland Books Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

This post fulfills a prompt for the 2024 reading challenge! It’s not too late to join!

Our Closet In Your Neighborhood clients are participating in this year’s reading challenge. Please consider donating books through our independent bookstore partner.

Historical Fiction Books About Scotland

outlander

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander #1)

How do we love Outlander? We cannot count the ways. There is a reason this is one of my favorite books of all time.

This epic story begins in 1945 when Claire Randall and her husband take a second honeymoon to the Scottish Highlands to celebrate being reunited after the war. When Claire touches one of the standing stones, she is transported to 1743.

This is when the real story begins. In order to stay safe as an English woman in Scotland, she must depend on Jamie Frasier for protection. This book is definitely at the top of our list of best romance novels of all time but you will love it equally if you love historical fiction, magical realism, romance, or witches. This is one of the iconic and epic time travel romance books that has it all and is perfect for a list of books like A Discovery of Witches. It was easy to include this on the best fantasy books for adults as well.

The Winter Sea and more winter books

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

This is a dual-timeline story about the invading Jacobites in 1708 that takes place at Slains Castle. A writer from the present decides to write a story about her ancestor from this time frame and begins to live the experience herself.

There is romance, ghostly memories, and a wonderful perspective of the famous Jacobite uprising we know from Outlander. How could we not include this pick on a list of books like Outlander? This is also perfect pick from books set in Scotland to add to your list.

the lost queen

The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

If you love Outlander, The Mists of Avalon, or The Clan of the Cave Bear, then you will love this pick from royal reads. Set in Britain/ Scotland when Christianity is poised to become the religion of the country, a future queen who swore to the old ways is learning how to balance the needs of her people and her religion with the role she’s expected to play.

Meanwhile, her twin brother is training to be the man history knows as Merlin. The first in a new trilogy about Arthurian legend.

This book is a perfect pick for a list of books like A Discovery of Witches or a list of books like Outlander. If you love books set in Scotland, this book is a must-read.

Dual-Timeline Books Set in Scotland

The Vanished Days

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley 

The Vanished Days is set between 2 timelines, 1707 and 1684. Lily makes a claim of marriage to a deceased soldier looking for her pay, but without proof of her marriage, Adam needs to investigate if the claim could be real.

Set against the backdrop of the Jacobite rebellion, this is perfect for the Outlander fans of the world and we knew we needed to include it on a list of books like Outlander! I was engrossed in this story…then I got to the end, was shocked, and wanted to read the whole thing again!!

If you are looking for books about Scotland and its amazing history, this book is a perfect pick.

Wild Wood

Wild Wood by Posie Graeme-Evans

This was such a unique story! After getting knocked in the head Jesse, normally right-handed, is able to draw with her left hand a place she’s never been to in her life.

Her neurologist has been to the sweeping keep, he lived there for years, and so he decides to bring her home with him on holiday to see if he can get to the bottom of it.

Meanwhile, in the dual timeline of 14th-century Scotland, Bayard is investigating a mystery of his own. The way the two stories meet at the end is masterful.

Not only is this one of the books about Scotland that is dual-timeline but the story itself is beautifully written and a real page-turner.

Contemporary Fiction Books About Scotland

Eleanor Oliphant

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this contemporary fiction book initially.  Eleanor bugged me in a way that I could not identify.  She is not supposed to be likable initially which is why I persevered and I ended up loving the book and Eleanor. 

As we get to know Eleanor and understand her profound loneliness, it made me think about what initial judgments I make in other areas. Eleanor is able to find herself and understand herself in this wonderful, feel-good book. If you are looking for books similar to lessons in chemistry, this book is a 5-star pick.

Eleanor has difficulty with social skills and is used to being alone until one day, she saves an elderly man who has fallen with the help of Raymond from her work. The three develop a friendship that is able to help heal Eleanor.

Find This Book In: Books Like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine / Books Like A Man Called Ove/ Books about Scotland.

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The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Corner #1

This contemporary fiction book was the first book that I read by Jenny Colgan and is different from her others.  It is not centered around food but rather, books. 

When Nina, a librarian, finds herself without a job, she decides to embark on a journey with a mobile bookshop in Scotland.  There is nothing not to love in this sweet and cozy book.

Find this book in The Best Jenny Colgan Books Ranked / Novels About Scotland / Books About Books

Romance Books Set in Scotland

Kilt Trip

Kilt Trip by Alexandra Kiley

Looking for some literary travel plans? Come visit Scotland with a romance novel that will leave you with butterflies in your stomach.

Addie Macrae is a travel consultant coming to Scotland to save Logan Sutherland’s Scottish tour business. He’s resistant to change, she’s trying to prove herself in her new job and sparks are flying in the office as they try to sabotage each other with ridiculous pranks.

But Addie is also looking to reconnect with her deceased mother’s past – by trying to find the places in Scotland her mother loved best. As Logan helps her find the hidden sites in a bid to help her see things his way, they both share vulnerabilities and connect in ways they weren’t expecting (but we were because it’s a romance 😜)

I felt like I was traveling around Scotland with these lovebirds – the push and pull between them, the funny pranks, and the cast of secondary characters made this romance stand out!

The Ex-Mas Holiday

The Ex-Mas Holidays by Zoe Allison

When Maya bumps into her ex, Sam, at a holiday party, she never imagined she would see him again and certainly not naked and serving drinks. Maya is moving home after a breakup with her live-in boyfriend and the timing could not be more awkward.

She also never expected that they would end up working together in the Scottish Highlands as ski instructors. As they begin to spend more time together, they realize some things about their past- was their breakup a huge misunderstanding?

Will Maya work up the courage to tell her father that his dreams are not her dreams? This is one of the new Christmas books for 2023 you will not want to miss this season. This adorable pick from book set in Scotland will make you want to hop on a plane. #gifted

finding fraser

Finding Fraser by KC Dyer

This is an adorable contemporary fiction read about a woman who goes to Scotland to find her man. The criteria- he has to look and be like Jamie Fraser.

That shouldn’t be too hard, should it? Isn’t every man tall, handsome, and completely perfect? Instead of finding her Jamie…she ends up finding her inner Claire instead. Totally cheesy but very fun for our list of books like Outlander and an adorable pick from books set in Scotland.

highland games

Highland Games by Evie Alexander

I gushed about this on Instagram, but I’m gonna gush about it again here too. I love a good Scottish romance, which long-term readers know because of our books like Outlander

This one has Zoe deciding to pack up her London life and move into the rustic, decrepit cabin on a castle estate her uncle left for her when he died. The problem is Rory, the castle’s caretaker, wanted the cabin for himself.

Rory starts messing with Zoe to get her to leave Scotland, but when he realizes he needs her help, sparks fly in this grumpy sunshine romance. This is the first in a new series of books set in Scotland about Rory and Zoe and their Scottish hometown.

It was charming, funny, STEAMY, and heartwarming. I personally can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Some Like it Plaid

Some Like It Plaid by Angela Quarles

In this story, our hunky future chieftain leaves 1st century Scotland for 2019 San Francisco to catch himself a wifey, whom he promptly teleports back to Scotland (Druid magic IDK) and shenanigans ensue.

This book set in Scotland is funny, romantic, and totally cute. I loved it! This is one of the time travel romance novels you will want to read again and again.

Historical Romances Set in Scotland

When A Scot Ties the Knot

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

This historical romance is equal parts sexy and funny. A London heiress invents a Scottish betrothed to get her out of social obligations.

She writes to her intended, Captain MacKenzie, but when a real-life man comes to her home, letters in hand, things get interesting. This is one of a few romance novels set in Scotland from our list and we love it.

My ladys choosing

My Lady’s Choosing: an Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris

What is so great about this book is that it can go anywhere you want it to. Choose your adventure…and choose your own man. It’s exactly like those books we all loved as children, except with VERY adult content.😉

You can pick as many or as few stories as you want. Personally, I found my happy ending with a Scottish man who was clearly modeled after Jamie Frasier! This is a perfect pick for books like Briderton as well as books like Outlander. If you are looking for steamy romance novels set in Scotland, this is your pick.

Potrait of a Scotsman

Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore

This particular romance is set in 1920s England and is the third in Ms. Dunmore’s women’s suffragette series. Hattie Greenfield, artist extraordinaire, is forced into marriage with Lucian Blackstone, a self-made man (V frowned upon by nobles at the time.)

We love that she is an artist for our novels about art and they travel to Scotland on their honeymoon. Perfect for books about Scotland. But, we couldn’t stop thinking that it is also perfect for books Like Outlander!

While the romance itself is swoon-worthy, it’s the depth of non-romantic topics that make it a joy to read. I learned so much about the coal industry and the perils to coal communities in the process.

an english bride in scotland

An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands

The arranged marriage of the English lass to the Clan chieftain in this romance novel was very reminiscent of Claire and Jamie’s wedding….and wedding night.

This is a steamy rom-com book set in Scotland that focuses on the newlyweds finding how their relationship will mesh while navigating the terrifying person hellbent on hurting them.

The DEvil and the Heiress

The Devil and the Heiress by Harper St. George

The follow-up to Harper St. George’s Gilded Age romance series was another fun pick featuring the younger Crenshaw heiress.

This time, Violet Crenshaw, looking to escape and arranged marriage to an odious man, looks to the Earl of Leigh to help her escape to Scotland. But the Earl has a different plan with the bubbly lady he wishes to call his own. This is another one of the books about Scotland that is a must-read for romance fans.

More Books Set in Scotland

Clanlands and other Books like Outlander

Clanlands by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish (forward by Diana Gabaldon)

This hysterical book is part history and part comedy. Stars of the Outlander TV series, Sam Heughan (who plays Jamie Fraser) and Graham McTavish (AKA Dougal MacKenzie) go on a road trip with each other.

Along the way, they tell funny stories and experience Scotland’s rich heritage. I laughed out loud multiple times at their antics, and then promptly watched their show Men in Kilts on Starz.

If you are a fan of the Outlander series (television series), you must read this pick in books like Outlander. This is a feel-good nonfiction pick from books about Scotland. It is a perfect place to start if you are looking for nonfiction books for beginners.

the scottish ladies detective agency

The Scottish Ladies’ Detective Agency by Lydia Travers

This is a delightful detective novel set in Scotland about two women who decide to start a detective agency in 1911. While no one takes them seriously at first, they soon have their first client and case – to stop a jewel thief who repeatedly hits up house parties.

I loved this cozy mystery book. It was the perfect story to escape into during a rough week. I look forward to the next book in this detective series- they are delightful historical mystery books.

a river enchanted

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross’s historical fantasy books are sweeping magical stories. This particular one is about the island of Cadence and its warring inhabitants. It’s also a love story between Jack, a bard who can sing to the elements, and Adaira, the heiress of the East.

The story slowly builds but ends on a cliffhanger, which concludes in the second book of the duology. The story is perfect for fans of books like Outlander because it’s inspired by Scotland. This is one of our favorite books on the list of adult fantasy novels and books set in Scotland.

The Hunting PAarty

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

This isolation thriller is one of the books about Scotland that will leave you guessing until the very end. A group of college friends are taking their yearly New Year’s trip to a beautiful and remote estate in the Scottish Highlands.

The trip starts off with good intentions as the friends from Oxford embark on the train to their destination, but on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead and all of them are suspects. The book will keep you guessing throughout because you will not know who has been murdered until the end. This is a thrilling pick from New Year’s Eve books.

YA Books About Scotland

my contrary mary

My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand

The latest book by this writing trio is another historical fantasy with a twist. This time it’s Mary Queen of Scots’s story that gets the magic treatment.

Mary can transform at will into a mouse, but she needs to keep it a secret as shape-shifting is frowned upon. Can she be the Queen the country needs, win Francis’s heart, and keep her secret? This is such a fun historical fiction book for teens and a great YA pick from books about Scotland!

City of ghosts

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

While this is technically a middle-grade book, this paranormal book was SCARY.  I absolutely loved it but, it should not be read by anyone who is afraid of ghost stories or ghost books. 

When Cass is rescued from drowning, she is suddenly able to maneuver between the land of the living and the other side of the veil. The boy that rescued her is a ghost and he becomes her best friend. 

Her parents are ghost hunters and then they get a job filming a TV show in Scotland, they all pack up and go, including Cass’s ghost.  What they find is scary, creepy, and a fabulously fun young adult fantasy novel.

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What are your favorite books about Scotland?

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