The Healing Properties of the Highlands….eReader Extravaganza!

Posted August 7, 2013 by Shari in Book Tour / 98 Comments

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Genres: Historical Romance

Scotland with Grace BurrowsBefore traveling to the Scottish Highlands, all I knew about them was that they were beautiful, and the people who lived there had lovely accents. I also knew my grandmother’s people were Scottish stock, and that Scotland has a unicorn on its flag. I do love me a unicorn!

Then I read the first few books in Jennifer Ashley’s wonderful MacKenzie series of Scottish Victorian romances, and decided I wanted to turn my authorial sites in the same direction. To ensure I was properly inspired for that challenge, I rented a cottage at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire for a week one May.

Balmoral is a private residence, and so most of the dwelling is not open to the public, but the grounds, and the ballroom are, as are the 70,000+ acres of surrounding policies. The tourists would leave at 5 pm, and those of us who were staying on grounds had the place to ourselves.

Scottish CastleIn May, the sun doesn’t truly go down until at least 10 pm, and by 4 am, there’s light in sky again. That meant the long, sweet hours of the evening were free for walking in a solitude that felt much larger than what I enjoy at home, for sitting by the River Dee, for lingering in the Balmoral gardens and letting the peace of Highland countryside seep into my bones. I’d write during the long, sunny mornings, and it was so easy, amid all that peace and quiet, to get good words onto the page.

In some regards, the Highlands are not unlike the Appalachian Mountains where I was raised, except Scotland is much farther north than Pennsylvania, and it can snow any month of the year in the higher elevations. That slight hint of a nip in the morning and evening air was energizing to me, and the light—that peculiar, contrasty, sharp, northern light—made the landscape even more beautiful.

The hospitality was fantastic, the logistics easy, and the costs reasonable. I wanted to stay longer, but of course, the place was thoroughly booked, and well it should be!

Delighted Reader Photo 3The Scottish Highlands are among the least populous areas of any developed nation. For somebody who can enjoy going for days without hearing another human voice, that’s a wonderful thought. The Scottish government keeps a sharp eye on its population figures, because maintaining population has been a problem in the past, but I worry about how soon I can get back to the Highlands, and be inspired to write more lovely books!

Link to Balmoral’s website if people want to look into renting a cottage there for a vacation: http://www.balmoralcastle.com/

Several photos accompany this post, all taken by me or at my request with my camera. One of is me on the driveway to Balmoral amid the Douglas firs that were planted early in the 19th century. Another is of the Castle, a third of the River Dee as it flows past the Castle.

 

ONCE UPON A TARTAN BY GRACE BURROWES – IN STORES AUGUST 2013

Once Upon a Tartan by Grace BurrowesHonor or happiness—he can’t have both.

Tiberius Flynn may be every inch an English lord, but smart, headstrong beauty Hester Daniels has no use for his high-handed ways–no matter how handsome, charming, or beguiling he is. They only see eye to eye in caring about the feisty little girl who is under their protection.

Tiberius’s haughty insistence that his wealthy estate in England is a better place for the child than her beloved, rundown Scotland home sparks Hester’s fierce protectiveness, and the battle lines are drawn.

Praise for Once Upon a Tartan:

“Burrowes creates a powerful story replete with heartfelt emotion and rich characterization… An instant keeper.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ stars, Top Pick of the Month

“Expert prose, likeable characters, realistic relationships, and believable complications create a pleasant and satisfying keeper.” —Publishers Weekly

“Warmth, sensuality, and humor infuse Burrowes’ writing, and fans of Suzanne Enoch and Sarah MacLean should enjoy this series.” —Booklist

“Grace Burrowes weaves her magic with words… a memorable love story—excellent and exquisite.” — A Long and Short Reviews Best Book

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grace Burrowes

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes is the author of the acclaimed Windham Family Series, The MacGregor Trilogy and The Lonely Lords Series. Her debut novel, The Heir (2010), as well as The Bridegroom Wore Plaid (2012) were both included as Publishers Weekly Best Books of their respective years, in the romance category. A practicing attorney specializing in family law, Grace lives in rural Maryland, where she is working on the final book in the Windham series, Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait (October 2013) and third MacGregor story, The MacGregor’s Lady (February 2014), and many more books. Visit her website at www.graceburrowes.com for more information about all of her books, exclusive extras and her lively blog.

Burrowes eReader Giveaway

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!

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Erin
Erin
6 years ago

I would love to head to the Highlands

Grace Burrowes
6 years ago
Reply to  Erin

Some year, I want to organize a reader tour, like Karen Marie Moning has done… Some year soon.

Paula Hart
Paula Hart
6 years ago

Your description of your time at Balmoral Castle sounds lovely!

Grace Burrowes
6 years ago
Reply to  Paula Hart

I wasn’ sure what to expect, Paula, but it WAS lovely, and not crowded, and not that expensive either, once I crossed the pond.

CassandraG
CassandraG
6 years ago

Wonderful post. The highlands, just to see what they truly look like.

Grace Burrowes
6 years ago
Reply to  CassandraG

I TOOK a lot of pictures, and on as I was studying them did it occur to me that the Highlands look a lot like Central PA, where I grew up. Well, no wonder it felt as if I were coming home…

Bonnie
Bonnie
6 years ago

Hope Grace survives the whirlwind blog tour! That sounds like it was a dream vacation. I only hope to make it there myself someday. I enjoyed this book very much, and can’t wait for Asher.

Grace Burrowes
6 years ago
Reply to  Bonnie

Bonnie, I’m reading Asher and Hannah’s copy edits now, and finding that book a worthy successor to the first two. Really love its ending, and that’s always a good sign.

Maggie Knapp
Maggie Knapp
6 years ago

Sounds cool and romantic!

Grace Burrowes
6 years ago
Reply to  Maggie Knapp

It is, Maggie. It truly is–and men do wear kilts there. Regular guys with knees wear kilts.

Valerie Rhodes
Valerie Rhodes
6 years ago

There are so many tours you can do in scotland! Even places to wear that tartan.. 😉 Although being wool.. may be itchy..lol

West Highland Lochs and Castles Small Group Day Trip from Edinburgh is a great trip… maybe try the Murder and Mystery Walking Tour of Edinburgh that seems cool. I’d love to see the Da Vinci Code and Scottish Borders Small Group Day Trip from Edinburgh now that would be fascinating.

Thanks for the awesome giveaway your putting on!
Val

LorettaLynn
LorettaLynn
6 years ago

I told my husband that if we could got to The Highlands I would let him spend his time on a hunting trip why I stay and look at all the grand ruins.. I have always just wanted to go. Anywhere there would be something I would love:)

Grace Burrowes
6 years ago
Reply to  LorettaLynn

Loretta, I get the “anywhere” feeling. The train crossed over into Scotland and I wanted it to stop right in the middle of nowhere so I could just LOOK and think, “I’m in SCOTLAND. I MADE IT TO SCOTLAND….” I guess the locals are used to tourists goggling.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

Thank you for your great post! Scotland sounds absolutely beautiful. What are some of the plants and animals unique to the Highlands region? Did you have the opportunity to ride horseback while visiting? It just sounds lovely, and I’m glad you had a good time there! Thanks for participating in such a generous blog tour!

Grace Burrowes
6 years ago
Reply to  Marie

Maire, in the temperate months (of which there are less than four), Balmoral does pony treks. I didn’t have enough planning time to get myself attached to one of those, but it sounds like the best way to see the best scenery for someone who isn’t local. As for floral and fauna, the Highlands are subarctic at higher elevations, and that means limited varieties of species, and the same glorious Alpine springs we see in the Rockies. CANNOT wait to go back!

Erica H
Erica H
6 years ago

I spent 6 months in Scotland, and Highlands were beautiful!

Grace Burrowes
6 years ago
Reply to  Erica H

You officially qualify as a Lucky Dawg, Erica. What did you enjoy the most?

Mary Jo Burke
6 years ago

Love castles! Saw quite a few in Ireland and kissed the Blarney Stone!

Grace Burrowes
6 years ago
Reply to  Mary Jo Burke

Me too, Mary Jo, and you will love Tessa Dare’s new series, in which each heroine inherits a castle, and each castle has problems, as does the hero lurking there.

Mary Doherty
Mary Doherty
6 years ago

Scotland has always been my dream vacation spot. Thanks for making me even more excited to go to Scotland…

Martie
Martie
6 years ago

Oh My God, Grace. I loved this personal peek at Balmoral and your vacation there and hope to visit the Highlands in a year or two. I didn’t know about the government’s restrictions on population.

What colors are the tartans of your ancestors?

Grace Burrowes
6 years ago

I’m both clan Stuart and clan MacDonald, which leaves a lot of variety. The government doesn’t restrict immigration, so much as the country has been decimated by emigration. The population growth in Scotland now is attributable to foreigners settled there, at least some of whom are attracted to an economy that, due to North Sea oil (and in part due to whisky exports), hasn’t faltered along with the rest of the world’s economies.

Heather
6 years ago

My only regret is that I didn’t push hubby to wear a kilt when we married, he certainly has the legs for it. Daughter has plans to study in Scotland during university, with the name Shannon, I do think she’ll fit in. I am wondering whether Scottish people find it insulting for others to wear a tartan that does not belong to their family?

Sarah R.
Sarah R.
6 years ago

I loved this glimpse into your visit to Scotland. Thank you so much for sharing your own pictures, too. I saw in the comments that you mentioned a reader tour, if that ever comes to be I may just have to endure that long flight over there. Be sure and give me plenty of time to save up the money, too. LOL.

Daniela
Daniela
6 years ago

My mother and I took my grandmother on a trip around the Scottish highlands one summer. It had been my grandmothers life long dream to see Scotland and she had never been out of the country before. I’ve never had a more rewarding experience than seeing my grandmother’s face as we visited castles and drove through the winding highland roads.

Jess
Jess
6 years ago

I love your description of the lighted hours! That makes for more time to read. Though, I suppose if you want to read outside, you would need layers to ward off the chill.

Krista
Krista
6 years ago

The romance reader in me would love to visit Scotland! What Scottish dishes do you recommend trying?

Sharon F
Sharon F
6 years ago

My ancestors came over to the United States from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and my deepest wish is to travel to the British Isles and see the great beauty of it all. Maybe I can win the lottery and spend about a year there!!! LOL

Cathy
Cathy
6 years ago

I am from the Bell Clan and I know my Scottish ancestors would have loved your books just like I do.

Make Kay
Make Kay
6 years ago

I SO want to go to Scotland, but can’t get my hubby interested. I may have to send him elsewhere so I can go by myself!

Denice
Denice
6 years ago

I had never considered renting a cottage in Scotland, now I am quite fascinated by the prospect, definitely on my To-Do List.
Thank you for the inspiration.

Sherri
Sherri
6 years ago

I am planning my own trip to Scotland and England and didn’t realize they had cottages at Balmoral Castle for hire. I will have to look into it. It sounds like fun.

Janice Hougland
Janice Hougland
6 years ago

Grace, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your writing! Of all the historical romance authors out there, I sincerely like yours the most. Your clear, concise, descriptive writing style suits me “right down to the ground,” as my grandfather used to say. And I’m sure your latest release will be no different. I just bought The Bridegroom Wore Plaid and I hope to have that read soon so I can be prepared for Once Upon a Tartan. I do love those Scots stories! Continued success to you in your writing. As long as you continue writing stories, I… Read more »

Amy
Amy
6 years ago

What was your favorite event/moment from your trip to the Highlands?

Janice Hougland
Janice Hougland
6 years ago

I forgot to mention where to vacation in Scotland. Well, since my ancestors are from the Isle of Skye, I would recommend that gorgeous place for its scenery and ancient ruins. Dunvegan Castle (oldest inhabited castle in Scotland), some ruins from the Picts (over 2,000 years old) and the historic church of St Columba (who ultimately transferred the cathedral church of the Bishops of the Isles to Iona) are among the wonderful things to be seen on Skye.

Wendy
Wendy
6 years ago

Love your books Grace! Have you visited anywhere that you thought had ghosts in the highlands?

LSUReader
LSUReader
6 years ago

With the final Windham sibling nearing marriage, do you think you’ll ever revisit the family as main characters in another series? Perhaps when Gayle is the Duke? They all seem to be having kids, so you have plenty to work with!

Thanks for the visit and giveaway. Love your books, Grace.

JUANITA DECUIR
JUANITA DECUIR
6 years ago

Grace, I would shop all over Scotland for plaid kilt fabric and be afraid to cut it, but, I would eventually make a regency period gown from it and matching kilt for husband Harry.

Amber
Amber
6 years ago

I’ve always wanted to go there! Its on my top 5 places.

Beth Irwin
Beth Irwin
6 years ago

The woolen mills at Jedburgh are another awesome place to stop. If you do a reader tour, I’ll sign up as I didn’t see nearly enough while I was stationed down south in the UK.

Mickey
Mickey
6 years ago

Love me some Grace Burrowes!

Trisha
Trisha
6 years ago

Any castle is cool to check out.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

Do you have any input in the cover art? Do the people look as you imagine your characters to be?

laurie g
laurie g
6 years ago

I would love to head to the Highlands

Julee J. Adams
Julee J. Adams
6 years ago

Thanks for hosting Grace and Grace–I’m amazed and pleased at how awesome your success has been this past year! I’m going in for shoulder surgery this next week and while I’ll have time for reading, I have a feeling I won’t be choosing paperbacks. E-readers are such gifts for so many people! Keep ’em coming, Grace!

Betty Hamilton
Betty Hamilton
6 years ago

How much (if at all) do you use your siblings as models for your characters?

Tiffany
6 years ago

I studied abroad in London for a semester in my junior year. I took a week to tour through scotland and cannot recommend it enough. I called my dad from a payphone before leaving Oban, crying and saying I had to quit school and stay there. LOL

Have you been to the Fairy Pools of Skye? That’s my next trip when I can afford it!

Diane Sallans
Diane Sallans
6 years ago

Hi Grace – I’m drawn to all things Scottish – I think some ancestors came from there and someday I hope to find out.
Here’s my question – what is the Best and Worst Scottish food you’ve eaten or maybe just have heard of?

bn100
bn100
6 years ago

Who would you want to see in a kilt?

Dot Salvagin
6 years ago

Grace, I have enjoyed many of your books and look forward to enjoying many more. Balmoral Castle seems like a perfectly lovely place and lucky you to get to stay on the grounds.

JanieC
JanieC
6 years ago

Congrats on the new release, Grace. I guessing a tartan could be used as a blanket for a picnic in the Highlands.

Tiffany
Tiffany
6 years ago
Reply to  JanieC

Grace, love your books and thanks so much for the information on Balmoral. It looks beautiful and tugs on your heart to go there. Have you thought of writing a book set in Wales? I haven’t seen a lot of books in the romance genre set there yet.

Mary R.
Mary R.
6 years ago

Would love to take a trip to British Isles, Austria, Paris & Provence…well most places that have a romantic, old world vibe. Love to support US travel, but there’s a lot of same schlock, same schlock here. Glad you found your quiet, inspirational place in Scotland. My Dad said we were decendents of Robertson clan.

Diane Peterson
6 years ago

Hoping to do a tour of England in the spring. It will include a bit of Scotland. Can’t wait. The Highland info was fascinating. Love Grace’s books and will be reading the Highland series very soon.

Armenia Fox
Armenia Fox
6 years ago

That was very interesting you mentioned the fact, that in May, the day remained light until 10pm. I know a bit of how you were feeling because I had taken a trip one year to Alaska during June. The sun went down but it never really got dark, but I do remember the temperatures falling quite a bit. Was the drop in temperature the same in Scotland?

Sheryl N
Sheryl N
6 years ago

I would love to go to Scotland, it’s my dream vacation. I love the brogue and the kilts. Did you learn how to drape a plaid while you were there?

Eddi
Eddi
6 years ago

Sounds awesome! Are there any hikes that you would highly recommend?

BookLady
BookLady
6 years ago

What a wonderful vacation in the Scottish Highlands! Staying in a cottage at Balmoral Castle sounds so romantic. Thanks for sharing the great photos.

Tin
Tin
6 years ago

Hi, Grace!

I love that you set this series in the Highlands — there’s just something about Scotland that makes everything magical and more romantic.

I’ve never been there but your pictures of the place are so, so lovely.

Molly R. Moody
Molly R. Moody
6 years ago

I loved this blog post. I wasn’t aware that you could rent a cottage on the grounds of Balmoral Castle and that is something I’d absolutely love to do. I too easily go for days without talking to another person, I think I would have loved to be a hermit in another time and place. I’ve got some Scottish ancestry in my background though I’m not exactly sure where, I believe it’s on my father’s side of the family. I took Once Upon A Tartan with me this morning and got in about an hour’s reading both going to and… Read more »

Molly R. Moody
Molly R. Moody
6 years ago
Reply to  Molly R. Moody

Grace if I ever make a “bucket list” a visit to Scotland and a stay in a Balmoral cottage would probably be the only thing on it. I guess I should have spent $2 on a Power Ball ticket today as I’m sure if I ever win the lottery I’d get over there for a visit. I haven’t flown since ’95 and am not sure I ever will again but I think for a trip to Great Britain, and most especially the Scottish highlands, I’d figure out some way to get myself on a plane again. Are you posting any… Read more »

JanD
JanD
6 years ago

Another vacation destination added to my list. I would love to experience the sun setting at 10 pm.

kpb
kpb
6 years ago

I enjoy your settings as much as your plots. Takes me to the places I haven’t visted physically. Can’t wait to read your latest.