I think Scotland is shorthand, and that’s one of the reasons it’s often used as a backdrop for historical romance.
- A country striving for freedom (built in conflict)
- A country filled with independent, rugged, warrior-like people (a little stereotypical, but we’ll work with that for the moment).
- A country with bitterly cold weather during eight months of the year (weather can be a character, too).
I have written 18th and 19th century Scottish romances, but I’m nowhere near an expert on Scotland. (I get a little annoyed by people who bill themselves as experts, actually.)
It is my impression, however, that after the last Jacobite rebellion (1745) that the majority of Scots were trying to make the best of a bad situation. The desire for independence seems to have been an underlying current, but the Scots were being educated in England and after Victoria decreed her love of Scotland, absorbing the English more and more into their country. It’s the same feeling I suspect the Confederates had after the Civil War.
I’ve often thought that Scots and Texans are very much alike. There’s a rugged individualism, pride of place, and determination that links them. I offer this map that I posted before but which still amazes me. It shows how big Texas is and how small the entire country of Scotland is in comparison.
But unlike any other country, I think, even England, writing a book that takes place in Scotland allows an author to immediately transmit something to a reader: this book will feature strong characters, a beautiful backdrop, and fierce emotions.
What do you think?