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Julie Andrews

I'm a library assistant in a public library and a library science student in the San Jose State University SLIS program. This blog is to track my progress in school and to note things of interest to library students, staff, and patrons. Expect to find reviews, essays, musings, and links.

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LIBR 287 - Gamifying Information
LIBR 298 - e-Portfolio

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All of 'em!

The Highlander Romance Books

Anyone who knows anything about romance books will not be surprised that Scottish Highlanders feature prominently in them. Which brings up the whole issue of cultural appropriation. (Yes, even if your great-great granddad was Scottish on his mother’s side.) I can’t find a good specific post about that to link to, so I’ll link to the FeministSF Wiki page on Racefail ’09, aka the Great Cultural Appropriation Debate of Doom 3 (or 2). I’m sure if you follow enough links, someone will mention all the guys in kilts running around in American-written romance books.

Here is a list of all the romance paperback titles in our library catalog with the word ‘Highlander’ or ‘Highland’ in them.

Untamed Highlander (Donna Grant)
Wicked Highlander (Donna Grant)
Tempting the Highlander (Michele Sinclair)
My Immortal Highlander (Hannah Howell)
The Angel and the Highlander (Donna Fletcher)
The Highlander’s Sword (Amanda Forester)
To Conquer a Highlander (Mary Wine)
Devil’s Highlander (Veronica Wolff)
Seduced by a Highlander (Paula Quinn)
Tamed by a Highlander (Paula Quinn)
Captured by the Highlander (Julianne MacLean)
Claimed by the Highlander (Julianne MacLean)
Highlander’s Curse (Melissa Mayhue)
In Bed With a Highlander (Maya Banks)

Highland Promise/Vow/Hearts/Conqueror/Champion/Lover/Destiny/Warrior/Honor/Bride/Wolf/Wedding/Fire/Captive/Thirst/Sinner/Barbarian/Protector (Hannah Howell) — That’s 18 different books
Highland Vampire (Hannah Howell/Adrienne Basso/Deborah Raleigh)
Highland Scandal (Julia London)
A Highland Duchess (Karen Ranney)
Highland Hellcat (Mary Wine)
Highland Master (Amanda Scott)
Highland Heat (Mary Wine)
Highland Heiress (Margaret Moore)
Taming the Highland Bride (Lynsay Sands)
Sins of a Highland Devil (Sue-Ellen Welfonder)
Heart of the Highland Wolf (Terry Spear)
Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel (Sue-Ellen Welfonder)
Claimed by the Highland Warrior (Michelle Willingham)
Seduced by Her Highland Warrior (Michelle Willingham)

You can definitely see at least one thread running through these. Highlanders are wild and need taming. You could easily substitute ‘Barbarian’ or ‘Werewolf’ in most of these. When they’re not sinning, they’re off seducing people. I guess that’s why they’re popular romance book subjects?

Branching out a little bit, we get titles like these:

The Devil Wears Tartan (Karen Ranney)
The Devil Wears Plaid (Teresa Medeiros)
Real Men Wear Plaid! (Rhonda Nelson)
Must Love Kilts (Allie Mackay)

The Scottish Companion (Karen Ranney)
A Borrowed Scot (Karen Ranney)
Secrets to Seducing a Scot (Michelle Marcos)
Scandal in Scotland (Karen Hawkins)
One Night in Scotland (Karen Hawkins)

Really, guys, you have the whole history of the human race for your historical romances. You have an entire planet. And yet you’re fixated on a century or so of time in a small part of a small part of a small country. Why not branch out a little? And I don’t mean branching out to Wales, as much as Wales is cool. (Even cooler than fezzes.) Although Wales would be a start! I don’t find any titles with Wales or Welsh* in them.

Is it the kilts? Is it honestly the kilts? Because lots of societies in time and space have men in robes or variations on loin cloths. Aren’t those kind of sexy too?

One final thought before I conclude. While some of the ‘Highland X’ ones are clearly women (You don’t think Highland Hellcat is about a guy, do you?), I find myself assuming that all of the ‘Highlanders’ mentioned were men. And I don’t think I’m wrong. Even though roughly half of the Highlanders in existence must’ve been women. Somehow it turned into a gendered word.

UPDATE: Here’s the ones with ‘Laird’ in them.

Sold to a Laird (Karen Ranney)
Taken by the Laird (Margo Maguire)
In the Laird’s Bed (Joanne Rock)

5 comments to The Highlander Romance Books

  • K

    My comments:

    1) For me, I’m sure you can guess what images ‘Highlander’ conjures in my mind as soon as I hear it. So to me it’s not just a gendered word, it’s even more specific. I doubt this holds true for all of the romance reading public, but some? Maybe.

    2) I suspect you’d be surprised by the wide time period covered by these sorts of books. It’s not just 100 years or so — much closer to 1000. Say, 1100-1800 as a range.

    3) You left out “Laird” as a search term.

    4) But you shouldn’t limit yourself to romance paperbacks! Just see what you’ve missed in audiobooks: Beyond the Highland Mist, Kiss of the Highlander, The Highlander’s Touch.

  • Fledgling

    1) Oh, me too. And my second thought after swords, lightning, and ponytails is Brigadoon.

    2) And how different are the ones set in 1100 than the ones set in 1800? They throw in some specific kings or wars or something?

    3) Updated the post with those. Thanks.

    4) I didn’t want to be typing all week! 🙂

  • K

    2) Usually they do attempt to use specific political situations to make the setting more interesting. Any time when Scotland was warring with England is always popular. I’d guess the plot itself tends to be the same (girl captured by Highlander, Highlander flummoxed by girl, sexytimes ensue) but the clothes and the food and the type of housing tends to vary.

  • Bobby

    I have to ask if anyone nows this book that I have been trying to find. It’s an historical romance with , I am quite sure, the word Highlander in the title. It starts off with a man going to this house where he meets his betrothed for the first time. And she is a real calculating girl with I think a nanny or a maid with her band the man doesn’t believe that she is still a virgin so he pushes her up against the wall and tells her that she better be a virgin or else or something along those lines. And the kicker about the guy that his new young wife doesn’t like about him is that he has a bastard daughter and his daughter lives in this little house off the main house with a nanny. And I think the man makes the nanny take the girl to live with the queen or someone because his new wife is being real paranoid with the bastard daughter because she has her own kids now and she goes a little nuts. It fast forwards to the girl being older and she has a friend who marries some highland laird or something and she goes with her friend to move to the highlands. There the girl I think becomes betrothed. But I know a laird by the name Ian kidnaps her and steals her away to his keep and they get it on and the whole shebang. But Ian gets hurt during a war or fight and he dies from infection. So the girl is then a widow who is very whiny. She has a daughter by Ian but she doesn’t want the girl she wanted a boy. Then another man, I think he was a laird as well, kind of stakes a claim on her but she doesn’t want this guy so becomes very whiny to her friend and the local priest. They tell her to stop whining and the guy gets a letter from his commander to produce an heir off her or he can’t go to war. He becomes angry and that’s all I know of the book. Could someone PLEASE help me with my search. I would appreciate it greatly.

  • But please don’t confuse professionalism in librarianship with having no standards about books and reading. That might be just the right thing for readers’ advisory, where the goal is to get the reader to the next book that’s more or less like the last book they liked, but in librarianship the sun doesn’t rise and set on readers’ advisory, and a lot of librarians are actually paid to have standards and develop tastes.

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