The official blog of Historical Fiction author, Mary Anne Yarde, and home to The Coffee Pot Book Club. Come and join Mary Anne on the hunt for everything historical, as well as mythological. Oh, and let's not forget the odd book or two! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...
Finding Inspiration, by Vanda Vadas #HistoricalRomance #Scotland #mustread @Vanda_Vadas
By Vanda Vadas
Mary Anne, it’s wonderful to be back on ‘Myths,
Legends, Books & Coffee Pots’. Thank you!
I think it fair to say that my first holiday
in Scotland, back in the late 80’s, was the catalyst behind the inspiration for
my soon-to-be-released Scottish Historical, The
Prodigal Laird (March 2019).
A visit to Inverness and Drumossie Moor is not
something one easily forgets. The place, its history, and my new-found
knowledge of a battle fought there, was a profound and lasting memory. I
revisited Scotland with my family a few years ago. Inverness and Culloden drew
my return for research purposes, so too a visit to the Isle of Skye, in
particular Dunvegan Castle, the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod
for 800 years.
Laird is set in 1747
in the Scottish Highlands, and tells the story of Roderick MacLeod and Annabel
MacDonald, married against their wishes, by proxy. The life and times they lived
in were shaped by the aftermath of the battle of Culloden, fought near
Inverness on 16th April, 1746.
In less than an hour, hundreds of Charles
Edward Stuart’s Jacobite forces lost their lives on the battlefield (and
beyond) against the Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, the Duke
of Cumberland. The battle ended all hope of the Stuart dynasty regaining the
Bonnie Prince Charlie’s troops were vastly
outnumbered by Cumberland’s army. Aside from being hungry, cold and exhausted
after marching all night from an abortive foray, they were ill-equipped, their
artillery poor, and lacked military strategy. They were no match for
Cumberland’s cannon and cavalry and the ground underfoot handicapped the
Jacobites main tactic – the charge.
Bonnie Prince Charles.
Not all clans rallied to the Prince’s
standard. Some clansmen fought only to avoid any repercussions on their
families and homes had they not answered their chief’s call. Other clansmen,
like the MacLeods, chose to fight despite their chief’s disapproval.
In the weeks that followed, those Jacobites
who fought in and escaped the battle were hunted down and killed. Charles
evaded capture for five months. With the help of Flora MacDonald, he eventually
made good his escape disguised as a woman and fled to France and final exile.
The Jacobites devastating defeat affected the
whole future of the Highlands. It fractured and dismantled the Scottish clans
and led to the Scottish clearances.
On the two occasions I visited Drumossie Moor,
I stood before individual stones which mark the very place where collective
clan members fell during the battle. It’s easy to understand why one’s emotions
stir when giving thought to hundreds of kilted men whose blood soaked the
marshy soil. Their gallant courage has passed into legend.
Chief of MacGillivray.
The National Trust for Scotland preserves the
battlefield for Culloden, a place of pilgrimage.
His marriage might cease decades of hostilities
between two clans, but that doesn't mean he wants it—or his bold new wife who
is keeping secrets of her own.
Roderick MacLeod arrives in his native
Scottish Highlands to pay brief respects to his recently deceased father—the
man Roderick blames for the death of his English mother. But before he can
return to England, he is saddled with two responsibilities he never asked for:
the title of Laird of Clan MacLeod and an unwanted marriage, by proxy, to the
daughter of a rival laird.
Annabel MacDonald thought she had the
perfect marriage; her husband’s continued absence allowed her independence and
the freedom to secretly hide and abet the escape of her fugitive clansmen. When
the husband she’d never met shows up, she must convince him to return to
England before he uncovers her many secrets, and perhaps her heart.
Before residing in Australia,
Vanda’s birthplace and early childhood years were spent in Papua New Guinea. At
the age of eleven, a holiday in England sparked an interest in the days of old.
Castles, ruins and discovering Jane Austen novels inspired a lifelong interest
in all things historical, a passion that later kickstarted Vanda’s desire to
write historical fiction.Her locale
and global visits to faraway places inspire her to create fictitious characters
and dramas set against authentic and geographical backdrops. Her debut novel, The Pirate Lord, was an Amazon #1 Best
Seller in Historical Romance.The
Gold Coast is home to Vanda and her husband, where they enjoy walks along
world-renowned beaches or a quiet getaway to the lush hills of the Hinterland.