Here at BooksfromScotland we're gearing up to our summer holidays and we thought we'd help you prepare for your breaks too. We have books this month that deserve a place in your beach bag, that celebrate the people, places, landscape and architecture of Scotland - if you're planning to stay at home - as well as books that will keep the kids occupied while you travel.

Jenny Colgan is one of Scotland’s most prolific novelists. BooksfromScotland caught up with her to chat about her latest release, The Summer Skies.


The Summer Skies By Jenny Colgan Published by Sphere


Congratulations on the publication of your latest novel,The Summer Skies. How do you greet each new publication day? Does the writing life still give you butterflies?

Actually for me it’s usually a day before, if someone gets one delivered early or they’re early out on the shelves- there’s always one somewhere- and I’ll hear from people and that’s exciting/ terrifying! But it’s always lovely to have a shiny new book out there. They never quite feel like mine. Normally I also look at the acknowledgements to see if I’ve missed anyone out. I have always missed someone out. Then the publishers send me a box of them, and half of it I leave outside the door so people from the village can come and help themselves, and half go to the cleaners at the local hospital. Nurses get lots of presents, cleaners not so much and they work so hard.


Can you tell readers what to expect fromThe Summer Skies? What prompted you to write a stand alone novel rather than carrying on with your various series of books?

Well I always like to have a new story to come to. I was in the Museum of Flight in East Lothian with my son and saw information about the women who flew tiny planes between the Northern islands of Scotland and I was instantly very very interested in that, it seemed interesting to me. We took a plane to Barra, where you land on the beach, and that was very exciting.


You have a foreword in your book where you warn readers that the flying information inThe Summer Skies ...


If you’re travelling around the Scottish islands, a trip to Iona Abbey is a must. But if you can’t make it in person, you can at least sample the food they offer visitors with this marvellous cookbook. Below is a recipe of their scrumptious chocolate pudding.


Iona Abbey Cookbook By Anja Jardine Published by Wild Goose


Chocolate puddle pudding with orange and cardamom (optionally GF and DF)

Another Abbey favourite – I inherited the recipe when starting to work as the cook. I have since added some orange zest and cardamom to the mix, which makes it taste a bit more exotic. Leave these out if you want the original flavour. Best eaten freshly baked from the oven!


Serves 4

The sauce: 90g soft brown sugar 25g cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate) 200ml hot water from the kettle

The cake: 90g s...



Wild History: Journeys into Lost Scotland click

Wild History: Journeys into Lost Scotland

‘Perhaps more than anything else, I want my book to be an invitation. An invitation to see for yourself just how much of the past still lives with us in the present.’


Mousa to Mackintosh: The Scottishness of Scottish Architecture click

Mousa to Mackintosh: The Scottishness of Scottish Architecture

‘What matters here are the formal qualities of architecture, the forms and formal relationships, that seem to identify a distinct characteristic of Scottishness.’


Be More Dog click

Be More Dog

‘Dogs have an absolute knack for gifting happiness and it’s something Sam teaches his young owner about.’


David Robinson Interviews Jamie Jauncey click

David Robinson Interviews Jamie Jauncey

‘But even though mavericks fascinate, we’re never quite sure of them. And that, says Jauncey, is the reason that Don Roberto isn’t as recognised today as he should be: we find him just too hard to pla …


The Japan Lights: A Q & A with Iain Maloney click

The Japan Lights: A Q & A with Iain Maloney

‘What really hooked me on him though was something I examine in the book, the question of whether our negatives should cancel out our positives.’


This Is My Body Given For You click

This Is My Body Given For You

‘There is life here, she says. Things growing. Things that have sustained me. Come and see.’


It Came From The Closet click

It Came From The Closet

‘Though the current horror landscape is slowly (slooooowly) telling more queer-centered and -adjacent stories, we largely remain tasked with reading ourselves into these films we love, to seek out cha …


Red Star Over Hebrides click

Red Star Over Hebrides

‘Looking over their shoulders at nations lost either to bloodshed or tyranny, they had little choice but to try and begin new lives on the strange and alien landscape they had chanced upon.’


Uncle Pete and the Polar Bear Rescue click

Uncle Pete and the Polar Bear Rescue

‘“We’re going to have to jump out!” yelled Uncle Pete, hoping he’d packed his parachute and not his dirty washing, just as he’d done by mistake on his first adventure with TM.’


Sweet Skies click

Sweet Skies

‘Otto raised both hands to the sky and yelled in delight. He was still yelling and punching the air when the next plane took off and that too waggled its wings as it flew over.’