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Historical fiction set at Loch Leven

  • Submitted: 5th February 2024

The Tower – Flora Carr

Do you want to read a book you will never forget?

Historical fiction with a very special insight into a real historical figure?

Set in a Scottish castle?

Map of locations in The Tower

Historical novel set in Scotland


Destination : Kinross, Loch Leven

Author guide: Flora Carr

Genre: historical

Food and drink to accompany: nothing, you’re in prison




A novel to transport you to a castle in Scotland


Map of locations in The Tower


I have read a LOT of historical fiction. A lot about Kings and Queens. I haven’t read much about Mary, Queen of Scots and nothing like this. This is EXCELLENT historical fiction. So good, that I moved my review up from March to now.

What I loved about this (where do I start, there were so many things!) was the way the book took you right inside the minds and souls of Mary Queen of Scots and her maids. Three women who were imprisoned on a tiny island in Scotland. Mary was taken there as a prisoner, to keep her out of the way, as men fought for her throne. That sets the scene for how the women are treated. They are at the mercy of men, their supposed superiors, a runaway husband, an illegitimate half brother and so many more.

Historical novel set in Scotland

Map of locations in The Tower

We learn about Mary and what she is going through by what men have done to her, what men think of her, what lies men have told about her. History books tell Mary’s story in relation to her second husband who was murdered, her son the King and others in her life but what this novel excels at, is the fact that there are very few men, or even mentions of men in Mary’s story here.

Map of locations in The Tower

By focusing on Mary and her maids Cuckoo and Jane, as well as Mary Seton, we get under their skin and in their heads. We sit with them before the fire, we eat with them, sit in the dark with them and worry with them. What I was humbled to do, was to realise just how strong and resourceful these women were. They didn’t talk down on men but revealed their own inner strength which was so much more powerful. Their lives might have been shaped by men but their minds and words were not. Far from it.

The sense of time and place was superb – one castle, one prison, one island. Claustrophobic and utterly gripping. I am dying to go to the castle in question and take this book with me to hear the whispers of these remarkable women on the wind.

The writing is superb and reads like an historical account as if the author was actually there, but with a modern accessibility.

THIS is historical fiction at its finest!

Map of locations in The Tower


Postcard details:  Access The BookTrail’s Map of Locations and travel guide here

More books about Kings and Queens


BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Tower

Twitter:   @floracarr_ 

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