Wednesday, April 6, 2016

National Tartan Day: Aloha to Patience Griffin and THE TROUBLE WITH SCOTLAND - Book Review


Today is National Tartan Day (link), celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath  in 1320 in which the Scottish lords claimed independence from England:

...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

Four centuries later, Scottish descendants drew upon the Declaration of Arbroath to frame the Declaration of Independence in Colonial America.

Enter Patience Griffin's THE TROUBLE WITH SCOTLAND.
Return to the Scottish Highlands in the latest Kilts and Quilts novel.  The quilting ladies of the Scottish village of Gandiegow are known to piece together more than just fabric . . .

Life isn’t going as planned and (American) Sadie Middleton is rethinking her whole future. Thankfully one thing is staying the same: she’s able to share her love of quilting with her grandmother Gigi. The two of them enter a contest and win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Kilts and Quilts retreat in the Scottish Highlands. But their victory turns hollow when Gigi passes away before they can go. Sadie is grief-stricken, but her brother convinces her to take the trip to Gandiegow anyway.

There she meets a charming circle of quilters who remind her of her grandmother—and Ross Armstrong, a handsome fisherman who brings a smile to her face. Newly single, Ross intends to enjoy his freedom. That plan goes awry as he comes to know Sadie—and a surprising spark is lit. Too bad some well-meaning folks want to protect Ross from getting hurt again and are determined to keep him and the American lass apart.

When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome. - Wilma Rudolph

Like Wilma Rudolph, Sadie Middleton has a handicap to overcome. Shortly after she was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), her beloved grandmother passed away. Alanis Morissette 
would find it ironic that after Gigi's death, Sadie received notice that their quilt block won an all expense paid trip to Gandiegow, Scotland.  Her brother, Oliver, insists she travel to Scotland to claim the prize, with him overshadowing her the entire way.  

Once they arrive in Gandiegow, Sadie extracts herself from the crowd of other quilters who remind her of Gigi, only to bump into Ross, a local fisherman. She saves him from an aggressive suitor.  In return, Ross takes Sadie away from town to simply breathe. Over the next two weeks, they find themselves drawn to the other as they share their desire to escape family expectations.  Ross and Sadie encounter misunderstandings and misdirection only to realize they are the better half of the other.

THE TROUBLE WITH SCOTLAND is Book 5 in Griffin's Kilts and Quilts series.  She delivers her trademark warmth with themes of crippling grief, overbearing family, the Ugly Ducking, and Wilma Rudolph's triumph.   

(Wilma was born on June 23, 1940.  June 23 was later proclaimed Wilma Rudolph Day in her home state of Tennessee. June 23 is the anniversary of the First Battle of Scottish Independence in 1314 when the ragtag Scots routed the English Army at Bannockburn).

I enjoyed my visit to Gandiegow through the eyes of Sadie. I appreciate how Griffin delivered authentic characters who embrace their imperfections. They gather their family together, wrapping up in the quilts made with love by the townsfolk. Griffin incorporates Scottish culture, ancient and modern, for a "feel good" read. Let me add that I do not quilt, knit, or even sew. Yet I understood how the craft bound together the quilting ladies, created a viable business for the small town, and served as a metaphor of how different pieces sewn together makes a beautiful, but strong, community.

Recommended read for fans of small town romance, Scottish culture, and characters who overcome adversity.

I received a print copy from the author for an honest review.

To Scotland With Love (Kilts and Quilts, #1)22401463

I am giving away Scottish swag to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about someone you know who overcame adversity. I would credit my father as an inspiration.  Although he grew up in a poor Mississippi town with limited opportunities, he joined the Army, took advantage of the educational benefits, and provided his family with a comfortable life.

2. Comments are open through Saturday, April 9, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 10.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Patience, her books, and her quilts at

23591066The Accidental Scot (Kilts and Quilts, #4)


  1. My nephew - as a baby he was diagnosed with asthma & severe food allergies (the slightest bit of dairy will bring on anaphylaxis) then Crohnes disease. He never lets it slow him down - he has traveled extensively (even an around the world cruise), got two Masters degrees, and is married with two wonderful (& very active) little boys. He rarely lets on when he has difficulties and is a reminder that you never know what people may be dealing with that you don't know about.

  2. I would probably say my mother. She was born 2 months premature and she only weighed 2 lbs when she was born. My grandma told me that they were told she wasn't going to make it but she did. She was 5 foot nothing and when I got taller than her I started petting her on top of her head. You've never seen a mother get so mad. lol But it was funny.

  3. My father also was born in MS and lost his father at 11, his step father was the opposite of the wonderful father that he lost too soon. He also joined the army during WWII. Although he never went back to school (only went through the 7th grade) and started his own business and did okay for someone that started with nothing.

  4. Good
    A friend

  5. My friend was the oldest of a large family. They didn't have much, but helped others when they could. She wanter to go to college and become a teacher, but family finances could barely make monthly expenses. She was able to get a state regents scholarship for tuition at the local state university. She babysat during the school year and worked several jobs over the summer to earn enough to pay her other college expenses. She graduated with honors in education and was able to get a teaching job at a local school system. She was able to do it through hard work with no expense to her family or student loans. She was the first in her large extended family to ever attend and graduate from college. She was an excellent teacher and since retiring has volunteered at important local charities and community service organizations.
    She never let the lack of funds or long hours deter her from her goals.

  6. I would have to say my son. He has a profound hearing loss.

  7. My mom, she had three chronich illnesses and always makes the bedt of each and every day. Can't is a word she is not familiar with, so proud of her!

  8. I would say my daughter Kathy. She was born in Poland and lost her leg at 13 months. We adopted her and brought her over here. She has had to have about 8 surgeries on her leg. Two of them major. That never stopped her. She played varsity basketball and often scored more than anyone else. She lives a full life with her partner and her partner's daughter.

  9. My mom would be someone who overcame her life growing up to be a better person. Bad home, bad parent, yet she was the best to us and refused to let that shape her life. :)

  10. I love hearing about others overcoming. Thank you, everyone, for sharing. Di is right...we can't always know what someone else is dealing with.
    Kim...thank you for the lovely post. I always enjoy your blog!

  11. I love this series. I'd say my youngest daughter. Diagnosed with bone cancer at 7 ,she had her right shoulder removed and replaced with a titanium implant and spent a little over 11 months as an in patient at the hospital and had numerous chemos. She didn't and doesn't let it get in the way of her life. She's grown to be a beautiful person with a great personality.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com