Tag Archives: Scotland

Review: A Dream of Death, by Connie Berry

A Dream of Death, by Connie Berry | A Kate Hamilton Mystery

A Dream of Death, by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books, 2019)

A remote Scottish island. A private hotel steeped in history. And a repeat of a centuries-old murder.

This is the sort of mystery I love best. The setting is so real I can almost step into it, and I liked the protagonist, Kate Hamilton, from page one. Kate deals in antiques, not crimes, but she has a good eye for detail and strong motivation to solve this mystery. The company of an attractive, vacationing English police detective is a bonus.

The language is engaging. My favourite lines:

Three years had passed since Bill’s death, and the veneer of coping I’d laid over my grief was as thin as eggshell porcelain and every bit as breakable. [page 1]

Guthrie sat between his mother and Elenor, looking as if his license to exist had just expired. [page 29]

How many minutes, hours, days had that old clock marked? Years rolled by, then decades and centuries, and every morning the hands of the clock turned anew, as if it were possible to record over the failures and griefs of the past. [page 64]

A Dream of Death is the first book in the Kate Hamilton Mystery series, and I’m eager to read book two, A Legacy of Murder.

Connie Berry is an American author who writes this Scottish setting like it’s one she knows well. For more about the author and her work, visit connieberry.com.

[Review copy from the public library.]

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The Invisible Made Visible

The Invisible Made Visible

by Steph Beth Nickel

In the English Standard Version of the Bible, Romans 1:19-20 says, “What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

I journeyed across the Pond this month to attend my son’s wedding in Scotland, the homeland of both my ancestors and my husband’s. It was a truly amazing trip. Neither Dave nor I had traveled internationally before except for the occasional trip to the US.

We arrived in Glasgow on Thursday and the wedding took place in St. Fillans by Loch Earn on Saturday. Our son and daughter-in-law were married outside, beside the loch. The scenery was breathtaking.

There is an Arrogant Worms song about Canada titled “Rocks and Trees.” Most of the lyrics are as follows: “Rocks and trees. And trees and rocks. And water.” The Scottish version could go like this: “Mounts and lochs. And lochs and mounts. And castles.”


[photo credit: Steph Beth Nickel]

On Sunday, the newlyweds began their married life by driving us north to the Isle of Skye, where we all stayed for three days. Nathanial drove his sister and me while Laura chauffeured her brand new father- and brother-in-law. Nathanial had recently earned his full license and this was the first long journey he had taken as the sole driver. (If you’ve ever driven in Scotland, especially in the Highlands, you will realize what an accomplishment this is.)

I live in Southwestern Ontario and though I am very thankful for our home—and the fact that we experience very few natural disasters—“it really is flat,” as Dave observed when we flew home.

But traveling to the Highlands of Scotland . . . around almost every corner was a spectacular vista. I was snapping pictures like crazy through the windshield.  And Nathanial was so excited to share the wonders with me. He had only been to Skye once since moving to Scotland, but he loves it.


[photo credit: Steph Beth Nickel]

There were many reasons for my mama heart to overflow with joy, but there was also a heaviness known to Christians whose children are not walking with the Lord. I was experiencing the awe of observing God’s eternal power, His creation. My son marveled at the beauty but attributes it to millions of years of chance happenings.

While I acknowledged God as the Creator of all the beauty I witnessed, I must confess that I didn’t take time to consciously think about what it revealed about Him. What did it say about His eternal power and divine nature? As I review the pictures I took, this would be a great question to ask myself.

I often pray that the Lord will give me eyes to see and ears to hear. I must start praying this prayer for others as well.

What do you see when you look at the beauty all around? Do you take the time to look for the invisible in what is visible?


[photo credit: Steph Beth Nickel]

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Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel
(Photo by Stephen G. Woo Photography)

Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.