PJ’s Reader’s Bookshop Blog

A historical fiction set in Scotland

In the town of Paisley, where I grew up, I never saw a Chinese kid playing in the streets or at school. Still, there were two or three restaurants and takeaways where we used to buy our chicken chow mein, so they must have been around.

Maybe they kept to themselves. Growing up as a teenager in many of the suburbs of Paisley wasn’t easy, and those from an ethnic background would have found it even more challenging.

But the attitudes of society have changed rapidly in line with increased mobility and international communications. Scots, though, would still prefer to keep Scotland to themselves, guarding their culture and history fiercely. And why not?

historical fiction set in scotland

This blog discusses one ‘rite of passage’ story included in my novel, Small Fish Big Fish, a historical fiction set in Scotland during the nineteen sixties. Prior to writing this novel, I’d drafted a story tentatively titled Guilt of the Innocents as one of several coming of age stories intended for middle school students.

This tale now plays a pivotal role in the overall story. The central character is a fifteen-year-old orphan girl called Tianyi Chi who comes from a small farming village in Jilin Province, China. You can find it here.

Tianyi Chi finds herself alone, knowing no-one (except for one uncle) in Ferguslie Park, a suburb of Paisley. Some things would have been familiar to her – the poverty, the cleaving to tradition, the sense of history in the country, the love of music, and the storytelling. But I feel sure this young girl would have had some difficulty finding her feet in this new world.

Click here for part 1 of her story. I will follow it up in a few weeks with part two, but if you want to see how it all works out before then (plus lots more) you’ll need to download a copy of my historical fiction set in Scotland book, Small Fish Big Fish.

Here’s the blurb:

When a ten-pound note falls at Jamie McCarthy’s feet, the teenager thinks his luck is in and heads to the fairground for a bit of fun. This is the beginning of a change in Jamie’s fortunes, but not in the way he hopes. Before long he finds himself on a dark path, trapped by fear, jealousy, and the scheming of bully, Archie Stewart.

Archie has been the victim of fate all his miserable life. He’s watched his younger neighbor, Jamie, seemingly enjoy everything Archie longed for handed to him on a plate: caring parents, close friends, and a rosy future. Envy eats at Archie Now, it’s time for payback.

A gripping historical fiction set in Scotland, Small Fish Big Fish, tells of the relationship between a group of teenagers struggling towards maturity in a seedy suburb of Scotland during the nineteen sixties.

It is a true-to-life drama, written through the eyes of unique individuals. If you enjoy stories with a compelling cast of characters, suspenseful mystery and a touch of young romance, then you’ll love PJ McDermott’s twist on the traditional coming of age story. Judge for yourself whether this is not the best book for young adults!

What Readers Say

  • A wonderful story that all young people can relate to. It takes an age-old battle and puts it splendidly into words that many will appreciate. I could not believe the climax.
  • Every young person wants to know they’re not alone. We are all “Jamie” at some stage in our lives, lost, confused, trying to fit in, struggling to come to grips with our lives and who we are. This book does this flawlessly.
  • Reminds me of Frank McCourt’s biography of his life growing up in Ireland.
  • A fantastic story and a great read.
  • I found myself unable to put it down after the first twenty pages.

To purchase a copy of Small Fish Big Fish, click on the book image below.

young adult thriller

If you’d like to know more about Paisley and Ferguslie Park’s social reality and the facts behind this historical fiction set in Scotland, click here.

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