Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review - Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

published 2010
465 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

A mother who cannot face her future.

A daughter who cannot escape her past.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.

Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.

His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory's many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.

One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.

A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

My thoughts:

I'd read and enjoyed Higgs' Galloway historical trilogy, so when I found out she had a new book based on the Biblical story of Ruth, I was excited to get my hands on a copy. And I'm happy to say that fans of Higgs' previous novels should be very happy with this one.

What I think Higgs does so well is take a story that I've heard thousands of times - in her Galloway trilogy, it was the story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel - and transport it into a completely different time and place. Creating new characters and events, and yet maintaining the heart of the story, she is able to give readers tales that seem both familiar AND fresh. Her sense of time and place is excellent - I can tell she has done her research, because I was fully transported to 18th century Scotland as I read about Elisabeth and Marjory.

If I have a complaint, it is that her characters sometimes feel a bit one-dimensional - Elisabeth is just SO good, and Janet is just SO spiteful. I think Higgs is a genuinely good writer, and could make her characters so rich and complex - so I feel a little bit disappointed when she doesn't.

Overall, though, I enjoyed it. It was a great read for this time in my life, because it sucked me in to the story right away, and the pages turned quickly thanks to lots of excitement. If you enjoy this type of historical Christian fiction, I think this is definitely a title to add to your list.

Finished: 3/23/10
Source: review copy from Waterbrook Multnomah Blogging for Books
Rating: 7/10

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