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Thorn in My Heart (Lowlands of Scotland Series #1) Paperback – Bargain Price, March 18, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Higgs, the bestselling author of 20 inspirational books, successfully tries her hand at her first historical novel, spinning a new version of the biblical story of Jacob to show the costs of deception and the triumph of love despite adversity. The story opens in 1764 Scotland, a month before the birth of Rowena McKie's twin boys. Those readers familiar with the biblical account of Isaac and Rebecca, their twin sons Jacob and Esau, and Jacob's search for a wife will have no trouble discerning how the plot unwinds. Higgs has a good track record with romance novels (Bookends; Mixed Signals), and she handles the love affairs between the younger twin James McKie and sisters Rose and Leana McBride with aplomb. Despite the predictable story line, Higgs keeps a few surprises up her sleeve, including the device of a proxy wedding (which although historically authentic, may be a stretch for some). Christian fiction readers will appreciate many of the moral lessons gently delivered, especially as James discovers that deception is a two-edged sword. The book feels a bit too long, but Higgs's fine writing will satisfy historical fiction aficionados. Although Scottish words are liberally sprinkled throughout the text, their definition through context is usually clear, and a welcome and thorough glossary in the back of the book further aids readers. Higgs incorporates many lovely historical details, and her strong storytelling skills stand her in good stead here.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

?Wise, heart wrenching, and ultimately triumphant. I couldn?t put it down.?
?Francine Rivers, author of Redeeming Love

?Liz Curtis Higgs takes readers on a remarkable journey to the Lowlands of Scotland. A luminous sense of hope shines through this truly wrenching story of characters who are both larger than life and all too human. This unforgettable saga is as multilayered, mysterious, and joyous as love and faith can be.?
?Susan Wiggs, New York Times best-selling author -- Review
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (March 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157856512X
  • ASIN: B0044KN3ZG
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,358,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Darling VINE VOICE on October 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have always known Liz Curtis Higgs as a humorist-having heard her on Christian radio a number of times. I had never read anything by her until now and what a fantastic read it was!
Thorn in My Heart absolutely grabbed me and wouldn't let go. This story is so rich and layered with meaning. I understand why it took Liz so wrong to transfer this plot from her heart to ours. Her thorough research of the Old TEstament story as well as 18th Century Scotland makes this book real and believable. And not only is the historical setting accurate-it carries the reader into 18th century Scotland and the hearts and minds of these proud, but God-fearing people.
You will laugh and cry at the characters on this stage. Liz brings out their real attributes every so slowly, not quick to make harsh judgments, but letting time and circumstance reveal them instead.
And if you know the Biblical account, Thorn In My Heart provides more depth to the people you thought you knew. Deceit, when displayed in full color, casts a far blacker shadow. And yet, you're often examining your own heart and asking, "What Would I Have Done?" And the pithy quotes at the beginning of each chapter leave the mind wondering what is to come next.
Thorn In My Heart doesn't shout the message-it allows for their subtle display in the good and bad choices of its human characters. There are no cookie-cutter heroes or villains, only sinners in need of God's redemptive grace.
I salute Liz Curtis Higgs for writing an elegant literary classic that will be talked about for years. Add this book to the stack on your nightstand and you will not be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
Heroines: varied

On the misty moors of eighteenth century Scotland a family saga unfolds. The highest hope of any daughter born in that day was to marry and marry well. But what is to be done when two sisters each long for the same man? How can happiness be found in such a bitter situation which threatens to drive a wedge between the most loving of sisters, forcing them to act in ways they never expected they could?
Can any man be worthy of such attention?
What worked for me:

I don't usually mention them, but I have to say I was very drawn to the cover of this novel both for its beautiful appearance and lovely feel. This is a quality publication in every sense of the phrase.
Each chapter was headed by highly apt quotes. I found myself referring back to them at the end of each chapter to see just what the author might have been hinting at when she chose those proverbs.
What texture the deftly interwoven archaic Scottish words added to the dialogue! And though the novel was of a heavy note overall, there were several snippets of speech which were quite amusing and lightened things up a bit. (However, as a hearing impaired person I don't think I could have managed the audio book version of this story. The Scottish dialect and words would have skittered off my ears and never even have entered my brain for examination.)
I also greatly appreciated the fact that this novel didn't appear to be whitewashed. There were healthy doses of the old superstitions that even the staunchest Christians of the day were likely to believe in.
Inspirational or otherwise, I'm not a fan of novels where I can feel the author standing on a soapbox with a bullhorn inside the story.
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Format: Paperback
This is such a fantastic book! I bought it because I love retellings of Biblical stories and I really enjoyed Liz Curtis Higgs' "Mad Mary" and "Bad Girls" books. It took me a few chapters to get into the book because of the Scottish terms she used, but eventually I saw that they were fairly easy to define just using context. Once I got into it, I could not put the book down. My heart ached so much for Leana, yet she grew into a strong and resolute character. And the chapter-heading quotations are very appropriate. This book is definitely worth a read, even if you're not a Christian or you're not familiar with Higgs' work. If you have read anything else by her, this is practically a must-read & you won't be disappointed!
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Format: Paperback
When I picked up this trilogy I didn't know it was the story of the Biblical Jacob, but the author made it so obvious I picked up on this fact within a few paragraphs. Then I got excited because the love story of Jacob and Rachel is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. I still do not understand why the author chose to place the story in eighteenth century Scotland. The author was tediously paralleling Jacob's life in the beginning then heads into alternate Biblical history which I find disconcerting. The stories of the patriarchs should not be altered. Oh, and the middle English spellings of words was really annoying.

Why I hate Leeana (Leah) in this story. Over and over, the author keeps writing that Leeana should have been the choice of Jamie (Jacob) because she was the epitome of sacrificial love. Let me tell me how in the story Leeana was the MOST SELFISH OF ALL. First, when her father promises her hand in marriage to a man she is not physically attracted to, she doesn't try to love him and even refuses the marriage once Jaime comes to live with them - even though it is obvious from the first that Jamie is smitten with her younger sister Rose (Rachel). Jamie rebuffs her attempts and tells her plainly he's not interested, yet she keeps trying to win his affections. After Jamie becomes engaged to Rose, Leeana professes her love to Jaime, asking him to marry her instead, and is soundly told by Jaime that he loves only Rose. When that doesn't work, she hides herself under Rose's bride veil and presents herself in a completely darkened room as Rose to a sleeping, drunk Jamie who thinks his wife has finally arrived to consummate their marriage.

How is she the self-sacrificing one? The one full of love?
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