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Thorn in My Heart (Lowlands of Scotland Series #1) Paperback – Bargain Price, March 18, 2003
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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.
?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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Top Customer Reviews
One side note - the third book in the series, "Whence Came a Prince" is NOT in Kindle format. I was so confused by this. I had to buy it in iBook/Apple format via iTunes because I won't buy paper books any longer. I had to read it on my iPad, not my preferred reading device. I'd rather read with my Kindle. I found it odd that all the other books in the series were in Kindle format but not the third in the series and just wanted to give a heads up in case other Kindle owners are like me - paper books are a thing of the past.
I read a review where someone said how she hated Leana, "let me count the ways," and I definitely can see why the reader became frustrated with Leana. It was a well written critique. I will say this though, Leana became a virtuous woman, emphasis on "became." I don't believe the author wanted us to believe Leana, unlike her impetuous and younger sister Rose, was always a virtuous woman who always behaved virtuously. I think that was one of the points of the story. While, as the critic said, the author was obviously rooting for Leana, I saw nothing wrong with making Leana our Biblical hero in that while certainly imperfect, ultimately she would turn to God in her weakness and ultimately, God honored her commitment to Him.
I believe the author portrayed a woman who truly sought after God's heart, realized her sins committed against her sister Rose, her family and her cousin Jamie who she falls almost instantly madly in love with. She tried to overcome her weaknesses as virtuous women often are successful at doing. Even a great woman of God is not perfect. What makes the woman a great woman of virtue is that despite her weaknesses and prone to sin, she overcomes and always tries to avoid the sin, but if she succumbs, immediately is repentant before the Lord.
So, having defended that apparent weakness with this series (there is one more I will get to), I have to say that as a Speculative Fiction fan, I was surprised by how this story drew me in. I became completely involved with each of the main characters and was unable to accurately predict most of the plot twists and turns. Higgs can weave a "bonny" tale, that is no lie.
I will say there was one major flaw in the plot though. The entire series hinged on Jamie's deception that tricked his father into claiming him heir of his estate. This plot element was based on the Biblical story of Isaac and Rebecca and their twin sons Jacob and Esau.
The way the ruse was easily executed in Higgs novel was due to the blindness of the father Alec McKie. While the first book made it clear he wasn't totally blind, the definitely indication was that he was nearly completely blind.
Here is the major flaw, even though the third book in the series ends two years later, with Jamie returning home after being forced to flee for his life. Alec McKie seems to have recovered much of his eyesight in "Whence Came a Prince". If anything, his blindness should have progressed, as it is revealed early on the man was not blind from birth.
In the third book, there is a clear reference to Alec McKie's ability to see the way Leana looks at his son with loving eyes. This coming from the same man who couldn't tell that his dark-haired and smooth skinned son was tricking him into giving him his blessing (giving Jamie the rights to the estate), instead of the rightful heir, the bright red-haired, hairy elder son Ethan. All due to Alec's near total blindness.
I was stunned by the numerous references to the father's ability to suddenly see things he hadn't before the third book, recognizing people as he entered a room etc. Whereas he heretofore in the first book was so blind he seemed feeble and unable to get from room to room without assistance. That is essentially the only reason I did not give this series five stars.
Other than that pretty glaring flaw, which actually happened in the third book of the series, "Whence Came a Prince", "Thorn in my Heart" Book 1 and "Fair is the Rose" Book 2 as well as "Whence Came a Prince" Book 3 in the series totally captured my heart.
I have rarely ever read any fiction (and I'm a 53 year old Nanna) that not only brought tears to my eyes in several instances of the story, but in one particular occurrence, made my heart pound as if I were watching an exciting and enthralling movie. My reading choice is first non-fiction, second Christian speculative fiction. That's why I have avoided Higgs books. I thought they were sanitized Christian romance novels. I also avoid fiction with a lot of accented dialogues as this series has. The Scottish brogue she depicted wasn't nearly as difficult to get through as I thought it would be and in fact, became quite entertaining. This coming from a full-blooded Italian-American with nary a spot of Scottish blood in her DNA.
Higgs is a great historical romance novelist. She's a master story-teller and has won me over completely. I plan to read all of her other fiction and have already started the fourth in the series "Grace In Thine Eyes."