Friday, April 8, 2011

Here Burns My Candle review

I was excited to receive my copy of Here Burns My Candle for a few reasons. 

1. I love free books!
2.  It's a historical novel set in Scotland.
3. I've read Liz Curtis Higgs' other historical series set in Scotland and loved it.
4. Scotland seems so romantic to me.

The novel follows the Kerr family in 1745, the story focusing on Lady Elisabeth Kerr and her mother-in-law, the dowager Lady Marjory Kerr.  The bonny Prince Charlie and his army of Jacobites have ridden into town and are preparing to take back their land.  The Rising has a profound effect on Elisabeth and her husband Lord Donald, his brother and sister-in-law Andrew and Janet, and Marjory.  The family is initially mixed in their loyalties- do they throw their support to Prince Charlie or stay loyal to King George?  Elisabeth worries her Highlander loyalties, and thus to the bonny Prince, will divide her against her family.  Each character's reaction to the turmoil around them sets the course for our tale.

Higgs's historical novels trace a Biblical story.  Take what you learned about any one story and throw it out the window.  She has a way of turning familiar words on their heads, with the added effect that we then better understand the Bible.  Such was true when I read her Lowlands of Scotland series, her take on Jacob, Leah, and Rachel.  Did I ever expect I would take Leah's side?  Definitely not. Growing up, I was always upset that she "stole" Jacob from Rachel.  But we must remember that things are not always as they seem.  I've never been able to read that portion of Genesis in the same way and the same will hold true with the Book of Ruth.

Here Burns My Candle is the first in a two-book series.  This time around, our story is based on Ruth, Naomi, and Orpah.  I always loved reading the books of Ruth and Esther, our primary examples of women in the Bible.  I'm also familiar with the Jacobite Rising (thanks to a certain saucy Outlander series, read at your own risk.)  The Jacobite Rising provides an interesting backdrop but our prime concern is with the ladies Kerr.  (If you're not as familiar with either- spoiler alert.) I knew all would not end well for Elisabeth and Marjory.  However, this did not demean the novel in any way.  

The plot primarily moved forward, for me, thanks to the dynamics between Elisabeth and Marjory.  Marjory starts off as a snobby, critical, domineering mother-in-law.  Watching her grow, seeing her reclaim her faith as Elisabeth comes to know who God is, was beautiful.  I don't want to say much more than that.  Suffice it to say, I was captivated from the start.

I'm very excited to dive into the sequel: Mine is the Night.  My blogger friend Heatherly raved about it to me on Twitter.  I can't wait to see Higgs' rendition of Boaz!  Be still my heart.

I have a hunch that a trip to Scotland is in my future.  Who wouldn't love to traipse about Edinburgh, soaking in the history and culture?  And perhaps listening to those sexy accents?

Who's with me?

Disclosure: I  received this book free fromWaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group  as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.  

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon from HopefulLeigh, any purchase you make supports this site.


  1. Be still your heart indeed! Just WAIT until you meet him... sigh. Double sigh.

  2. Oh if only I could go with you. A Scottish accent makes my heart flutter! I love watching Samantha Brown and her trips to Europe. Scotland was beautiful on the tv!


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