Select one of the keywords
Thorn in My Heart    by Liz Curtis Higgs order for
Thorn in My Heart
by Liz Curtis Higgs
Order:  USA  Can
WaterBrook Press, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Twin sons are born to Rowena McKie of Glentrool, Scotland, in the summer of 1764. It is predicted that the older will serve the younger, and Rowena stops at nothing to make sure that comes true. Twenty-four years later, the boys' father is about to give the familial blessing (making that son his heir). Evan, the older son, goes hunting to provide his father's favorite dish, and Jamie, the younger, is prepped by his mother to steal the blessing. When Evan discovers the deception he is enraged to the point of murder. Rowena arranges for Jamie to escape to her brother Lachlan's home many miles away - both to save his life and to choose a bride from Lachlan's two daughters.

Leana and Rose McBride could not be more different. At twenty, Leana has spent most of her life mothering the now fifteen-year-old Rose after their mother died in childbirth. Leana is plain-featured, yet composed and graceful. Rose has high spirits, is flirtatious and quite beautiful. After their cousin Jamie arrives following a harrowing journey, he is immediately drawn to Rose, who doesn't return his affection. At her young age, she has hopes and dreams for her future and tries to turn Jamie's affections toward Leana. Which sister will Jamie choose? Will it be the woman who loves him in return?

This is the first book in a trilogy based on the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau, Rachel and Leah. It took me a little while to change my focus from a story set in Old Testament times to a similar tale set in eighteenth century Scotland. The author does a good job of balancing the plot to make it seem realistic in the late 1700s. Each of the main characters: Jamie, Rose, and Leana, is well-defined with clear motivations. Leana is definitely the most sympathetic character, probably because she's the most mature. She lets her heart lead, even when it's possible she might be hurt in the process.

Liz Curtis Higgs has obviously done a great deal of research into the setting, time period, and dialect. The reader will feel as if they are a part of the story. After the background is set, the pace picks up and rockets toward an uplifting and satisfying ending. Although this is the first in a series, enough threads are tied up in the end to leave the reader fulfilled rather than hanging in wonder. The characters rely on God for strength, but the faith portion of the book is not heavy-handed, even though it's based on a Biblical story. Yet throughout, God's grace shines through as people are disappointed and He comes to their heart's rescue again and again.

Thorn in My Heart is a superb book, sure to touch hearts and cause readers to think. Discussion questions are included, as well as a concise glossary of Scottish terms used in the story. A history lesson and a love story complete with betrayal, hope, and growth are all wrapped into a wonderful package. Do not miss this one!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Historical books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews