Based on the story of Naomi and Ruth, Liz Curtis Higgs’ historical novel Here Burns My Candle does not follow the traditional Christian romance plot. Elisabeth Kerr struggles to keep her Jacobite loyalties and pagan views a secret from her royalist, Christian family, especially her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. As Prince Charles leads a rebellion against the crown in 1745 Scotland, Elisabeth begins to question her beliefs while her family’s loyalties begin to change. Changes don’t go unnoticed, however, and the Kerr family will have to deal with the consequences of its choices.
Higgs’ detailed description of the historical and pagan setting of the novel does not match her not-so-detailed description of the Kerrs’ faith. Although she quotes several times from Psalms and has characters going to church, she never mentions Christ. Here Burns My Candle does not lack in redemptive themes, however. Elisabeth is not the only one with secrets. When covert affairs unravel, she and her husband must reconcile before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Elisabeth’s mother-in-law tries to accept her and slowly learns of the gift of hope, the one burning candle she has left, in her precious daughter-in-law. The family will have to learn to “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14) before things can get better.
Readers familiar with the book of Ruth will already know how the story ends. With very little romance, but many intriguing characters, Higgs takes a predictable story and makes it original. She shows her talent through her ability to keep the reader’s attention despite an obvious ending. From her well-crafted wording to her intriguing and realistic characters, Higgs has created a book worth reading, a book that will have readers begging for the soon-to-be-released sequel. – Harmony Wheeler, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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.