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Two brothers fight to claim one father’s blessing. Two sisters long to claim one man’s heart. In the autumn of 1788, amid the moors and glens of the Scottish Lowlands, two brothers and two sisters each embark on a painful journey of discovery. Jamie and Evan McKie both want their father Alec’s flocks and lands, yet only one brother will inherit Glentrool. Leana and Rose McBr Two brothers fight to claim one father’s blessing. Two sisters long to claim one man’s heart. In the autumn of 1788, amid the moors and glens of the Scottish Lowlands, two brothers and two sisters each embark on a painful journey of discovery. Jamie and Evan McKie both want their father Alec’s flocks and lands, yet only one brother will inherit Glentrool. Leana and Rose McBride both yearn to catch the eye of the same handsome lad, yet only one sister will be his bride. A thorny love triangle emerges, plagued by lies and deception, jealousy and desire, hidden secrets and broken promises. Brimming with passion and drama, Thorn in My Heart brings the past to vibrant life, revealing spiritual truths that transcend time and penetrate the deepest places of the heart.


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Two brothers fight to claim one father’s blessing. Two sisters long to claim one man’s heart. In the autumn of 1788, amid the moors and glens of the Scottish Lowlands, two brothers and two sisters each embark on a painful journey of discovery. Jamie and Evan McKie both want their father Alec’s flocks and lands, yet only one brother will inherit Glentrool. Leana and Rose McBr Two brothers fight to claim one father’s blessing. Two sisters long to claim one man’s heart. In the autumn of 1788, amid the moors and glens of the Scottish Lowlands, two brothers and two sisters each embark on a painful journey of discovery. Jamie and Evan McKie both want their father Alec’s flocks and lands, yet only one brother will inherit Glentrool. Leana and Rose McBride both yearn to catch the eye of the same handsome lad, yet only one sister will be his bride. A thorny love triangle emerges, plagued by lies and deception, jealousy and desire, hidden secrets and broken promises. Brimming with passion and drama, Thorn in My Heart brings the past to vibrant life, revealing spiritual truths that transcend time and penetrate the deepest places of the heart.

30 review for Thorn in My Heart

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    Oh my goodness! This book was a slow start for me. My schedule was so busy when I started it that I was only able to read a chapter or two a night, and they are short chapters. I was really wondering if I was going to like this book at all, but about halfway through, I couldn't put it down. I was taking it with me everywhere, and reading a chapter before I went into wherever I was, and then another when I came out.(I came to really appreciate those short chapters!) I became very emotionally atta Oh my goodness! This book was a slow start for me. My schedule was so busy when I started it that I was only able to read a chapter or two a night, and they are short chapters. I was really wondering if I was going to like this book at all, but about halfway through, I couldn't put it down. I was taking it with me everywhere, and reading a chapter before I went into wherever I was, and then another when I came out.(I came to really appreciate those short chapters!) I became very emotionally attached to the characters, and couldn't bear waiting to see what would happen next-even though this is a fictional retelling of an old testament Bible story, and I know what happens in the Bible! Fortunately, my husband bought me the other 3 books in the series when he bought the first, because there is no way I cannot keep going until I finish them all. Liz Curtis Higgs writes very much like Francine Rivers, so if you like Francine Rivers, you will appreciate these books.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Kurtz

    How I hate Leeana, let me count the ways... 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 alt How I hate Leeana, let me count the ways... 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? She becomes obsessed with Jaime, stalks him after he's engaged to her sister, refuses to obey her father in marrying another, and then jumps naked into the bed of a drunk bridegroom. On the other hand, Rose doesn't want to marry Jamie because she's too young but obeys her father and tries to find affection in her heart for her future groom. She spends much more time with him and grows to romantically love him by their wedding only to find out that her sister took advantage of her drunk husband and is now his wife. What is scary is that the author creates Reader's Notes at the end to let you know that two side characters, Neda and Duncan, are supposedly to help everyone do what is right in God's eyes......But, Neda is the one who tells Leeana to jump into Jaime's bed and steal him for her husband. God would never give that advice. The story ends with Jamie having an emotional affair with Rose while being physically faithful to his pregnant wife (except for kissing). The novel ends with Jamie's son's birth and him deciding to try and love his wife and put Rose behind him. It is very obvious who the author is cheering for: Leeana. It appears she wants to re-write the Biblical Leah's tale and have her become the victor of Jacob's heart. I almost had to put the book down when the character Jamie says that he didn't know what love was until Leeana loved him for love was sacrifice. But I can't see this. If Leeana sacrificed her own obsession with Jamie, she would have let the two people who loved each other get married. She put herself first. Jaime and Rose's misery was because of Leeana's selfishness.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Squiggles{Kelly}

    It's hard for me to give this books five stars because I can't help thinking 'but I DIDN'T like it! It knots up my stomach just to think about it!' And that's the beauty of this series. They aren't sad it the Dicken's way - horrible people who terrorize and do brutal things- it's sad in a human way. There are no good people and there are no bad people. There are characters who make good choices and are caring and kind and there are people who are impulsive and selfish. Bad things happen and hear It's hard for me to give this books five stars because I can't help thinking 'but I DIDN'T like it! It knots up my stomach just to think about it!' And that's the beauty of this series. They aren't sad it the Dicken's way - horrible people who terrorize and do brutal things- it's sad in a human way. There are no good people and there are no bad people. There are characters who make good choices and are caring and kind and there are people who are impulsive and selfish. Bad things happen and hearts are broken- but there is a pervading sense of hope. Somehow, these books, though they twist your heart to pieces and literally made me sob, do not leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth or nightmares. I did love these books- very much.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    See this full review and many more at: 5171 Miles Book Blog. I have been recommended Thorn in My Heart, the first book in the Lowlands of Scotland series, several times in the past couple years. When I seem to forget about it, it comes up in conversation again. Finally, I decided to grab it from my library during Spring Break and start on this retelling of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah’s story from the Old Testament. This Biblical story has truly been the thorn in my own heart for years. I’ve struggled See this full review and many more at: 5171 Miles Book Blog. I have been recommended Thorn in My Heart, the first book in the Lowlands of Scotland series, several times in the past couple years. When I seem to forget about it, it comes up in conversation again. Finally, I decided to grab it from my library during Spring Break and start on this retelling of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah’s story from the Old Testament. This Biblical story has truly been the thorn in my own heart for years. I’ve struggled with this story more than any other because I have a hard time grasping God’s Will here. Obviously, He used Jacob’s numerous sons from different wives and servants to create the twelve tribes of Israel and eventually bring Jesus to us. Unfortunately, knowing all of the blessings to come offer me little comfort about Jacob, Rachel, and Leah. When I think of this story, I can’t help but feel a smidge of resentment toward God for allowing such heartache in the lives of these women. I can’t imagine sharing my husband. I can’t imagine being married to someone who doesn’t love me as he should or having him share my very own sister’s bed. There is so much to the story that doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe I’m too modern of a woman, but I can’t help my feelings, try as I might. Knowing how I feel and struggle with this story, I assumed I would have similar feelings toward this retelling. However, I hoped it might offer me a change of heart or in the least, a better sense of peace. Unfortunately, I didn’t come out on the other side with new revelations about this particular story, but I sure felt the anguish. This retelling allows readers to understand Leah and Jacob’s perspectives from a new angle, though they are called Jamie and Leana in Thorn in My Heart. The same events readers might expect happen: Jamie deceives his father, stealing his twin brother’s birthright. His mother encourages him to flee to her brother’s home to escape her other son, Evan’s wrath while allowing Jamie to look for a bride in his uncle’s home. Once there, Jamie finds himself being deceived by his cunning uncle into working for his daughter’s hand in marriage, though not the daughter Jamie had chosen for himself. It all sounds almost exactly as it happens in the Bible story, so one might ask themselves why they would pick up a story they already know or can experience in fewer pages in the actual Bible. This is where Leah or Leana’s perspective comes in. Readers are truly able to experience the feelings behind the deception of her marriage to Jamie. Each character is at fault in some way, causing hurt to themselves or others at nearly every turn. I felt truly conflicted about this story, as I was able to put myself in the shoes of each of the main characters, with the exception of the ruthless Lachlan (father of Leana and Rose). As the story progressed, I was able to feel drawn to Leana’s story, per the author’s persistence, and understand her heartbreak over being the least loved of the two sisters, though the first wife of Jamie. As someone who has asked God to take away my love for another before, I was able to sympathize with her agony in a new way. Usually, when reading the Bible story, I think of Rachel’s perspective and her disappointment, not the other way around. This story was unique in many ways with the Scottish setting, time period, and certain differing events from the Biblical story. It had a bit of an Outlander feel to it, based on the time period, setting, language, and names of characters. The plot kept me guessing throughout because I wasn’t sure if the author would stay true to Biblical events or take creative liberties. The first half of the book was incredibly slow for me, and I wasn’t positive I wanted to continue reading. After taking a short break with another read, I was able to come back to this one with renewed interest. Luckily, the second half of the story was much more entertaining and emotional, but this is likely not a series I will continue reading. I don’t know if I can emotionally put myself in Leana’s shoes any longer with her constant disappointments and lack of love from her husband. I think I will have to consider this a standalone and move on for my own sanity and personal Faith. This is simply one of those Old Testament stories I can’t quite wrap my head around, though I technically understand the hows and whys behind the events that transpired, my emotions tend to get in the way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    I absolutely loved this book. Set in 18th century Scotland, I couldn't imagine a more romantic setting for a novel. As the plot unfolded, I discovered this was a modern retelling of Jacob in the Bible and of Leah and Rachel. By the time I finished the book, I came to realize this is Leah's story. Higgs does a remarkable job of putting us in Leah's shoes, in situations that quite possibly could have existed in the original. I adored the Scottish vernacular everywhere throughout the dialogue and t I absolutely loved this book. Set in 18th century Scotland, I couldn't imagine a more romantic setting for a novel. As the plot unfolded, I discovered this was a modern retelling of Jacob in the Bible and of Leah and Rachel. By the time I finished the book, I came to realize this is Leah's story. Higgs does a remarkable job of putting us in Leah's shoes, in situations that quite possibly could have existed in the original. I adored the Scottish vernacular everywhere throughout the dialogue and the narration. I could easily imitate that Scottish brogue from Higgs' writing. I thoroughly enjoyed the countryside descriptions and travels through Lowlands Scotland. I loooooooove her prose. It is so authentically period to the time. It feels extremely Jane Austenian, but Scottish. I can't say enough good about this book. Sure, the plot is stolen from the Bible, but even in the Bible this story is all told quickly and unceremoniously. It's wonderful to be able to anticipate and wait with the characters--unbearably so--just as they would have really had to. A beautiful, beautiful tale that I anticipate reading again and again.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laina

    Well, I read this 400 and something page book in two days, so that says something about it. But I won't say it's the best book I've ever read. I described it to my mom as "pitiful." Sad... pitiful. I've never felt so sorry for a character. I loved the Scottish culture-- as I always do-- and Higgs definitely knew what she was talking about, which was nice. The main male character, Jamie, irked me incessantly. I felt like spitting in his face and calling him a lustful jerk. Of course he just went Well, I read this 400 and something page book in two days, so that says something about it. But I won't say it's the best book I've ever read. I described it to my mom as "pitiful." Sad... pitiful. I've never felt so sorry for a character. I loved the Scottish culture-- as I always do-- and Higgs definitely knew what she was talking about, which was nice. The main male character, Jamie, irked me incessantly. I felt like spitting in his face and calling him a lustful jerk. Of course he just went after the beautiful, younger sister and ignored the adoring, quite, plain sister who clearly loved him with all her heart. I realized after I read it why it felt so familiar, though: It is based on the tale of Rachael and Leah from the Bible. I can't believe I didn't realize it as I read! All the names started with the same letters as the people in the Biblical story. There was a very strong religious element in it, and it was treacherous and kind of bizarre. I don't suggest it to anyone who wants a fluffy romance to read because you will not be satisfied. In my opinion, it never did really end happily.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    I felt like I was strung along and dropped off in disapointment. Some things were nice to think about but overall very very flawed characters doing things that no "christian" author should include in a book. Example: sister sneaking in to sleep with her sisters husband. Then it took forever to end. I have no plans of reading the seqel even though I already own it. I felt like I was strung along and dropped off in disapointment. Some things were nice to think about but overall very very flawed characters doing things that no "christian" author should include in a book. Example: sister sneaking in to sleep with her sisters husband. Then it took forever to end. I have no plans of reading the seqel even though I already own it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Higgs is re-writing the story of Leah, Rachel and Jacob set in 18th century Scotland with the characters Leana, Rose and Jamie. I can understand what she was trying to do, but the setting and time period made it all such a stretch it just made me annoyed. I usually really enjoy historical fiction, but the two stories just weren't cohesive. Plus, I never really connected to the characters. I thought they were all pretty pathetic or irritating in one way or another. Just when I'd start to feel sym Higgs is re-writing the story of Leah, Rachel and Jacob set in 18th century Scotland with the characters Leana, Rose and Jamie. I can understand what she was trying to do, but the setting and time period made it all such a stretch it just made me annoyed. I usually really enjoy historical fiction, but the two stories just weren't cohesive. Plus, I never really connected to the characters. I thought they were all pretty pathetic or irritating in one way or another. Just when I'd start to feel sympathetic for one of the character's situations, they'd do something to make me not like them all over again. They were incredibly self-centered, even the one who is supposed to be all sacrificial, and totally self-motivated. The book got a little too preachy for my tastes too. Not that I don't enjoy religious writing, I just didn't like this style. I thought I'd give the second book a try to redeem the first, but I put it down after a couple of chapters. However, judge for yourself if you are a fan of the historical fiction/religious fiction genres, the book has been given a lot of good reviews. I guess this one is just not for me!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I absolutely loved this book. It is a retelling of the old Bible story of Jacob and Rachael and her father Laban, only told in 18th century Scotland. Jamie and Evan, twins who are completely different are both wanting to inherit Gentrool, the family home. Much like in the Bible, Jamie, the younger and his mother's favorite, ends up getting his father's blessing and inherits the land. But his mother sends him to her brother Lachlan, to find a bride of one of his children, Rose and Leana. One beaut I absolutely loved this book. It is a retelling of the old Bible story of Jacob and Rachael and her father Laban, only told in 18th century Scotland. Jamie and Evan, twins who are completely different are both wanting to inherit Gentrool, the family home. Much like in the Bible, Jamie, the younger and his mother's favorite, ends up getting his father's blessing and inherits the land. But his mother sends him to her brother Lachlan, to find a bride of one of his children, Rose and Leana. One beautiful, but flighty, the other plain, but loving, practical and longing for love. When Jamie arrievs, he is smitten by 15 year old Rose, while 20 year old Leana aches for him to love her. Rose too is in on the plan to get Jamie to love Leana, until Jamie insists on marrying her. She really does not want to marry yet, but agrees, hurting her dear sister, leana, who raised her and she truly loves. Machinations by Lachlan have leana ending up with Jamie, and all sorts of problems result. Knowing rejection, this book really resonated with me and I had trouble keeping from crying at times. i can't wait to read the next book in the series. Highly Recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    I wondered how Liz Curtis Higgs was going to manage to adapt the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel to 18th century Scotland and she pulled it off beautifully! This book was a slow starter for me, I'm not sure why. It's beautifully written and eventful from the first page. I think it was just that I had a lot going on and not much time to read. It finally grabbed me not quite halfway through and I couldn't put it down! Definitely a heartwrencher. The characters are so vividly portrayed you really f I wondered how Liz Curtis Higgs was going to manage to adapt the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel to 18th century Scotland and she pulled it off beautifully! This book was a slow starter for me, I'm not sure why. It's beautifully written and eventful from the first page. I think it was just that I had a lot going on and not much time to read. It finally grabbed me not quite halfway through and I couldn't put it down! Definitely a heartwrencher. The characters are so vividly portrayed you really feel like you know them and the descriptions of life in 1788-89 Scotland make you feel like you're really there! I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Whew! I had a hard time finishing this one. I really only enjoyed a few chapters near the end. I don't think it needed 77 of them! I can appreciate how it followed the Bible story-- maybe it made it too predictable for me. This book needed to be more succinct; maybe a little more substance and less fluff. Sorry:) Whew! I had a hard time finishing this one. I really only enjoyed a few chapters near the end. I don't think it needed 77 of them! I can appreciate how it followed the Bible story-- maybe it made it too predictable for me. This book needed to be more succinct; maybe a little more substance and less fluff. Sorry:)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I rarely give a one. This book was pure torture though. You hope the guy will stop being stupid. You hope the one sister will stop letting people walk all over her. And you hope the other will stop being a spoiled brat. None of those things ever happen. And then you look at the summary for the next book and find out it continues! Yikes! I won't be reading it. I rarely give a one. This book was pure torture though. You hope the guy will stop being stupid. You hope the one sister will stop letting people walk all over her. And you hope the other will stop being a spoiled brat. None of those things ever happen. And then you look at the summary for the next book and find out it continues! Yikes! I won't be reading it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    These are beautifully written books set in Scotland in the 1700s, but loosely based on the Biblical story of Rachel, Leah, and Jacob. I have read this series multiple times and it always

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn C.

    This historical novel is the first in a series of three and takes place in the Scottish Lowlands in the 1700's. It is loosely based on the famous biblical account of Jacob, Leah and Rachel. I ran across the three books at a store and was first of all drawn in by the beautiful cover art; I then noticed that the third book had a Christy Award seal on the cover which means the author had won an award for Christian literature:) This made me hopeful that the book would not contain objectionable conte This historical novel is the first in a series of three and takes place in the Scottish Lowlands in the 1700's. It is loosely based on the famous biblical account of Jacob, Leah and Rachel. I ran across the three books at a store and was first of all drawn in by the beautiful cover art; I then noticed that the third book had a Christy Award seal on the cover which means the author had won an award for Christian literature:) This made me hopeful that the book would not contain objectionable content. There was however objectionable content...that was plenty of "ANGST"...both mine and the fictional characters!! I truly did suffer along with them in parts...do you do what you are compelled to do...what's honorable...or what your heart tells you?? Yeeeeesshh!! I did not LOVE this first book as I found the story frustrating and quite sad in parts. The story is riddled with lies, deceit and manipulation...mainly through the intent of parents to get gain through their children. You know "the end doesn't justify the means!!" I do, however, anticipate that things will improve through the next two sequels (I hope, I hope!!). Having said that...and on the up side...I enjoyed the Scotland experience:) I could actually hear the characters speak with a Scottish brogue...nice:) and I found the traditions and superstitions of the time fascinating!! I also appreciate that the author included a glossary of Scottish terms in the back of the book...which I flipped to frequently. Hmmmmmm...An easy and relatively quick read...I guess I really did enjoy this book more than I thought!!:) The jury is pretty much out until I've read all three! Stay tuned!! PS...here's a tip for you...copy your review - just in case. I wrote a review on this book yesterday and when I hit "save" it erased the entire thing:( Dang!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    No where in the back of this book does it mention that the author uses the Biblical story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel as the backbone of this novel. It's not just a hint of it either, it's a very obvious retelling of the story. Granted in the end she HAD to change the outcome because men were not allowed two wives in 1788 Scotland. She did a fantastic job with the dialogue, substituting in the occassional old Scottish language. The book grew interesting towards the end but I feel that the author sh No where in the back of this book does it mention that the author uses the Biblical story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel as the backbone of this novel. It's not just a hint of it either, it's a very obvious retelling of the story. Granted in the end she HAD to change the outcome because men were not allowed two wives in 1788 Scotland. She did a fantastic job with the dialogue, substituting in the occassional old Scottish language. The book grew interesting towards the end but I feel that the author should be giving more credit to where she actually got this story and it should be noted on the back cover. Out of shear curiousity to see what she does with these character's I will read the next novel Fair Is The Rose.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    This makes about the seventh time I have read this book but I loved it as much as I did the first time I picked it up.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christie Huggins

    I enjoyed this book, but it did take a few chapters for me to really get into it. But once I was there, I couldn't put it down! I enjoyed this book, but it did take a few chapters for me to really get into it. But once I was there, I couldn't put it down!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    Review and rating to come!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hanna

    Setting: Scotland, beginning in 1788, though the prologue was set in 1764. A map in the front of the book showed the places and towns of the Scottish lowlands, but the main places were Glentrool and Auchengray. It was a nice, unique, and interesting setting, which is the reason I picked up the book. The setting was established very well, mainly due to the characters' dialogue--there was both affected accent and word choice. The holidays of the time, including the banishment of Christmas, were al Setting: Scotland, beginning in 1788, though the prologue was set in 1764. A map in the front of the book showed the places and towns of the Scottish lowlands, but the main places were Glentrool and Auchengray. It was a nice, unique, and interesting setting, which is the reason I picked up the book. The setting was established very well, mainly due to the characters' dialogue--there was both affected accent and word choice. The holidays of the time, including the banishment of Christmas, were also included. In addition, there were countless superstitions that were adhered to, which made the setting all the more real. Characters: This aspect of the book was probably one of the main reasons for the two stars. Simply put, they were all unlikable. Obviously inspired by the story in Genesis 25 (and the following chapters), the story followed a predictable plot--to an extent, admittedly--and made me unsympathetic to them. It's one thing to feel compassion for Leah for being unloved, and to not know more details of her virtues or flaws. It's another to read about Leana, whose errors were enough to make me dislike her, despite her unfortunate plight. She came across as an entitled woman who really didn't know the true meaning of "love", and once I had no doubt as to whom Jamie loved (I admit, I did want him to love her), her actions became distasteful. She reminded me, as a contrast, of Agnes from David Copperfield (by this I mean Agnes was the standard, and Leana failed miserably to meet it). If I had rooted for Leana throughout the whole book, I would have liked the book better. Problem number two with Leana: she "loved" an annoyance such as Jamie. I wanted to like Jamie; I mean, he was the hero of the story, after all. But his selfish actions, his roguishness and gross manly passions, and his unending rudeness turned me off. He was redeemed at the end somewhat--I felt he learned more what love actually was. In that sense, I do believe he ended up better than Jacob of the Bible. Rose was better than both Leana and Jamie, but at times she bugged me, too. Probably because she changed so much from being a child to a woman. It wasn't completely unrealistic--the whole book was written extremely well, from a technical point of view--but she still bugged me at times. The other characters ranged from mildly annoying to just plain irritating. They all had their roles straight from the Old Testament, which I didn't really appreciate, considering there was only one Isaac, only one Rebekah, only one Laban, only one Esau, etc. 18th century-versions of all these people aren't going to be realistic, no matter how expertly the author updates the setting (which, I grant again, was excellently done). Plot: At the risk of spoilers, the plot was basically a retelling of Jacob. To be sure, it was interesting to see how the author dealt with cultural practices, such as the taking of multiple wives, marriage rituals, etc. However, with all the extremely close similarities, it did seem overdone at times. Content: This is where the rating suffered, even though it didn't bother me so much in any specific part. It's just when a plot revolves around love and marriage and consummation and babies ... well, just to warn a potential reader, there was a point in the book where the reader knows every nighttime activity during one particular week. There weren't too many gruesome details, but there could be no doubt about what happened, and when. Certainly there were too many details for younger readers. Faith content: The ending made the whole book slightly better, at least character-wise, because they became spiritually smarter. And of course God was an important figure, especially since Jacob's relationship with God was copied. Honestly, that made me uncomfortable. I did not feel that having Jamie receive promises, just like Jacob, was appropriate. Jacob was Jacob, and God treated him the way He did for a reason--but Jamie was not Jacob, was in no way in a similar position. It was like we were supposed to believe Evan was to serve his younger brother, just like God's word referred to Jacob and Esau. But that was a promise to Jacob, and if we've read the Bible, we know why. But God never promised Jamie anything (because, obviously, Jamie is not a real historical figure). So the words of the midwife, of Rowena were not God's words, yet because of the whole retelling, I was supposed to believe that they were. And that I did not appreciate. Anyway, end of my ranting. If you like retellings and are nonplussed by detailed sexual activity, you may enjoy this book. It is very well written.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Martin

    Love, Love Love this book from start to finish!! A new favorite author!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nonnie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First thoughts: My first thoughts on this book where, "How depressing?". But if you look back at the story of Jacob and Esau and the choosing of a wife for Jacob...it was depressing. People felt slighted, people felt forgotten. But in all of these going ons, "people" learned forgiveness and love and trust. Which is why it is so important to retell stories like Jacob and Esau's, so we never forget. Plot: 4 stars The plot here, was based off of the story Jacob and Esau. It was modernized in many dif First thoughts: My first thoughts on this book where, "How depressing?". But if you look back at the story of Jacob and Esau and the choosing of a wife for Jacob...it was depressing. People felt slighted, people felt forgotten. But in all of these going ons, "people" learned forgiveness and love and trust. Which is why it is so important to retell stories like Jacob and Esau's, so we never forget. Plot: 4 stars The plot here, was based off of the story Jacob and Esau. It was modernized in many different ways. Some of these ways would included, there is no polygamy involved. In the story from the bible, Jacob was married to both sisters. Also, this story was set in the 1700's. Jacob was from before Jesus was born. (That's way before the 1700's for all of you who don't see this as significant.) Otherwise, Higgs did a very good job of converting the story in an approachable way. The plot was smooth and mirrored the original closely. Characters: 4 stars The main characters are Jamie, Evan, Leana and Rose...or Jacob, Esau, Leah, and Rachel...are you seeing to remarkable resemblance? I kind of wish that the names were more separated in likeness. It would have made the characters a little more interesting I think. I also didn't like the character of Rose. I didn't like how extremely childish she was. I understand she was suppose to portray a 15 year old...I still didn't like it. Mainly because she was suppose to portray Rachel from the bible, I just didn't think it was the best representative. Leana was my hero. Simple, elegant, meek, mild, smart, understanding and gentle. Everything I aim for. Unfortunately, she got every single raw end of the deal. But so did Leah from the bible. I liked her character more than all the others. And Jamie just made me angry. He made some of the worst decisions a man could ever make in a life time. He was smart, but had absolutely no common sense (as my own father would put it). But neither did Jacob from the bible. In this Higgs kept close to the character. I've also noticed that through out the entire bible, God uses the most broken, crumpled, lowly, liars, cheats, thieves, and non understandable people there ever was. Through this He shows just how great He is. This also why I liked Jamie's character, because he was someone I really would have liked to punch. If that makes any sense. Lessons: 5 stars Anything that teaches forgiveness, love and hope all in one book deserves 5 stars. Call me a sap, it's severly lacking in everything , modern, I read. Action: 4stars There was a little bit of action between the brothers. Other than that there was an "almost" fist fight between the sisters...I hated this part, only because I felt like the fact that they were fighting a man, ugh...that really just frustrated me. But I guess if that man was the only visible key to my freedom, I'd be pretty mad at anyone who tried to take that away from me too. It kind or teetered on just plain dramatic and this is a train wreck. But If I was reviewing it on accuracy to the original story, I'd say it was dead on. Romance: 5 stars Of course this whole book was based off of a romance from the bible. I bet there are some of you out there, reading this, that didn't know that the bible has recorded romances. Well they do, and not all are beautiful. As a matter of fact, most are ugly. Again, this is one of the ways God shows His wonders. He takes something wretched, torn, cracked, smudged, spit on, and trampled and makes it a sight to behold in your heart. And this is exactly what I just described. It's pretty much a love triangle, between two sisters and a cousin. Length: 4 Stars Although it was a pretty big book, I liked the length. It satisfied me, which is really all I'm looking for. I like it even more though, when I'm satisfied and some. Overall: 4Stars Overall, I liked it. The whole, transferring an ancient story into a modernized story, was impressive. As it always is if done well. Like I said before, my absolute favorite character in this book was Leana. And I honestly hope I never have to endure her pain.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This is what I would call a clean Christian book. There is no sex or foul language in the book and the characters frequently pray to the lord to be guided, forgiven, and redeemed. I found the text in this book very immature for a reader or author of the 21st century. Characters are weak, dishonest, deceitful, and do not take responsibility for their actions. The descriptive writing that may win an A+ in a high school English class is boring, repetitious and tedious to follow. The story line is a This is what I would call a clean Christian book. There is no sex or foul language in the book and the characters frequently pray to the lord to be guided, forgiven, and redeemed. I found the text in this book very immature for a reader or author of the 21st century. Characters are weak, dishonest, deceitful, and do not take responsibility for their actions. The descriptive writing that may win an A+ in a high school English class is boring, repetitious and tedious to follow. The story line is agonizingly simple. Main characters are cruel and pray to god for forgiveness that they have sinned. It does not qualify as a historical fiction since it contains no history. The love story is not that at all rather a story of cruelty. This book was recommended to me by a friend that knew I enjoy Diana Gabaldon's books. I borrowed the entire series to read one after the other as I've done with other Historical Fiction series. I finished the first book to be sure I've given the author a fair chance but I do not intent to read the rest of the series. Sorry Liz.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Not much history/culture/or substance in this historical romance. I didn't really like this book, unfortunately I got the whole series (there's 4) of them so I'll try reading another one to see if they get any better. The story is about Jamie who tricks his father into blessing him to inherit the family land and title. He leaves his home to find a wife and must choose between his two cousins. Of course the one he wants, Rose, at first doesn't want to be with him, and tries to push him on the olde Not much history/culture/or substance in this historical romance. I didn't really like this book, unfortunately I got the whole series (there's 4) of them so I'll try reading another one to see if they get any better. The story is about Jamie who tricks his father into blessing him to inherit the family land and title. He leaves his home to find a wife and must choose between his two cousins. Of course the one he wants, Rose, at first doesn't want to be with him, and tries to push him on the older sister, Leanna. I just thought the whole plot (2 sisters fighting over a man, man trying to choose between two good woman)was annoying.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    This book was such a disappointment. I read it closely on the heels of Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar (a book that I was pleasantly surprised by), so as another retelling of a well-read biblical story, I was expecting to enjoy this one as well. Not so. The stories of Jacob and Esau, Rachel and Leah are not the happiest stories to begin with, but I really felt the author of this book took far to many liberties changing the actual base story. Instead of caring for any of them, I left with a bad This book was such a disappointment. I read it closely on the heels of Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar (a book that I was pleasantly surprised by), so as another retelling of a well-read biblical story, I was expecting to enjoy this one as well. Not so. The stories of Jacob and Esau, Rachel and Leah are not the happiest stories to begin with, but I really felt the author of this book took far to many liberties changing the actual base story. Instead of caring for any of them, I left with a bad taste for ALL of them. The writing style was good enough, but I found the story a poorly twisted version of the real story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*

    not as impressive as her later work, but entertaining enough for an afternoon. LIKES: *detailed and descriptive setting in 1700s scotland, including many celebrations, sayings, and customs *retelling of a scriptural story (this one's jacob/rachel/leah) in a similar manner to the more common fairy tale adaptations *the final third of the plot kept me up late reading! i had no idea how the author was going to make this work at all. DISLIKES: *several characters are quite difficult to like or respect *at not as impressive as her later work, but entertaining enough for an afternoon. LIKES: *detailed and descriptive setting in 1700s scotland, including many celebrations, sayings, and customs *retelling of a scriptural story (this one's jacob/rachel/leah) in a similar manner to the more common fairy tale adaptations *the final third of the plot kept me up late reading! i had no idea how the author was going to make this work at all. DISLIKES: *several characters are quite difficult to like or respect *at times, especially through the first half, there was not enough 'adaptation,' and too literal an adherence to the exact old testament story pg with adult themes...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This was such a let down. I didn't care at all for the characters. I thought for sure with a name like Jamie I was going to be all set. How wrong I was. I actually hated the whole premise of the story. I think it was more of the fact that I didn't connect with the characters. I wanted to like Leana really I did but could not. I didn't have a problem with Higgins writing style I may try another of hers someday. This was such a let down. I didn't care at all for the characters. I thought for sure with a name like Jamie I was going to be all set. How wrong I was. I actually hated the whole premise of the story. I think it was more of the fact that I didn't connect with the characters. I wanted to like Leana really I did but could not. I didn't have a problem with Higgins writing style I may try another of hers someday.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    I didn't like it much at first, but it did hold my interest at the end. It also infuriated me because Leana loved Jamie, and would take his verbal abuse. Leana is a better woman than I. She was patient and was blessed for it too. Unfortunately, it is a series (thanks Stephanie!), and now I will have to read the next to see what happens. I didn't like Rose at all, so I wonder if in the next book she will "grow up". I loved the setting in Scotland, and the Scot's language. Aye, I do. I didn't like it much at first, but it did hold my interest at the end. It also infuriated me because Leana loved Jamie, and would take his verbal abuse. Leana is a better woman than I. She was patient and was blessed for it too. Unfortunately, it is a series (thanks Stephanie!), and now I will have to read the next to see what happens. I didn't like Rose at all, so I wonder if in the next book she will "grow up". I loved the setting in Scotland, and the Scot's language. Aye, I do.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    An interesting "modernizing" of the Jacob/Esau and Leah/Rachel story from the Bible. It takes place in late eighteenth century Scotland. Quite well written and cleverly done to stay true to the Bible story. A good summer "light" read. It is the beginning of a series. I liked it enough to finish the book, but I'm not going to read the next. An interesting "modernizing" of the Jacob/Esau and Leah/Rachel story from the Bible. It takes place in late eighteenth century Scotland. Quite well written and cleverly done to stay true to the Bible story. A good summer "light" read. It is the beginning of a series. I liked it enough to finish the book, but I'm not going to read the next.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Although I thought the Biblical allusion to Jacob, Rachel, and Leah was interesting, I found the characters a bit irritating, whiny, and immature. The plot flowed easily, making the book a quick read. The Scottish setting also added to the charm of the book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I really had a torn experience with this book. Caused a lot of anxiety and seeing that it is a retailing of a bible story and i am not sure where she can go from hear and be accepted i have great desire to read the next yet feel crazy with the idea!

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