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Thorn in My Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs

Thorn in My Heart (2003)

by Liz Curtis Higgs

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4401023,849 (4.05)8



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Well-written and immaculately researched, featuring a gorgeous setting effectively conveyed. I didn't fall desperately in love with the story or characters, though. Nonetheless, it was hard to put down, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. ( )
  TheEditrix | Jan 13, 2016 |
Let me begin by saying that I do agree with the description Goodreads has provided. A more thorny love triangle I have never seen or heard of, and there is almost more drama, deception, and jealousy in this book than I can bear. Oh, and there are many spirituals truths. I know, that last one didn't quite seem to fit, did it? But it's true, even though those little gems seemed to be buried under everything I didn't like about the book.

To put it simply, this story irked me. Yet the whole time I was reading it there was this inexplicable draw.

It starts off interesting enough. The parallel to the bible story is obvious. Jamie finds himself in trouble at home. After stealing his brother's blessing with the support of his mother, he begins to fear for his life. He may now be the one to inherit Glentrool, but what good is that to him if he ends up dead by his brother's hands? It was a good beginning, but I found myself anxious to get to the drama of the story, when Jamie meets Leana and Rose(Leah and Rachel's counterparts).

Boy, if I had known... (Some minor spoilers ahead?)

With his brother after him, Jamie flees to home of his Uncle Lachlan, hoping to gain a wife during his stay. He's immediately attracted to the beautiful Rose that he barely even gives Leana, the tender compassionate mother hen, a second glance. Cue the love triangle.

Because Rose doesn't want to get married. She's fifteen years old for Pete's sake! So she and her sister agree that Leana must be the one to win the man.

I'm trying not to be too spoilery, but it's really very hard. In short, our characters are very, very fickle. There is lying, backstabbing, and deceit. A lot of the characters' actions were utterly despicable. Lachlan especially, but Jamie bothered me the most. His actions were innocent, yet so cruel. He's attracted to Rose, but he leads Leana on so many times it's no wonder she thinks him to be in love with her.

These characters take marriage so lightly. And divorce to be a perfectly acceptable thing! Yes, I realize this is a retelling of the Old Testament story, but these people are Christians! So why don't they act like it?

This book is classified as Biblical Fiction.

It reads more like a soap opera.

I really hate to be so harsh. Despite all of this, I DO feel sympathy for the characters(except Lachlan). It wasn't easy for any of them.

And I'll be completely honest--I read this book in one day. One day. I had to put it down and pick it back up several times, but it was extremely well written. I don't know of another story that has made me FEEL so much. Hence the extra star. I liked the ending, though I hate how it twists the original story. The whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth, and I won't be reading the next one, however much I want to know what happens next.

Content: Mature themes; mentions of the intimacy between man and wife

Originally posted at The Scribbling Sprite ( )
  ScribblingSprite | Aug 10, 2015 |
The book cover says it best, "In the autumn of 1788, amid the moors and glens of the Scottish Lowlands, two brothers fight to claim one father's blessing, two sisters long to claim one man's heart". I must say as I first started reading this story I wasn't sure it would hold my attention, but the more I read, the more I became captivated by the story and became thoroughly engaged with the story. If you know the story in the Bible of Jacob and Esau and Leah and Rachel, then you will find yourself very familiar with this story line.

Leana and Rose are two sisters who are close and who love each other very much. They are both very different personality wise, but their bond is strong. So when the young man, Jamie, comes to stay with them, they will struggle with their feelings for him and how that affects their feelings towards each other. I appreciated both girls, but loved the devotion and love Leana has for both Jamie and Rose and how hard her life is because of this deep love she has for them both. It is a trying time for all three when the wedding of Jamie and Rose, turns into something completely different. I wished I had marked it in the book as I was reading, but there was a place where Neda will explain to Leana that a husband will fail you at times, but if you put your faith and thoughts on the Lord first, He never will will fail you (badly paraphrased, but you get the meaning). Emotions will run high, hatred and love will seesaw back and forth and the ending will leave you wondering what happens next. I am glad to say that the next book in the series, "Fair Is the Rose", will pick up in the same scene that this book closes with (I know because I have already peeked). ( )
  judyg54 | Aug 2, 2015 |
This is the first of a 4-book series on the McKie family of late 1700s Scotland. Higgs has mirrored the Biblical story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah, even giving the characters names with the first initial of their Biblical counterparts. Because of this, it is not difficult to figure out what will happen, although I am curious as to how (or if) the main character is going to have 2 wives and 2 concubines! I appreciate the research behind the novel. It is obvious in the language and the feel of the book that the author spent time on accuracy. I know from her notes that she traveled there extensively, which would account for the authentic feel. I did get a bit annoyed at the characters at time. They seem to be flat and of a singular bent - bad or good, Christ-like or not Christ-like, childlike or adult. I am interested in seeing how the other books progress.. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Jul 20, 2015 |
A fun retelling of the Jacob/Esau, Rachel/Leah story, but based in Scotland in the late 1700s. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
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To Sara Fortenberry
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"Breathe not a word of my visit, Jean."
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Book description
In the autumn of 1788, amid the moors and glens of the Scottish Lowlands, two brothers fight to claim one father's blessing, two sisters long to claim one man's heart.

Leana slipped beneath the woolen covers, leaving one taper burning high on the dresser where it would not disturb her slumber. Clouds had moved in and blotted out the moon, for the window was dark, and her whole room, except for the tiny flame, remained pitch black. "As dark as a Yule midnight," Neda would say.

Darkness was nothing to fear. Far greater fears gnawed on Leana's soul. A life without love, without a husband, without children. For her it was no life at all. But what if that was the life the Almighty had chosen for her? If it pleased him, could she bear it?

"Wise, heart wrenching, and ultimately triumphant. I couldn't put it down." - Francine Rivers, author of Redeeming Love

"A moving account of love, deception, redemption, and hope. I was hooked from the first page."
- Tracie Peterson, author of Treasures of the North
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 157856512X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:56 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The story of the biblical Jacob reimagined in an historical Scottish setting.

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