cover image THORN IN MY HEART


Liz Curtis Higgs, . . WaterBrook, $13.99 (496pp) ISBN 978-1-57856-512-2

Higgs, the bestselling author of 20 inspirational books, successfully tries her hand at her first historical novel, spinning a new version of the biblical story of Jacob to show the costs of deception and the triumph of love despite adversity. The story opens in 1764 Scotland, a month before the birth of Rowena McKie's twin boys. Those readers familiar with the biblical account of Isaac and Rebecca, their twin sons Jacob and Esau, and Jacob's search for a wife will have no trouble discerning how the plot unwinds. Higgs has a good track record with romance novels (Bookends; Mixed Signals), and she handles the love affairs between the younger twin James McKie and sisters Rose and Leana McBride with aplomb. Despite the predictable story line, Higgs keeps a few surprises up her sleeve, including the device of a proxy wedding (which although historically authentic, may be a stretch for some). Christian fiction readers will appreciate many of the moral lessons gently delivered, especially as James discovers that deception is a two-edged sword. The book feels a bit too long, but Higgs's fine writing will satisfy historical fiction aficionados. Although Scottish words are liberally sprinkled throughout the text, their definition through context is usually clear, and a welcome and thorough glossary in the back of the book further aids readers. Higgs incorporates many lovely historical details, and her strong storytelling skills stand her in good stead here. (Mar.)

Forecast:Higgs's books have sold a combined two million copies, and her loyal fans will eagerly welcome her first foray into CBA historical fiction.