January 11, 2012

Review: Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

Release Date: March 2011
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Pages: 480 pages
Source & Format: Library; Kindle e-book
Series: Here Burns My Candle #2
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
This is the second of two books by Liz Curtis Higgs, set in Scotland following the Jacobin rebellion, that is based on the biblical account of Ruth. Following the loss of her husband, her fortune and her way of life, widow Elisabeth Kerr must start anew. The story begins with Elisabeth and Marjory, her mother-in-law, returning to Marjory's former home. Mine is the Night is a story of hope, redemption and restoration.

Thoughts on Mine is the Night
I have read quite a few novels by Liz Curtis Higgs, and I actually just read the first book in this series at the end of last year. Higgs is known for taking a biblical story and re-imagining it in a historical Scottish setting. I really enjoy the way she writes, so I knew this book would be a delightful read.

If you are familiar with the story of Ruth, you'll be able to predict much of the story before it actually happens. You know, for example, that Elisabeth will choose to remain faithful to her mother, despite the disadvantages she'll face in doing so, and that her sister-in-law will choose to leave. Unfortunately, that also means you'll know who the hero is the minute he rides across the page. If there is anything that I find lacking in Higg's novel, it's that some of the attempts to mirror Ruth's story felt a little forced.

However, I love that Higgs uses the story as a means of exploring the emotions the women would have felt (grief, fear, abandonment, remorse) and the lessons they would have learned. Marjory's struggle with bitterness and pride fleshes out the details provided in the Bible about Naomi's own bitterness. Higgs doesn't just plop the biblical story into Scotland. Instead, she carefully and skillfully uses the new setting to explore hard lessons and the miracle of restoration. These lessons are central to the story of Ruth, and Higgs weaves them into her tale with generous helpings of truth.

So Quotable
"You have a fine mind, a bonny face, skilled hands, and the Lord's favor. Use them well in the service of others, and a full reward will be yours."

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