Friday, March 26, 2010

Blogging for Books: Here Burns my Candle

Remember Liz Curtis Higgs’ last series that made us fall in love with Scotland ( for some of us, it just deepened our love for Scotland ) while aligning critical historical events with sweeping Biblical undercurrents and themes? Remember that?

Well, I was ECSTATIC to hear that Higgs was going to be taking pen to reimagine my absolute favourite story in the Bible during the time of Bonny Prince Charlie and Jacobite Rebellion.

Here Burns My Candle tells the first half of the story of Ruth.

I have loved the Book of Ruth since childhood. A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, I find it the most romantic love story in the whole of scripture. Moreoever, above its sweet love story and message of sacrifice and loyalty, it imminently ties into the lineage of Christ and elicits the powerful truth that the Bible and all of its events divine connect like the pieces of an intricate puzzle.

So, needless to say, I was delighted and anxiously awaited this book for a long time. Because it tells the first half of the Ruth story ( the next will be available in 2011--- how can I wait?), we don’t quite get to the most romantic part of the Ruth story ( the Ruth-Boaz relationship). Instead, we are given a compelling history of the Dowager Lady Marjory and her integral relationship with her daughter in law, Lady Elisabeth. Though political tensions are taut and Marjory and Elisabeth’s differing views on crucial points strains their relationship, the stems of the loyalty and consistency; the “whither thou goest” from the Biblical story is sternly asserted through commonalities of faith.

As is the case with Higgs’ previous foray into 18th Century Scotland, I was off-turned by the dialect: choppy and distracting and integrated at odd times throughout the novel, it felt almost “cut and paste” in its hindrance to a fluid narrative.

Elisabeth sometimes seems too perfect and Donald is somewhat unnecessarily flawed; but their relationship and human foils are indeed believable.

I especially enjoyed learning more about Marjorie, her past and how her inability of letting go shapes and defines so much of her personality.

I eagerly await the next installment.

Thanks ever so much to WaterBrook for the review copy.

Explore the story of Ruth in a myriad of way:

Through non-fiction The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules by Carolyn Curtis James ( I found this remarkably empowering and historically erudite)

Through fiction: Unshaken by Francine Rivers ( my favourite in the Lineage of Grace sequence) ; Ruth of Moab by Author Wright; The Garden of Ruth by Eva Etzioni-Halevy
[ there are numerous re-tellings of Ruth out there; quick searches in your library or through internet searches will help]

And, oh yeah, read the Book in the Bible online: Ruth

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