I have been anxiously awaiting the sequel to Liz Curtis Higgs’s Here Burns My Candle for the past year. I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of Mine is the Night from WaterBrook Press, and I couldn’t wait to get started!
As always, Higgs does an excellent job of setting a well-known Bible story (Ruth and Naomi this time) in 18th century Scotland. Her attention to detail, from the dialogue, (written with Scottish inflection), to the clothing, to the setting, to actual Scottish history (the Jacobite uprising) is amazing. You really start to feel as though you are there when reading one of her novels.
Her attention to detail in remaining faithful to the Biblical account is also outstanding. While Biblical fiction is one of my favorite genres of novel, I’m always a little nervous that the author hasn’t done his or her research, or taken too many liberties with the story, or added details that may actually contradict with the Bible. I never have that problem with a Liz Curtis Higgs novel, however! I will say that she has me returning to my Bible over and over again, wondering if “that was really in the story”–even for stories I thought I knew really well. But the answer is always yes–that did happen! I’m not saying that the story of Ruth was actually set in 16th century Scotland, (this is classified as fiction, after all), but when it comes to the important details of the story and the characters, it remains faithful to Scripture, which is a must for me.
I thought this book was a bit stronger than the first of the two-part series. I was able to “get into” the sequel must faster–maybe because I was already familiar with the characters, or maybe because the sequel deals more directly with the Bible story, whereas the first book dealt more with back story that isn’t in the Bible. Overall, I will admit that I still like the “Lowlands of Scotland” series better–while I loved the characterizations of Ruth and Naomi, there was something about the story of Jacob and his family that was so beautiful and moving, I can’t imagine ever liking another book (or books) better.