Here Burns My Candle
In 1745 in Edinburgh, the widowed Lady Marjory Kerr and her family await the arrival of the Jacobites, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie. Sharing her house with her two sons and their wives, Marjory is in no hurry to see her sons join the action. Meanwhile, Marjory’s oldest son, Donald, and his wife, Elizabeth, each harbor secrets from each other and from Marjory. All will come out as the characters’ comfortable world unravels.
Based on the story of Naomi and Ruth but vividly evoking its 18th-century Scottish setting, Here Burns My Candle is a memorable tale of divided loyalties and endurance in the face of tragedy, with flawed, convincing characters and abundant historical detail. An aspect of the novel I particularly appreciated is Higgs’s talent at employing dialect, which in the hands of the wrong author can be distracting and irritating. Her skill is especially apparent in a scene where tragic news is broken by a character speaking in dialect; we never lose sight of the emotion behind his words.
I look forward to the sequel to this novel.