Thorn In My Heart

Written by Liz Curtis Higgs
Review by Sarah L. Johnson

In the Scottish Lowlands of 1788, Rowena McKie goads her favorite son Jamie, the younger of twins, into claiming his father’s blessing. With it come the rights as heir to the land and flocks of Glentrool. To escape brother Evan’s wrath at the loss of his birthright, Rowena sends Jamie on a journey to visit her own brother, Lachlan McBride, with directions to choose either of his two daughters as a wife. The plain Leana has a woman’s heart and mind, while her beautiful younger sister Rose lives the life of a carefree young girl. Though Rose knows she’s not ready for marriage, Jamie is determined to choose her as his bride – even if this means breaking Leana’s heart.
Readers who think this story sounds familiar would be right, but Higgs’ novel is only inspired by the well-known Biblical tale. Leana and Rose are very much their own people, and their saga is made more poignant with the realization that this is 18th century Scotland, not Biblical times, and Jamie can choose only one of them to marry. The moors and glens of the gorgeous Lowland setting come alive in the author’s heartfelt descriptions and authentic dialogue. This enchanting novel is one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve read in years, and I recommend it unreservedly.