Title: Here Burns My Candle
Author: Liz Curtis Higgs
Publisher’s Synopsis: A mother who cannot face her future.
A daughter who cannot escape her past.
Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.
Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.
His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.
One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.
A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.
Historical fiction has never been my favorite genre, but I do like Liz Curtis Higgs and I am always interested in the Scots and Scotland (it’s that heritage thing). Furthermore, I am a huge fan of Bonnie Prince Charlie! So, I was eager to read this book. However, I was really busy this week with the whole finishing up Aggie fiasco and felt pulled. So, my friend Christy (who loves historical fiction and Liz Curtis Higgs– we’re identical opposites that way) volunteered to read it for me and give me her .02.
Pros: The book is marvelously well-researched. Full of rich details regarding life, clothing, mannerisms, and of course, my favorite… DRESS, the reader will not be disappointed with the setting of this book at all. Next, and possibly more importantly, the characters are well-developed. There is nothing more frustrating than reading a book about a character you don’t feel you “know” when you think you should (This is, of course, not applicable to characters that are supposed to be a bit ambiguous or unreachable for whatever reason the author deems necessary). In Here Burns My Candle, you love the characters you’re supposed to love, and despise the ones who deserve it. I love that in a book.
One scene in particular is excellent. The dragoons (king’s men) arrive just as the Elisabeth is helping wounded Jacobites– excellent scene.
Cons: The book is slow. This is one drawback for most historical fiction for me. You have to spend so much time setting the scene and making the reader familiar with the surroundings that you lose their interest. I wonder why fantasy isn’t that way more often (I’ve seen it, but not as often). I mean, with that you’re also setting a scene. Perhaps historical fiction writers could learn something from fantasy writers. I wonder. Anyway, it takes a good hundred and fifty pages for it to develop into anything significantly interesting. That’s a little blechy . Even then, once the plot is interesting, it is still somewhat slow because most of the action takes place away from the main character.
So, if you’re into action-packed books that you soar through before you know it, the book might not be for you. Race car readers are likely to be frustrated. However, if you like to walk your books, take your time, enjoy the scenery, pause and reflect before moving onto the next scene… Here Burns My Candle might be the perfect book for you.
I want to thank Water Brook for providing this copy for review and for the give away copy! Yes indeedy, there’s one to be had. Just post a comment and let me know how much you know about Bonnie Prince Charlie and you might just win one for your home library!