Lady Elisabeth Kerr wasn't born with the typical resolve of a young society-dweller to climb the proverbial ladder of titles. A Highlander by birth and a silent follower of the auld ways, she is misplaced in the city of Edinburgh among her husband's family. Despite conflict, she remains deeply and, seemingly, mutually entranced with her husband - someone with his own secrets to keep. Her mother-in-law, the dowager Lady Marjory, and her sister-in-law by way of her husband's brother, Mrs. Janet Kerr, dwell within the same household offering bracing personalities and passive disapproval. However, the pulsing vibration of coins beneath the dowager lady's floorboards beat into a grasping story of their own.
"Here Burns My Candle" holds a very special place in my heart for a number of reasons. However, the main point relevant to this review would be that it marked a newly ignited flame for audiobooks. I listened to Liz Curtis Higgs' voice on a long car trip to visit my parents and then on my (short) commute to and from work for several weeks after.
As a historical novel, "Here Burns My Candle" soars above others. I, purposely, do not have an extensive collection of Christian fiction, as it is not something I typically gravitate towards due to themes or their sometimes repetitive nature. "Here Burns My Candle" does not push an over-ambitious sermon into the reader's experience - pulling from the story. Instead, the religious elements of the book are woven into the fabric of what's presented, more as a plot point than an agenda, despite the out-rightly Biblical roots drawn from the story of Ruth and Naomi.
Through reading several reviews, I've gathered there has been some displeasure with Higgs' use of Gaelic terms. As I listened to the audiobook, I cannot comment on this as an issue with readability, but, for it's part in my experience, I felt these terms helped me to further immerse myself into the impeccably researched culture and atmosphere of Edinburgh in 1745.
"Here Burns My Candle" jumps to the top of my historical fiction list with a 5/5. If you enjoy the concept of 18th Century Scotland, this is a book for you. Every detail was studied down to its marrow for purest accuracy, and it's something I proudly display on my shelf. Now there is only to read the second half of the story: Mine Is The Night, which has been available since March of this year and has become a New York Times Best-Seller. Be looking forward to a review for this next chapter in the lives of Elisabeth and Marjory soon on Sugar Spun Pages.