Thorn in my Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs

Thorn in My Heart is a retelling of the story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel from the first book of the Bible, Genesis. The author uses the Scottish Lowlands as the setting for this masterful retelling. The story begins in the autumn of 1788, as Jamie McKie schemes with his mother to steal the familial blessing that rightfully belongs to his brother Evan and continues as Jamie is forced to flee his home in search of refuge and a bride at the home of his Uncle Lachlan. After an arduous journey, Jamie arrives at his uncle's home, and the story of love, deception, and greed continues.

When I began reading this book, I had my doubts about whether I would enjoy it. I am very familiar with the story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel, and I didn't know how interested I could be in a story if I already knew the ending. I shouldn't have worried! As soon as Jamie arrived at the home of his uncle, I was hooked. I found myself pleading with the characters to make different decisions and hoping the story would end differently than the Biblical account. I was often angry with characters on one page and pitying them on the next. Truly, for Mrs. Higgs to capture my attention and my emotions with a story so familiar was remarkable.

I will warn that Scottish words are used throughout the story. While the author includes a glossary at the end of the book, most of the words are easily understood based on the context. Additionally, I was impressed with the way Mrs. Higgs worked out certain details of the Biblical account while staying true to the historical Scottish setting. I also appreciated that reading this story allowed me to consider in greater detail the emotions and conflicts that the Biblical characters faced and inspired me to study the story another time.

I recommend this book, and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Fair is the Rose. This book is recommended for adults.

Review by Lauren, regular contributor


  1. LOVED this whole series - it is wonderful - and a whole new "take" on a Bible story.