FAIR IS THE ROSE
WaterBrook Press, 2004
Reviewed by Susan Conatser
FAIR IS THE ROSE is the second book in a trilogy that parallels the biblical story of Jacob and his two wives, Leah and Rachel. Liz Curtis Higgs has created a story that transports readers to eighteenth century Scotland where Jamie McKie of Glentrool is torn between two sisters, Leana and Rose McBride.
Eighteen-year-old Rose McBride hides in the shadows as the man she loves comes to see his newborn son for the first time. Leana and Jamie have given birth to a baby boy called Ian. Rose grieves and spies because it should have been her with Jamie, not her sister Leana.
Nine months earlier, Jamie McKie woke up on the morning after his wedding to find himself married to the wrong sister. He proposed to Rose McBride and she accepted. A week before the wedding, as was the tradition, Rose went to spend time with her aunt in Twyneholm. But a severe snow storm prevented her from getting back home to Newabbey for the wedding. Lachlan McBride, the girl's father, sent Leana to stand in proxy for Rose at the wedding ceremony wearing her sister's wedding veil. Later that night it was Leana who came to Jamie's bed in the dark.
When Rose McBride returned to Newabbey she found her sister was married to the man she loved. At the beginning Jamie still loved Rose, but he was torn because he had consummated his relationship to Leana. Jamie soon came to admire Leana. She was patient and loving where Rose was beautiful and volatile. Leana continued as Jamie's wife when they realized that Leana had conceived, but they soon find that the legal records of the church say something different. How will this matter ever be set right? The church leaders call Jamie, Leana and Rose to the church council to tell their stories and the outcome for them will be in God's hands.
FAIR IS THE ROSE poses a dramatic conundrum for Jamie, Leana and Rose. I was amazed at Ms. Higgs' clever storytelling. It is astounding that she was able to create a believable and compelling situation that would recreate the biblical story of Leah and Rachel. FAIR IS THE ROSE is brilliantly written. From the opening paragraph I was spellbound by this tale. Throughout the book I was torn back and forth for these characters with each turn of the plot.
Liz Curtis Higgs is not afraid to put each character in a crucible of testing and show readers every flaw and weakness in their makeup. Jamie, Leana and Rose each reveal how their spiritual lives lead them through with God's grace. A THORN IN MY HEART is the first release in this series which featuring the story of Jamie and Evan McKie (based on the biblical story of Jacob and Esau) and the marriage of Jamie to Leana. FAIR IS THE ROSE picks up the story, primarily from Rose McBride's point of view. WHENCE CAME A PRINCE, the conclusion in this trilogy, is due out in March 2005.
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