This is a book review that is long overdue. Like, by a few months? My sincere apologies to both the author and Blogging For Books.
When I received Mine Is the Night from Blogging for Books, I was excited and couldn’t wait to read it. I made sure both my boys were down for a nap, turned on my favorite Celtic music (the book is set in Scotland, after all) , and curled up in my favorite reading chair with a hot cup of coffee. Imagine my disappointment when I realized Mine Is the Night wasn’t the first book in the series! I’ve made the mistake of reading/reviewing books out of order in their respective series, and I wasn’t going to make that mistake again, not with a book that sounded as good as this one. So I placed an order at my local library for the first book, Here Burns My Candle. So I suppose this review is actually two reviews rolled into one. I’m okay with that. And this series really is amazing.
As I mentioned, this 2-part series is set in Scotland…18th century Scotland. It’s based off of the biblical story of Ruth & Naomi, but honestly, if I hadn’t known that, I probably wouldn’t have guessed it! However, since I know the story of Ruth & Naomi, it almost made this series even more emotional, especially since I have two young sons of my own. I needed Kleenex throughout the books, let’s just put it that way.
The Kerr family is a well-respected family in their town, but the political upheaval caused by bonny Prince Charlie’s campaign against King George is polarizing. Any opposition to the divinely-appointed king equals treason and death. The two Kerr sons are thrown into this fray as they choose their side, and their wives, Elisabeth and Janet, along with their mother Lady Marjory, are forced to endure the dire consequences. As the women lose their status in society and their possessions, and as King George exacts his vengeance on traitors, Elisabeth, Janet, and Marjory must flee their home to seek safety. Janet returns to her hometown, but Elisabeth chooses to remain with Marjory on their journey to Selkirk, Marjory’s former home. This is the end of Here Burns My Candle. It was suspenseful & heartbreaking.
A quick break in the review to mention…these book covers are gorgeous. I know, don’t judge a book by its cover, but the book covers illustrate in detail the intricate gowns Elisabeth wore. Just a little imaginative aid.
Mine Is the Night continues right where Here Burns My Candle left off, so it’s a very seamless transition. When Elisabeth and Marjory arrive in Selkirk, things are quite different than they remembered and imagined. Both women were accustomed to a life of title, wealth, and acquaintances, but none of that is waiting for them at Selkirk. Living under reduced circumstances leads the two women into a great deal of character development, all for the better. Elisabeth, formerly a titled lady, now offers her skill as a seamstress in order to bring in a very small income. Marjory, widowed & the matriarch of the family, is now required to cook meals. Drastic changes for their way of life. As they live this new life, they gradually become acquainted with the townspeople and form lasting friendships. But this is cast into a shadow as Admiral Jack Buchanan moves into one of the old Selkirk estates. When Elisabeth’s employment at a tailor’s shop is terminated, there is no other place she can turn for income but the Admiral’s household. Understandably, Elisabeth and Marjory fear their treasonous past will be exposed. But as Elisabeth works under the Jack’s protective care, they begin to think perhaps he’s not quite the villain they suspect him to be.
I thought the characters dealt with their issues in a very human, relatable manner. The development of Elisabeth and Marjory was excellent, and I loved that Marjory’s character was explored in such a way that allowed the reader to see what she was thinking. I felt a lot of sympathy for her, especially once she arrived back in Selkirk and found everything she previously counted on was just based on falsehood. But at the same time, there were good lessons to be learned. While Here Burns My Candle dealt with Elisabeth and Marjory’s broken relationships and grief, Mine Is the Night takes the characters through a journey of restoration and hope.
(Also, Admiral Jack Buchanan? Move over Mr. Darcy!)
Liz Curtis Higgs did so much research, and she did an excellent job describing the landscape, towns, and 18th century society. I felt immersed in the books, and it was SO difficult to put down. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend reading this series. I give it more than 5 stars!