Here Burns My Candle

I know some of you are dying to hear about road trips, home improvements, real estate adventures, and what I’m learning through Read with Me, but I don’t feel like talking about any of those things today. Don’t worry — I’ll fill you in eventually. Today, though, I have much more fun stuff to discuss.

This weekend I attended a one-day women’s conference featuring Liz Curtis Higgs. Yes, THE Liz Curtis Higgs of Bad Girls fame, of parable renown, of … well, I don’t have a third thing, but she’s pretty stinkin’ cool. Author of 26 books, with more than three million copies in print, Liz has spoken in all 50 states and more than 10 foreign countries. And I was blessed to hear her this weekend.

Her theme was “Flawed Women Loved by a Flawless God.” It was fantastic! Having read a few of her books, I expected humor, but this was a whole new level. She was hilarious! I left with sore sides and tears rolling down my face. More amazing than her humor or speaking style, though, was her undeniable love of Jesus. She radiates adoration for Him. It’s really awesome to see her devotion to God, how nothing in world delights her more than knowing Him. It encouraged and challenged me to love Him to greater depths and heights.

Liz, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU. Thank you for loving Him and allowing Him to use you.

The women who organized the event did a great job, too. The whole day provided a wonderful escape, a well of refreshment that included delicious food and spiritual truths. I had my picture taken with Liz, but, unfortunately, when I got home the only photo on my camera was this:

Yes, those are urinals. Hey, when you have over 700 women in a church with a limited number of bathrooms, any stall is free game! The organizing committee did a great job hiding “manly things” so we could have a wonderful day free of … gross, manly things.

In addition to getting some encouragement, a lot of laughs and one very odd picture, I also got Liz to autograph a copy of her latest book so I could give it to one of you! Directions for entering the giveaway are below. I’ll announce a winner on Saturday.

Here Burns My Candle offers a rich, historical drama based loosely upon the Scriptural book of Ruth. I don’t know how you feel about novels based on biblical stories. I truly enjoy them, but am very selective about to whom I’ll recommend them. Some readers find it difficult to separate biblical truth from creative license and author’s imagination. Higgs’s books, though, provide the basis of the biblical stories, but in far removed settings. I would rather call them parallel novels than novelizations. It’s not the same story told again; it’s the same bones with fresh flesh.

Carolyn Custis James asserts in her book, The Gospel According to Ruth, that this biblical story is more about Naomi than Ruth. Rather than telling a romantic story of a young, but faithful widow, it answers the questions pounding a devastated mother-in-law. Is God good for women? Has my usefulness expired? Liz Curtis Higgs follows this theory with her newest title, by focusing on the “Naomi” character as much, if not more than, the “Ruth” character.

Set in Edingburgh, Scotland, during the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, Here Burns My Candle follows the Ladies Marjory and Elizabeth Kerr, mother and daughter-in-law. Marjory, a wealthy Lowland socialite, has never truly accepted her son’s choice of bride. Sure, Elizabeth is strikingly beautiful, but she comes from an unrefined Highland upbringing. To make matters worse, she favors the Jacobite cause, which is the equivalent of treason. Marjory’s other daughter-in-law, Janet, is much more suited to high society and fully embraced the roles of lord and ladies. Elizabeth, however, has more personal concerns, like the faithfulness of her husband, the safety of her brother, the marriage of her mother, and the scandalous gossip encircling her. Few answers come through the faith of her childhood. Could there be another who could help her? When Marjory’s two sons join the rebellion, some relationships are strengthened while others are stretched far beyond comfort.

I really enjoyed this book! It is drastically different in tone than the author is in person. It’s thick with drama and emotion. The author’s attention to detail never wavers. As I said before, I consider this a parallel story, rather than a re-telling. The book of Ruth only devotes a few verses to the life before Ruth and Naomi’s great journey back to Bethlehem. This novel, however, contained over 300 pages of story before I saw any correlation to the Scriptural account. This is not a negative criticism. Actually, I prefer it that way. I like that this book can be enjoyed as an independent historical novel or as a window for better understanding Scripture. It’s a great read.

To get yourself a copy, visit your local bookseller or Amazon.com.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

  • Leave a comment on this post.
  • BONUS ENTRY: In your comment, tell me which biblical character you would like to see in a novel — current, historical or otherwise. (Can you see Queen Esther in a sci-fi?)
  • BONUS ENTRY: subscribe to this blog.
  • BONUS ENTRY: tweet or facebook about this giveaway.

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