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Fair is the Rose    by Liz Curtis Higgs order for
Fair is the Rose
by Liz Curtis Higgs
Order:  USA  Can
WaterBrook Press, 2004 (2004)
Paperback, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

This 2nd in the trilogy is set in 1789, Scotland. Both Leana and Rose McBride desired to marry their cousin, Jamie McKie. Jamie had come to their home to seek refuge from the brother who wanted to kill him after Jamie stole their father's blessing. Although Jamie fell in love with Rose and the two were to be married, circumstances kept Rose from the wedding and Leana served as bride in her proxy. Through a series of misunderstandings, Leana entered Jamie's room and the two consummated the union. This produced a son, and now, although Jamie's heart still aches for Rose, he makes the commitment to give Leana his unconditional love.

Rose desperately wants to be with Jamie. Her love for him grows each day. She still loves her sister, although the sting of betrayal remains. Rose heads off to school and attempts to move on with her life. Things seem to be working out for everyone until they learn shocking news about the legality of Jamie and Leana's union. Where is God in all the heartache? Fair is the Rose is a darker, although necessary, addition to this trilogy. As the second book, it sets up many things and leaves them hanging, in order to have a more dramatic ending. Leana's steadfastness in her love and commitment to Jamie (even when things look bleak) is uplifting. There are many times during the story that I disliked Rose and didn't know if anything could be written to redeem her in my eyes. The sorrow the reader feels is very real, and the betrayal hurts almost as if these characters were members of one's own family.

Lachlan's underhanded scheming comes more to light in this episode. The utterly unfair, yet completely realistic, practices of the 18th century church are also shown. Complicated plotting and characterization puts this book in a class by itself. It's important to read the first in the series, A Thorn in My Heart, before this episode, as many characters and their journeys will not be easily understood without it (the author avoids re-stating the previous plot except in very crucial scenes). A discussion guide and Scottish glossary are included. The main theme of Fair is the Rose is forgiveness - mainly God's forgiveness and ability to help anyone, even those most betrayed, to forgive.

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