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Grace in Thine Eyes    by Liz Curtis Higgs Amazon.com order for
Grace in Thine Eyes
by Liz Curtis Higgs
Order:  USA  Can
WaterBrook Press, 2006 (2006)
Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Scotland - Spring 1808. Davina McKie is a beautiful seventeen-year-old girl. A gifted fiddler, she's well-loved by everyone in her small village. However, due to a childhood accident, Davina has been mute for most of her life. Her twin brothers, Will and Sandy, have made it their mission to be Davina's protectors and guardians. But things are about to change. Their father Jamie sends Will and Sandy away to school, leaving Davina vulnerable and extremely lonely.

His plan to cheer Davina is to have her spend the summer on the Isle of Arran with relatives - a minister and his family, including daughters to befriend Davina. At first, this works out beautifully for all involved. Davina is happy getting to know other girls her own age, and everyone is thrilled by Davina's fiddle playing - none more so than Somerled MacDonald, a Highlander who is also visiting Arran. Davina catches Somerled's ear, eye, and heart. Yet the na´ve young woman is unprepared for the far-reaching cascade of tragedies that follow. Can God redeem even the darkest of situations?

This is the fourth Scottish historical novel by talented Liz Curtis Higgs. Although some of the characters from the previous trilogy (Thorn in My Heart, Fair is the Rose, and Whence Came a Prince) are featured in this novel, Grace in Thine Eyes is intended to stand alone. One does not need to know the background to fully appreciate this story, but it does enrich the reading experience. This novel takes its inspiration from the biblical story of Dinah featured in Genesis 34. In the author's words, 'It is an 1808 version of date rape.'

One would think that Davina's inability to speak would distract from the story, but it does not. It actually adds to the depth and helps the reader to understand how the events of the biblical story could have occurred the way they are described. Davina is a lovely character with talents for music and art. Her innocence never comes across as false, and when it is stolen from her, her reaction is mature and realistic as well. Somerled is an obvious rake, but he grows on the reader as he comes to an understanding of his actions.

Although the novel is based on a story from the Bible and speaks of God's grace, the faith message is so subtly woven in that any reader looking for a well-told historical novel will be immediately drawn into the plot. I cannot say enough good things about this novel, which so far tops my list of most-loved books this year. Included in the back of the book is a Scottish glossary defining possibly unfamiliar terms. A reader's guide is also provided. Grace in Thine Eyes is a well-researched, engrossing tale that readers will treasure.

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