Book Review: The Highlander and His Lady

The Highlander and His Lady by Lisa Samson has been on my TBR List for a very long time. It cropped up in the comments on Smart Bitches Trashy Books ages ago as a recommended Christian Fiction from another reader. I figured I would give it a go.

Some background: As a rule, I do not generally like Christian fiction. Normally, I find it annoying, badly written, and preachy. I have never understood why Christian fiction authors get so sanctimonious and preachy. Do they not realize that their audience has already had their “Come to Jesus” moment? Can someone just write some Christian fiction in which the characters have a strong faith but are not completely obnoxious about it? Thanks.

Over the years, there have been a few exceptions, but honestly, I tried to remember the titles and they escaped me completely, except for Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I loved that book.

I had high hopes for Samson’s book. I tried to buy it before we went to Costa Rica so it could be one of my vacation books. I am very glad now that I was unable to get it in time for the trip. It is out of print so getting my hands on it was not simple. I ended up ILLing (Interlibrary Loaning) from my local library.

I actually knew by the end of the first page that I would dislike The Highlander and His Lady and I was sad because I wanted it to be good. Alas, wanting did not make it so. I only got a little over 100 pages in when I put it down in disgust. I have multiple objections to this book.

It is historically inaccurate when dealing with social situations and dialog. This book is supposed to take place before the second Jacobite uprising in 1743 but the characters frequently do things that no person of their rank in society would be allowed to do. The main character, Jenny, meets Kyle at a social gathering and accepts a dance from him without being introduced. After dancing, they proceed to spend the entire rest of the party talking only to each other. Jenny frequently goes scampering about the countryside with a man who is not related to her, Kyle, and without a chaperone of any kind. They spend hours alone in each others’ company. After Kyle’s return to school in Edinburgh the two exchange letters before they are formally engaged and hide their exchange from no one. It appears that half the town knows Kyle is writing to Jenny. None of this would have been acceptable in society at the time.

I do not think that Samson even made an effort at the dialog as it was so general that it could have been placed in any time period in any country.

The reader is also supposed to suspend belief that Jenny’s father has succeeded in secreting his bastard daughter, Jenny, away from English society merely by placing her in the Highlands and changing his title from Lord Loxingham to Mr. Loxingham. London might be far away, but not that far away, especially if Lord Loxingham was quite as busy in parliament as the story makes him out to be. Scottish and English politics were quite entangled and I find it hard to believe that no one found out this dirty little secret.

The relationship between Jenny and her father, Lord/Mr. Loxingham, is sickeningly sweet. Before she meets her husband to be, her father is the most handsome wonderful man on the planet, bla, blah, blah. It was irritating.

And lastly, I think perhaps Christian romance is just a bit too chaste for me. I hate to admit it, but there it is. I have read entire romance novels in which no actual sex takes place and I thought they were fun and amusing, but none of them were Christian fiction. And this book was definitely not in the fun and chaste category.

If the first 100 pages are any indication, I can probably sum up the rest of the book. Kyle and Jenny marry (surprise! he already knew of her dubious parentage), there is a war, Jenny is afraid for Kyle, Kyle is afraid for Jenny, they are afraid for their way of life, the war is over, Scotland loses and gets ravaged, but their love shall conquer all. Praise God!

Not Recommended: For the love of all that is holy, skip this one and read something else.

As an aside, if anyone would like to recommend some good Christian fiction that is worth reading, please share with the rest of the class

–Jane, so wanted it to be good

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Highlander and His Lady

  • September 4, 2009 at 8:09 am
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    I’m obviously biased, but my mom writes Christian romance novels for Harlequin’s Christian romance division, and I think they’re pretty good. I don’t normally read Christian fiction or romances and I enjoy them. They’re definitely chaste because they have to be according to publisher rules, but I don’t think they’re sanctimonious or preachy. They’re series romances, so they’re only shelves for one month so you won’t find them in a bookstore at this point but you can get them through Amazon or BN.com. Her name is Merrillee Whren and she has several books published.

  • September 4, 2009 at 8:57 am
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    It’s always a shame when a bad book is bad in a bad way and not bad in a good way.

    Have you read anything by Deeanne Gist? She has written a few award-winning Christian fiction books that I haven’t actually read, but her family has been friends with the Bennetts forever, and I think her dad mentioned that she does a lot of research about the settings of her books. Anyway, it might be worth getting one of her novels from the library.

  • September 6, 2009 at 7:51 pm
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    Thanks for the recommendations. I will definitely look up the Whren and the Gist books. I have not written Christian fiction off yet. That would be very unfair of me.

    I know that Christian romances have to be chaste, normally, but chaste can be sexy and fun.

  • September 9, 2009 at 9:12 am
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    if you like historical fiction – anything by Michael Phillips is good (for goodness sakes he’s got like a 10 page introduction with footnotes before the beginning of one of his books that deals with slavery) – Anyway – my favorite of his series for good writing is the Secrets of the Rose series – but I’m still a fan of his early work even if it wasn’t quite as literary (the Corrie Belle Hollister series)

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