Grace in Thine Eyes

Grace in Thine Eyes

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by Liz Curtis Higgs

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Glen of Loch Trool. Spring 1808.

Davina McKie is a bonny lass of seventeen, as clever as they come and a gifted musician. Unable to speak since childhood, she is doted on by her belligerent younger brothers, Will and Sandy, who vow to protect their silent sister.

When the lads are forced to depart the glen, Jamie McKie intends to brighten his

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Glen of Loch Trool. Spring 1808.

Davina McKie is a bonny lass of seventeen, as clever as they come and a gifted musician. Unable to speak since childhood, she is doted on by her belligerent younger brothers, Will and Sandy, who vow to protect their silent sister.

When the lads are forced to depart the glen, Jamie McKie intends to brighten his daughter’s summer by escorting Davina to the Isle of Arran. Her cousins make her welcome at the manse, and the parish delights in hearing their talented fiddler.

But when she catches the eye of a handsome young Highlander on Midsummer Eve, sheltered Davina is unprepared for the shocking events that follow.

A timeless story of passion and revenge, of lost innocence and shattered dreams, Grace in Thine Eyes explores the sorrow of unspeakable shame and the gift of immeasurable grace.

A Reader’s Guide and Scottish Glossary Are Included

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Grace in Thine Eyes

“Just as Davina is a master of the fiddle, Liz Curtis Higgs is a master of the written word.”
–Teresa Medeiros, New York Times best-selling author

“A phenomenal story that beautifully parallels its biblical counterpart.”
–Tracie Peterson, best-selling author of What She Left for Me

“Absolutely wonderful. Higgs manages to turn history and imagery and language into an unforgettable work of art.”
–B. J. Hoff, author of A Distant Music

Grace in Thine Eyes was a joy to read! I savored every word of this tender and transcendent story of one young woman’s journey from disgrace to his grace. Liz Curtis Higgs is a masterful storyteller whose eloquent pen has truly been blessed.”
–Teresa Medeiros, New York Times best-selling author

“Absolutely wonderful. If you’ve read Liz Curtis Higgs’s earlier Scottish trilogy, you already know that she has an extraordinary gift for building a beautiful, elegant story around people thrust into crisis, people whose faith is severely tested in ways that hold us captive until the final page. Grace in Thine Eyes sings throughout with the pulsating rhythm of love–God’s love for his people and our love for one another. Higgs manages to turn history and imagery and language into an unforgettable work of art. A timeless masterpiece.”
–B. J. Hoff, author of A Distant Music

Grace in Thine Eyes is a phenomenal story that beautifully parallels its biblical counterpart. In a world where love has so often been replaced by lust, Liz Curtis Higgs reminds us that what the heart is truly seeking is the grace and mercy of God’s forgiving love.”
–Tracie Peterson, best-selling author of What She Left for Me

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The Crown Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt


No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May.

Glen of Loch Trool
Spring 1808

Davina McKie dropped to her knees on the grassy hillock, letting her shawl slip past her shoulders despite the sharp chill in the air. The silent glen stood draped in a pearl gray mist, the rugged peaks of Mulldonach mere shadows edged in copper, hinting at dawn.

A smile stole across her face. Her brothers were nowhere to be seen.

Davina swept her fingers over the cool, wet grass, then lightly patted her cheeks and brow, touching her nose for good measure. If the May dew banished her freckles, as the auld wives promised, she would gladly wash her face out of doors every morning of the year. Never mind that the ruddy spots matched her bright mane of hair; ferntickles were better suited to a child’s complexion. After seventeen years, Davina was quite ready to be done with them.

She sat up and rearranged her drooping crown of daisies, meant to safeguard her from brownies, bogles, and other uncanny creatures that roamed the land on Beltane, then started to her feet when a familiar voice rose from the fog.

“On May Day, in a fairy ring!” Her brother William. There was no mistaking his baritone. His twin, Sandy–only their mother called him Alexander–would not be far behind.

Ah, well.
Davina spun round to greet them.

Two shaggy heads, black as midnight, emerged from the mist. A year younger than she, the twins were in every way identical, from their dark brown eyes to their broad chests and muscular backs. “Like stags,” their mother had once said, gently teasing them not to be seen on the moors during hunting season.

As the lads drew near, they finished the May Day rhyme. “We’ve seen them round Saint Anthon’s spring.”

Davina recognized the poet.

“Robert Ferguson,” Will answered for her as if he’d read the name in her eyes. He tugged at her unbound hair, which spilled down her back, the scarlet ends brushing her waist. “Sandy, I told you we’d spot a fairy on the braes this morning. See how her ears come to a point?”

The McKie brothers never tired of comparing her to the wee folk since the crown of her head did not reach their shoulders, and her hands and feet were no bigger than a young girl’s. She snatched her hair from Will’s grasp, only to find his twin plucking at her skirts.

Sandy’s eyes gleamed with mischief as he appraised her. “A light green gown, fair skin, and a wreath of flowers. She only lacks wings.”

Will winked at her. “You’ve not looked hard enough, Brother.”

She fluttered her eyelet shawl behind her, making them both laugh.

“I see by her wet cheek our fairy has been bathing in the dew.”
Sandy gently tweaked her nose. “Perhaps she thinks she’s not bonny enough.”

Davina knew he was teasing but turned on her heel nonetheless and flounced down the hill toward home, taking care not to lose her footing on the slippery grass and ruin her stageworthy exit. When her brothers called after her, she pretended not to hear them.

Will shouted her name, the sharpness of his voice muted by the moist air. “Sandy meant no offense. You know how daft he is when it comes to the lasses.”

She heard a soft groan as fist connected with flesh, then Sandy’s voice, slightly winded. “He speaks the truth, Davina. You’ve no need of the May dew when you’re already the fairest maid in Galloway.”

An exaggerated claim. South West Scotland boasted dozens of young women far prettier than she. Still, she’d made her brothers grovel long enough. Davina slowed her steps, letting the lads catch up.

“There, now.” Will wrapped her right hand round the crook of his elbow, and Sandy the same on her left. “Let us cease any talk of your beauty. As it is, no gentleman in Monnigaff parish is worthy of you.”

She could not clap her hands–her usual means of expressing amusement–so Davina simply shook her head at Will’s foolishness as they continued downhill together. Perhaps that night when she took to the heath by the light of a gibbous moon, she’ d evade her brothers altogether. The ritual required absolute silence–something she managed easily and the twins did not manage at all.

“We’ve a secret,” Will confessed as the threesome reached level ground. “That’s why we came looking for you.” He led them away from the rushing waters of Buchan Burn and headed west toward the McKie mansion. “Father intends to make an announcement after breakfast. As usual, he’s told us nothing.”

“Aye.” Sandy grimaced. “’Twill be a revelation to us all.”

Davina searched their faces in turn. Was it glad tidings or ill? She touched her lips, then her heart, knowing they would grasp her meaning: Can you not tell me more? I will keep your secret.

Will shook his head, stamping the grass a bit harder. “That’s all we know, lass. Father demanded we arrive promptly at table. He wasn’t smiling when he said it.”

Bad news, then.

Her earlier joy began to dissipate, like the morning mist giving way to the sun. The trio walked on in silence broken only by the throaty cry of a raven gliding above the surface of Loch Trool. When the thick stand of pines along the loch made continuing arm in arm impossible, Davina followed behind Will, with Sandy close on her heels, her mind turning over the possibilities.

Was a wedding in the offing? The twins were only sixteen, far too young for marriage. Davina’s steps slowed. Surely her father did not have a suitor in mind for her? Not likely, or her mother would have mentioned something. Was Ian to marry, then? Quite as braw as their handsome father, her brother would make a fine catch for any lass. Nineteen years of age come October, he was man enough to take a wife.

Ian was in every way her older brother. Responsible. Trustworthy. Intelligent. The twins used other words: Predictable. Unimaginative. Dull. Davina suspected that envy fueled such sentiments: Ian would inherit all of Glentrool. Still, it was Will and Sandy who’d come looking for her on the hills, speculating about an announcement. Might their father not have some favorable word to share with his younger sons? If so, she would mark this day as a rare and welcome occasion.

As they neared Glentrool, Davina lifted her gaze to its square central tower and the round turret nestled in the heart of its L-shaped design. Built of rough granite from the glen, the house was rugged and imposing, like the Fell of Eschoncan that stood behind it; immovable and unshakable, like the faith of the great-grandfather who had built it.

After crossing the threshold, they started down the long entrance hall, the twins’ boot heels loud against the hardwood floor. Davina paused at the mirror to smooth the muslin tucker round her neckline and pluck the flowers from her hair, now a tangled mess after her early morning ramble on the hills.

Drawing a steadying breath, she turned away from her reflection and walked into the dark-beamed dining room where she was greeted by portraits of McKies from generations past. A single window did little to brighten the dim interior. The rest of the family was already seated, with Father at the head of the long table, Ian to his left and Mother on his right. Though Ian simply said, “Good morning,” she saw the wariness in his gaze, heard his unspoken warning. Something is amiss. A slight furrow carved her father’s brow. More cause for concern.

“I was about to send Rab off to find you.” Their mother’s tone was kind, without censure. “You see, my husband?” She touched his sleeve.  “Your sons have joined you at table, just as you requested.”

“So they have.” Jamie rested his hand on hers, a slight smile softening his features.

Most marriages among the gentry were forged in silver, with little thought for romance; not so her parents. Davina thought they made a handsome couple: Leana, with her porcelain skin, silvery blond hair, and wide, blue gray eyes; and Jamie, his brown hair still thick but shot through with silver, his dark brows arched over moss green eyes that missed nothing. Her mother had quietly celebrated her fortieth year in March and her father the same a few years earlier.

“Dearest?” Leana’s voice stirred Davina from her reverie. So did the sketchbook that she slid toward her. “I found this in your room and thought you might have need of it.”

Davina opened the clothbound volume to a blank page, then fingered the attached charcoal pencil, carved to a fine point by her father’s horn-handled knife. Whenever facial expressions or hand signals would not suffice to share her thoughts with others, she scribbled them along the margins of her sketches. Just now she felt a strong urge to draw something, to keep hand and mind occupied while the others ate, for she had little appetite.

Two servants entered from the kitchen, steaming dishes in hand. Rashers of bacon and a fragrant pot of cooked oats were added to the sideboard, joining a cold platter of sliced mutton and boiled hens’ eggs. The twins stood to fill their plates, more subdued than Davina had seen them in many a morning.

She swallowed a bit of dry oatcake, then quietly sipped her tea, searching her mother’s face for some clue of what the morning might hold. Was that a slight tremor in Leana’s chin? a hint of moisture in her eyes?

All at once her father thrust aside his half-eaten plate of food and dabbed his mouth, signaling his intentions. “I have important news that cannot wait any longer.”

Davina’s breath caught. Please, Father. Let it be good news.

Her brothers turned to the head of the table, their expressions grim, as Davina found her sketchbook pencil. It seemed their questions were about to be answered.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Grace in Thine Eyes 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 37 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seventeen-year-old Davina McKie has lived a sheltered life at Glentrool, under the protection her father - the laird, Jamie McKie - and her three brothers. Rendered mute by a childhood accident, she's found another voice in making music with her grandfather's fiddle. Jamie and Leana McKie, devout Christians, have raised their daughter to trust God and think the best of her fellow humans. So when Davina arrives on Scotland's Isle of Arran to spend the summer with cousins, she feels no trepidation about accepting the Duke of Hamilton's invitation to entertain his guests with her music every evening. No does she find it suspicious when Somerled MacDonald, a noble Highlander among the Duke's guests, singles her out for his attentions and quickly contrives to see her alone. Which Davina well knows isn't acceptable, for a virtuous young noblewoman in her time and place...but she's on her own for the first time in her life, and Somerled seems literally like the man of her dreams. Now, if you want to avoid minor spoilers that I have to mention in order to explain my reactions to this novel, stop reading. Or, read on - I won't give away anything that the back matter doesn't hint at, I promise. I nearly stopped reading this book when I realized that its themes would include a woman falling in love with her rapist. Although I've since learned from the author's notes that this historical novel's plot deliberately recreates the Biblical tale of Jacob's daughter Dinah, I still find that theme repugnant. But I did keep reading, because the characters insisted that I do so. Davina, Jamie, and Leana - 16-year-old twins Will and Sandy, whose boyhood misbehavior caused the accident that took Davina's voice - and even minor characters like older brother Ian come to life on the pages. The author manages to create Somerled MacDonald as a wealthy and highborn young man of his era, treating women as his culture has taught him to treat them, instead of as a stereotypical sociopath. She makes him understandable, although never (thank goodness, or I WOULD have stopped reading!) inappropriately sympathetic. Which causes the grace mentioned in the book's title to shine all the more brightly. Generally I avoid 'inspirational romances' because they tend to substitute earnest good intentions on the author's part for good writing. Liz Curtis Higgs, though, proves herself to be a rare and wonderful exception to that rule. I'll read her work again with pleasure.
juliabray More than 1 year ago
I cried and that is a good thing. Vary rarely do books prompt me to actually tears this one had me sobbing I used at least twenty tissues. I did not realize until I finished this book that it is the fourth in a series. I had no problem with the fact that this was book four although reading the other three would have given more insight into the main characters parents lives so I will now go back and read those. I also did not know until I finished the book that is was based on Ch. 34 of Genesis. The author does a wonderful job retelling the tale. I would not recommend this book to younger audience as it deals with some mature content. Would be an excellent book for a rainy day as I found it terribly hard to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Liz Curtis Higgs stands out as one of the most gifted writers that I have had the pleasure of reading. The Scottish historical series that opened with her acclaimed novel Thorn in My Heart ends just as brilliantly with Grace in Thine Eyes. Davina McKie is but a slip of a lass, whose childhood accident left her mute and her family divided by her father's resentment. When Davina is seventeen, her twin brothers are sent to Edinburgh to begin their schooling and she sets out to visit her cousins on the Island of Arran. There, the rumor of her uncanny talent on the fiddle spreads, and she invited to play before a Duke. Thrust unsuspecting into higher society, her innocence is quickly robbed but not her spirit. As she is forced to choose between resentment and forgiveness, her decisions propel an epic story of betrayal, love, and intrigue. Liz Curtis Higgs explores one of the most puzzling passages of scripture, fictionalizing the biblical story, and providing a woman's perspective¿so well that she brought tears to my eyes. Backdrops that with an amazing talent at holding readers captive, descriptions that are poetry, and it becomes a classic. I anxiously await her new Scottish historical releasing in 2008¿Highly Recommended
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is hands down the best christian series I have ever read. The author recreated the biblical story of Jacob in such a captivating way that I did nothing but read until I finished the whole series. I laughed and cried with plight of the characters and a year later I still think about them. Very profound writing that will engage any reader to do some deep soul searching. Liz please write another series like this soon!
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JEM36 More than 1 year ago
Whether a romantic, historian, or a fan of the many stories in the Bible, you will absolutely be enthralled by this story. This is the fourth book I have read by this author and rate them all as highly as this one. Ms Higgs and Francine Rivers are by far the two authors who set me to search my Bible for the wonderful people that God sent out before us to be our examples. Examples in how we should govern our lives and how we should not. Some excellent advice on parenting, as well. If your emotions are not set in gear, then you have none.
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I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to spend an entire day reading. It is very hard to put down. I went out and bought the others the next day!
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