So I have been really into these two books lately. They are a series of two, I don't know what that would be called in book terms but in music terms it would be a duet. Anyway, the story is a fictional adaptation of the story of Leah and Rachel from Genesis, except this is set in 1790s Scotland, and the story is about Leana and Rose. Their father's name is Lachlan, a character made after Laban, and the fair suitor is James, who is Jacob of the Bible.
What is interesting about this story is that it portrays Leah's perspective. We never really think about how it might have felt to be the older daughter, who traditionally is to be married off first, to be so obviously held in second place under the oh-so-lovely Rachel. All the Bible really says about her is, "Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful." (Gen 29:17) Which could mean, all that was wrong with her was she had BLUE eyes. We blue-eyed girls know how sensitive our eyes can be to the light, and imagine living in the desert where the sun is out in full force, and reflecting off the ground all day. I'd probably be considered weak-eyed too. But Rachel, since she was so lovely, probably means she had dark eyes, skin, hair, all that was desirable to that people at that time. Remember, these people are essentially Arabs, who are darker skinned than us white folks. Anyway, darker was better, and God forbid Leah be born with sensitive blue eyes. She couldn't help that she wasn't loved by Jacob, although she tried very hard, considering all the bairns she had.
I haven't finished the second book yet, but I know what happens. Jamie gets Rose. Though how the author is going to get around the whole two wives and two maidservants thing, I'm not sure yet. It is just really neat to get a new perspective, and historically-based fiction is a darn good way to get it.
The books are called "Thorn in my Heart" and "Fair is the Rose" by Liz Curtis Higgs.
And on the subject of historical fiction, my favorite authors of all-time are Brock and Bodie Thoene (Tay-nee). I've learned a lot about the actual history of the Bible times and the Middle East struggles by reading their books. I feel like I always have a different perspective than the person who teaches any Bible study I ever hear on the subjects I've read about. Rarely do I share it, but I think it. If called on though, I feel like I could give good arguments.