Monday, July 13, 2015

Heaven In His Arms - A Book Review

Heaven In His Arms
Lisa Verge Higgins

Struggling to survive on the streets of Paris, Genevieve will do anything to start a new life. She’ll even switch places with a King’s Girl, one of many penniless young noblewomen destined to be shipped to the savage French colonies. It’s a dangerous masquerade that comes with a high price: Once in Quebec, Genny will have to marry a stranger.

Notorious explorer André Lefebvre has too many reasons not to take a wife. He’s launching a western expedition deep into untamed lands—a perilous journey that no gentlewoman could possibly survive. Forced to exchange vows with a King’s Girl in order to receive royal consent, he intends to leave his wife-of-convenience safely behind.

But once set loose in the New World, Genny defies her brawny, free-spirited husband, preferring to seduce rather than obey. She’ll risk any danger for a chance to build a real future . . . even the danger to her own heart. 

To date, I have loved and enjoyed the light lyrical works of Lisa Verge Higgins’ Historical Romance novels and novellas.  In His Arms left the “light and lyrical” behind to delve into the realms of a realistic historical fiction that covered an Era and place that are typically overlooked by historical fiction writers.  True to Lisa’s style, the novel maintained the deep emotional and lyrical rhythms of the bedroom that she is famous for and does so well.  But this time, she left the civilized world behind and planted the hero and heroine (Genny and Andre) in the deep northern woods of colonial Canada, during the 1700’s when it was still a wild and unexplored territory. 
Just as you reached a point in your reading, when you thought that you might know the back story for Genny, a turn of the page revealed a new clue leading you down an unexpected path out in the wilds.  But these wilds were not fraught with blood-curdling, heathens who would lift your scalp (even if Andre tried his best to get the socialite upper-class French Courtesan to believe him). 
In truth Genny was made of the stuff, and had the moral caliber and fortitude that women of that day needed to live and survive in the remote backwoods and wilds of a wilderness.  Or, was she running from a bigger monster that anything that the wilds of the Canadian wilderness could throw her way?
Just like in real life, no matter how determined you are to lock your heart and mind away, if you continually find it in close quarters with a wildly enticing creature for days and weeks on end, whose very essence and being start to seep and creep into your pores, you wear down.  Much like a strong rock wall held together with old mortar and daub, the fortification slowly crumbles as love and friendship seep down through the cracks and daub.  Finally, one hard knock (a crisis of potential loss) sends all the final reserves tumbling into a pile of defeat.
I loved the questions that were raised in the story line, the fact that the ebb and flow allowed each of the readers to draw their own conclusions to what really happened in Andre and Genny’s past, and outside the written pages of the novel.  I do hope that a sequel to In His Arms will come along before long, because there are many twists and turns, and discoveries waiting to happen; along with much more history waiting to peek out from behind unexpected corners, providing terror and potential reward.
Lisa gives her readers strong, independent heroines, who are capable of conquering their worlds and making their own way through adversity.  At the same time, she knows how to provide strong and stalwart heroes to serve as supporting cast, without being wimps and bedroom eye-candy.  On the other hand, her cast of villains is varied and crosses the gender lines.  They are as likely be pulled from places you would expect supporting characters to come from as from the gutters and barrooms of the back alleys.  What she shows is that goodness and evil prevail in all walks of life.  Just like in real life, you never know where your help will come from, nor where the nefarious blackguard will leap out from to destroy your world.
Lisa, has left the soufflé romance in the dirt, with this wonderful piece.  I give it a FIVE STAR rating for story-telling, character development, and romance.

Lisa Ann Verge is the critically acclaimed RITA-nominated author of seventeen novels that have been published worldwide and translated into as many languages. She started her career writing emotionally intense romances about hot men and dangerous women, and now she also writes life-affirming women's fiction under the name Lisa Verge Higgins. A finalist for Romantic Times' book awards five times over, Lisa has won the Golden Leaf and the Bean Pot, and twice she has cracked Barnes & Noble's General Fiction Forum's top twenty books of the year. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three daughters, who never fail to make life interesting