A delightful French Colonial road romance. Fur trapper Andre Lefebvre is forced to marry in order to keep his fur-trading license. He chooses Genevieve Lalande from among the "King's Girls" (boatloads of women of good health and upbringing, or "filles du roi" (king's girls), shipped to New France to raise the numbers of eligible women of good breeding, and help settle the French colonies), thinking she is deathly ill & won't survive long after he embarks on a trapping expedition into the interior. Andre has no interest in marriage, especially to a frail & pampered Frenchwoman who will require him to live in the settlements, when all he craves is the unfettered freedom of the wilderness. Genevieve proves stronger than Andre had thought however, and she not only survives her illness, but presents herself to Andre on the eve of his departure, refusing to be left behind. Andre agrees, thinking that the rigors of the trail will break Genevieve, and she will gladly return to the settlements. Yet once again, his inconvenient, unpredictable wife proves to be more than she seems - in more ways than one...
I'll just cut to the chase here - this is a great, fully engrossing story & I loved it. I initially thought it was something I've seen before, and in some ways it was, but Verge manages very nicely to bring something refreshing & unique to what might otherwise be a boring and predictable marriage of convenience plot. Despite the fact that Andre and Genevieve are basically deceiving each other, there is a surprising degree of candor and depth to their budding relationship. When the deceptions are fully revealed, they weather the storm with remarkable strength and devotion. Once I got to the second half of the story I literally couldn't put it down. The lovescenes are scorching & very well-written, the dialogue witty and engaging. I gave it a solid A.
Genevieve Lalande was a thief and almost a whore in the streets of Paris after tragedy sent her fleeing from her home. She trades places with one of the noble girls dowered by the king and destined to wed a man in Quebec. André Lefebvre (say that 3 times fast) is a trapper who will lose his license if he doesn't wed immediately. So he chooses the sickliest of the mail order brides, hoping she'll die while he's away that winter. Genevieve has other ideas once she recovers from her brief fever. She follows her reluctant husband on his trapping expedition into the wilderness and his heart. André is determined not to consummate his marriage, and arrives at all sorts of ways to pleasure his wife before finally succumbing on top of a cliff, overlooking a herd of antelope (how romantic). A return to civilization brings an interesting new use for gooseberry jam and unwanted troubles, but Genevieve and her lusty trapper go the way of the French and head for the Pacific (which is still only a rumor).
I've read almost all of Verge's books and this remains my all-time favorite. It's set in the 1670s in French Canada among the fur traders.
In a time and place where a female commoner had no rights under the law, especially in the wilderness, Genny was one bad-a**ed heroine who stopped at nothing to get what she'd always wanted -- a home. Such a simple need, yet so hard for her to attain. And Andre was a hero to die for -- fierce, loyal and honest to a fault. Watching him succumb to Genny and seeing her get what she deserved was a joy.