Last Monday marked the launch of my friend Liv Rancourt‘s paranormal romance novel, Forever and Ever, Amen. Since I was lucky enough to score an Advanced Reader’s Copy, I thought I would share my thoughts on the book, which has been published as an e-book under the Crimson Romance label.
First, the official awesome blurb to put you in the picture:
Molly, a forty-something single mom, tangles with the wrong guy and gets a hell of a hickey. That blotch is really a demon’s mark, and she’ll have to face the three things that scare her most to get rid of it. First, Molly loses her job and then she has a near-sex experience with her philandering, not-quite-ex-husband. Worst of all, she has to sit by a hospital bed, wondering if her son is ever going to wake up.
The Powers That Be assign Cass to help her. He’s an angel who’s trying to earn a seat in the celestial choir by helping out a human in need. Vanquishing the demon would be his ticket up, but only if he plays by the rules. He’ll never earn his wings if he loses his heart to the lovely Molly. But she has even bigger things to worry about. She stands to lose her soul.
Forever and Ever, Amen ~
Molly isn’t your average Romantic Heroine. For one thing, she spends as much energy caring for and worrying about her two rampant teenage kids, as she does dreaming about her guardian angel. Throw in the struggle for her soul with a demon, an ex-husband she’s clearly conflicted over, a job she hates, and a new entrepreneurial baking endeavor, and this story has many more dimensions than your average ‘Romance’.
I confess this threw me a little as I sat down to read my Advanced Reader’s Copy. My expectations of a ‘Romance Novel’ involve a fairly focused guy-girl storyline, often with little in the way of fleshed out secondary characters, and only minor subplots. But once I adjusted to (and embraced!) the fact that this book has far more substance than that, I settled back and very much enjoyed the journey.
In fact, Liv packs a lot of story into this little book. The many characters are clearly and individually drawn — including Molly’s daughter’s vampire boyfriend and a couple of hippy vegan occultists — and all story threads entwine relentlessly around Molly, hiking up the tension as her life disintegrates around her and she’s forced to reevaluate and reinvent herself in order to triumph.
But at the heart, of course, is Cass, Molly’s guardian angel. He appears in shiny surfaces at regular intervals to provide advice and encouragement, all the while trying not to fall for Molly, which is forbidden. One of the sexiest things about their relationship is that for most of the novel he exists in a different plane and cannot touch her — and when he finally breaches this restriction, Molly cannot look at him or he’ll be bound to the earthly plane. URST galore!
Rancourt’s writing style is witty and sharp with a good dose of humor, especially the dialog, which is used liberally. It all combines to generate a fast-paced and entertaining read. A small gripe I have would be that the demon is ultimately defeated a little too easily, but all the subplots are resolved with aplomb and if maybe the very end whisks by a little quickly I can forgive it.
It’s not often you see a forty-something woman as the romantic lead in such novels, and Molly is a worthy flag-bearer! If you like a gentle romance with a lot more going on than normal, this is definitely a book you should pick up!