"A High, Hard Land"... A Soft Place For The Tender Heart To Fall

A High, Hard Land Title:  A High, Hard Land
Author:  Tori Cates
Format:  Print
Length:  304 pages
Publisher:  Pocket Books
Rating:  5 Stars

The strength of a legend. The transforming power of love. On a movie set, a pair of shattering love stories unfolds as two couples surrender to the healing balm of passion. . . .

Lissa Bauer has always been careful to hide the hurts of her past, knowing that showing her pain won't help her acting career. Now its her big break, playing the compelling, hardscrabble heroine of Matthew Briggs' stunning novel, A High, Hard Land. As Lissa struggles with her complex feelings for the story's enigmatic hero, however, she's not capturing her role to Matthew's satisfaction. He, as well as his hero, is playing havoc with her deepest emotions.

Matthew has never met a woman like Lissa, beautiful, vulnerable, willing to give one hundred percent to o revealing his heroine. He can't understand what is driving her away. Finally, he has found a woman he can love. But will the depth of their emotions tear them apart . . . or teach them trust in each other's arms?  -Goodreads

My Thoughts
The emotional intensity that leading man, Matthew Briggs brings to A High, Hard Land, draws the reader to him long before any romance is on the horizon.  He comes off as a very direct "take no prisoners" character, who knows what he wants in and out of the bedroom...and won't settle for less.

His lady lead, Lissa Baur, his opposite in so many ways, provides Matthew the perfect opportunity to let his guard down and be the nurturing 'white knight' that he so wants to be.
Lissa begins the read as a very unsure and overly eager to please persona.  Though it is quite clear from the start, that she has the womanly wiles that stir Matthew's blood.  It is also quite clear that she
is more than a little afraid to tread Matthew's emotional waters.

Adding to the depth of this romance, is the story within a story element provided by Matthew and Lissa's work in the set  where his carefully penned pages are being adapted for the big screen.  It is through coming to understand the life and times of the enigmatic woman that she is charged with portraying, that she and Matthew are able to make strides toward understanding each other.

The romance level is very high, but the author's approach to said romance is far from the norm.  Most of the sex between these two goes on between their ears, rather than between the sheets.  By the time the clothes do come off, the excitement is as palpable for the reader as it is for Matthew and Lissa.
Another difference between this story and others of its ilk, is the fact that the consummation of their relationship does not signal an end to the conflict of head versus heart with either of these characters.
If anything, the stakes are raised and the storyline becomes more involved.

This is a romance that takes the reader's heart off the beaten path, choosing instead, a panoramic trail leading to breathtaking  vistas of descriptive dialogue, lush valleys filled with conflict, and the majestic peaks of romantic fulfillment.  

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