cover image Heaven Knows

Heaven Knows

Elaine Coffman / Author Ivy Books $5.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-449-14

In the finale to a series of well-received books about the five Mackinnon brothers from Texas ( So This Is Love ), full-bodied prose sleekly captures the story of irrepressible Lizzie Robinson and her love for rakish bachelor Tavis Mackinnon. To the amusement of Nantucket's residents and to the consternation of her family, Lizzie sets her cap to Tavis and is consequently packed off to a stern Boston aunt to curb her wild ways. Civilized and refined, Elizabeth returns nine years later--still besotted. Tavis vows to resist, but finds himself drawn to the woman she has become. With the Civil War looming, Tavis and Elizabeth take to the seas in hot pursuit of a Confederate spy. Imperiled, rescued and forced to wed (nature having taken its course after they were blown off theirs), the lovers are buffeted by wartime separation and their own wills until hard-won maturity prevails. Streamlined to focus on the stormy, emotionally complex dynamic between Elizabeth and Tavis, the high-spiritedness of the early narrative gives way to an increasingly somber tone that becomes lugubrious with heavy-handed depictions of loss and random tragedy. Coffman's writing is deft, capable and evocative yet underplays the sweep and vibrancy of the era, and, save for Elizabeth's beloved seafaring old salt of a grandfather, ancillary characters are shadowy blips. Uneven overall, but for the last of the Mackinnons, Coffman has crafted a smoothly milled romance that fans of the series will no doubt find satisfying. (Apr.)