Julianne MacLean extracts plot points from several romance classics and deftly uses them to her advantage. The tone and atmosphere nicely echo that of writer Jane Austen. And athough there is no denying this is superb reading, the highly sensual love scene at the end was not a smooth fit.

Madeline Oxley is summoned from England to the British colony of Nova Scotia to marry her sister's beau, who just happens to be the man of her dreams. On arrival she discovers that she isn't the one he wanted to marry.

Adam Coates knows Madeline is the wrong sister and publicly rejects her. He immediately sends for a proxy marriage to England to correct the mistake. Meanwhile, Madeline will live in his house and act as governess. The wait is long, and their forbidden love grows until Madeline's older sister arrives.

Now Adam can see no way out of marriage to a woman he no longer loves, and the inclement weather of Nova Scotia causes an accident that makes matters much worse.

This unusual and satisfying romance affirms how very important it is to show love openly and never settle for anything less. SENSUAL (Apr., 360 pp., $5.25)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger