Anyone who knows the story of the most famous star-crossed lovers of all time, Romeo and Juliet, will recognize them in the pages of Lori Handeland's tale. Renamed Julie Colton and Ryan Murphy, living on the war-torn border between Kansas and Missouri and caught in a family feud, these two young people manage to find love amidst the fires of hate.

Like the original lovers, Julie and Ryan meet accidentally: he saves her from rape and they continue to meet, knowing the risks they take. Even after joining the Union army and accidentally killing her brother, Ryan cannot erase his love for Julie.

It is their mutual friend, Fr. Con, a Catholic priest, who becomes their intermediary. But he cannot stop either Julie's arrest or the rumors of Ryan's death from nearly destroying her.

This classic love story has been used time and again, made into numerous movies and a musical and now Lori Handeland brings the well-worn tale to the pages of a romance, complete with the infamous Quantrill raiders, the injustices of war and the faith that love can truly conquer all. SENSUAL (Mar., 359 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin