Elizabeth Stanwycke leaves England for an uncertain future as a governess at Wolfram Castle in Germany where rumors of strange incidents haunt the castle.

Her unease begins when her carriage is forced off the road near the castle and she sees a nearly naked woman being pursued by a man on horseback. Though told she has an overactive imagination, Elizabeth cannot chase the horrible image away.

She is distracted by her enigmatic employer, Count Nikolas von Wolfram. He is the ideal gothic hero -- brooding, handsome, mysterious and obviously hiding something about his family history.

Elizabeth's task is to prepare Nikolas' niece to attract an English earl as a husband, but the girl is sullen and uncooperative. Then there are the extremely loyal servants; the fragile Gerta; the visitors Melisande and her father; and the omnipresent wolves who stalk the castle grounds and seem to know something about the strange happenings and the runaway girl. Most perturbing of all is that Elizabeth has fallen in love with Nikolas, a man whose secrets could destroy her life.

By mixing a classic gothic with paranormal overtones Simpson has a winner. This impossible-to-put-down romance belongs alongside Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney and Daphne du Maurier. Here is a pure classic plotline with just the right touch of the ominous, the perfect amount of suspense and plenty of sexual tension to keep you reading late into the night and finish satiated. SENSUAL (Mar., 368 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin