At 17, Maria has already been a princess, a queen and a widow. Now her brother plans to marry her to James V of Scotland, but Maria has other plans. She boards a ship sailing far from home. But when her ship goes down, she is rescued by the one man she fears; James MacPherson, King James' emissary.

James is smitten by the raven-haired young woman, not realizing her true identity. An instantaneous passion sparks between them, and though others conspire to tear them apart and Maria knows she is playing a dangerous game, she surrenders to her forbidden love for James.

James brings Maria to Antwerp, where he is to greet Queen Mary, then escort her to Scotland. Now they are caught in a tangled web of intrigue where their love is no longer their salvation but their enemy, and where Maria must choose between yielding to her brother's will or following her heart.

May McGoldrick brings glimmers of light to dark corners of history and little known historical personages. Readers will find themselves spellbound by this marvelous tale of love's triumph. SENSUAL (March, 396 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin