Though only a servant, Hannah Van Evan hopes to leave Miami and travel to Europe. Her dreams come true when she accepts a position with auctioneer and art expert Amelia Besom to act as her secretary/companion on a trip to France.
Spirited, enthusiastic and naive, Hannah plans to take full advantage of her new job to learn all she can. Nothing quite prepares her for world-weary sculptor Bernard "Nardi" de Saint Viller.
Once the rising young star of the Paris art world, Nardi has become a dissipated ether addict whose exploits are the bane of his noble family's existence. With their funds running low Nardi's brother arranges an advantageous marriage for Nardi hoping to reclaim and restore the family chateau.
With no other choice, Nardi accepts his brother's plan, until he meets the enchanting, innocently sensual Miss Van Evan. She is the light in his otherwise bleak existence, rekindling his hope and belief in himself. But once Nardi allows himself the joy of finding love he also opens himself and Hannah to heartbreak.
BLISS is what one expects from a writer of Ms. Cuevas' talents-an out- of-the-ordinary read peopled with interesting characters and set against an intriguing backdrop that exposes the dark underbelly of Victorian society. You might want to break out your high school French book and enjoy translating many of Nardi's more interesting remarks. SENSUAL (Apr., 384 pp., $5.99)