The ton calls Hester Poitevant the "Bridemaker," claiming she can make a "silk purse out of a sow's ear." Hester has succeeded in taking the awkward Dulcie Bennett and turning her into a witty, attractive debutante.

Hester remains in the shadows until she sees Adrian Hawke, the unsuitable man Dulcie has set her sights upon. Adrian is far more intrigued by the prim Mrs. Poitevant than Dulcie, who is the sister of his one-time school nemesis, George Bennett. He appears to show an interest in Dulcie to get closer to Hester and he willingly gets drawn into his rival's get-rich-quick schemes. But there is much more at stake than money and revenge as Adrian seeks to uncover Hester's secrets.

THE BRIDEMAKER is a complex romance with multi-dimensional characters who possess complicated and powerful emotions. An intricate plot with surprising twists holds the reader's attention, though without Becnel's usual humor.

Dulcie and the young man she loves are truly a delight, and George is a first-class villain, but it is the secret Hester holds that tugs at your heartstrings. This, combined with the powerful love story, makes this tale exceptional. SENSUAL (Nov., 344 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin