Victoria Parker is tired of penning charming society pieces for her father's Cheyenne, Wyoming, newspaper. She yearns to be a real journalist, writing stories with substance, like those about the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine off the coast of Havana.

The return of Captain Samuel Garrett, the man she secretly loves, leads to her dream come true. Though Sam is in love with Mary Two Feathers Pendergast, he becomes bound by honor to take Victoria as his wife when he compromises her reputation while saving her from an angry mob.

Soon afterward, Sam leaves to help train Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. Victoria follows Sam to Tampa as one of a corps of journalists. She finds that Mary is there as a member of the newly formed Nurses Corps.

Victoria thrusts herself into all the action and danger of the war, reporting honestly about everything she sees, hears and feels. War changes Victoria from an innocent to a woman of strength and courage; a woman Sam admires. Victoria will need all her courage to help Mary when an epidemic puts them all in danger.

Merline Lovelace's novel is a testimony to the brave women who took on a man's world and won. This is a story of great courage, friendship, loyalty, tenacity and hope in the face of the horrors of war. It is a story that makes one proud to be a woman and inspires us to follow those who have faced challenges and come out winners. SENSUAL (Jan., 400 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin