Engaged to her best friend, Ferris Chester, Catherine Meredyth did not foresee the drastic turn her life would take when she is introduced to the suave and dashing Ryan St. James.

In Virginia to oversee the family shipping business, Ryan is immediately taken with the beautiful and fiery Catra, even though shes engaged to his partners nephew.

Ryan is determined to have Catra for his own. He convinces her that Ferris is not the man for her, then proposes to her himself.

Catra begs her father to allow her to wed Ryan. Furious with his daughter for threatening the familys honor, he spins a tale of Ryans deceitfulness and ill intent.

Fueled by misconceptions, Catra weds Ferris only to discover her fathers treachery. They spend their honeymoon in Boston with the St. Jameses. As soon as Catra meets Ryan again, all the love and hurt rise to the surface for both of them. As the lies unravel Catra discovers Ferris is the deceitful one, and his dark secret only serves to make their situation more complex.

Although there are differences that could have been easily reconciled and characters who are at times far too shallow and contrived to be believed, COMPULSION is an interesting antebellum romance. SENSUAL (Jan., 367 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Beth MacGregor