Gypsy horsemaster Sandor Matskella is appalled that he must take over for his uncle, King Edward's executioner, when his uncle takes ill and must execute a troublesome nun at Hawksnest Castle.

But Sandor soon discovers the "old" nun is actually the lovely Lady Gastonia Cavandish, a woman who decided to devote herself to God because she couldn't find a man worthy of her.

Edward and his ministers wish to rid the country of anything Papist. By killing Tonia, they can reduce the influence of the powerful Cavandish family. Tonia is hopeful that she can stave off her execution by appealing to Sandor's sense of compassion. What she doesn't count on are her feelings for him—finally a man she can admire, even if he plans to kill her.

As their love grows together, they devise a plan to outsmart the ministers. Filled with the turbulent details of religious intolerance in England, this carefully crafted romance includes the real Cavandish family and their history. In it, Ms. Phillips proves that love is the most powerful emotion when it resides in the hearts of strong men and women. SENSUAL (Jun., 350 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Evelyn Feiner