France on the eve of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, in the throes of religious turmoil, is the stage for Carroll's spellbinding tale of good vs. evil. Ariane Cheney, Lady of the Fair Isle and leader of the Daughters of the Earth (good witches) finds a wounded Huguenot soldier holding a pair of gloves that implicate Catherine de Medici, the Dark Queen, in a murder.

Learning of the gloves, Catherine turns her anger against the Cheney sisters. For their protection, Ariane must look to the Comte de Renard, whom she has refused to marry, no matter how he pursues her.

Renard, who possesses great powers, gives Ariane a ring that she can use to summon him. As Catherine's net closes around the sisters, Ariane calls upon Renard, who comes because he loves her and hopes that someday she will return his passion.

With this first of a trilogy, Carroll liberally laces her exquisite romance with enthralling historical detail, dark and intense emotions and the perfect touches of the paranormal. She leaves readers to savor every word of this superbly crafted breathtaking romance. You'll be back for seconds when the story continues later this year. SENSUAL (Apr., 544 pp., $13.95)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin