Lucy arrives in Emancipation to discover her fiancé has jilted her. Undaunted, she gets a job at Seb Cole's saloon and then finds a position on the local newspaper. Lucy discovers that she likes being independent and loves writing her clever advice column, "Ask Penelope." When her family tries to force her to return home, Lucy proposes marriage to Seb.

Though Seb doesn't trust women, he's attracted to Lucy and accepts her proposal of a marriage of convenience, all the while secretly hoping it can be more.

Seb and Lucy manage to evade most of the townfolks' quizzical glances over their hasty marriage. They survive her former fiancé's irritation and her family's visit, but can their marriage and newfound passion survive Lucy's secret life as Penelope?

With sass, grit and heart, Ihle delivers a story that proves she understands the innermost secrets of the soul: love, trust, freedom and the desire to be accepted for who we are. Like "Penelope" (whose letters add a real spark to the romance) Ihle's earthy, rich, pull-no-punches style is perfect for this feminist western. SENSUAL (Sep., 334 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin