Roberta Gellis is synonymous with powerful, his-torically accurate medieval romances. Since the late 1970s, her Roselynde Chronicles have held a special place on readers' shelves, so that they can be savored again and again.

After almost 20 years she returns with a story that fits into the series between Roselynde and Alinor, set during the early days of Simon and Alinor's marriage, at a time when King Richard is a hostage and Prince John controls England.

With her elderly husband incapacit-ated by a stroke, Desiree pleads with Simon to send a man to help her arm against a possible invasion. Simon dispatches his nephew, the newly knighted Alexandre Baudoin, to see to the defenses and hold the keep for King Richard.

Alex is caught between his respect for Desiree's husband and his attraction to the woman herself, who innocently tempts him with her wit, kindness and sensuality. But knowing that he is dying, the old man sees to it that they are constantly thrown together.

Savor this story like the finest wine. Rich history, marvelous characters and an intriguing plot are enhanced by Gellis' unique understanding of the historical period. The world comes alive through her characters and everything that surrounds them. A feast for the senses and a gift for the mind. SENSUAL (Feb., 400 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin