For more than 20 years Olivia, Duchess of Brandhurst, has been the perfect wife and ideal Duchess, but with her husband's death (a possible murder), she is freed from restraints. Able to do as she pleases, when Livie meets a young artist who has been hired to design the Duke's grave, she steps outside her class bounds for one night to become his lover.

Without knowing each other's identities, the lovers resume their own lives and do not meet again until more than a year later, when Will Barnes returns to paint the Duchess' portrait. He might come from a working-class background and be a mere artist, but he is the one man who truly understands Livie's deepest desires.

Though their love goes against all the rules of strict Victorian society, neither can deny that it is true and strong. And when Livie is accused of her husband's murder, it is Will, ironically enough, who sets out to prove her innocence.

Julie Beard writes unusual stories which take unexpected twists and turns. In THE DUCHESS' LOVER, she takes on Victorian society, a murder mystery and the love between a young man and an older woman, and writes with compassion and great intelligence, which are her trademarks.

The vibrant descriptions of everythingfrom the characters to the setting and the strong, true emotions emanating from her loverswill have readers cherishing this magical and very powerful love story. SENSUAL (Apr., 320 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin