Elspeth Quinn, too poor for a season, is surely an old maid at 23. She only agrees to allow her aunt to provide her with her first season because she hopes it will establish her younger brother in society. Meanwhile, Julian Thorpe has come to seek a wife on the Marriage Mart but finds the activities and the company impossibly boring.

These two mildly myopic Regency misfits more or less stumble into attraction, then love. What neither count on is the desperation of Elspeth's cousin, who is determined that Julian marry her. After the cousin stages a compromising situation, the interest of this novel shifts to the hidden machinations of a society totally concerned with manners and surface morality.

This novel needs a bit more plot and character development, as well as more strongly developed prose, but for readers who enjoy the Regency customs, McFadden delivers. SENSUAL (Jun., 358 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger