Abby Merganser has been in love with Dr. Seth Hendon, the brother of her best friend Sarah, her entire life. But when Sarah dies, Seth blames himself for not being able to save her. His guilt eats away at his soul and self-confidence until depression overwhelms him and he considers giving up medicine.

Cock-eyed optimist Abby decides to force Seth to come to the conclusion that he loves her, despite the fact that her upbeat view of life is in direct opposition to Seths despair. However, in her naiveti she goes after what she wants, getting Seth to see the world in another light.

Just when it appears that she has won the battle, Abby realizes she will have to fight a new war. The headaches she has been experiencing may be life-threatening.

Seth, who has nearly turned his back on medicine, will be hurt and even more disillusioned when he learns of her condition. Can she push him away to save him from pain or will his newfound strength help them find a cure?

Keep your hankie nearby as Ms. Mittman spins a warm, loving story that sets standards for Americana romance. The interesting and well-researched details of small-town life and 19th-century medicine add depth and realism to the storys emotional impact. The juxtapositioning of Abbys joy for life with Seths cynicism only strengthen the plot and tug at our heartstrings. SENSUAL (Sep., 380 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin