What happens when you take one stiff-necked San Francisco attorney, an escaped convict, three orphans, a deserted island and a genie in a bottle? You get an enchanting romance that could only be told by Jill Barnett.

Maddie Smith is on a South Seas vacation when her ship blows up and she lands in a lifeboat with escaped convict Hank Wyatt, three children and one goat.

Hank seizes the chance to escape from a French penal colony and will do anything to be free, even put up with the beautiful, headstrong and difficult Maddie.

Maddie has always gotten her way, but not when she's stuck on a Pacific Island with an arrogant, brash man, a demanding toddler, a hostile young girl and an exuberant boy. While Maddie tries to cope with her makeshift family, fate throws them a curve ball.

Muddy has been trapped in his bottle for a long time. All the purple genie wants is one master innocent enough to believe in magic; what he gets is one red-haired, orphan named Theodore and his shipwrecked "family."

As Maddie and Hank's battle of wills escalates Muddy adds just a touch of magic, giving them the opportunity to grasp at the glory of love. But a genie can only do so much with wishes, Hank and Maddie have to do the rest.

IMAGINE is a magic carpet joyride-a wondrous journey of the heart brimming over with sassy dialogue, hilarious escapades, heartwarming poignancy and a cast of unforgettable characters. Best of all there is Muddy, the gentle genie who finds in Teddy the innocence that makes us all believe. Imagine yourself filled with joy and you have an idea of what it's like to read IMAGINE. VERY SENSUAL (Sept., 400 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin