Grey St. Bride of St. Brides Island hopes his want ad for mail-order brides will attract women who have some need for an arranged marriage, because his workers havent the time, nor social skills to court on the mainland and win wives for themselves. The promise of life on the raw, weather-exposed island doesnt help either.

Beautiful Dora Sutton answers the ad after her fathers suicide. Shes lost her home, and has no income or skills for earning one. But her main goal is to escape the double scandal of her fathers death and the gossip about her fiancis reason for rejecting her.

She arrives in a stylish dress and is promptly rejected by Grey, who expects her beauty to cause nothing but trouble among the men. Dora stops to aid injured widower, Emmet Meeks, and misses the boat returning to the mainland. Emmet has a heart condition and needs a companion, while Dora needs sanctuary, so they decide to wed.

This true marriage of convenience is perfect for the ailing Emmet, but not for Grey St. Bride.

The time of this novel may seem late for mail-order brides but the harsh realities of the richly drawn setting explains it all. A setting so vivid its almost another character, intense-but-forbidden attraction and an appealing degree of ironic humor make this supreme romance reading. Sensual (Dec., 310 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger