With a dash of fantasy and wonderful touches of mystery/suspense Marianne Willman spins an enthralling tale of Gothic romance.

Desperation drives Flora O'Donnell to flee from false accusations and take a position with the devil himself. She will travel to France as wife in name only to Blaise Cheney and plan his niece's entrance into the social whirl.

On the Bretton coast, in an almost magical realm, Flora is drawn into Blaise's dark family history. The Chateau Morgain, the Cheney ancestral home, feels as if it is under an enchantment as old as time.

Flora hears the stories of mermaids and curses and spells. She wonders at the truth as she begins to fall in love with Blaise and he becomes truly enchanted with her. But the dark side of the magic, the curse, reveals the horrible fate of the Cheney brides; a condemnation that means death.

Flora's love and strength give her the power to break the curse and to uncover the truth that has been hidden for centuries in a classic Gothic ending that will both chill and thrill readers.

In the grand tradition of Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Daphne DuMaurier and Madeline Brent, Marianne Willman brings together the tangled thread of suspense, the mystical, and pure romance. SENSUAL (July, 379 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin