The ever-original Laura Parker brings us a tale of intrigue and passion. Japonica Fortnum seeks the assistance of the mysterious spy known as the Hind Div to escape Persia. After a night of passion in his arms, she finds herself pregnant. But when she comes to believe the Hind Div is dead, she marries anothera dying man that she has been nursing.
After her husband dies, Japonica returns to England with her child, to fulfill the promise she made to care for her husband's five daughters. When she meets his family, she is shocked by the girls' rudeness and even more surprised when she meets her husband's heirwho looks remarkably like the Hind Div.
The heir, Devlin Sinclair, has almost no memory. He has lost his hand and he suffers from nightmares, but he's attracted to something about Japonica. Though she knows she should tread carefully, Japonica falls for Devlin and fears that once he discovers her secrets, she will lose not only his love, but also her own son.
Moving from the exotic Middle East to chilly England with a charismatic heroine who faces horrible stepdaughters, memories of an unusual night, and her fears of falling in love make for a captivating Cinderella story from the pen of a marvelous writer. SENSUAL (May, 380 pp., $5.99)