On the eve of the Great Chicago Fire, Kathleen is living out her dream. A penniless ladys maid, she is attending a ball in a borrowed gown and catching the attention of the citys most sought-after bachelor, Dylan Kennedy.

Con artist, gambler and certainly no gentleman, Dylan believes Miss OLeary is a wealthy young innocent, ripe for seduction. Yet when the fire ravages the city, leaving them in danger and hoping for a miracle, they impulsively marry.

Its what happens after they discover each others charades that gives THE MISTRESS its power and appeal. Never one to trust anyone but himself, Dylan is caught in a dilemma. He has fallen in love with Kathleen and he believes she cant help him out of the financial trouble hes in.

But she has a few tricks up her sleeve that will teach Dylan some important lessons about giving, sharing, loving and finally, forgiving.

Susan Wiggs delves deeply into her characters hearts and motivations to touch our own. In the second book of her Chicago Fire Trilogy, she reminds us that no good ever comes of a lie until the truth is told and consequences paid. In this case, the lessons are well learned and readers truly feel for Dylan, Kathleen and the citys plight after the fire. SENSUAL (Oct., 400 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin