Taking a cue from Louisa May Alcott, James pens a marvelous story centering on the four Essex sisters and their quest for husbands. While their guardian, the Duke of Holbrook, imbibes brandy, the eldest, Tess, realizes she must marry off her sisters and herself with the help of their dowries: a famous racehorse each.

Everything is going according to plan until her sister Imogen runs off to marry a horse-crazy young man and Tess is jilted by her fiancé.

Enter Lucius Felton, an unsuitable man, but one whom Tess cannot resist kissing and who helps her when Imogen elopes. When Lucius proposes, Tess does the unthinkable: She accepts and discovers how wonderful her husband is and why there's much ado about love.

With witty and exquisite prose, James brings not only the Regency period to life—including delightful matchmaking and an Austen-esque plot—but also four unforgettable women whose friendship is at the heart of the story.

Sisterhood is powerful, and James uses that to explore the unique relationships between women and the men they love. Readers' hearts will soar and beg for more. SENSUAL (Jan., 400 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin