In her fourth de Burgh romance, Deborah Simmons adeptly explores several issues in the flawed hero, Steven de Burgh, and in the (at first) judg-mental heroine, Brighid lEstrange. These two intriguing personalities are shaped by the dangers and the loneliness of being different in a world where conformity is quite often required for social survival.

Sent to live with her conjuring aunts, Brighid copes with her fathers rejection by squelching her belief in magic or anything not easily explained, including emotions. Steven feels he doesnt belong amid his illustrious family. He copes by drinking heavily and indulging in sexual pleasure.

When Brighids father dies mysteriously, shes determined go to him. Her psychic aunts insist she seek protection from the Earl of Campion, Stevens father. The earl assigns an unwilling Steven to escort Brighid to Wales and despite their resistance, they learn some painfully real, yet magical, truths about family and love.

Deborah Simmons continues this series with her usual skillful recreation of time, place and character, and achieves a luminous novel about a journey toward a celebration of self, and a love story not to be missed. Sensual (Oct., 336 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger