Julianna Ramsay must marry Sir Edmund Fitzhugh, giving up her chance to marry the man she loves. Edmund marries Julianna by arrangement so that he can save her from her abusive step-brother. He plans to annul the marriage when his nephew, who asked Julianna to wait for him while he served in the British Navy, arrives home.

The arrangement seems perfect until Edmund nearly dies of recurrent malaria. Julianna contributes to his recovery, and becomes vital for his happiness, but he cant acknowledge his love. The situation intensifies when Edmund suspects Julianna of betraying her promise to his nephew. Julianna must overcome the dishonesties of her scurrilous step-brother and also figure out how to stop loving her husband before her beloved returns.

The sexual tension remains high throughout this intriguingly original story. Deborah Hale recreates mid-18th century manners with charming flair and the ending is deliciously cogent. SENSUAL (Mar., 350 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger