Folie Hamilton corresponded with Robert Cambourne, an officer stationed in Calcutta. They fell in love through the post, although both are married. Years later Robert returns home and asks Folie and his ward, her step-daughter, Melinda, to live at his home.

Folie has no idea of the demons that haunt Robert or how his "sweet Folly" have given him hope and sanity over the years. To her, the strange, angry man who greets them cannot be the man whose letters brought her such joy. Though she longs to flee, Robert controls her and Melinda's lives. In the end she is caught in the same web of secrets that torments Robert. From being taken captive and sent to a prison ship, to Robert's bizarre nightmares and hallucinations, through the terrifying realization that someone is pushing him into madness and to the shock of a plot to drive Prinnie mad, MY SWEET FOLLY will haunt readers.

Laura Kinsale does not write for everyone. She creates masterful, carefully constructed stories for those seeking a sophisticated, thought-provoking read, laced with darkness, tormented heroes and strong women. Here she seems to be testing what would happen if Jane Austen and the Bront sisters collaborated on a romance tinged with Gothic elements. Readers will find themselves engrossed in the mystery and unable to put this dark, passionate and titillating book down. SENSUAL (March, 400 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin