Trey, Duke of Salterdon, is about to marry for money when he learns his true love, Maria Ashton, is imprisoned in an insane asylum. Disregarding the risks to his social position, he sets out to rescue her.

Believing Trey deceived her, Maria has only survived her incarceration because of the conversations she believes she's having with her dead brother, Paul. Trey's appearance throws her off balance; her hatred for what she believes he has done to her and their daughter is venomous. To bring Maria back from the brink of madness, Trey must face his past actions, his cowardice, dark family secrets and his ex-fianceé's persistence in forcing him to marry her.

Clearly, Sutcliffe is not afraid to take risks if she can push the boundaries of the genre and craft an emotional, sensual, thought-provoking story. She does the extraordinary by writing in the first person, from Trey's point of view, and providing a glimpse of a man's response to love. She tackles large themes—insanity, loss, jealousy and even the plight of English miners—to reach the understanding that without hope, faith, love and trust, life is not worth living.

OBSESSION is a very deeply moving book, which, like the film The Piano, is rooted in its characters' varied fixations and explores what an ordinary man will do for his obsessive love for a woman. This intensely emotional story, beautiful even in painful moments such as Maria's recovery, has such intense emotional power, it will leave you awestruck and enthralled. SWEET (Jan., 352 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin