ONCE UPON A MIDNIGHT MOON
To gain business favors, Micaela Rouchard's unloving father promises her hand to a powerful Spaniard on the High Council that rules New Orleans. On her engagement night, the city's French stage a revolt and Micaela escapes. Dresses in men's clothing, she takes refuge on a ship bound for Charles Town.
Captain Lucien Saffire intrigues her and they are soon involved in a game of wits. Lucien discovers her disguise and is determined she will not get off his ship.
Outwitting him, Micaela flees in a carriage on the dock, unaware that her passenger is Adrian Saffire, the captain's estranged grandfather. Not knowing their relationship, Micaela agrees to become Adrian's companion. Lucien, meanwhile, turns the town upside down looking for her. He finally agrees to meet with his grandfather and is stunned to find Micaela. He abducts and marries her in order to keep his inheritance; for his grandfather's will gives Micaela half of the estate. Many trials keep these two apart and at odds, though both are deeply in love.
Carol Finch has a winner with this novel. Her characters are fascinating, enjoyable and believable. You realize how hard they have to work to overcome the past and discover a bright future. The plot has something for everyone-love, past love, hardship, romance, shipboard action, revolt and a happy ending. Definitely a great book to curl up with. Unplug the phone, disconnect the doorbell and enjoy! SENSUAL (Sep., 400 pp., $5.99)