In this second novel in Cornick's trilogy about spies for the French being hidden in the Midwinter villages of England, Lord Richard Kestrel seeks the company of respectable widow Lady Deborah Stratton in order to assess her loyalties.

Richard's problem is that he's been strongly attracted to Deborah for some time. He once asked her to be his mistress, but now he wants to marry her. That, plus his reputation as a rake, makes her mistrust his motives and avoid his efforts at courtship in spite of her feelings for him.

There's more spy intrigue in this novel than in the first one of the series, and the action is a bit more high tension. The way in which strict British manners acted as a buffer against harsher realities makes for perfect Regency reading. SENSUAL (Aug., 296 pp., $5.50)
Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger