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Avelyn wants to be the perfect wife to Paen Gerville, but she fears she's too fat, too round, too stubborn and too independent to be the thin, biddable wife she thinks he wants.

But it's quite the opposite. Paen would rather have a warm, well-rounded wife than a thin, cold stick. So when Avelyn faints, bursting the seams of her gown and giving him a glimpse of voluptuous heaven, he believes he's found the perfect wife.

Avelyn works at disguising her curves and abilities as the newlyweds journey to Paen's estates. The harder she tries to be what she thinks he wants, the more things go wrong, nearly to the point of destroying her marriage.

It will take another woman's perfidy for Avelyn to assert her true confidence and to be happy with herself just the way she is--a strong, competent woman and her husband's ideal.

You'll laugh out loud and perhaps truly understand Avelyn's desire to be thin, simpering and "frail"--her idea of perfect--while the man she loves just wants her to be herself. Sands touches just the right chords with her quirky sense of humor and lively storytelling. SENSUAL (Oct., 384 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin