This is a very special book, courageously executed by the author and her publisher. St. John explores the catastrophic loss of a toddler in intimate, painfully beautiful detail. Her considerable skill brings the common theme of the romance novel—love conquers all—to the level of genuine catharsis.

In Shelby Station, a stopping place for stagecoaches and wagon trains on the busiest westward travel route, Amy Shelby and her husband Jesse bury their only child, the victim of accidental drowning. She deals with the pain and the guilt by shutting down all her emotions, and Jesse doesn't know how to reach her. He feels he's lost not only his son but his beloved wife too, so he handles his pain by drinking more and more.

The complex effects of grief on their relationship demand that the reader be brave enough to be drawn into their story. The reward is an equal share in their love and the recovery love makes possible. SENSUAL (Feb., 304 pp., $5.50)
Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger