The frontiers of Pennsylvania are not for the faint of heart, as Mara Dupri and her husband of five years, Emile, discover.

Mara, whose parents are dead and whose brother, Gideon, is serving in the English army, married Emile so she would not be alone. But when a French raiding party led by Jacques Corbeau kills Emile, Mara becomes Jacques's captive.

Mara is saved from death because Jacques believes she has vital information about the English after seeing her speak to her soldier brother. Jacques and Mara travel to Quebec after the destruction of Fort Duquesne, and their journey quickly becomes more than just escape. It is a time of discovery, love, healing, growth, forgiveness and sacrifice for the greater good.

Though this is not a favorite time period of mine, I was captivated and read Ms. McLaughlin's tale in one sitting. The characters are believable and well drawn, the historical research is impeccable and the description of the pristine wilderness breathtaking. SENSUAL (Jan., 362 pp., $14.50)

Reviewed by: 
Deborah Brent