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Julie Beard brings out the best as she blends romance, history and charming three-dimensional characters into a different and highly entertaining tale.

Rosalind Carbery is determined to follow in the footsteps of her beloved Queen Elizabeth and remain a virgin, unmarried and in control of her life. She enjoys the freedom of the era.

When she inherits Thornbury Manor she feels assured that her dreams of writing and producing plays, like her friend William Shakespeare, will become a reality. But Rosalind has no idea that her father has also left the Manor to her childhood friend and nemesis, Drake Rothwell.

Drake has made a name for himself on the high seas and has returned to claim his ancestral home as his own. He is unprepared for the battle he will face from the now very beautiful and strong-willed Rosalind.

As their war of wits and wills heats up, the Queen steps in, ending the dispute by taking control of Thornbury Manor herself. Now Rosalind and Drake must find a way to reclaim what is theirs by joining together.

In her own delightful and wickedly witty version of "The Taming of the Shrew," Julie Beard enchants and enthralls her readers. ROMANCE OF THE ROSE is a picturesque portrait of Elizabethan England brimming over with Ms. Beard's special sense of humor and delight in storytelling. A perfectly irresistible read for anyone who adores Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth and battle-of-wills romances. SENSUAL (May, 380 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin