Long the town's notorious "bad boy," JoshuaMcBride's near-death experience in the Civil War has changed his life. Though no one, least of all Addie Stapleton, can believe he has reformed, Joshua is determined to contribute to his hometown. He's also determined to woo and win the "saintly" Miss Stapleton, even if he has to build a church to do so.

Joshua's presence threatens Addie's plans. His charming smile, tenderness, thoughtfulness and the way he kisses make her think more of love than charity work. When her con man father (posing as a revivalist preacher) appears, Addie fears that her charade as a respectable woman is over. Only with Joshua's love can she overcome the past.

SAINT OR SINNER is a beautifully rendered story told with compassion and a true understanding of both small-town life and human nature. The secondary characters are marvelous and Ms. St. John's style, so very reminiscent of LaVyrle Spencer's early work, adds to the warmth of the novel. SENSUAL (Oct., 350pp., $4.50)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin