Emily Spencer, proprietor of Madame Emilies shop, is a widow with a young son. She is also a beautiful woman, used to rebuffing the suggestive advances of gentleman of the ton.

Evan Mansfield, Earl of Cheverly, comes to her aid when her life and establishment are threatened. But she knows that men of his kind sooner or later call in debts owed.

After much soul searching, Emily takes the initiative and she and Evan enter into a liaison. Comfortable with each other, they become friends and lovers. Evan tells her of his involvement with the army department and she relates details of her life following the drum with her soldier husband. But Emily keeps her heritage a secret.

Though Emily falls madly in love with Evan, she knows marriage is out of the question. Destiny will tear them apart because of Evans promise to a dying friend and honor demands that he abide by his promise. It remains to be seen if destiny can bring them together again.

Ms. Justiss very nicely captures the essence of the Regency period. Honor above love and the strictures of the aristocracy combine to make a compelling, satisfying read. SENSUAL (Oct., 350 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Joan Hammond