It's been 11 years since Kinsale dazzled readers with For My Lady's Heart. Now this multitalented writer tells the story of Allegreto, a trained assassin who will do whatever it takes to regain his rightful place in the Italian principality of Monteverde. When the ideal pawn for his plan, the long-lost Monteverde princess Lady Elena, enters his life, Allegreto seizes her as his instrument of vengeance.

On her way home to marry the man in control of Monteverde, Elena's ship is captured by pirates. She becomes Allegreto's prisoner, then his unwilling bride. Her anger turns to passion for her captor, who is tender one moment, ruthless the next.

Like Elena, readers will succumb to Allegreto's allure and understand his duality and purpose. Only a writer of Kinsale's rare ability could turn a flawed character (indeed, a killer) into a worthy hero. It takes more than talent; it takes a passion for her story and her characters, a love of history and the desire to write exquisite prose to create such a masterpiece. Welcome back, Laura Kinsale. SENSUAL (late Mar., 449 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin