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No one suspects that Joanna Fulgrave, the epitome of femininity, keeps a streak of rebellion under control in hopes of being the perfect wife for Colonel Giles Gregory. But when she mistakenly believes Giles is in love with another, she sets herself on a path to ruin.

When her parents attempt to put a stop to her scandalous behavior, she runs away, is almost sold to a London whoremonger and is rescued by Giles. This should be a dream come true, but Joanna runs off again, forcing him to catch her again.

Giles has no idea what's bothering Joanna. He knows he's attracted to her, but being with her is pure torture. Only when jealousy rears its head do they realize that love can be theirs.

Allen captures the Regency fixation on making a good marriage and the means to which some will go to that end. But it's hard to sympathize with a heroine who's childish, petulant and sees running away as the only way out of anything, or with a hero who calmly puts up with her, though others may see the humor in their situation. SENSUAL (Jul., 350 pp., $5.50)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin