Mary Balogh brings together an unlikely pair—a strait-laced lady and a rogue whose plan to avoid marriage leads to trouble.

A year after she was left at the altar, Lauren Edgeworth is reluctantly re-entering society, when she meets Lord Ravensburg, Kit Butler. Plagued by a matchmaking father, Kit offers Lauren a summer-long betrothal ruse, setting her free of society's confines. As the time passes, Lauren comes out of her self-imposed shell and Kit starts to fall in love with his make-believe fiancée.

Supreme storyteller Mary Balogh has taken a common plotline (betrothal of convenience) and infused it with remarkable characters and added great emotional depth. Both Lauren and Kit carry heavy emotional burdens and the gift they give to one another is to free themselves from their pasts. By showing this kind of compassion as another aspect of love, Ms. Balogh lifts the ordinary up to the extraordinary. SENSUAL (Aug., 380 pp., $21.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin