Little does Jennifer Lee Pell realize that one dark night spent in the arms of an unknown lover would have such drastic results. She is left with three reminders of that night: three gold coins, a cashmere shawl and her child.

She decides to put the baby up for adoption. Arrangements are made for her to go to a Home in St. Louis.

Although they are often at odds, Marcus Armstrong, captain of the boat taking Jennifer to St. Louis, befriends her, making the voyage bearable for her.

When Marcus discovers what the Home has in store for her, he comes to her aid. And when he realizes that Jennifer is the stranger he spent the night with months ago and the child she carries is his, he wants to marry her.

Jennifer doesn't believe she will be a good wife. She's not used to a life of leisure and marriage to a man of wealth and privilege is sure to cause a problem. Both she and Marcus are cursed with a rebellious temper, but as their tentative feelings start to emerge, a danger from the past threatens their lives.

Ms. Rice's compelling storytelling creates marvelous characters along with a subtle humor, engaging banter and a powerful, magical emotion called love. This reprint of her first romance Love's First Surrender, still stands the test of time. SENSUAL (Oct., 511 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Joan Hammond