At her tenth birthday party Annie is given a taste of freedom when Luke Carpenter gives her a ride on his horse. From that moment on, Annie is secretly infatuated with Luke, but because she is confined to a wheelchair she gives up any thought of romance.
Luke has never forgotten Annie or the beating her brother gave him for risking her life. When they meet as young adults, the old feelings are rekindled.
Luke makes Annie feel whole and able to try and use her legs. Despite her fears and the knowledge that her parents and brother would never approve of a wealthy rancher's daughter being courted by a livery owner, she meets Luke secretly.
Their trysts are perfect, until they are discovered. Annie must somehow convince her mother that she is a woman able to make her own decisions and that she wants to marry Luke. But her fears, exacerbated by her mother's cruel comments, threaten the happiness she and Luke share until Annie begins to believe in herself.
Readers looking for a strong emotional conflict and a faster pace will not find it in this sweet and sensitive story with its strong message of faith and courage. But others will savor the tenderness and sentimentality of the story. SENSUAL (Feb., 300 pp., $4.99)