After her mother's death in childbirth, Elsbeth vows to never marry and dedicates her life to Christ. But her father, Lord Gautier, has other ideas and betroths her to Lord Hugh of Jerusalem. Elsbeth pleads to be released, but her father demands obedience.
Once married, she manages to hold off consummation. Although Lord Hugh knows of Elsbeth's revulsion to the marriage, he intends to win her heart with his devotion. But he is tired of waiting, and her father uses Hugh's allegiance to the king to pressure him into consummating the marriage. Once he makes love to Elsbeth, Hugh knows nothing will be the same.
Dain is a talented writer who knows her craft. Though this book begins very slowly, the pace quickens toward the end. But weak conflict and strong emphasis on religion detract from the romance. SENSUAL (Dec., 350 pp., $5.99)