There's something about 19th-century Texas that makes it perfect for stories centered on independence. Carolyn Davidson delivers one such tale filled with subtle, fresh surprises.

Three years ago, Faith was a young, naive and totally submissive bride, deeply in love with her husband, Max. However, Max put the family business first, unwittingly leaving his beloved wife alone to face the bitter mercies of his controlling society mother. Faith lost their first child, endured accusations by his mother, grieved alone and then ran away to save her spirit.

Now Max has found her and wants her back—no matter what. He's surprised by the way Faith has managed to keep a small farm going on her own. But Faith is more surprised by the change in Max.

Davidson delivers a story fraught with sexual tension, in this tale of two lovers who are married but do not appreciate their love or each other. That is, until their marriage fails and their love is reborn. Sensual (Jul., 348 pp., $5.25)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger