Harry Haversham, the Marquis Rosse, decides it's time he remarry and give his five children a mother, so he places an ad in the local paper.

After interviewing 33 candidates he meets Frederica Pelham (aka Plum). Plum doesn't know Harry is a marquis until they marry—and Harry also forgot to tell her about his children. But Plum has a few secrets as well: 20 years earlier she was married to a polygamist, and the scandal caused her family to disown her. But despite the secrets and scandals, they manage to find love.

When the family arrives in London, Plum fears her past will ruin Harry. Then her former "husband" (who was presumed dead) attempts blackmail, and accidents start happening to the children. Plum realizes someone else is out to hurt Harry.

This is a romp in the truest sense. It's great to have an older couple (he's 45 and she's 40) finding happiness after tragedy. The memorable characters, witty dialogue and suspense make this a book well worth reading. MacAlister's unique style makes her an author to watch. SENSUAL (Jul., 368 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Brager