Dreamy, romantic Eleanor Fitzsimmons surrenders to seduction and loses her position as a maid when she gets pregnant. So Ellie travels to Nebraska to visit her pen pal, Parker McMillan. She tells Parker shes recently been widowed, but doesnt tell him that hes wrong in his assumption that shes a cultured Park Avenue lady of means.

Parkers brother Roy meets Ellie at the train, convinced shes scheming to get herself married. Roy mistrusts all women since his mother abandoned their family, but he isnt prepared for his response to Ellie, nor for the jealousy he feels toward his own brother. Roy tries to reunite Parker with a former girlfriend, but entangles the situation even more.

When their mother returns unexpectedly, romance brews between her and the third McMillan bachelor, Uncle Ed, and confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem for all the McMillan men.

In spite of some bumpy prose and misunderstandings that last just a bit too long, Liz Ireland writes an appealing love story with bumbling-male humor and charm. SENSUAL (Sep., 300 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger