Like his friend, Vane Cynster, artist Gerrard Debbington is a confirmed bachelor dedicated to the belief that love will sap his talents—something he can ill afford, especially now that he has been offered the commission of a lifetime.

In exchange for painting Jacqueline Tregonning's portrait, he will have access to Hellebore Hall and the country's most famous gardens—a landscape artist's dream come true. Gerrard is fascinated by Jacqueline, who epitomizes the old adage that still waters run deep. Gerrard wants to find what passions lurk beneath her calm surface.

When he hears rumors about her mother's suspicious death and Jacqueline's desperate need to prove her innocence, Gerrard becomes entangled in a plan to unmask a killer while falling in love with a woman whose desires match his own.

Like a classic gothic novel, The Truth About Love unfolds as both a dark, gripping mystery and a delicious romance. Laurens' exquisitely wrought plot and lyrical prose draw you into a story peopled with extraordinary characters and a lush, romantic setting filled with mythical and botanical lore. Whether you've read one Cynster novel or all of them, you'll cherish this one. SENSUAL (Mar., 384 pp., $22.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin