This unusual love story takes place in an often-used setting, but in a rather unique time period—between Lewis and Clark's expedition and the California gold rush. Jake Turner is posing as a mountain man, but he's really a mapmaker and explorer assigned by President Andrew Jackson to find a route to the Pacific coast.

Jake allows nothing to interfere with his mission, even Emma Lancing, the stranded daughter of a trading-post magnate, who asks him to help her get home. When Emma realizes Jake won't help her, she stays with him rather than risk traveling on her own.

Kernan recreates her wilderness setting in such faithful detail that it becomes another central character in this lovers-alone-on-a-journey romance. This hero is absolutely against the shackles of marriage and, much to his surprise, the heroine wants marriage even less.

The way these characters change during their high-action journey over the Rockies and into the dangers of spying makes for tip-top reading. SENSUAL (Mar., 304 pp., $5.50)
Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger