Well-meaning busybodies decide to solve the problems of widowed rancher Matthias Barrington by secretly arranging for a mail-order bride for him. They select Abigail Smyth, not a real beauty like his first wife, but sturdy.

The surprise for Abby and Matthias isn't party-perfect. He doesn't want another marriage; she can't return home and wants to marry him. They compromise on her taking care of his two sons and his home for the summer. Matthias loved his first wife and vowed never to ask another woman to endure the hardships of Montana. But Abby loves the ranch and the boys. She believes she can love Matthias.

When the two succumb to their growing passion, Matthias ruins the moment by calling Abby by his dead wife's name. Now he wants Abby to stay, but convinced he can never love her, she insists that she must leave.

If you liked Sarah, Plain and Tall, you'll love this book. It's a touch different, but alike in all the right places. SENSUAL (Jun., 319 pp., $5.25)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger