Sweeping from America to Italy, from a pirate ship sailing the high seas to a dey's harem, to England and back again, Shirl Henke takes readers on a whirlwind adventure. With a huge cast of characters, a strong secondary love story and non-stop action, this novel is reminiscent of those long and lush, old-fashioned historical romances of the '70s.

American artist Elizabeth Blackthorne does not abide by convention. Her independent nature intrigues Englishman Derrick Jamison, whom she meets while painting in Washington, D.C.

Derrick is on a worldwide mission to uncover American involvement with Napoleon. He nearly forgets Ms. Blackthorne until they encounter one another in Naples on his next assignment.

Their destinies become linked when Elizabeth is taken captive by pirates and sold to a powerful dey for his harem. While on another mission, Derrick learns that Elizabeth is one of the dey's new acquisitions. He manages to use his wits to rescue her from a life of captivity, but that is only the beginning of their wild series of adventures, as they careen around the world finding love and danger.

There are so many wild adventures in this novel that it's hard to keep it all straight. This reader wished Ms. Henke had slowed down to add a bit more character development and less rollicking escapades, as she has done in her previous work. SENSUAL (Mar., 371 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin