When Leigh Nash, Earl of Winterburn inherits a bankrupt estate, he escapes his manipulative mother (who would marry him off to the first heiress she finds) by appointing himself the local church's curate, for which he has no training and less inclination. And "The Rose of Rowdee," Rosalind Merrifield, is not shy about pointing this out.

Rosalind has much more to worry about than Leigh. She is trying to save her estate from her gambling-addicted brother, who even offers Rosalind as payment for a debt. In addition to trying to keep their home, she fights her attraction to Leigh as much as she fights for the man she thinks he can become.

Kate Moore's particular strength in this novel is the wealth of her truly disreputable characters: the Machiavellian mother, the earl's grasping younger brother, the heroine's greedy, unprincipled brother and hypocritical curate. All add texture and drama to the searing love story she has created. SENSUAL (Oct., 352 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Michell Phifer