In her 41st novel (Special Delivery, p. 751, etc.), Steel weaves touches of the paranormal into a historical romance. Charlie Waterston's marriage is kaput. His perfect wife of ten years suddenly tells him that their life has been empty and that she wants a divorce. In shock, Charlie--an American architect working in London--returns to the States and takes a six-month sabbatical to recover. Out on the road on a snowy night just before Christmas, he takes shelter at a bed and breakfast in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. He and the owner (one of Steel's benevolent older women) really hit it off. She then offers to rent him a house bequeathed to her by her grandmother: a perfect small chateau on a nearby lake built in 1790 for Sarah Ferguson, the Countess of Balfour, by her lover Franáois de Pellerin, a virile French count who spent much of his time on the frontier with Indians. Sarah, who had been badly abused by her husband, and had given birth to several dead babies, ran away to America to make a new life. Charlie begins to read her journals, and one night, entering his bedroom, he believes that he sees her ghost. Steel parallels chapters about Sarah's ordeal with the Earl of Balfour and her love affair with Pellerin, with chapters about Charlie's romance with Francesca Vironnet, a modern-day historian emotionally damaged by a bad marriage. Charlie finds Sarah's journals to have a hypnotic rhythm and a story so captivating that ``he wanted to sit in one spot until he finished all of them''--a description of a style that sounds a lot like Steel's, or at least what she intends. No amount of spellbinding rhythm can make up for an overlong romance. Despite the usual Steelian menu of love, pain, and compassion, most fans will figure out the ending long before they get to it--and could probably supply the cadences as well.