I have long been a fan of Madeline Hunter for the fascinating historical novels she puts out. Her attention to the details of the period make for engrossing reading, and her talent for taking some little known facts or historical events and creating fascinating and highly imaginative story arcs are what kept me glued to her books the last couple of years.
Take The Sins of Lord Easterbrook, for instance. This highly anticipated follow-up to the Rothwell series reveals Christian’s mysterious past finally! Having been heretofore portrayed as an enigmatic recluse, who is given to generous shows of love and solidarity to those he love … as witnessed in previous books, Christian’s dark past, which involves a secret identity, an addiction to opium which he overcame, a beautiful and strong minded lady, and an unforgettable trip to Canon in China seven years ago, where he learned something about his father that would later involve him, finally caught up with him.
The catalyst to the series of events which would unfold in the pages of this book is Leona Montgomery, a self-made trader who had to assume the unconventional role of heading her father’s shipping business while her brother learns the ropes, who has arrived in London seeking evidence that will vindicate her beloved father’s memory and reputation, which has suffered at the hands of some really powerful peers in England. Having read two other novels which touched on the opium trade at an interesting time in history, the fight that the heroine is mounting to justify her father’s refusal to bow down to pressure and be a party to it found a sympathetic reader in me.
Ms Hunter’s masterful story telling and beautiful prose, as always, made this a marvellous finale. It doesn’t hurt that the compelling hero she’s created has been secretly carrying a torch for the heroine, although the big-MIS between the two could have been easily resolved if they’d just speak to each other. Then again, modern couples face communication issues in real life too, so I shouldn’t be surprised at that. I thought Christian’s extra sensory perception-like gift was a superfluous characterization point, but it doesn’t destroy the book.
Jane at DearAuthor has a much more balanced review on this. This reader, who is an ardent fan of Ms Hunter’s historical writing, particularly her medieval romances, is moved to grant The Sins of Lord Easterbrook an IMB rating of 4.0.
Then again, I’m biased where Madeline Hunter is concerned.