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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 June 2010
In this final volume of a quartet of Georgian romances, Christian, the handsome but eccentric Marquis of Easterbrook and the eminence grise of the first three books, finally finds a woman whose company he can tolerate for more than a couple of hours at a time. Even if he has to almost kidnap her ...

The quartet, set om the late 1820's consists of

1) "The Rules of Seduction"
2) "Lessons of Desire"
3) "Secrets of Surrender"
4) This book, "The Sins of Lord Easterbrook"

This book begins as Leona Montgomery, who with her younger brother has inherited from their father a shipping business in the Far East with interests in Macao and Canton (Guangzhou), has arrived in London. Her main purpose is to seek business partners to enlarge and secure the future of the company. However, she has also inherited from her father a horror of the profitable but illegal trade smuggling drugs into China.

Leona believes that a ring of highly placed people in London involved in this trade were also resposible for sabotaging her father's business and ultimately for his death: she wants to expose them and bring those who are still alive to justice. One the people she suspects was involved is the late Marquis of Easterbrook, father of the three brothers who are the heroes respectively of the first, second, and this fourth book of the series.

When Leona meets the present Lord Easterbrook, she is astonished to find that he is someone she already knows ...

Christian, Marquis of Easterbrook, has a number of unusual gifts which can also seem like a curse. One aspect of this is that he finds it very difficult to put up with the company of any other person, for more than an hour or two, which is why he has a deserved reputation as an eccentric recluse. It seems almost too good to be true when almost the only woman he had ever met to whom this did not apply arrives in London. But the Rothwell and Montgomery families (Lord Easterbrook's family name is Rothwell) have more history than either of them realise ...

This being the last in the series, a number of ongoing loose ends are tidied up, including the marriages of a number of characters in the series who didn't quite rate a book to themselves.

An author's note at the end gives a short description of the real historical events surrounding the trade in Opium to China and how it led to a war which is one of the most disgraceful events in our history.

I refer to these books as Georgian romances rather than regency ones for two reasons:

(i) they are set after the Prince Regent had ascended to the throne as George IV
(ii) they are more "modern" in tone and plot than the style associated with the term "regency romance."

In particular these books are rather less focussed on the intricate style of the "ton" as high society in London was known in the late 18th and early 19th century and more on the emotional development of the relationship between the main romantic protagonists. They are somewhat ahistorical in that these books understate the disdain of the more noble families in the land for earning a living through "trade" e.g. anything other than owning vast tracts of land. And they contain rather more sex than is normal for the regency romance genre.

Amazon reviewers have criticised one or two recent novels by Stephanie Laurens, a prolific writer of romances set a decade or so before this book, for containing too much sex for their taste. If you are one of the readers who agreed with this criticism of "Bastion Club" novels such as "The Lady Chosen (Bastion Club)" you will probably think the same problem applies to "The Rules of Seduction." By the same token, if you like the Bastion Club or Bar Cynster series there is a good chance that you will like this book.

Although this is a modern romance set in the 1820s rather than a historical romance, it is reasonably entertaining and well crafted. The complex plot is extremely implausible, but it was possible to suspend disbelief and enjoy the book.
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on 3 May 2010
Finally Easterbrook! After reading the first two books in this series and eagerly awaiting the third which is due to be delivered, I have arrived at Easterbrook's story which completes the quartet. As usual, Madeline Hunter has stayed true to the character of Easterbrook as we have come to know him throughout the series. There are therefore plenty of amusing moments to be had here in the interplay between Easterbrook, his brothers, valet, servants and the world at large. There is also plenty of intrigue as we learn precisely what makes this man tick.

The romantic aspect is well played out, as one would expect and in allegiance with it's predecessors, this becomes a tale of 'will they, won't they' (although we can invariably guess the final outcome). A fitting end to another great series from the incomparable Madeline Hunter!
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on 16 February 2014
Though a great fan of her world, I was SERIOUSLY disappointed in this novel. It was the last in this series and finally focused on a character that has fascinated most readers through his appearances in the other novels. Finally we came to Easterbrook's story - and I was SO disappointed. It just didn't flow right, the character and his 'special gift' felt forced and just...didn't hit the mark at all for me.
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on 25 October 2013
In my opinion, this is not the best in the series - that prize must go to The Rules of Seduction. I expected to find Christian more charismatic than I did - and I felt that sex scenes were over-used, almost as if to fill up space. I like Madeline Hunter's work and will read more of it but this one didn't hit the mark for me.
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on 29 April 2015
The best book in this series. Good plot and an interesting read. Would highly recommend this to those who have read the previous three.
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on 1 April 2015
another good read by M Hunter
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on 16 February 2015
This collection is among my favourites, very believable stories and I keep going back to them
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on 20 August 2009
This is the fourth in the Easterbrook Saga, having read this one independantly, i so enjoyed it that I went out and bought the first three. The stories of Alexia, Phaedra, Rosslyn and finally the Marquess of Easterbrook. The story of their trials and tribulations set amidst the background of the 'Ton's' activities were most involving. A treat for the reader, well rounded characters, believable plots and happy endings what more could one want.
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on 11 January 2009
What would it be like if you had the ability to know the emotions and feelings of everyone around you; you could tell if they are lying to you, if they're feeling guilty about something, if they dislike you, if they desire you. Christian, Marquess of Easterbrook, has suffered from this problem his entire life and it's caused him to be something of a recluse. But he remembers a young woman whom he met in Macau years before, Leona Montgomery, who was somehow able to shield her thoughts and feelings from him.

Leona has made her way to London in order to try to set up some more shipping deals for her late father's business which her brother has now inherited. However she has a second mission, to try to find out who was behind the intimidation of her father and to expose the trade in opium with which various peers of England are involved. When she meets the Marquess of Easterbrook she discovers that the man she knew as Edmund in Macau is actually a titled Lord, perhaps one of those involved in the trade - especially as she suspects him of stealing her father's notebook.

As Christian and Leona get to know each other again he begins a determined pursuit of her. But Leona knows she will need to return to Macau eventually and that she's not the right sort of person for Christian anyway. But in order to keep Leona safe Christian will have to spend a great deal of time with her and he may find he can't live without her calming influence on his life - even though his secrets may drive her away.

Once again this was another good book by Madeline Hunter, one that had a rather original storyline and whose pacing was very good. Leona and Christian were both slightly unusual characters with Christian using his skills in seduction, as well as occasional imperious pronouncements, to get his own way, and Leona working doggedly to find out what really happened with her father. Christian and Leona both have issues to face in this book but overall it was a very enjoyable read with some interesting detail about the opium trade between England and China.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008
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