Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne-Madeline Hunter

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne

Madeline Hunter

Jove, Mar 6 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780515150469

In 1798, Maurice Fairbourne, owner of the prestigious Fairbourne’s Auction House, falls from a cliff near Kent. His secret partner the Earl of Southwaite attends a final auction of mostly junk. Maurice’s daughter Emma pushes the sale while Southwaite wants to sell the house before the value deteriorates too much. Emma refuses and though he cannot explain what happened he leaves meekly. A woman visits Emma with a wagon of wine and other cargo lacking a government stamp. She realizes her dad dealt with smuggled goods. Southwaite looks at the accounts and concludes Maurice dealt with smuggled goods.

Southwaite discusses the Kent coast with concerned friends; while Emma’s pal lines up the consignment for Count Van Kandstrandt. Though Southwaite knows she tricked him to get the Count’s business he kisses Emma. Meanwhile Southwaite watch Emma’s activities near where her dad fell to his death. He confronts her and takes her to his estate where they make love. Since she was a virgin, he says he will marry her, but she refuses. He asks her to be his mistress, but she refuses. However, he vows to keep her safe as he realizes the woman he loves has become embroiled in his smuggling investigation.

The lead couple is fully developed protagonists engaged in a wonderful gender war. The support cast mostly enhances the smuggling subplot with the implication of a sequel between a French female printer and the “handsome Stupid Man.” Although the climax fails to live up to the taut suspense leading to the final encounters, fans will enjoy this exciting historical romance.

Harriet Klausner

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