Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne by Madeline Hunter

Her father dead and her brother missing (and presumed dead), Emma Fairbourne is left to run the family business: an auction house and one of London's best. In order to maintain appearances, Emma is forced to work on the sidelines, letting her father's employees run the show.

Emma does not count on her father's silent partner finally emerging and deciding to play a more active role in the running of Fairbourne's. Darius, the Earl of Southwaite, has several reasons for imposing on Emma's hospitality (or lack thereof):

First, he has recently discovered that some of Fairbourne's acquisitions have come from questionable, possibly treasonous, outlets. Second, he wants to protect Emma from any sort of scandal. Last, he wants Emma.

Darius' sudden involvement surprises and annoys Emma. With an auction house to run and consignments to secure, she has a lot on her hands and she cannot afford to be distracted by her undeniably handsome partner.

As Emma (and Darius) prepare for Fairbourne's greatest auction, Emma discovers her father's shady dealings and possible cause of his death. Smuggling is involved -- and Emma finds herself willingly enmeshed in the dangerous web when it seems her brother's freedom is at stake.

When I was reading this book, I recall experiencing the same difficulties when I read Madeline Hunter's Ravishing in Red -- I stopped and started the latter book several times before buckling down and finishing it. My decision paid off and I ended up enjoying the 3 other books in the series (and deciding that The Rarest Blooms was one of my favorite series for 2011.)

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne has a lot of good parts: I really enjoyed the auction house and felt that Hunter could have focused on the difficulties (and eventual triumph) that Emma faced running it. Chapter 22 could have been the ending -- and it would have been a wonderful and cohesive story.

The banter between Emma and Darius was also nicely done -- I loved the playfulness of the "Outrageous Misconception" --

The addition of the smuggling (and eventual discovery of a more sinister underground affair) throws the story off. I felt the parts that focused on Southwaite, Ambury and Kendale were not that seamless and jarred me each time.

Is this a story with elements of lightness and humor? Is this one with menace and danger? The author seems to test both angles and then backtracks, never committing to one -- which is why I, personally, could not find myself fully engaged in the story.

He had a passing notion that this reticule's contents meant more to her than he knew. The idea did not last long because the erotic potential of her position could not be ignored.
- p. 245

Even Emma's involvement (and the consequences of said involvement) were glossed over.

She had decided not to contemplate the future, or whether she might find herself soon with a real gaoler...
- p. 295

This is a story with a lot of potential that wasn't explored. Will I be buying the next book? Yes, because I want to find out what happens to Cassandra (Emma's friend).

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne is Book 1 in Madeline Hunter's The Fairbourne Quartet. The Conquest of Lady Cassandra is scheduled for release October 2012.

Final note: He did not caress the slight soreness that still felt the echo of his fullness. Instead he sought another spot of shocking intensity and began torturing her with touches designed to madden her. - p. 188

Too vague. I'm still actually not certain what "spot" the author is referring to. (What's odd? The author uses the word "vulva" in the latter part of the story. See p. 247)


  1. I've seen mixed reviews for this one, which is too bad since Hunter is generally one of my favorites and I was so looking forward to this series. It seems like it's definitely not one of her best. The cover is absolutely stunning, though!

  2. Hi, Sarah!

    Thank you for dropping by!

    Yes, before I read this, I also saw the mixed reviews -- but I didn't let it deter me because I really, really loved her Rarest Blooms series (even though I had a rough start with Ravishing in Red) --

    I am hoping the same happens with this series and the succeeding books will make up for this one.

    Agree on the cover! And I love the title! So compelling. ^_^

  3. This is too informative. i like your post. thanks for share

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