The seven children of the Duke of Sinclair were known as the seven sins. After their mother died, their father turned to drink and the children ran wild. As they grew older their exploits grew more outrageous. They were trying to get their father’s attention but when they finally did, he threw them out of their family home. In fact, he had them removed from Scotland! The seven siblings were sent to London where they were put up in a house and given a very miserly allowance. It was up to them to change their ways if they wanted to return home.
Sterling is the oldest of the seven. He is well known for placing bets and being greedy. As the oldest, he feels responsible for his younger siblings and is trying to raise money however he can. The best way he has found is by boxing at Gentleman Jim’s establishment. During a match though things changed rapidly when a young woman rushes between the boxers trying to raise money for war widows and orphans. Sterling is definitely interested in this foolish young woman.
Isobel Carington was walking past a gentleman’s boxing establishment when he thought if they could bet over something so silly as two men beating on each other, maybe she could get them to donate to her cause. The last thing she expects is to be attracted to one of the bruisers! She is further surprised when she sees him at a ball and finds out that he is the Marquess of Blackburn. Why would such a man look at her when she was only the daughter of a politician and had no wealth?
Sterling has figured out a way to make more money than he ever could boxing. He has set up a bet at White’s anomalously, that by the end of the season that Sterling and Isobel will be married. Several things about this bet become clear fairly quickly. The initial bet is matched leading Sterling and his brothers to try to double it. When White’s opens the bet to the general public, it seems as though all of London now has an interest in Sterling and Isobel’s love life. And Sterling finds that he actually likes Isobel and perhaps this bet wasn’t his best idea when it becomes apparent that it’s embarrassing her. Of course, if it came to light what Sterling and Isobel were doing when not in the public eye, she would be even more embarrassed.
This was a fun book to read. All of the Sinclairs have a unique personality that comes across the pages weather it’s worrying about getting their social standing back or just enjoying life. What comes across most though is their caring and love for each other.
The characters are well defined and developed. Sterling is the ring leader and the one that the others look to for advise. He’s also stubborn and will do anything for those he cares about. Isobel feels as though she is unlovable. Her brother died in the war along with her intended. Her mother, not being able to handle her son’s death, joins him. With these two beloved members of the family gone, her father withdraws and makes comments about Isobel’s lack of a husband. She diverts her energies into helping widows and orphans of the fallen. Both these main characters have a strength about them.
The story never drags or gets dull. Someone is always doing something. There are boxing matches, balls and other gatherings. There are political agendas and rides in the park. There is also the real need of Sterling to find money to keep his family feed and clothed. While it seems like a lot is going on, it never feels rushed but it feels more like a natural pace for things to develop.
One small error was found that just about drove me nuts. The prologue, where the Sinclair children are thrown from their home is dated March 1816. The first chapter which is suppose to be after they have left their home is dated April 1815, 13 months prior to them being thrown out. I’m thinking someone got the dates backwards but it’s a confusing way to start a book.
With seven sins and only the first one married, I look forward to seeing how the rest of them fair. It will also be interesting to who steps up next to take charge of the family. Lady Siusan is next oldest but her biggest worry seemed to be gaining social acceptance and not where the money to do so comes from. Lord Grant is the next oldest male and was watching Sterling carefully. He seems the type to want to do what is right but he also was the one helping setting up the bet at White’s!