I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
You know a book has a lot to live up to when you read things like "One of the world's most cherished love stories!" and "Probably the best historical romance ever published" and "One of the greatest love stories of all time" not to mention "A watershed in romance fiction". This book and this author (whom I've never read) seem to be much revered by readers and authors alike. , I was glad of the chance to listen to it and see for myself what all the fuss was about. And let me tell you I was not only blown away, but I'll be searching out Ms Kinsale's other books for sure! A great book, compelling characters and a story to make you smile and weep and worry and hope that all will be well in the end!
When first we meet Christian Langland, Duke of Jervaulx, he is too handsome and charming for his own good, dissolute, completely reckless and full of hubris. He also happens to be a mathematical genius. He is working on a paper detailing a new mathematical theory with an unlikely partner - blind Quaker John Timms whose daughter Archimedea (Maddy) is his eyes and caregiver. Maddy is both fascinated and repulsed by the duke and his wild, worldly ways (he actually flirts with her!). When word comes that he has perished in a duel, both the news and her reaction to it shock her, as she weeps for this man she thought she did not even like!
Months later, Maddy and her father find themselves at Blythedale Hall, an insane asylum for the well to do where Maddy will assist her Cousin Edward who runs the place. On rounds to meet the patients, she is stunned to discover a disheveled, wild-eyed Jervaulx among the inmates! Before the duel could even commence, Christian was struck down by a stroke and is left unable to communicate, with damage to his motor skills and memory. In his frustration, he lashes out like an animal but when he recognizes Maddy, he calms. She is allowed to be his daytime caregiver and he latches onto her like a lifeline. His fear and frustration were nothing short of heartbreaking and the treatment and humiliation he endures from his "attendants" borders on cruel and masochistic - simply horrifying.
Maddy devotes herself to easing his fears, helping him to communicate and, when she learns that he must face a competency hearing (instigated by his greedy brothers-in-law) or lose his title and his freedom for good, she resolves to do what she can to prepare him. But all sorts of misadventures, manipulations and deceptions follow with Christian keeping a death-grip on Maddy while Maddy is torn between helping Christian and keeping to her father and her faith.
I won't say more about the plot, but the characters are so well written that they will make you laugh, cry, and bite your nails with anxiety for them. This book must have been exhausting to write! The author deftly conveys Christian's frustration, broken language and motor skills as well as his needy attachment to Maddy as it grows to love. And Maddy is so devoted to Christian that time and time again, she tests the bounds of her faith against what she feels is right. This is a truly moving, wonderful story that I highly recommend to those looking for more than just sex and light romance. This book is an investment in time and emotions - not a quick, easy read. If you like more complex books and authors like the Bronte sisters, George Elliot, Julia Ross/Jean Ross Ewing, Mary Balogh early Woodiwiss and maybe even Liz Carlyle or Gaelen Foley, I think you will like this book. Very highly recommended!!
Nicholas Bolton was just magical in the delivery of the story. One of the best narrators I have listened too in over 600 hundred books.
Enjoyable fantasy. Likable characters that grip readers as the story rolls along at a good pace. Unfortunately, there were a few major holes in the plot. For chapters, Gaston begs or tries to force his wife to reveal the villain's plot to the King. Yet when she finally can, he seems to suddenly reject this plan. The Hero came over a bit of a coward not wanting to defend himself and the heroine against the villain. Also wish more research was done, not just on the capacities of Middle Age armory and food stuffs. With all the amazing cosmological happenings in just our galaxy alone, a lunar eclipse was the best 'magical' event for time travel. Seriously?!
However since it is a fantasy story... I can say that it was an enjoyable listen just the same.
Julia Motyka did a good job with the delivery of the story
A great story line with a different take on the historical romance. She is a very strong willed confident person. It starts with her 14 and encounter of the rake who ignited passion with a kiss. No one ever measured up to him in stirring her and she saved herself. She vowed to never marry unless she truly loved and got that feeling again. At 18 she is gets to hold her fathers title unmarried and enjoys the life of court on her own terms. She liked to stir things up from fashion, to dance and low and behold she had a mind and used it and loved to best the men at chess. Truly a strong woman in charge of her own life,or so she thought. Warning graphic sex scenes which I love..