Really a 3 star book but with 5 star narration.
In general, I love Laura Kinsale. In addition to her beautiful writing, with her you always get something just a little different, which is definitely the case here. In this case, we have hero and heroine who are both very damaged and very flawed, though in totally non-cliched ways. Unfortunately, the plot is also pretty flawed in places and the heroine is not only flawed but also pretty unlikeable through most if the book. This is a long book, with many subplots, some of which work better than others.
However, if you listen to this as an audiobook, none of that will matter because Nicholas Boulton's voice is so beautiful you wouldn't care what he was reading. It is really hard to narrate romance well, but he does it perfectly. His French is irresistible and his drunken S.T. was hilarious. He doesn't give women an annoying falsetto. He doesn't overdramatize. I will go off into cliches if I try to describe his deep, rich voice. Suffice to say, his narration is perfect.
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!
This seemed like it was going to be a very strange book and, in some ways, very unlike any other romance I've read. There's a former swordsman named S. T. Maitland who's half-deaf and loves to love and be loved, S. T.'s pet wolf who's afraid of women, and Leigh Strachan, a woman who's disguised herself as a man and wants to learn to use a sword so she avenge her family. In an odd sort of role reversal, it's Leigh who wants nothing to do with love and emotions, and S. T. who wants love (although mostly he wants a willing bedpartner).
One thing that I noticed about this book that was really different from any other romance I've listened to because of the the point of view from which it was told. Most romance novels I've read mainly show things from the woman's point of view, with occasional passages or chapters from the man's. In this book, that was reversed. It isn't even until the fourth chapter that you get to see anything from Leigh's point of view, or know her actual thoughts. It was interesting, and, although I wasn't sure at first how I'd like it, S. T. was fascinating.
The only real problem I had with this book was Leigh, who was often very frustrating. I could understand why she didn't want to open up to S. T. - I though the author got that across quite nicely. However, I got tired of how cruel and cold she could be, and started wishing she'd just learn to trust someone a little. It was a great story, but sometimes Leigh really made me want to scream in frustration. If I could, I think I would give this book a 4.5.
Nicholas Boulton was outstanding with the delivery of the story.
Another amazing performance by Nicholas Boulton. This man is incredible in this book. His superiority in narration is shown by creating characters all different from one another and not by simply changing his voice infliction but by bringing them each alive. He really makes the book so much better.
The story is about a woman who’s family gets destroyed one at a time by a man of God who manages to gain control over the people of her town using his version of the book. He allows the people of his town do his dirty work after he simply makes suggestions and then sits back and encourages them to carry the ideas out. She leaves town looking for a highwayman who had robbed people in the past and become well known as the Prince of Night. Knowing about his abilities with the sword she sets off to find him in France to ask for his help in killing the man responsible for her family’s murders and deaths. In the process they have to deal with his hearing and balance loss, which led him to quit his way of life to begin with.
I found the female character very weak all the way almost to the end again. She was very strong to leave England in search of her Prince but when she finds her all bets all off and she becomes this cold stone. The story does not explain how from one page to the next she finds herself in love. I would have liked that developed a bit more. The male character is weak in a different way. He fell in love almost as soon as he saw her. For us women you know how dangerous that kind of love can be in the long run, but let’s not get bogged down with that part. I loved that he continues to flirt with women even after throughout the book he continues to declare his love to Leigh. That is actually very realistic.
A few of the scenes were extremely intense but I love good endings so no harm done. The sex scenes are very soft but again the emotions involved with the later sex (earlier sex is not as good since it is not mutual) makes it so much better than the erotic sex seen in other books. Overall a strong B+ to an A- for this book. Well worth the credit.
Very high on my list. This is my 3rd book of hers.
The main female character
Just loved the book
I love Epic Fantasy....have become a Historical Romance fan because I am a sucker for a good Happily Ever After. Good characters are a must
This is a serious love story, with generous amounts of angst. There are two people with real issues and you can't help but just totally get wrapped up in the story almost immediately. There is really good banter between characters. This is just such a well written book. The character development is out of sight. And when it comes to listening to books….. I would prefer good characters over a fabulous story line any day, but this book has both great characters and a great story line.
Nemo is a delight. He's actually an integral part of the pack and you'll understand that once you listen to the book.
I'm so glad I've discovered Laura Kinsale, her writing is real - it's not the same old love stories and romance novels that you get on a regular basis (which I admit – I also enjoy!) Her books have some substance. I can't wait to read more of her books.
On a side note....Laura Kinsale is definitely a horse person. She describes horse handling extremely well and accurately. Although, the “horse scene” at the end, did leave me scratching my head to say the least.
This is not the usual light and mindless listen. There’s more angst and turmoil (but not too much) in this story line.
It's worth a credit and I will read more Kinsale.
While Laura Kinsale does come up with unique premises to her stories - she seems to have a pattern of making her female leads self centered, difficult, and generally unlikable. The male leads in her stories change and evolve and are likable though. I don't think I'll be purchasing another book by Laura since this seems to be her writing style with female leads.
everything, he made the characters really come alive, will look for more by him.
I would give this closer to 3 1/2 stars. Kinsale has a beautiful prose that is inviting, imminently descriptive and flowing. And the narrator is sublime. Mr. Boulton's voice is pure silk and truly makes the story come alive.
The sparring between the hero and heroine starts out sweetly, moves toward wickedness and continues throughout the book. Unfortunately the author just overdoes it. Too much of a good thing is still too much. It gets silly and I felt myself rolling my eyes wishing they would "get on with it." This is a beautiful story about two very flawed human beings who don't know how desperately they need to heal. If they would get over their preconceived assumptions and prejudices, they could help one another find peace, resolution and love. Their story is of that difficult and painful journey. Intrigue, murder, and the dark debauchery of some 18th century noblemen are peppered artfully throughout, tantalizing the reader toward the elusive conclusion Leigh and the Prince of Midnight seek.
Well worth a credit. I am definitely a fan of Laura Kinsale and shall eagerly look for any book read by Nicholas Boulton.
Overall good story that could have been 3 hours shorter if it weren't so dramatic with characters who act like angsty teens. But still an entertaining listen.
Say something about yourself!
Of all the Kinsale's books that I have read (so far), this is my favorite. The story is exciting, the characters are memorable, and the narrator is terrific. The hero of the story, S. T., is a charming, good natured rogue with a physical affliction (deaf in one ear) that leaves him with balance issues. The heroine, Leigh, is a beautiful strong-willed woman bent on revenge against the evil man who ruined her life and destroyed her family. She is as intense as he is easy-going. Theirs is a case of opposites attracting, but the differences in their natures also threaten to tear them apart. Although I loved S. T. and wanted to slap Leigh up the side of the head and tell her to "wake up" at times, I liked both characters and wanted them to be together.