Eloisa James really has a handle on the personalities of her characters. They were an adorable couple and the performer had a wonderful way of changing her voice to suit all of the characters in the book.
The dialogue between the two central characters.
No, but I will again.
Their meeting with Dr. Withering.
Two unlikely lovers, both bearing scars from past wounds physical and/or emotional, meet, and quickly marry. She is a sweet plain Jane with emotional baggage. He is a survivor of the war who suffered brain damage. They are instantly attracted to each other, both for different reasons. She falls "in love" with his beauty, he is drawn to her peaceful nature. They come to understand what real love is after their marriage and find they are perfectly matched.
This is the story of two young virgins (he is 22 and she is 19) who marry and start their wedded life. Neither of them know anything about love or sex. They find the love part easy as they were very attracted to each other. He fell in love at first sight and she soon after. He loved the sex part, she hated it (mostly because he was clueless and she became fearful - because he was clueless). At this point, anyone reading this can draw their own conclusions. This is basically the plot of the story. They are also total opposites. He is smart, pragmatic, and all business. She is an ethereal musician who lives in her own world. There is also a secondary story about her father and stepmother who are terrible role models. Although the story was rather weak on plot, the dialogue was very good. Eloisa James has a knack for communicating the emotions of her characters and this book was no different. Was it one of her best? No, but I enjoyed it and the two young newlyweds were very cute together.
I don't know why this got so many stars. It was devoid of emotional involvement by any characters. Limited romance and absolutely no sex (I like a little sex in my "romance" novels), but there was a lot of talking about very little. I stopped listening halfway through and tried to return it, but was not able to. Although the narrator is one of my favorites, I'll give this author a pass on reading any more of her books.
My favorite Kinsale book so far and my favorite couple. And . . surprise, surprise, neither one is impaired in any way. They are amazingly normal - a definite change from the author's usual lovers.
The lovers in this story are very cute. Their marriage is arranged as children and when they finally meet as adults, their attraction to each other is undeniable. She is such a klutz, but so well intentioned that he forgives her every time she brings about one catastrophe after another. They are the embodiment of opposites attracting.
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.
Of all of Laura Kinsale's books, this is so far my least favorite. Of course, Nicholas Boulton is a wonderful narrator and the author is a great writer, but sometimes her characters leave a lot to be desired. This is especially true in this book. She likes to flush her characters out with a lot of baggage and angst. However, the heroine in this story, Zenia, is so damaged from being raised by her harridan of a mother that she takes out her insecurity on everyone around her, especially those who love her the most - her lover and her daughter. Why Winter still loves her despite her treatment of him, defies logic. I just could not feel empathy for this woman and even at the end of the story, I did not like Zenia and doubted that if this were reality and not a story, there would be no happy ending. She would continue to create her own unhappiness unless she got a lot of therapy.
I love Eloisa James' books. She has a way of making her characters come to life as if the reader was glimpsing into people's windows and watching their lives unfold. The author does not follow a scripted type of character. Each book introduces people with different types of personalities and backgrounds. She also likes to throw together unlikely love matches. India and Thorn make a great couple. And . . Susan Duerden is one of my favorite narrators.
I've read three of Laura Kinsale's books and each one is a treasure. The story is wonderful and consistent with her damaged hero and naïve heroine, much like those of the Bronte sisters. However, the heroine "Maddy Girl" was really irritating at times. Her constant worry over how she would be perceived by her Quaker "friends" was at odds with her love and concern for her husband who needed her far more than those supposed "friends". The book was a little overlong, but well worth it. While this seems to be a favorite of most readers, it was not mine. So far, the Shadow and the Star is my favorite, but that may change as I read more of her books.
Laura Kinsale reminds me of the Bronte sisters and their tales of damaged men and the sweet naïve women who loved them. I loved the story of an unlikely romance between two very different people with a mystery of nefarious evil brewing in the background threatening to ruin their love and lives. Except for Robert's abrupt manner and terrible courtship skills, I felt his pain when he revisited his past. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the gothic romances of the 19th century women who brought their abundant skills to the printed page.
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