Vladamir of Kessen, Duke of Lakeshire Castle, is feared as a demon in the land of Wessex. The Kings have granted him a title of nobility in exchange for his part as a political prisoner. Discontent, he bides his time in his new home until war will once again rip through the land. But boredom soon turns to devious pleasure as the daughter of his most hated enemy is left for dead at his castle gate. Now the monster bides his time plotting revenge.
Lady Eden of Hawks' Nest doesn't know what to think of the man who saved her life, but she can't wrench her thoughts away. His words are those of a tyrant, true to his vicious reputation, but his touch is that of a man, stirring passion and lust when there should only be fear. It would seem the infamous monster is not as monstrous as he appears.
©2012 Michelle M. Pillow (P)2013 Michelle M. Pillow
This book was great. Michelle created a great story. There is a lot of tension between her characters and I did not want to stop listening to the book. The book is filled with emotional upheavals. The two main characters are very passionate with one another even though in the beginning they did not trust one another.
My favorite character was Vladimir as performed by Mason Lloyd. His accent was amazing and I could listen to it again and again. At the beginning it took me a few moments to get use to it but overall it was great. At times I could tell there was a little discrepancy when he changed characters but that did not detract from the book.
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
Vladimir is depressed and cranky, and takes no little pleasure in the fact that many of the castle’s servants and visitors are afraid of him: the differences in his speech, dress and rather imperious bearing combined with his hair-trigger temper are his weaponry against his involvement in life and the pleasure it could bring. Widowed some 6 years earlier, he has no patience for the gods of his own childhood or those of the new Christian religion he has converted to: merely halfheartedly nod at the conventions and wishes of the King. Scarred from a fire that took his family, his servants are afraid of him: his control and impatient nature.
Eden was dumped, beaten and near death in a pile of skins, entrails and dirt outside the front gates of Vladimir’s keep. A mystery to solve, for sure, combined with the rarer emotion of protectiveness and attraction keeps Vladimir curious about her appearance, even as his baser nature for revenge against her father is all consuming. Eden is able to see beneath the iron-fisted control and shuttered emotions to find the pain that is mostly hidden beneath his brashness.
There is a palpable attraction between the two, despite the discrepancy in their relationship: her desire to not return to her father’s house yet lack of fear from what he will do TO her shows her inner core of strength, and makes her all the more attractive and unusual for a woman of her day. His struggle to remain aloof and protect his heart against the desire and attraction that she is able to stir in him, after long believing his chances for a life with a woman long dead show the kindness and sense of regret that he has, despite his often cruelly voiced reactions.
This is a slower story, better suited to savoring and allowing the inflections so capably provided by the narration of Mason Lloyd to depict the emotional confusion and struggles that each character is experiencing. Lush details that fill out both the scenes and the scents of the story, as they provide a sense of the time to readers effectively display Vladimir’s differences to his Saxon neighbors, and delineate his high standards for his surroundings, even though he had spent the past year carefully cultivating an impression of disinterest to all but his harshly barked orders. It isn’t difficult to understand the attraction between the two, that understanding quickly turning to compassion and empathy until you are hoping that the two will speak clearly and open to the happiness awaiting them together.
Another cleverly crafted historic romance from Michelle M. Pillow that manages to incorporate a serious level of sexual tension before culmination for the two lead characters. There are accounts of less savory moments, although these are detailed with a sense of purpose, and the perpetrators do get to answer for their behavior. Mixing in historical details, dress and even approach to conversation keeps the story fully in its time, while being completely modern in description and imagery. I really did enjoy this AudioBook, and fans of the genre, who are seeking an era that is not predominant in the genre will, I believe, enjoy it as well.
I received an AudioBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I would recommend MAIDEN AND THE MONSTER to anyone who enjoys a good medieval romance OR to anyone who enjoys fractured fairy tales. It took me a bit to get in tune with the characters, but, once I did, I was subsequently fully invested in the story and listened raptly until the end. The story was set during the Vikings vs. Saxon's period in Wessex (an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the south of Great Britain) in 879 AD.
MAIDEN AND THE MONSTER by Michelle M. Pillow was a very enjoyable medieval romance complete with knights, kings, castles and a maiden to rescue. I love the story of The Beauty and the Beast and this story was reminiscent of it in many ways. The characters were quite engaging. Vladamir, our hero, came across as an unfeeling, imperious monster at first. He was the Beast (from Beauty and the Beast) before-his-Beauty-worked-her-magic-on-him personified. Scarred from a fire that had taken his famiy, Vladamir's appearance alone instilled fear. He enforced that terror with a quick brusque temper. Vladamir's first wife had been a detestable, narcisstic person; She had soured him against women and any long-term relationship.
Enter Lady Eden, our heroine, smelly, beaten to a pulp, covered with entrails and unconscious. As she slowly awoke and as the swelling and bruising ebbed away, her inward beauty began to shine. At first, she had no recollection of who she was or how she came to be buried in the pile of smelly pelts that had been dumped outside the Duke's Lakeshire Castle. Vladamir was adamant that she would vacate his castle as soon as she was able, but as her memory slowly began to return, she knew that she needed to stay under his protection. I loved Lady Eden - she was classy and sweet - and strongly attracted to Vladamir. Vladamir's bark was a facade - much worse than his bite. He talked tough but his actions were actually nothing but kind towards her. I held out hope thru-out that they would each find a way to open their hearts to each other and that their prior lives/families/politics would not undermine their destinies.
I've never listened to Mason Lloyd before. He was very good. His voice was very clear and he articulated in a captivating brogue. He was a reader type of narrator, not an actor which is not a bad thing; but a fyi in case someone has a personal preference; Because of the period's accent he was speaking, I think that if he had added acting, it might have been too much. This was my first time listening to Mr. Lord. Based upon his performance with this book, I would not hesitate to listen to him again.
A Fractured Retelling of Beauty and the Beast!
Michelle's storytelling is superb! She has obviously researched the time period well as the story is rich with historical details. I found myself alternately laughing, sighing and reeling in horror. There were some unsavory scenes - necessary to the story, but unpleasant - while other parts had me holding my breath with emotional suspense. Prior to listening to MAIDEN AND THE MONSTER, I had read one other story by Michelle, LOVE POTIONS (WARLOCKS MACGREGOR #1) which I absolutely loved. (It was actually one of my top five reads for CY2014.) I will be checking out more of her books soon! I would recommend MAIDEN AND THE MONSTER to anyone who enjoys a good medieval romance.
I read the other reviews before getting this book. Some of them almost made me not get it! I do not write many reviews but the ones bashing this story and sequence of events are making me feel like I have to write one.
This is a wonderfully told story, as usual the couple are in love with each other (secretly of course - lack of communication) but they are over the top in lust with each other, mutually attracted to each other in a very heady sexual attraction, which is a very good thing if you have ever had it in your own real life!!!
I felt the author and the narrator created many beautiful/sexy and sensual love making scenes. You can actually feel the attraction between these two as it is so powerfully written!
Little Spoiler: This story takes place like in 850AD So yeah, people's views were a little bit different then those of today and what women could endure. Other reviewers thought the speed and position of the loving making unreasonable, but so would being beaten near to death and yet the heroine survived that....I would rather have a handsome man making wild passionate love to me!! LOL
So if you are not a prude...give this book a try as I am off to find another one by this same author as her story was WONDERFULLY TOLD!!
I'm torn between yes and a no. I found the story and the reader likable, but there were times I was unable to sit through and continue. Don't get me wrong, I liked the story and Mason Lloyd's performance, it's just the timing of trying to listen was not the best for me.
Aww man this again is quite a bit of a challenge. I stopped quite a few times listening to this, but I cannot come up with a thought atm in which I could have a made an enjoyable story even more enjoyable.
Nothing comes to mind. I enjoy his voice and I've gone on to listen to other books performed by him as well :)
I stopped quite a few times listening to this, but don't misunderstand, this book was actually a good listen.. First of all the names of the characters are just great, in my opinion. I love the name Vladimir (the great power) and Eden (place of pleasure) and just pairing lovers witch such names to my liking :) . Although there were times I wished I could have banged the hero and heroines head together, I really enjoyed listening to their medieval story. Vlad is a bit on the rough side (his accent was just yes!). Vlad came off a bit harsh, and brutish but this monster was quite likable to me :). Eden was a likable heroine and I found her strength and confidence to be some of her stronger characteristics. All in all, good book :)
Were they on drugs? The only plausible explanation for the ease and willingness with which the H and h moved into a physical relationship—even being rightfully wary and even frightened of each other—is that they were each under the influence of some substance. Unfortunately, they were both sober. At the beginning especially, Vlad’s and Eden’s behavior consistently make little sense. And the author’s attempt to explain their sexual magnetism fails. It was unfortunate b/c I liked the start up until the sexual attraction started about 1.5 hours into the book. And, overall, I liked the story, just not the depiction of the romantic relationship within it, which was the primary reason I purchased the book. Thankfully, as the story went on, ignoring the implausibility, continuity and poor start became easier. There were very hot sex scene, including explicit language; the story was not replete with them. But the ones there were not short. Unfortunately, however, the author completely overused and misused the concepts of sexual wetness and constant erections. And Vlad was a bit of an ass in his treatment of his virgin wife as he introduced her to sex. And she was far too willing to do anything. These were serious detractions from the erotic aspects the author tried to create. Eden’s behavior in the bedroom, from the very first, seems implausible for the historical times and her advanced political station, being Lady Eden and having lived somewhat of a cloistered life.
Finally, the supposed twist revealed in Vlad’s past was too common to gothic-like stories, so it was a bust. And the ending was first good, with great tension, and then it returned to being implausible.
So, overall, I don’t regret trying this author this once, but I will buy no more of her books. It had some good parts—the overall story—but not worth repeating or hoping her other books are better.
The narrator was great. His brogue was superb.
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