He's a duke. He's a mathematical genius. He can't talk and he's locked in a lunatic asylum. Only a modest Quaker girl can reach him, but when she helps him to escape, she's swept into his glittering aristocratic world, her life torn apart by his desperate attempt to save himself.
Laura Kinsale personally chose the exceptional talent of Nicholas Boulton to narrate her classic romance Flowers from the Storm - cited by readers of The Washington Post and Glamour magazine as "one of the greatest love stories of all time" - creating a fresh and unique work that brings all the power and intensity of the original to audio.
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Magnificent love story.
Not possible to choose between Christian and Maddy. I love them both. Even more than I loved them before.
I've "just" read the book many times, and have always loved it. But it was never my favorite, as it so many people's favorite Kinsale, partly because in print, Maddy's piety and Quaker plain talk is a little off-putting, and Christian's aphasic speech at times made me yearn for her more eloquent heroes.
Nicholas Boulton brings both these characters to life with such mastery that I can't think of words to describe his performance that don't sound gushingly hyperbolic. You can feel Christian's desperate frustration in his inability to speak, and later, as he gets better, the subtleties of meaning and emotion that he conveys with just a word or simple phrase. This was all already there in the story, of course, but to hear it performed so well when it could so easily have gone badly wrong is purely delightful.
His voice for Maddy is equally well done. Her simple goodness comes through without ever being annoying. Her Opening, the war between the faith that is at the root of her and the love that she feels for her magnificent and tortured husband - I don't have a lot of patience with that sort of conflict usually, but in this book and this performance she had my every sympathy.
I was a little worried about the "Say Stop" scene. I didn't need to be. I often have to skip forward when sex scenes are read, not out of prudishness (I hope) but because I get embarrassed when I think about an actor in a studio reading the lines aloud to the possible guffaws of the people recording him or her. I listened to every scene of this book without ever realizing the narrator was there, if that makes any sense. Her story and his voice together are magic.
No. Couldn't do it - this is a book to be savored, not gulped.
Thank you, Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton, for this treasure of an audiobook. I will listen to it again and again.
Though I had not read this book before, I was very familiar with the cult and critical success of Laura Kinsale's Flowers From the Storm, as it is at the very top of every "best of" romance list. I cannot adequately express my SHOCK upon finding it had been released in audio. Thank you to everyone who worked on this audiobook... It is perfect.
The story itself is unexpected and unlike anything else I've read. I have listened to nearly every Historical Romance on Audible. Nothing could prepare me for this particular book. The plot doesn't follow any formula one might expect from Historical Romance. Not being able to predict ANYTHING made me stressed at times... But the book is gorgeous. In a class by itself! This book rises to the level of Jane Eyre, but is completely unique. Frustrating, heart-wrenching, and beautiful.
The quality of the audio book is exceptional. Nicholas Bouton deserves the Audie Award for this performance.
Fans of the book will be thrilled by his performance. Obvious care was taken when choosing the narrator, and Bouton delivered the performance of a lifetime.
I will say that I found the book to be more intense and stressful than I expected. That's not negative, but I had to take breaks when I was upset by the characters or their precarious circumstances. However, there is honesty to the narrative. Life is uncertain and precarious. Thus, the struggles of Christian and Maddy cause visceral reactions. I felt their wounds.
And the ending is legendary. Sweet Bliss.
This is the third Laura Kinsale book I've listened to of the three that are currently available on Audible. What a great find!
I'd never heard of Laura Kinsale, and decided to buy these books when I saw them in the "people who bought this also bought" section under one of Georgette Heyer's books (one of my all-time favorites). I am so glad I did...
All three of Ms Kinsale's books are unusual but very, very enjoyable. Her characters are flawed, but oh, so real! Not like the picture perfect, often self absorbed characters in many other romances. She puts real emotions into her characters, gives them real goals and aspirations, and expresses them so well that you feel what they feel. The frustration, anger, fear and desperation that the Duke endures at the lost of control over his life is so raw in this book that you just want to cry for him - extremely well done. I also learned quite a bit about how mentally afflicted people, or, as in this case, presumed mentally afflicted people, were treated in the 19th century (glad I live in the 21st!).
The narrator did a fantastic job, and it couldn't have been easy, especially in this book, where so much of the main character's speech was affected by his medical condition. NIcholas Boulton's interpretation of the story, and of the emotions, was extremely well done. He does accents very well too (mainly in the other 2 books). He's one of the best male narrators I've heard to date, and I've listened to a lot of them.
I hope Audible gets more audiobooks by LS and narrated by NB....I will buy every one of them! I haven't enjoyed anything as much since I listened to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, narrated by Davina Porter. Although quite different, all 3 Laura Kinsale books have the same excellence of story and the same quality of narration.
Definitely. But only because the narrator, NIcholas Boulton, did such an incredible job that I'd have to say it's oscar worthy. I can't imagine this book being at all easy to interpret and perform. But he was superb. It seemed so natural and so real that I was completely engulfed in the story as if I was a part of it.
Beautiful, captivating and emotional. This is one of those books that is incredibly hard to put down. Be prepared to lose sleep.
This story wonderfully narrated by Nicholas Boulton captivates you from the beginning and takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride that leaves you gratefully breathless by the end. The author takes you inside the experience of the Duke who has suffered a stroke and has been placed in an insane asylum. The author and narrator do an absolutely amazing job of portraying the Duke's cognitive and linguistic recovery with the aid of his Quaker nurse--a nurse who becomes his protector and wife. A lot of the story revolves around his wife's struggle to reconcile her Quaker beliefs with her role in the materialistic environment of a Dukedom. This is only the aspect of the book that becomes a bit repetitious at times. At one point I wanted to shake her and say "make up your damn mind already." But this reaction only attests to how well the author engages the reader/listener in the story. The more riveting part of the story focuses on how the Duke struggles to regain his abillity and right to function in the world outside the asylum. You will find yourself cheering him on with each triumph, large and small. Overall, this is one of the most profound love stories I have ever listened to. I would rate it well above a 5 if I could.
I have already listened to it more than once! Nicholas Boulton's performance is a masterpiece! I am generally inclined to stay away from male narrators, but Mr. Boutlon is in a class of his own!
I loved his performance of Christian. The halting speech, his very struggle, is clear in Mr. Boulton's performance.
I cannot rave enough about this book!
As an avid reader (and listener), I consume about 3 books a week between listening while traveling, and reading actual paper. So, when I say this is the BEST BOOK EVER, I am not giving light praise! The story line was unique, well researched, and absolutely riveting--I couldn't wait to get in my car again to hear more. The narrator was one of the best I've heard--you could easily tell what character was speaking; he did an amazing job of differentiating accents and genders.
I expected an historical romance when I chose this book, but I would be hard-pressed to categorize this book as such . . . it was historical, yes, and a romance, BUT it was also dramatic, a bit of a mystery, a cliff-hanger, and most definitely thought provoking (what WOULD it have been like to be confined to an asylum in the 1800s, and how much of what we currently know about medicine today will ultimately be antiquated a hundred years from now, making us think of our current practices as monstrous?!)
I have been on a mission since finishing this book of finding all of Kinsale's works. If all are as good as this one, she has a new lifetime fan!
The Duke, Christian . . . normally, it would have been the heroine of the story, Maddie, but his character was so very compelling. One was literally inside his head!
One of the best narrators I've ever had the pleasure of listening to . . . did a fantastic job of differentiating between characters, accents, genders--unless I was actively trying to remember that it was just one narrator, I could easily have believed I was listening to a number of actors.
Wow, I would LOVE to see this made into a movie! OK, here's my stab at a tag line:
"A Duke, a Quaker girl, and an insane asylum . . . any questions?"
I'm telling everyone I know about this book and author. I can't believe I've never read her before! Best Kept Secret!
"HOPEFUL ROMANTIC" ~~ ( 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Poor, 1 = Awful ) ~~ Reviews should never contain "spoilers" ;-)
After listening and loving the book "My Sweet Folly" I knew I had to listen to other books by Laura Kinsale.
"Flowers From The Storm" is a captivating romance with heart. The characters seem so real & true to life and main characters of Christian and Maddy are written with integrity and dimension. The story weaves a tale of "in sickness and in health" as it shows how romantic opposites in many aspects of life can triumph through adversity.
This book is not for you if you are looking for lots of sex scenes. Its more of a genuine romantic story that is passionate, compelling, and emotional rather than fantasy or cutesy fun.
Also, the narrator is WONDERFUL!! Can't say enough about him!
Definitely, definitely did I say definitely worth a credit? Yes!!
Love Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Romance books.
This is just the second Laura Kinsale book I have listened to and I have to say I am really enjoying them. The story is gripping and I could not stop listening. The story line is a nice change of pace from typical historical novels and at first I was not sure that I was going to be interested in a love story between a Quaker and an ill duke, but it works well. The writing is superb, so all in all, 18+ hours well spent.
I read this book many times through out the years and this is the first time I read it in audiobook format. I love love love audible.com and thank you for bringing in such a wonderful book. This book has one of the best plot line, complex, filled with contradictions yet convincing. It is one of my all time top 10 romance books.
I do not like Christian in the beginning but love him at the end. I love Maddygirl in the beginning but not as much at the end. But I loved them both as a couple.
His voice has character and filled with passion. He is perfect for this book.
Stroke duke, Quaker spinster, impossible romance, love conquest all...
Please bring Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels to audible.com
"A favourite book now made even BETTER"
Flowers from the Storm is a long-time favourite romance of mine. It's heartfelt and deeply romantic while not being an easy read, but is filled with beautiful prose and imagery. The hero, Christian, Duke of Jervalux begins the book as your typical alpha-male; a wealthy man-about-town who can (and does) have any woman he wants. He's also a mathematical genius - and it's this quality which brings him into contact with Archimedia (Maddy) Timms, the daughter of another mathematician with whom Christian has collaborated on a specific theorem.
When Christian (who is only 32) suddenly suffers what we would today recognise as a stroke, he is left unable to speak or understand and unable to perform simple, every-day actions; and his family, believing him to be an imbecile, commits him to an asylum.
The asylum is run by Maddy's uncle, Edward Timms, and is run according to the rules and principles of care laid out by the Society of Friends (Quakers) - and it is there that Maddy sees Christian again, afflicted and almost unrecognisable. She believes she has been given an "Opening" by God - and that to care for him is her duty.
It's a long and complex story. Christian is helpless for much of it and needs Maddy desperately. At the beginning his need is very selfish, as she is the one person who is able to understand him and ease his frustrations about how very dependent he has become. But his need gradually changes into something else, even as she is coming to love him against all her principles and better judgement.
His struggles are often agonising, his violent outbursts heart-breaking - as the reader is able to see what prompts them and feel for this once proud man and what he has been reduced to. Maddy can come across as rather too "preachy", especially in the later part of the book when Christian has to fight for his rights to his name and property against the family who want to put him back in the asylum so they can get their hands on his money. I can understand her to a point - she has been brought up to the Quaker way of life and it is so ingrained in her, so very much a part of her life that she really struggles to come to terms with the way she feels about Christian, and - more importantly - the way he makes HER feel. But it's still hard to like her when she deserts him when he needs her the most, even though she's just suffered a miscarriage (probably) and is finding it hard to cope with all the changes in her life.
For all its difficulty however, Flowers from the Storm is a superbly written and characterised love story. In audio, though, it's even BETTER. Nicholas Boulton is, quite simply, one of the best narrators - and to call him a "narrator" doesn't begin to do him justice - it has been my privilege to hear. Every character - even the most minor - has a distinct voice that fits them perfectly. He is just as convincing as the female characters as he is as the male ones; he has a way of softening his tone and raising the pitch of his voice slightly for Maddy which is just right and his characterisation of Christian's interfering Aunt Vesta is superb. His performance softens Maddy's harsher traits and, especially towards the end, makes it easier for the listener to understand what prompts her to do what she does (even if we still can't like it!)
But his performance as Christian is a real tour-de-force. Having to voice a character who has problems speaking must have been quite a challenge - yet it's perfect, from the often explosive way he blurts out his words, to his struggles to find the right word in the streams of them that run through his head. I felt his frustrations and his triumphs as he begins to reassert himself and regain his self-confidence and respect, and his desolation at losing Maddy. Hearing him find "the whole man" again was really moving, and I don't mind admitting to having a few lumps in my throat here and there.
In short, then - this is an outstanding performance of a deservedly well-loved favourite. Using your next credit - or even your hard-earned cash - would be to put either to very good use indeed.
"The duke and the Quaker nurse - without cliches."
Fully-realised characters who engage your interest and sympathy whilst still being true to their own time.
Although the events and setting of the story are very different, this book reminded me in some ways of "Jane Eyre" - a charismatic and powerful man, used to arranging the world as he wants, meets an unsophisticated woman who seems timid and easily-influenced but is more than his equal in strength of character. The fluctuations of the balance of power between the two protagonists are sometimes at the forefront and sometimes overtaken by the flow of events as the rakish Duke of Jervaulx suffers a stroke and loses control over his life and property.The writing is polished and unrushed, allowing the listener full insight into the characters' thoughts and feelings.
Although this is a "historical romance", I think the only cliché of the genre you will find in this book is the opening scene, which contains an explicit description of the duke and his mistress in bed. Although the level of explicit description is repeated later, the sensuality of the later romantic scenes reflects the slow development of love and trust between Christian and Maddy despite their profound differences.
If I'd read this book I'd have skimmed it to get to the key events, since I find it hard to stick with a lot of narrative and internal dialogue, but Nicholas Boulton's performance kept me interested. His consistent and skilful delivery is never boring and in the emotional scenes reaches a riveting intensity which is exactly right for this dramatic story.
"A wonderful book made as Theatre!"
I would indeed recommend this book to a friend, or anyone else who loves a great book; I love Laura Kinsale's writing.
There are too many memorable moments to mention.
This is the first time I have heard Nicholas Boulton and I think he must be the best Narrator ever!! He is able to slip into the character of each person seamlessly so you are able to picture the scenario before you as if you are watching a play.
In listening to this book, I experienced every emotion under the sun; from the first sentence to the last I ran the whole gamut and I felt more alive than before. this book pulled me apart, made me cry and laugh, too. Then, put me back together again at the end. Thank goodness I can listen again and again.
Thank you Laura Kinsale for choosing the best voice ever for your wonderful books; I will buy all of them as and when they are available.
"Laura Kinsale...at last!"
Of all Laura Kinsale's books, this has been my favourite and I'm so pleased to have it as an unabridged audiobook.
This is a beautifully written novel whose two main characters are really well-drawn and unusual.There's tension and conflict, grief and love as they struggle towards a resolution...expect your emotions to be played with!
As for Nicholas Boulton...what a wonderful performance from an outstanding narrator. He has all the voices, all the accents to match the subtleties and nuances of the writing. A superb match!
I can't praise this novel/narrator highly enough. In fact I've already downloaded the other three books available and look forward to more.
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