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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Audiobooks Change Tasks To Unlimited Adventures! Love Historical/Insp. Romances & Random Sale Genres. Reviews Shouldn’t 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!!
I enjoyed this book so very much ! The story was so different then I thought. Lot of ups and downs so your where not sure how it was going to. This is the first book of Laura Kinsale I have read and I will read more of her books
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.
Audio Addict! Usually listening to History these days. Love Will Durant most of all authors!
The most famous of Laura Kinsale's novels, Flowers From the Storm certainly lives up to the hype and more! This is my second time to hear the book, and I enjoyed it so much more this time.
The story is compelling and beautiful. A different type of love story, as is most of Kinsale's work. The narrator is amazing, and brings the characters to life.
The story revolves around a plain Quaker girl and the mad worldly Duke she rescues from insanity. It's incredibly touching and never boring. Both characters grow and learn from their relationship. It's a breathtaking book from start to finish.
I highly recommend this book to romance and historical fiction fans!
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.
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.
I'm impressed with Laura Kinsale Her writing style is well developed with interesting plot twists and well developed characters. Altogether, this was an entertaining and interesting book and I will be looking forward to reading more titles by this author.
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.
Say something about yourself!
At first I thought it was dull, but it was just opening like a flower. I didn't want it to end. It is worth the read. Treat your self.
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.
"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.
"I was hooked"
This is not my normal genre but I thought the reviews were intriguing. This book has obviously built up a devoted body of fans and I was also interested in the central premise of the story which involves the hero suffering a stroke at the very beginning.
The hours spent listening to this book skipped by at a rollicking pace. Laura Kinsale has skilfully woven a timeless tale of battling families, egos and religious beliefs. The hero is wonderfly flawed and the heroine is not the pious little nobody you might assume. What is actually so good about this book is that it seems to steer you on an obvious path but then it veers off, and the events don't play out quite as you expect. The whole thing reminded me of the Gainsborough films made in the 40s and 50s. (Remember The Wicked Lady with Margaret Lockwood and James Mason). This was top class entertainment enhanced by a wonderful narrator.
I am now a fan and can't wait to hear more from Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton.
"A love story as good as Jane Eyre"
Definitely. I bought the audiobook based on Nicholas Boulton's voice which is mellifluous and a joy to listen to. I read the reviews on Amazon & Goodread & decided to take a punt. I didn't think I was going to enjoy the story, but once I got into it, I struggled to stop listening to it for the last 1/3rd of the recording. Nicholas Boulton is so much more than a narrator, he is a fabulous actor. I don't think I would have finished the book if I had read it. The hero had a stroke and in the first part of his journey back to health, understandably can't form his words, and must be quite hard to read. In this regard, listening to N.B reading it as an actor was wonderful. He brought the book alive. I would recommend it to fellow listeners who love Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. It is in the style of Georgette Heyer but so much meatier, less fluffy and so well written. I was sad when it ended.
The whole story was good, it continually moved along without getting stuck or a bit 'boggy' as some stories tend to do in the middle. I liked all the characters in the story, both good and bad. I was a little frustrated/annoyed with the heroine, Maddy, for her piety, but as a Quaker, that was the point. She came good in the end so that was a triumph for sense over religion (apologies to those who read this who are of a religious zealous persuasion). It's the second Laura Kinsale book that I've read that has a religious or cult theme - not sure what Fraud would say about her, or maybe she just likes writing about tortured religious souls? In brief, selfish, arrogant Mr Rochester-type-character (Christian, Duke of Jervoux) who lives life on his terms, has a stroke. Put in an asylum. Quaker girl cares for him (she met him pre-stroke through her father as both men genius mathematicians). He ends up relying on her totally while she understands his needs & helps him to manage his condition. She turns his world upside down through her kind deeds & simple life & he upends hers, literally and awakens her sexually. It is a very beautiful slow-burn love story.
The hero, Christian, who was such a well-developed character through the hands of Laura Kinsale. Each time he fights to get his point across and can't, because of his stroke, she makes you feel his pain & frustration. He is a strong character who won't be beaten & I loved him better than I did Maddy, who at times I wanted to be more feisty (as she was at the beginning of the book & became less so as the book progressed)
I didn't really laugh (it wasn't like her Lessons in French that is humorous), but Christian's best friends are amusing especially the one who has brawn but no brains. His formidable aunt is also quite amusing. I didn't cry but I had a lump in my throat at the end of the book when Christian gave his speech at the Quakers meeting house & then to Maddy in the graveyard. He was brought to his knees & laid his soul bare. What compassionate woman couldn't be moved by that.
Buy the audiobook. Nicholas Boulton is a genius ! Great story, you'll love it.
"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.
"Loved this book"
Love the narrator and the story. One of my favourites.
One of her best books. Loved Maddy and the Duke.
"Georgette Heyer fans start here....."
I loved this story - an interesting blend of Regency life, the contrast between it and Quaker sensibilities - excess in both directions - passionate lovemaking and a curiously compelling and insightful description of what? The results of a stroke? Very nicely narrated by Nicholas Boulton whose voice brought the various characters to life keeping them separate in the listener's mind. This is my first Laura Kinsale book - I expect to listen to more of them.
"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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