To love him is to face her deepest fear...
In search of a legendary mare, Lord Winter enters the crucible of the red sands, forging unbreakable bonds of loyalty and trust with his young companion in the desert. But hidden beneath the ragged costume of a Bedouin boy is a remarkable young woman: Zenia Stanhope, daughter of the extraordinary Queen of the Desert.
Zenia wants nothing of the danger that Lord Winter lives for. She wants only to reach England, far from the blood and sand of the desert. But in one night of terror, condemned to death, their lives are irrevocably bound. Zenia escapes to an English world of elegance and comfort, leaving behind the lonely, fearless man who has changed her life and conquered her heart... until he returns to invade her sanctuary.
Now she must choose between safety and love, but can she find the courage to be the person she was truly born to be?
©1994, 2013 Hedgehog Inc (P)2013 Hedgehog Inc
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!
It seems to me that reviewers are missing the central source of conflict in this clever romance with literary aspirations. In a nutshell, the hero and heroine are polar opposites. Kinsale offers plenty of symbols and metaphors to convey this:
1. The hero's name is "Winter" - he is cold, emotionally withdrawn from other humans - and (paradoxically) drawn to landscapes of hot, arid emptiness. Zenia, meanwhile, has lived her entire life under the scorching desert sun. She longs for the cool, lush gardens of England, and paradoxically, the warmth of human contact.
2. More conflict stems from the enormous material differences in the life experiences of the two principles: Winter has always possessed social power and wealth; ergo, they mean nothing to him; Zenia has always lived a powerless and materially deprived existence. She longs for financial security, basic creature comforts and certainty about what the next day will bring. That she transforms herself from a Bedouin boy into a proper English lady at the earliest opportunity is perfectly logical. Readers who find English-Zenia tedious or bitchy misunderstand her character completely by assuming that she, like Winter, should see life as one jolly adventure.
3. Then there is the East-West difference. Zenia's worldview, we are told and shown, is essentially oriental: she is deeply superstitious, fearful of curses, genies, etc. Winter is a man of science, a product of European enlightenment. It is not hard to understand why Zenia and he might not see eye-to-eye on basic things.
Why does she hold him at arm's length, despite the best counsel of everyone around her, despite her own feelings for him, despite his obviously sincere and honorable courtship? Because she recognizes that they come from two different worlds; she doesn't trust him to settle down in England and be the kind of husband/father that she needs him to be. She cannot contemplate going back to the isolated, hand-to-mouth, nomadic existence that she knew before reaching England; and she believes (with reason) that Winter is incapable of changing from wanderer to couch potato, no matter what he says.
Looked at this way, the wonder isn't that Zenia holds out against Winter as long as she does, but that she yields to him at all.
Kinsale is a fine writer. And like most fine writers, she rewards the reader who takes the trouble to ponder her meaning. The Dream Hunter is a book that actually deserves to be reread, offering nuances of character, narrative structure and plot to the careful reader.
As always Nicholas Boulton was outstanding with the delivery of the story
I love to read all genres of books, but love my historical romances!!!
Such a well written story by a fantastic author and told by one of the best narrators I've listen too made it impossible to stop listening!! Loved this book.
This novel performance (pun intended) is especially fun for any reader that has not had the pleasure of Laura Kinsale read by Nicholas Boulton. Laura Kinsale writes with extremely "human" characters, and you become immeshed in their emotions, motivations, fears and passion. Ms. Kinsale is one of the rare writers that spend as much time developing her male characters, as she does her female ones. Her characters are multi-dimensional, and the superb acting by Nicholas Boulton enable you to experience and wring out every possible meaning of the storyline. I have read (or listened to) many different types of books, with many different performance artists, but the combination of her words and his voice is rare in your audio experience. A reader will find themselves immeshed in the story instead of the mechanics of writing or performing. A rare treat. Having said that, do not be surprised if you find yourself, therefore, cringing in embarrassment as the Heroine (Zenia) or Hero (Arden) perform idiotic acts as they muddle their way through a relationship. The interesting aspect of Ms. Kinsale's plot development is that she is almost willing to take you to the point of hating a Zenia for her fears or despising Arden for his impulsive savagery, before she pulls you back at the last second into reluctant sympathy. Just when you are about to wish that Arden would give up and let Zenia try to live alone, penniless because she is too afraid of potential abandonment, the author explains enough motivation for Zenia's fears and you slide into sympathy. Ms. Kinsale did that a few too many times (reluctance, stupidity, passion, fear, acceptance...over and over), for me; this is the main reason I voted for four stars instead of five.. I sped up a few of the last few times because I was almost screaming at Arden and Zenia. How can you not love a writer and performer that drive you to that point?
Many of Laura Kinsale's books have the pattern of attraction, passion, fear, reluctance, stupidity, sympathy and then faith. She is NOT formulaic but you will see a trend. However all of her characters are sharply drawn and different, and suffer from different fears. In some of her books (like Flowers from the Storm - my personal favorite) the hero is driven by more demons than the heroine.
Although I am not a huge fan of the Arabian desert romances as a rule, the first half of the book in the desert are the parts that I prefer. The scenes leading up to Arden's discovery of Zenia being a woman have the right amount of bravery and tension. My second favorite are the scenes of Arden's forging of a relationship with his tiny daughter.
I listened to this book over three days, during a car trip up and back between cities in Texas. At the end, I sat in my driveway to finish, even though I was so tired of being in the car. I was not about to leave these characters after hours of yelling at then to get some sense.
I have said in previous reviews that I thoroughly enjoy Nicholas Boulton's strong performances in each character of every novel he has performed. How he can perform suc distinctly different men, women and children, so consistently, is beyond me. In other reviews, you will hear than an audio performer has trouble in long dialogue exchanges, where the voices blend together or are indistinguishable. And, by the way, he does have a small part of the second of third chapter where a minor character is speaking with an American-style accent, and he was very convincing. The sections in Arabic accents seem authentic and smooth. This is never an issue with Nick Boulton. I have gotten to the point of recommending him as an artist to other authors (even those convinced he could not possibly play an American or a Frenchman), because I feel this actor can do anything. .
love audio books - Anglophile
I had the Kleenex out within the first third of this audio. It has adventure, romance, and more. I didn't think Kinsale could top Flowers from the Storm, but I liked this one even more. Audible, please release more books by Kinsale!
Day dreaming book lover!
This is an unforgettable book with unforgettable narration. What was painful for me was the struggle of the characters to achieve peace. Their struggle goes right to the bitter end. Laura Kinsale will be an automatic download for me but when I want a nice, sweet romance, I won't look here. As far as narration goes, Nicholas Boulton is in the top three narrators for romance at Audible if not the top. I hope you won't hesitate listening to this book, especially if you are looking for depth of characters and strength and talent of narration.
it's the best way to spend a working day, and i'm thankful my job is one where i can listen to books all day long.
i have read some less-than-fabulous reviews on this particular laura kinsale book. so much so that i was leery about listening to it, thinking it wouldn't be very entertaining.
well. i'm glad i ignored those reviewers.
it was worth the credit.
let me say this... while i truly LOVED this book, i wanted their to be a longer "connection" at the end, when they finally made it work and wanted to be together. i wanted more time with them that way rather than the back and forth, but i'll take what i can get.
laura never disappoints in her character development. these flawed men and women have so much to give to the other and i love the hours spent listening to their journey.
nicholas does a superb job, as usual, and i am hoping that laura will have more books out soon.
take a chance. you'll be glad you did, especially if you loved the other books.
Just a simple girl living the simple life. Nothing is complicated when the power of imagination leads the way. Close your eyes & just listen
I recently stumbled (for the first time) on LK's books with 'The Prince of Midnight' and absolutely fell in love with her writing as well as the narrator Nicholas Boulton. Once you've heard him you will compare all others readers to him and hope they are at least half as good! This is my third book by her and yearn for more of this combo- writer/reader. I must admit 'dream hunter' is a bit different than the other two as far as the setting, but trust me it is well worth your credit and time....... You will hunger for more!
His performance in 'Flowers from the Storm' will rivet you. His ability in changing voices for each character is amazing. You feel each emotion so deeply- anger, joy, hate, love, desire....sex! He tops the list!
Brilliant, romantic, passionate, intense, poignant, sexy, exciting...
...all this is true of The Dream Hunter, but there are no words that can do justice to the amazing narrator/author team of Nicholas Boulton and Laura Kinsale! Every story is perfectly written by one of historical romance's best authors, then poignantly, passionately, brought to life through one of audio-books most talented, sexy, male voices.
Do yourself a favor and try these audio books. Any story by this pair. So far I've listened to Flowers from the Storm, The Prince of Midnight, and The Dream Hunter, and each one is pure brilliance! (But Flowers from the Storm will always be my favorite!)
It doesn't get better than this!
I LOVE Nicholas Boulton's performances and I don't know print version so I can't compare.
That is unpredictable. Both leading characters are complicated and the story have many turns of action.
When they make love the first time.
The moment when Zenia stops the carriage and return to Winter in last chapter. I had tears in my eyes.
From novel to novel I find them better.
adventure, romance and the social constraints of the time give this installment in Kinsales romance novels a bit more angst then some others but the epic journey in geography and emotional growth is worth the struggle.
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