He was once a legendary highwayman. Now he's a recluse in a ruined French castle, with only a half-wild wolf for a companion. When Lady Leigh Strachan comes looking for a man to aid in her revenge, she's disillusioned to find that the famed Prince of Midnight couldn't help even if he cared to - which he doesn't. S. T. Maitland wants nothing to do with his legend, or with this fierce, beautiful, broken woman... until the old thrill of living on the cutting edge of danger begins to rise in his blood again.
Laura Kinsale personally chose the exceptional talent of Nicholas Boulton to narrate The Prince of Midnight as a fully voiced audiobook, creating a unique work that brings all the life and color of the original to audio.
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Imagine my joy when I saw Audible add this book!
First I will stipulate that I'm an old and devoted Laura Kinsale fan. I have been reading romance for over 35 years, and this book, along with another Kinsale wrote called "Flowers From the Storm" are two of the best, and most memorable books I have ever read. I snatched this up right away when I saw it had been released, and even though it was a well loved, well remembered re-read, I was loathe to put it down.
Laura Kinsale is a scrumptious author. She an intelligent romance writer, and I don't think there's anyone out there who writes romance quite like her. She doesn't follow the common tropes. The heroine isn't always a virginal dilettante` (or even likeable at times), the heroes aren't always noble (nor are they always all that heroic), and love isn't always at first sight. The characters are built into real people by her talented pen, and the relationships grow before your eyes, or rather "your ears" since this is an audiobook.
Which brings me to the narration. This was my first time listening to Nicholas Boulton, but I was not in any way disappointed. His accents were very good, his delivery was smooth and his tone stayed faithful to the mood of the material he was reading. He did a fantastic job, and I will admit I was very worried that one of my favourite books would be given to a narrator who couldn't do it justice. Thank goodness, Nicholas Boulton came through with flying colours.
The story is, in as small a nutshell as I can cram it, the story of a girl whose whole family is killed by a religious cult. In the early aftermath of her grief, she wants revenge on the leader of the cult. So she seeks out a fabled highwayman to help reach her goals. She finds him, but he's not quite what she expected. There's plenty of action to follow, but Kinsale uses the action cleverly to also move along (or in some cases, hold back) the relationship aspect of the story. As the two work toward resolving their feelings about each other, they also have to look inward as well. The sex scenes in this book are all meaningful, each for a different reason, and they blend in nicely but, compared to some current bestsellers, are a bit rarer and tamer than what some readers might be used to.
I will be perfectly honest and tell you that if you are looking for an instant relationship, gratuitous sex scenes, or an easy bunch of literary tropes strung together to make a book, you shouldn't read this author. If you are looking for something outside of the box, characters with serious emotional and/or physical flaws that behave in a way real people might, then you will be stunned and pleased by Laura Kinsale.
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Laura Kinsale is my all-time favorite romance author. Her books are magical, unique, funny, and can leave you breathless. I've been a fan of Kinsale's for a very long time. Her books are staple in my libary (and now my Kindle) and I read them multiple times.
Recently, Ms Kinsale decided to bring her stories to audio version and have Nick Boulton do the narration, the first being The Prince of Midnight. TPOM ranks in the top three of my favorite Laura Kinsale books.
Within the first few minutes of listening, I was in awe. It was then I knew I was in for an amazing time with The Prince of Midnight. Nick brought such depth to the voices and to the story. He doesn't merely read the story - he performs it marvelously - and does so with quality for each character no matter how minor the role, male or female.
His characterization of the main protaganist - S.T. Maitland, the Prince of Midnight himself - nearly melted my smartphone on several occasions.
Yes, it's that good.
If you've never experienced the magic a Laura Kinsale book, you're in for a real treat. The Prince of Midnight has adventure, danger, romance, humor, magnificent horses, bashful wolves, and a handsome (if arrogant) injured hero. Love scenes smolder bright without being coarse or explicit. Add in Nick Boulton's performance and a great book got even better. The story becomes alive.
One of my favorite performances in the book by Nick Boulton was the whole drunk S.T. scenario. He was hilarious! I could listen to that repeatedly and not get bored of it.
Toward the end of the book, the story kind of dragged and sounded repetive as the lovebirds try to figure out their strained relationship. But, the epilogue makes up for it in heaps. Oh, boy oh boy, does it make up for it.
Laura Kinsale story + Nick Boulton's performance = Exhilirating story time.
I enjoy many types of books and am always looking for new authors to read and listen too. I enjoy reading the reviews and adding my own from time to time.
This is such a good book. It is very lengthy, 15.17 hours to be exact. Worth every second that you listen to it. Laura Kinsale does an excellent job of building her characters and their relationship to each other. A wolf plays a key role in this story as well. Our hero S. T. Maitland, better known as The Prince of Midnight when he was an aristocrat who also happened to be a highwayman, is complex and intelligent. The heroine Leigh, whom he calls Sunshine is a very deep character and sometimes hard to relate to for me. She is on a mission of revenge for actions that caused the loss of her family and in France to try and gain his help. What she does not know is that he has balance issues due to an ear problem that stopped him from being the highwayman.
Of course he does go back to England with Leigh as she has awakened some of the old feelings he had as to his life on the edge style of living before, and because he already cares for her. He has been alone a long time except for the wolf that has been his companion. The object of Leigh's hate is a maniacal preacher type who has most of the village under his control and naturally S. T. and Leigh will fall into his clutches. These two really are the focus of this book. No secondary characters that appear all the way through the story. Their coming to terms with each other and their situation are the story. The wolf is the closest thing to a secondary character.
S. T. has a real way with horses which shows up in the story too. Particularly at the end of the book. That scene will make you want to ride a horse with you loved one too. Break out the fans ladies. Sexy indeed. Speaking of that. Nicholas Boulton is one of the sexiest voices out there and he does an outstanding job here. He gives each man and woman's voice a distinction and the scene where he pretends to be drunk is truly great. Once you hear him you will be looking for anything he narrates. I would listen to a phone book read if he was doing the reading. Great, Great, Great voice.
If you are looking for a fantastic listen. This is it. Just buy it.
You cannot go wrong with any of Laura Kinsale's novels. This one happens to be one of my favorites though. I think the interactions the character has with all the animals is what endears it to me the most. As always, an epic and adventurous story by Miss Kinsale and brilliant narration by Mr. Boulton. Loved it!!!
This romance is one to listen to more that once. Loved the characters, the story. First time reading Laura Kinsale and now I want to hear them all. The narrator Nicholas Boulton has fabulous.
Mesmerizing. Seductive. Escape.
ST Maitland. He was so ...human. Strong and arrogant enough to be human, and yet flawed and uncertain enough to love.
That is a laughable question - if you listened, you would not have to ask. His voice brings the inflection, pain, love, humor and humanity to exactly (I am convinced) what Laura Kinsale intended.
Yes. and no. Laura's writing is such that the humanity and flaws are so apparent, that it is uncomfortable at times. You find yourself about to jump out of your car (in my case) in frustration that "He/She is so infuriating!! Come on...can't you see that he/she is reaching out or at their breaking point of balancing ego and vulnerability?" Then you love the author for making you feel this much and Nicholas for taking you away from reality into belief.
I have listened to the pairing of Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton and dreading when I reach the last one.
This book is just so much fun! As usual, Kinsale takes a familiar plot (young impressionable damsel in distress, rakish highwayman with heart of gold) and twists it into something infinitely more complex and delightful. S.T. is basically my favorite romance novel hero of all time - Kinsale does tortured, flawed, impossibly romantic heroes like nobody else. The heroine, Leigh, might initially seem frustratingly cold and unresponsive, but given her deeply traumatic past, this makes sense.
There are plenty of wildly improbable things about this story, but when the narration is this good and the characters so beautifully drawn, who cares?
Nicholas Boulton is in a class by himself. Utterly impressive. Enthralling.
While my taste for Laura Kinsale is limited because I prefer lighter, less angst-ridden tales, I find myself unable to resist her new audios performed by Mr. Boulton. Apparently, I'm willing to put up with the angst to hear him.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have him perform a happier, humorous story?! Be still my heart.
I enjoyed this book, though not as well as "flowers from the storm". If you like LK books you like this one.
Day dreaming book lover!
This book has just the best of everything. There are so many twists and turns with heartache and happiness, it definitely is an emotional roller coaster. Nicholas Boulton's narration was outstanding! His voice is incredible and is reminiscent of Sean Connery's voice. It has a great story which is missing in some of the romances I've read lately. The main characters in the book are so lovable that I will miss them and will have to return to the book again and again just to keep them in my life. Definitely worth the credit.
It's no secret that the quality of the narrator can make or break an audiobook, so I'm going to answer the important question first. What most audiobook listeners want to know before buying one is "is the narrator any good?"
You'll be pleased to know that not only can I say a resounding "YES" in response, I can say that Nicholas Boulton is quite possibly the best audiobook performer (I can’t call him a ‘narrator’ because the word doesn’t even begin to do him justice) I’ve ever heard. It certainly helps that he has a beautiful, mellifluous voice that’s soothing and sexy as sin at the same time, but it’s about so much more than that.
He doesn’t just narrate – he inhabits the characters, from the principals right down to the bit-players, and gives each one a distinct voice. He juggles all manner of regional and foreign accents effortlessly (I’m very picky when it comes to accents) and if he had any problems with pronouncing the French and Italian dialogue, then I certainly wasn’t aware of it.
And most importantly – and impressively – he can convincingly voice female characters without using falsetto or making them sound screechy. In fact for Leigh, he uses a register and tone that seems to be not all that far removed from his natural speaking voice – yet there’s no doubt she’s female.
The story is quite complex and to try to write a complete synopsis would take up too much space :)
I wanted to pick out one or two points specifically to illustrate just how good this story is in the audio version.. Even though I haven’t (yet) read the book I’ve been told by people who have and who have listened to the audio that the big thing for them was that they found Leigh to be a much more palatable character in the audio. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that that’s true; Nicholas Boulton’s interpretation almost strips her bare, as it were, and he really brings out the pain and vulnerability she struggles so hard to keep hidden. I didn’t dislike her as much as some readers seem to have done, but I would defy anybody to maintain that opinion after listening to the scene in which S.T makes Leigh train the horse he names Mistral. I had tears running down my face when she finally breaks down and finds she can’t help but feel for this beautiful, mistreated animal.
As for his performance of S.T himself... this is only the first of (I think) eleven of Ms Kinsale’s books that are coming out on audio, and I’m already running out of superlatives to describe just how good Nick Boulton is. God help me when I get to book ten - these reviews are going to be really short if I'm to avoid repeating myself over and over again! But it truly is a wonderfully nuanced portrayal of a complex and multi-faceted character. You can hear his insecurities, his frustrations, his passion; you feel his triumphs and share in his joys – and if you can keep a straight face in the scene where S.T pretends to be totally plastered, then you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
Without wishing to do any disservice to Ms Kinsale’s splendid story, I’m going to end by saying that if you read the book and found it hard going because you couldn’t like Leigh – listen to this, and you might find it changes your mind. And if, like me, you haven’t read it before, then listen to this and you’ll wonder how the hell you managed NOT to have read it. And if you’ve read it and loved it – listen to this and you’ll find you love it even more than you did before.
Yes. It’s that good.
The most enjoyable was the depth of character of Leigh and S.T. Leigh who is frozen and cruel with grief and S.T. Who struggles daily with dizziness and deafness.
Laura Kinsale shows how easily people are manipulated and turned from reason to following blindly all in the name of religion.
I have not had the pleasure of listening to him before but loved his voice. Again great characterisation you were never in doubt which character was speaking. Wonderful.
Yes to both!
I have never read anything by Laura Kinsale before but will do so in the future she is a wonderful writer.
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