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.
Avid Amazon Fan and Kindle User
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.
Audible addicted love mystery,lately stuck on love story. Mother of 1 Labrador and 1 perfect man. Work way too hard, and so ready to be retired
Not sure what lead me to this series but I fell in love with Nichlous voice he is awesome the story was great too love happy ending worth every second.
Really a 3 star book but with 5 star narration.
In general, I love Laura Kinsale. In addition to her beautiful writing, with her you always get something just a little different, which is definitely the case here. In this case, we have hero and heroine who are both very damaged and very flawed, though in totally non-cliched ways. Unfortunately, the plot is also pretty flawed in places and the heroine is not only flawed but also pretty unlikeable through most if the book. This is a long book, with many subplots, some of which work better than others.
However, if you listen to this as an audiobook, none of that will matter because Nicholas Boulton's voice is so beautiful you wouldn't care what he was reading. It is really hard to narrate romance well, but he does it perfectly. His French is irresistible and his drunken S.T. was hilarious. He doesn't give women an annoying falsetto. He doesn't overdramatize. I will go off into cliches if I try to describe his deep, rich voice. Suffice to say, his narration is perfect.
Refreshing! The story was good and the narrator was wow! I loved him his reading and all the different voices for the different characters he did awesome cant wait for more from both author and narrator.
So refreshing to read a historical romance that is a real story. This is not the usual formulaic virgin-meets-rogue storyline. These were real characters, not the usual shades of a romance novel. The story itself is compelling and well written. The writing surpasses genre. Ms Kinsale is a true writer. True character development. A "meaty" story.
His his British accent, pronunciation of French, and his rich manly voice. He has a true actors command of the material.
I wanted to, although life got in the way, oh la.
We need more Laura Kinsale books on Audible post haste!! If you love historical romance fiction, you will appreciate this book.
I admit I'm a Smut Glutton, I prefer Male Narrators, Sexy Book Covers get me and I'm 32 years Happily Married.
Two for Two so far... Let's make it Three for Three. A Cut & Paste to my review of FLOWERS FROM THE STORM. These are stand alone books, not a series. The depth and classic writing in both are unlike others. And then there is Nicholas Boulton..LOVE his complex character voices and accents that can only be described as, well.. hummm, ahhh. Writing this review as MIDSUMMER MOON is downloading.
Just a reader.
Yes. I enjoyed the story and the performance was excellent. I wouldn't mind spending another weekend with S.T. and Leigh.
The characters were human. They made mistakes, did stupid things, said the wrong things, interpreted things incorrectly... but not in a farcical way. It was very realistic, an exploration of two people who just don't know how to cope with life through anything other than the hard, cold walls they've brought up around themselves for survival.
It's so maddeningly frustrating (in a good way) as a reader to see two characters who are so close to coming together, so close to making something work... only to have the smallest inability to compromise or misunderstanding or reliance on those walls get in the way and ruin the moment.
Both S.T. and Leigh are principled and selfish, and it's really not until they can get through those feelings that they can make real headway in their relationship. All of S.T.'s flirtations and gallant actions and grand gestures are a suit of armor against having his heart broken again, and Leigh's self-imposed coldness and anger and fear have the same effect.
Each character keeps making assumptions about what the other wants, about their own lack of self-worth and fatalistic ideals of how anything could ever work between them... without actually sitting down and talking about it truthfully and openly.
But once the shields come down and they finally decide to be honest with each other... it all comes together.
Everything was beautiful, it's really difficult to say. I can't choose between S.T. and Leigh, really. And Nemo and Mistral--which he performed even if there was no speech.
There were a few small laughs out loud, lots of smiles or times when breath caught in my throat. I didn't cry, but there was one point in the last couple of hours when I nearly did.
I was so unbelievably thrilled to see more books narrated by Nicholas Boulton that I picked up these by Laura Kinsale even though I normally don't enjoy romance novels in general. I was not disappointed by either of them. She's a gorgeous writer and he's a magnificent narrator with a talent for actions and emotions, languages, accents, and an overall undeniably perfect talent for storytelling.
If any more of Kinsale's books are released here and narrated by the same, I'll definitely buy every single one.
"Don't let that happen to me." Her words shook. "Don't leave me to be what I'll become without you."
This is a review of the audio book as well as the story itself.
Once again Laura Kinsale has written an amazing novel, and Nicholas Boulton has made it real. I can’t even explain what he brings to the stories he narrates. How he makes the hero and heroine so much more than just characters in a book. He doesn’t merely read their lines, he exists in them. The people, their lives, their passions and trials and triumphs… he becomes them! He makes them living, feeling human beings – flawed, tormented, irredeemable people who I can’t help but fall in love with.
Leigh’s need for revenge drives her far from home to La Paire, in the foothills of the French Alps, seeking the help of the man known as le Seigneur du Minuit – The Prince of Midnight. She needs someone with his strength, his cunning, and his skills at swordplay if she has any hope of destroying the man that destroyed her family. But convincing le Seigneur to help is harder than Leigh anticipated, and so begins a battle of wits and wills.
S.T. Maitland isn’t the man he once was – not physically or emotionally. As Leigh’s masquerade unravels and her story comes out, bit by bit, S.T. knows that her’s is a cause le Seigneur du Minuit would have championed. But now, barely able to stand up without falling over, hope he once had of healing, any high esteem he’d once regarded of himself is gone, and S.T. doesn’t imagine to be any use to anyone.
Oh, what an emotional roller-coaster ride this is! At times I loathed Leigh, at times I loved her. At times I hated S.T., at times I worshipped him! From one scene to the next I didn’t know what to expect from these two equally tortured souls! It’s a heartbreaking, uplifting, romantic, painfully brilliant story, and that, lovely readers, is why I was up until the wee hours, listening, unable to close my eyes until the end.
I’m not usually a fan of high-angst stories, but this one sucked me in, chewed me up and spit me out - and I loved every minute of it! I wanted to kill Leigh and S.T. at the same time I couldn’t help but love them both. I desperately needed them to get their happily ever after just as desperately as I wanted them to give up on each other and walk away.
But, in the end, when it was all said and done and I was listening to those final words of the story, I knew it was right. I knew that even though their happily ever after was hard fought, it was so, so well deserved, and that made it right.
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.
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