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.
Nicholas Boulton reading Kinsale is a dream. This is not a lightweight fluffy story, but at the same time I found it to be an easy listen. Best author, best narration. I honestly don't want to give away any of the story. It is a delicious treat which I will come back to yearly.
Complex, emotional, realistic, Awesome story. New to romance and I CANNOT believe I cried my eyes out.
I'm only sad that S.T. isn't a real man, and that he isn't mine... :) I wish he would have stood up to Lee more. She needed a slap sometimesm
Wonderful, sexy low voice
When S.T. made Lee train her abused horse, and she finally succeeds and the skittish horse finally trusts her. She bursts into tears, dealing with the grief of the murder of her entire family. Reminded me of horse therapy for abused people. Amazing
Love love. Great for first timers to romance
not certain due to the fact I haven't seen the printed version
none I can think of
Really well written and had lots of exciting moments.
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!
This seemed like it was going to be a very strange book and, in some ways, very unlike any other romance I've read. There's a former swordsman named S. T. Maitland who's half-deaf and loves to love and be loved, S. T.'s pet wolf who's afraid of women, and Leigh Strachan, a woman who's disguised herself as a man and wants to learn to use a sword so she avenge her family. In an odd sort of role reversal, it's Leigh who wants nothing to do with love and emotions, and S. T. who wants love (although mostly he wants a willing bedpartner).
One thing that I noticed about this book that was really different from any other romance I've listened to because of the the point of view from which it was told. Most romance novels I've read mainly show things from the woman's point of view, with occasional passages or chapters from the man's. In this book, that was reversed. It isn't even until the fourth chapter that you get to see anything from Leigh's point of view, or know her actual thoughts. It was interesting, and, although I wasn't sure at first how I'd like it, S. T. was fascinating.
The only real problem I had with this book was Leigh, who was often very frustrating. I could understand why she didn't want to open up to S. T. - I though the author got that across quite nicely. However, I got tired of how cruel and cold she could be, and started wishing she'd just learn to trust someone a little. It was a great story, but sometimes Leigh really made me want to scream in frustration. If I could, I think I would give this book a 4.5.
Nicholas Boulton was outstanding with the delivery of the story.
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.
Audio Addict! Usually listening to History these days. Love Will Durant most of all authors!
Laura Kinsale is an exceptionally well-educated, worldly author. It makes each book so different from anything else in romantic fiction.
This is my favorite of her books, but it definitely up there compared to other historical fiction romance novels. I highly recommend this one.
The heroine was a bit hard, but she had been thru a great trauma. I think the character's struggle with revenge and love is fascinating. The hero is lovable from the start, though a bit easy to fall in love.
The ending was quite wonderful, and tied up all the loose ends really well. The epilogue was steamy and sweet!
Beautifully read by the incredibly talented Nicholas Boulton!
A timeless romantic, suspenseful story that proves again the brilliance of this singular author.
Say something about yourself!
This is the 2nd book by Laura Kinsale that I have read. She doesn't write the standard love story. I liked it to the very end. It is a great read.
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!!!
"*** The Prince of Narrator - Perfect Audiobook ***"
Without question, the narration skills of Nicholas Boulton.
This is a really great performance and definitely one not to be missed. If you
love historical novels, this is highly recommended for you
None other comes to mind, simply because books about highwaymen are not usually my cup of tea at all.
The tone, the pacing, the delivery, the accent, how he can switch between characters effortlessly, and it is very clear who is speaking.
Please can we have more books performed by Nicholas Boulton?
His narration skills are second to none and he is heads and shoulders above ANY narrator I have heard. If you are in the mood to listen to a well written romantic historical, he's your man.
The scene where the hero, ST is drunk is very funny and extremely well performed; you can't help but be amused by it. The narrator really brings the book and this scene to life. Brilliant!
I have three favourite Laura Kinsale books and previously have not had too much interest in reading some of her other books (Uncertain Magic or The Shadow and the Star, for example), purely because they did not appeal to me.
Listening to Nicholas Boulton read this book and the brilliant For My Lady's Heart, changed my mind and it would not be an exaggeration to say he has given me a new appreciation for Laura's books. I now have them all.
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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