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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Romance, 2014

Pursued by her enemies, flattered and courted for her lands, a powerful, devious princess is desperate to reach refuge. Haunted by the shadow of the young assassin set upon her, Princess Melanthe knows that an ice cold countenance is her only protection. To succumb to love is the greatest danger of all. She can trust only one man amid the lies, the mysterious Green Knight - a true knight who never wavers once he gives his heart; a man who cannot comprehend deceit. But as an impossible love grows between them, betrayal becomes their only future.

In a mesmerizing performance, Nicholas Boulton brings Laura Kinsale's classic medieval romance to vivid life, creating a colorful world and a unique listening experience that is both true to the times and easy to understand.

ยฉ1994 Hedgehog Inc (P)2013 Hedgehog Inc

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Refreshingly Different

Laura Kinsale has become one of my favorite authors so when this book became available on Audible I couldn’t wait to listen.

“For My Lady’s Heart” is a unique and intelligent book that's meticulously written with vivid depth and strong characters. Because the story is written in the “Middle English style” it took me a while to get into the rhythm of that style. As a result, this was a bit distracting (in the beginning) because I lost some connection with the characters and the story. That being said, I recovered and began to appreciate the fact that this book did not follow the usual romance novel blueprint but delivered a refreshing, complex and fascinating story. The hero, Ruck, is a strong, devoted, loyal and moral man and the heroine, Melanthe, is a beautiful, deceitful, nasty, and cold woman. Together they make the most unusual and unforgettable pair.

Really love the narration of Nicholas Boulton. He did a wonderful job with this book.

I know there will be some that will find this book “too unusual” but if you are looking for something diverse with substance I think you will enjoy it. ๐Ÿ˜ธ

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

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A Masterpiece not to be missed.

Fantastic. Brilliant. Extraordinary. Incredible. Marvelous. Are there enough fawning adjectives to describe For My Lady’s Heart on audio? The list could go on for pages. The book itself is amazing. The prose and the poetry of Middle English will transport you totally into the period and story and the romance of this novel. Never is a detail or word spoken that seems out of place or jars from the moment; the research and care taken to write this book is immense and I am in awe of Laura Kinsale’s power as a writer.

Are you not willing to try a novel with knights and princess? I am not normally a fan of historical novels that take place in the middle ages. Usually, as soon as I see the word “knight” I am out of there. Plus, I have seen some really bad (difficult) adaptations of Old English and ME that don’t interest me to muddle through, the effort not seeming worth the pay off. So when I became a huge fan of Kinsale after reading Flowers from the Storm and bought all her books sight unseen, the last one I picked up to read was For My Lady’s Heart. I thought it would be the one book of hers (plus its companion book, Shadowheart) that simply could not be enjoyed because of my dislike of this time period for romances. In fact, I did not read it for quite some time after finishing all her other books. BUT when I did read it, it ironically became my favorite of all her books and the one that I think sets Kinsale forever apart from her contemporaries as a unique and compelling writer of historical novels.

I hate to even say this is a romance novel, because it rises so far above the genre as to not even share the same galaxy. (Not to dismiss the genre, but it has some really low lows.) But Kinsale as a writer crashes up through and outside that proverbial pink and frilly ceiling like a gyrfalcon on the hunt!

I always love Laura Kinsale’s female protagonists but Princess Melanthe has to be THE heroine that other writers only dream of creating. She is mysterious, aloof, hard-edged, brilliant, and never shows a weakness long enough for anybody, even the reader, to ever even be sure it is a weakness. Kinsale never over-writes her nor gives the reader an overblown description of her emotional landscape like so many authors do, like we readers can’t read between the lines and process the complexities of actions that don’t mirror words. In other words, Kinsale never underestimates her readers’ intelligence. Kinsale never writes overwrought detail so that just in case you don’t get it, she’ll hit you over the head with it.

Since the book is amazing, the audio will either subtract from it or add to it. With the amazing performance of Nick Boulton, he adds layers and layers to this book that recreated the experience of this book, like reading it for the first time. He doesn’t seem to have any trouble with the ME which amazes me since it seems so unnatural to our modern sensibilities. But the whole audio is like listening to beautiful music that tells a tale of love and danger. I can't say enough how powerful his narration is. Every character comes alive and every word is spoken authentically. Minor characters that sort of exist ever so lightly in the book come roaring to life as portrayed by Boulton. I loved the minstrels at Wolfscar. Allegreto from Shadowheart is a large part of the book and I actually liked him after the audio, when I didn't ever warm up to him in the book.

Don’t miss this audio. It is a once in a lifetime experience.

37 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • Sandia, TX, United States
  • 01-21-14

Applause! Applause! Applause!

Laura Kinsale delivers another jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring historical romance with
“For My Lady’s Heart: Medieval Hearts, Book 1.

Once again, prepare to be held captive from page one to the very end of the first installment of what is sure to be an enchanting series.

While my own personal inclination is to be of a light-hearted nature;
I have a tendency to “live” with the characters in whatever book I may be reading. I must warn you that this novel is exhilarating, gratifying and exhausting (in the best sense of the word) to experience (and I mean experience) the talented work that is Laura Kinsale.
I am addicted.

Combining Kinsale’s writing style and ability, with Nicholas Boulton as her narrator, is genius. I have said it before, and it will always bear repeating, Nicholas Boulton has got to be the most outstanding narrator of all time. His rich baritone voice is hypnotic and is one to absolutely LOVE. Couple his tone with his many accents, and languages, including Old English, and you have nothing less than perfection!
This is a must listen...Absolutely Credit Worthy!

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Swept Away

What made the experience of listening to For My Lady's Heart the most enjoyable?

This is a gorgeous story of impossible love between a princess and a knight. He is the perfect knight – a consummate warrior, chivalrous and honorable, but a nobody fighting to make a name for himself with his liege. She is the opposite,powerful and cold, but so afraid that she can never even sleep. Only when Ruck is near can she sleep sound. But by falling love she's a danger to him, and way above him. The way they comes terms with their different stations in life is sometimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking. It's just beautiful in the characters, words and settings.

What did you like best about this story?

Ruck's dragon poem. Nicholas Boulton read it so well it was like listening to a song.

Which character โ€“ as performed by Nicholas Boulton โ€“ was your favorite?

Ruck. He sounds strong and tough, like a rough northerner, reminiscent of Sean Bean's voice. Any woman would put her life in his protection.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The scene of the dragon and the chapel, when he swears his heart, made me sniffle.

Any additional comments?

Listen. You will be amazed. All this talk about how it's difficult to follow, that's not a problem at all. It's lovely, a story and setting like nothing else out there. Highly, highly recommended.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Carol
  • Massachusetts
  • 04-17-16

Medieval Magnificence

The rave reviews have it right. This is a terrific book, and unique.

It’s a romance, yes, but…

It’s historical fiction, yes, but…

A lot of listeners who normally don’t enjoy romance or history might enjoy this extremely well written blend of psychological tension, mystery, love (and yes, some sex), adventure, and flat-out fascinating characters.

I admit the opening few chapters are *so* unique as to be, well, a little strange. But they are rooted in a very real Europe of the fourteenth century (I'd say the main story takes place in 1376-77, based on the historical events and characters that make appearances). Ravaged by the plague--the “black death” that has wiped out almost a third of Europe’s population--the frightened people have turned to mysticism and to a Church riddled with hypocrisy, greed, and cruelty. Meanwhile the powerful families of England, France, and Italy are fighting--what else is new?--for control of one another's lands. The history is basically sound, even though some scenes seem almost paranormal.

Listen to this book and get to know Ruck the Green Knight, a man of mystery blessed with and burdened by a sense of honor perhaps too easily misplaced; and Princess Melanthe, desperate survivor of the viper’s nest that was politics among the noble families of medieval Italy; and Allegreto, assassin and victim of tortuous family ties.

Listen to this book and enjoy Laura Kinsale’s writing. As another reviewer pointed out, she never over-writes, over-explains, or over-describes. We discover the characters and their story gradually, through their own words and actions. And their words are distinctive and poetic, transporting you to a different world--which leads directly another reason to listen: Nicholas Boulton’s performance. The reviewers are right, he is, quite simply, great.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • julie
  • mobile, AL, United States
  • 11-08-13

You can't go wrong with Kinsdale/Boulton!

Any additional comments?

Awesome book! Awesome narration! If you've read LK then you already know what an incredible author she is. With Boulton as her 'personal' narrator.... It's simply magic.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Off the beaten path .. dramatic love story

I almost can't call this a romance - because it is more of a dramatic novel. There is romance....but it is not the cookie cutter - lots of sex - a fluffy, easy listen. This is a book for someone who is searching for a deep, meaningful story that takes you somewhere new.

Kinsale is a wonderful writer. She writes in depth...paints pictures with her words. She isn't afraid to do something different.

This book in particular is written in Middle English - I LOVED this aspect. But I know not everyone will. This is not my favorite of Kinsale's books - but I am excited to move on to the next book Shadowheart.

I recommend this book - but why only 3 stars...well because I am scoring it in comparison to the first 2 books of hers I listened to ...The Prince of Midnight and Flowers from the Storm - both of which were some of the best words written to page IMO!

Side note: I LOVE how each of her books has a "Mascot Animal" - just so happens this book had my least favorite Mascot Animal - but I have ADORED every other animal in the other books!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Kinsale with Boulton's narration is always a treat

Any additional comments?

This is one of my favorite Kinsale audible books. I wouldn't want to read the text with the old English dialogue but listening to Boulton makes it so easy to place your mind in a different time. While there are similarities with Kinsale's characters and story lines she always amazes me with her tales. Like some of her other works, the characters go for many years with a nearness of the object of their love but no way to have a relationship. People lacked control over so much of their personal freedom even when they were noble born that it is hard to imagine how at one time it was unrealistic to find love and true happiness. Ruck starts out as such an ordinary man, plagued by his thoughts of lust that the church teaches him to constantly fight to put aside. Though ever honorable, it was wonderful to learn how a man without much bedroom experience has gained his knowledge...an ironic source of sexual information. And like a true knight, Ruck fights for what is right...period...no gray areas. He possess incredible faith. Melanthe is consumed with fear for most of her life. She is a real princess who is hopelessly trapped. Her freedom definitely requires a knight in shinning armor to rescue her...one who is always truthful to her as there is never anyone else she can ever trust. It was a great book to listen to despite what sounds like a typical fairy tale.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Very hard to follow initially, MUCH better ending!

Let me first say that I LOVE L Kinsale and constantly check to see if there are new books out by her on Audible especially since I absolutely ADORE Nicholas Boulton. This one, however, is very difficult to follow for the first hour or two but after that it gets much better to follow. I recommend this book as I have the previous ones. Just don’t get discouraged at the beginning.

12 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Thought I wouldn't like this...I was wrong!

I have read and enjoyed many Kinsale novels, and when Audible started offering them narrated by the perfectly astonishing Nicholas Boulton, I snapped them up one by one...and stopped when I got to "For My Lady's Heart." I tried to read this years ago and didn't get through even the first quarter of the story - at the time, I was put off by the quasi-Middle English and the slowish start.

I was tempted to listen to this only because Nicholas Boulton is magic; he doesn't just perform, he transforms. So, during a dry spell, I finally decided I'd give this a try.

The beginning still requires some patience. Yes, there is some Middle English, and yes, if you are a really persnickety scholar of the medieval period, you might be bothered by it. I decided that while it isn't perfect, it was at least consistent enough to set the tone of the book - fully modern English would have felt too jarring given the antique nature of this story. From what I understand, the author wrote the dialogue entirely in Middle English, and between herself and her editor, they negotiated a version that was modern enough for her readers but archaic enough to suit the story and characters. And the Mr. Boulton narrates the book and makes it all wonderful. Seriously.

If you've enjoyed other Kinsale novels, you will find a lot to like here, too - the hero is utterly lovable, a profoundly good man whose ultimate task is to redeem the haunted and capricious heroine from her mysterious past. As usual with Kinsale, it's not just a good romance novel, it's a good book. Glad I overcame my doubts and listened to this one.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • BRL@Mn888
  • 06-14-15

*** Brilliant Narration - Highly Recommended ***

Would you listen to For My Lady's Heart again? Why?

Already listened to this several times - great choice of narrator from Laura Kinsale. Currently my favourite audio book. <br/><br/>On the basis of this audio book alone I've purchased all Laura Kinsale's other audio novels, all performed by Nicholas Boulton, and also looking out for other Nicholas Boulton audio books

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ruck and Melanthe - exactly as I imagined how they should be from reading the book previously. Loved the northern accent and characterisation for Ruck

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The dragon's tale, Ruck and Melanthe’s travels together, the time at Wolfscar, the jousting at Lancaster's court and many, many other great scenes

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were many great moments in the book, too many to name

Any additional comments?

If you have been put off reading this novel because of the perceived difficulties with reading and understanding Middle English, listen to this brilliant audio performance by Nicholas Boulton and you'll wonder why this was ever an issue. <br/><br/>Thankfully this audio version is the original unabridged book (not the edited version where Laura Kinsale amended some of the Middle English). <br/><br/>I am not usually a fan of medieval novels at all but listening to this book has changed my views to be more open minded about them. Very highly recommended.<br/>

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Kristin
  • 04-08-14

COMPLETE AND UTTER JOY!

What made the experience of listening to For My Lady's Heart the most enjoyable?

Nicholas Boulton reading Laura Kinsale, what else?

What did you like best about this story?

Unusual, Historical, exciting, romantic and amusing.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Every word of every chapter; it was a complete experience, as always.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I always want to listen to Nicholas Boulton speaking Laura Kinsale but, at times, I find myself misering it so that it lasts longer. <br/>I will be listening again, of course.

Any additional comments?

Just another dose of sheer perfection!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kas
  • 12-04-15

Ideal escape.

For when you just need to get away from it all! Good story, not too cheesy and a good mix of good guys and bad guys to keep you listening. Narrator was nice and clear and the voices absolutely fine. I intend to download the next one to see what happens next. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful