With worldwide sales of over 56 million of her novels, Victoria Holt is one of the most popular romantic suspense novelists of all time. Anyone who enjoyed her novel, The Shadow of the Lynx, will be eager to devour another of her unforgettable tales.
Enamored by the handsome and arrogant Charles-Auguste, a wealthy French aristocrat, 18-year-old Minella is drawn into a complicated world of danger, betrayal, and murder. Denying her own suspicion that he has murdered his wife, she struggles with her fascination for the seductive and mysterious count. Against the backdrop of the incipient French Revolution, Minella’s life becomes a series of adventures that all lead to an exciting and unexpected climax. Davina Porter’s passionate narration transports readers back to a time when romance was a prerequisite to sex and family. Reminiscent of Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, the historic setting and the powerful heroine captivate any reader who enjoys a book that is impossible to put down.
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Enjoyable for Unexpected Reasons
I like novels set in the period of the French Revolution.
Davina Porter can be a prim English schoolmistress and a dissolute French count with equal persuasiveness.
Maybe because the story is told exclusively from the point of view of the main female character, the Count is a remote figure who never came to life for me, especially since he is away through much of the book. However, that turned out to be fine, because the relationships between the various female characters was much more compelling and complicated than the love story was, and I ended up enjoying that aspect the most.
Potential but Lacks Character Development.
I was initially very excited when I began listening to this book, but as the story wore on, I found it extremely redundant. Minella is almost insufferable with her agonizing thoughts of The Comte, and is constantly going against her gut instincts. She then blames others for holding her captive of the bad decisions she makes. I found myself arguing aloud and practically pulling my hair out when she would go on long-winded and repetitive ruminations. I also found her constant and vocal self-deprecation in social settings to be annoying. "I'm just a poor girl from a poor family" Well, then go home, Minella. Go. Home.
The Comte was so one dimensional, I could not imagine why she felt so oddly attracted to him. He was mostly horrible, with one or two charming qualities, but not in the least redeemable.
Davina Porter is the only saving grace. She is magnificent in all of the narrations I've heard, and "The Devil on Horseback" is no different. Her ability to carry several characters throughout a novel is incredible, and her use of accents and intonation are, seriously, more than any listener could ask for. I absolutely love her voice. It's comforting and beautiful. I could listen to her all day.
Overall, I was disappointed that the story was not as exciting as it could have been, and the characters were so unlikeable, to me, that I found myself aggravated and thankful when it was finally over.