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After listening and loving the book "My Sweet Folly" I knew I had to listen to other books by Laura Kinsale.
"Flowers From The Storm" is a captivating romance with heart. The characters seem so real & true to life and main characters of Christian and Maddy are written with integrity and dimension. The story weaves a tale of "in sickness and in health" as it shows how romantic opposites in many aspects of life can triumph through adversity.
This book is not for you if you are looking for lots of sex scenes. Its more of a genuine romantic story that is passionate, compelling, and emotional rather than fantasy or cutesy fun.
Also, the narrator is WONDERFUL!! Can't say enough about him!
Definitely, definitely did I say definitely worth a credit? Yes!!
62 of 63 people found this review helpful
At first I thought it was dull, but it was just opening like a flower. I didn't want it to end. It is worth the read. Treat your self.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
Flowers from the Storm is a long-time favourite romance of mine. It's heartfelt and deeply romantic while not being an easy read, but is filled with beautiful prose and imagery. The hero, Christian, Duke of Jervalux begins the book as your typical alpha-male; a wealthy man-about-town who can (and does) have any woman he wants. He's also a mathematical genius - and it's this quality which brings him into contact with Archimedia (Maddy) Timms, the daughter of another mathematician with whom Christian has collaborated on a specific theorem.
When Christian (who is only 32) suddenly suffers what we would today recognise as a stroke, he is left unable to speak or understand and unable to perform simple, every-day actions; and his family, believing him to be an imbecile, commits him to an asylum.
The asylum is run by Maddy's uncle, Edward Timms, and is run according to the rules and principles of care laid out by the Society of Friends (Quakers) - and it is there that Maddy sees Christian again, afflicted and almost unrecognisable. She believes she has been given an "Opening" by God - and that to care for him is her duty.
It's a long and complex story. Christian is helpless for much of it and needs Maddy desperately. At the beginning his need is very selfish, as she is the one person who is able to understand him and ease his frustrations about how very dependent he has become. But his need gradually changes into something else, even as she is coming to love him against all her principles and better judgement.
His struggles are often agonising, his violent outbursts heart-breaking - as the reader is able to see what prompts them and feel for this once proud man and what he has been reduced to. Maddy can come across as rather too "preachy", especially in the later part of the book when Christian has to fight for his rights to his name and property against the family who want to put him back in the asylum so they can get their hands on his money. I can understand her to a point - she has been brought up to the Quaker way of life and it is so ingrained in her, so very much a part of her life that she really struggles to come to terms with the way she feels about Christian, and - more importantly - the way he makes HER feel. But it's still hard to like her when she deserts him when he needs her the most, even though she's just suffered a miscarriage (probably) and is finding it hard to cope with all the changes in her life.
For all its difficulty however, Flowers from the Storm is a superbly written and characterised love story. In audio, though, it's even BETTER. Nicholas Boulton is, quite simply, one of the best narrators - and to call him a "narrator" doesn't begin to do him justice - it has been my privilege to hear. Every character - even the most minor - has a distinct voice that fits them perfectly. He is just as convincing as the female characters as he is as the male ones; he has a way of softening his tone and raising the pitch of his voice slightly for Maddy which is just right and his characterisation of Christian's interfering Aunt Vesta is superb. His performance softens Maddy's harsher traits and, especially towards the end, makes it easier for the listener to understand what prompts her to do what she does (even if we still can't like it!)
But his performance as Christian is a real tour-de-force. Having to voice a character who has problems speaking must have been quite a challenge - yet it's perfect, from the often explosive way he blurts out his words, to his struggles to find the right word in the streams of them that run through his head. I felt his frustrations and his triumphs as he begins to reassert himself and regain his self-confidence and respect, and his desolation at losing Maddy. Hearing him find "the whole man" again was really moving, and I don't mind admitting to having a few lumps in my throat here and there.
In short, then - this is an outstanding performance of a deservedly well-loved favourite. Using your next credit - or even your hard-earned cash - would be to put either to very good use indeed.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Definitely. I bought the audiobook based on Nicholas Boulton's voice which is mellifluous and a joy to listen to. I read the reviews on Amazon & Goodread & decided to take a punt. I didn't think I was going to enjoy the story, but once I got into it, I struggled to stop listening to it for the last 1/3rd of the recording. Nicholas Boulton is so much more than a narrator, he is a fabulous actor. I don't think I would have finished the book if I had read it. The hero had a stroke and in the first part of his journey back to health, understandably can't form his words, and must be quite hard to read. In this regard, listening to N.B reading it as an actor was wonderful. He brought the book alive. I would recommend it to fellow listeners who love Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. It is in the style of Georgette Heyer but so much meatier, less fluffy and so well written. I was sad when it ended.
What did you like best about this story?
The whole story was good, it continually moved along without getting stuck or a bit 'boggy' as some stories tend to do in the middle. I liked all the characters in the story, both good and bad. I was a little frustrated/annoyed with the heroine, Maddy, for her piety, but as a Quaker, that was the point. She came good in the end so that was a triumph for sense over religion (apologies to those who read this who are of a religious zealous persuasion). It's the second Laura Kinsale book that I've read that has a religious or cult theme - not sure what Fraud would say about her, or maybe she just likes writing about tortured religious souls? In brief, selfish, arrogant Mr Rochester-type-character (Christian, Duke of Jervoux) who lives life on his terms, has a stroke. Put in an asylum. Quaker girl cares for him (she met him pre-stroke through her father as both men genius mathematicians). He ends up relying on her totally while she understands his needs & helps him to manage his condition. She turns his world upside down through her kind deeds & simple life & he upends hers, literally and awakens her sexually. It is a very beautiful slow-burn love story.
Which character – as performed by Nicholas Boulton – was your favourite?
The hero, Christian, who was such a well-developed character through the hands of Laura Kinsale. Each time he fights to get his point across and can't, because of his stroke, she makes you feel his pain & frustration. He is a strong character who won't be beaten & I loved him better than I did Maddy, who at times I wanted to be more feisty (as she was at the beginning of the book & became less so as the book progressed)
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I didn't really laugh (it wasn't like her Lessons in French that is humorous), but Christian's best friends are amusing especially the one who has brawn but no brains. His formidable aunt is also quite amusing. I didn't cry but I had a lump in my throat at the end of the book when Christian gave his speech at the Quakers meeting house & then to Maddy in the graveyard. He was brought to his knees & laid his soul bare. What compassionate woman couldn't be moved by that.
Any additional comments?
Buy the audiobook. Nicholas Boulton is a genius ! Great story, you'll love it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Flowers from the Storm the most enjoyable?
As I am not a writer, I can only say that this audio book has left me reliving the characters and their story, and wanting to read more of this author's work.
What did you like best about this story?
The way the characters spoke and thought with their own language combined with the detailed plot. This story had me sitting on the edge of my sewing chair, not wanting to miss a single word.
Have you listened to any of Nicholas Boulton’s other performances? How does this one compare?
Very good quality and believable
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
I feel that this story would have to be a series, as it is too long for a movie.
Any additional comments?
The story was so good that I actually went back and re-listened to some parts.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful