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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. 😸
32 of 36 people found this review helpful
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
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.
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.
Thankfully this audio version is the original unabridged book (not the edited version where Laura Kinsale amended some of the Middle English).
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.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
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.
I will be listening again, of course.
Any additional comments?
Just another dose of sheer perfection!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful