This special boxed set edition is for all the fans who requested actor Alex Wyndham's narration of two of Lucinda Brant's best-loved books, Salt Bride and its sequel Salt Redux. Also included is a 20,000-word bonus novella, Salt Angel, featuring well-loved characters from the Salt books. The Salt Hendon Collection is a great introduction to Lucinda Brant's richly romantic 18th century world, and Alex Wyndham's superlative voice talent. Character-driven romantic suspense, similar to Regency noir. Non explicit (mild sensuality).
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Historical romance lovers, here's a deal you will not want to miss out on. Three books (2 full-length stories and one novella) for just 1 Audible credit! Moreover, all of the stories are top-rate and the narration by Alex Wyndham is divine!
Book 1: Salt Bride
5 "Reneged Betrothal?" Stars for the story and 5 narration stars for Alex Wyndham's narration!
Containing a romance based on the misunderstanding trope, along with a suspense twist that includes a scheming, jealous relative with plans to marry the hero herself, Lucinda Brant delivers a compelling and addictive listen in the Salt Bride: A Georgian Historical Romance. This intriguing listen left me with no choice but to binge listen to this 12+ hour romance until the satisfying end even bypassing sleep to do so! Moreover, the soothing and sexy baritone voice of Alex Wyndham make this romance a fantastic choice to experience in audio format.
One night of premature, overzealous passion, and the perfect storm of ill-timed events, lead to both the happiest night and yet the most unfortunate series of events. Set in England in the 18th Century, these events eventually lead Jane Despard, a squire's daughter, to force the Earl of Salt Hendon to marry her--even if she will still be shunned by society for her sullied past. The fact that the Earl of Salt Hendon still has his own memories of that night (ones that he frequently revisits) is of little solace when he believes that Jane committed the biggest sin of all. But Salt is a man of his word and he will honor his deathbed promise to Jane's father unless he can convince Jane to release him of the obligation--a promise that he will thoroughly attempt to dissuade her from. What he doesn't know is that Jane is equally determined to go through with the marriage no matter what the consequence due to her own personal reasons.
Further complicating matters is Diana St. John, the widow of Salt's cousin and the mother of his two godchildren. Over the years, Diana has been aspiring and calculating how to further Salt's political career. Moreover, she has been effectively functioning as the Countess of Salt Hendon (in every way except for the bedroom) and fully expects to assume that role officially as soon as her scheming finally lands her the ultimate prize. Can there possibly be a HEA for Jane and Salt under the circumstances?
Alex Wyndham has become one of my favorite historical romance narrators, and his performance in Salt Bride is every bit the narration perfection that I have come to expect and enjoy from Mr. Wyndham. From his aristocratic, commanding Earl of Salt Hendon voice to Jane's sweet and loyal softer more feminine sounding voice, Mr. Wyndham is able to create spot on voices for all characters across genders. Mr. Wyndham also excels at delivering both the narratives and dialogues at just the right speed and with the appropriate pauses to make listening to this story seamless for the listener.
One plot point that I particularly enjoyed is that although this romance is based on the misunderstanding trope, the animosity between the main couple is expertly managed by Ms. Brant, so that by the time that the romance flourishes it is completely believable and heart-stirring. Additionally, I loved how Ms. Brant slowly introduces us to a whole cast of interesting secondary characters, who help round out and deepen the complexity of this story, including the couple who will no doubt be featured in book 2 of this series, Salt Redux: Lady Caroline (Salt's younger sister) and Sir Anthony (Diana's brother and Salt's brother-in-law).
All in all, the Salt Bride is a romance audiobook that historical romance lovers will not want to miss!
Book 2: Salt Redux
4.5 "2nd Chance at Romance or Revenge?" Stars for the story and 5 stars for the narration!
Please note that this book is the second in a series that should be listened to in chronological order as both the main romance, and particularly the suspense plot, are introduced in Book 1: Salt Bride. If you have not yet read or listened to Salt Bride, please see my review for that title as the below review contains spoilers for the first book.
I have often heard that there is a fine line between a genius and an insane person. Ms. Brant's portrayal of Diana St. John is the perfect depiction of this philosophical concept as can be evidenced by her extreme immoral actions towards obtaining her ultimate goal: the Earl of Salt Hendon. The fact that the Earl was married to another woman--a woman he loves--did not deter Diana from her insane machinations in the Salt Bride towards her ultimate goal. In Salt Redux, Ms. Brant really outdoes herself by giving us an even deeper glimpse into the ultimate depravity that Diana will sink to in her grandiose vision to both secure what she believes to be her rightful place as the Countess of Salt Hendon, as well as, her political maneuvering and strategizing to secure Salt's reentering of the political arena--even if she first has to escape banishment to do so!
In addition, to the suspense arc that was previously introduced in the Salt Bride, we also get to see whether the romantic arc first alluded to in the Salt Bride between Lady Caroline (Salt's younger sister) and Sir Anthony (Diana's brother and Salt's brother-in-law) can be carried to fruition. At the opening of Salt Redux this eventuality seems pretty remote as Sir Anthony (Tony) following his sister's banishment sinks to a new low heavily into his cups and manages to antagonize Salt with the kindle for a gossipmonger's dream. The ensuing scandal upsets Salt so much that he banishes Tony, his best friend and cousin, to Russia to a diplomatic position of low importance and one that British diplomats rarely make it back to Britain from. Can there possibly be a HEA for Caroline and Anthony under the circumstances?
We also get a glimpse of what four years of married bliss looks like for Jane and Salt, including their 3 children and 2 godchildren. We are also treated to a whole cast of other secondary characters and their inter-relationships with Salt's family, including a new addition, Kitty, who is the heroine of the next and final book in this series.
Alex Wyndham again delivers a pleasing and expert narration in Salt Redux. Mr. Wyndham adeptly manages to shift to Tony as the primary romantic hero by giving him a sexy and yet slightly less deep voice than Salt, making distinguishing between these two heroes who play a prominent role in Salt Redux, easy for the listener to do. Additionally, he again masters delivering distinguishable voices for the entire cast which grows even larger in Salt Redux. Perhaps one of Mr. Wyndham's strongest attributes as a narrator is that he is also able to communicate emotion in his rendition. From the fast-paced suspense scenes where Diana's incredible schemes feature prominently to the more romantic ones where old loves test their feelings for one another, Mr. Wyndham knows just the right tone to use to frame each scene.
All in all, Salt Redux is another historical romance audiobook hit! If you enjoyed the Salt Bride, I highly encourage you to give Salt Redux a listen!
Book 3: Salt Angel (novella length)
4.5 "It's never too late to marry for true love" Stars and 5 Stars for the narration!
As an added bonus, the box set contains a novella length third book to finish the series. Although only a little more than 2 hours in length, this Christmas themed novella is the perfect conclusion to a well done series. Moreover, the novella features two separate love stories that are nearly entirely self-contained in the novella (although it does contain spoilers for book 2 and therefore should be listened to last in the series) while still providing a glimpse into the lives of the Salt Hendon cast taking place after Caroline's and Tony's honeymoon.
The happy couples in this novella include Kitty Aldershot, Caroline's sister-in-law from her first marriage, a heroine who at the time of the novella resides in Salt's home, and Jane's brother, Tom, who first met at the masquerade in Book 2, Salt Redux. As well as, an elderly Russian Prince and Salt's and Tony's aunt who determine to eschew society's gossip and conventions and instead with the wisdom of years choose to marry for love rather than political gain.
Alex Wyndham again returns for the narration providing remarkable consistency in character voices and his pleasing baritone voice as music for your ears. What I enjoyed the most about his narration in Salt Angel was his elderly sounding Russian accented voice for the Russian prince which required Mr. Wyndham to show his remarkable range when it comes to producing unique voices.
All in all, the Salt Hendon Collection is a memorable series, all conveniently packaged in one box-set--and at the bargain price of just one credit--for your listening pleasure!