He was once a legendary highwayman. Now he's a recluse in a ruined French castle, with only a half-wild wolf for a companion. When Lady Leigh Strachan comes looking for a man to aid in her revenge, she's disillusioned to find that the famed Prince of Midnight couldn't help even if he cared to - which he doesn't. S. T. Maitland wants nothing to do with his legend, or with this fierce, beautiful, broken woman... until the old thrill of living on the cutting edge of danger begins to rise in his blood again. Laura Kinsale personally chose the exceptional talent of Nicholas Boulton to narrate The Prince of Midnight as a fully voiced audiobook, creating a unique work that brings all the life and color of the original to audio.
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First I will stipulate that I'm an old and devoted Laura Kinsale fan. I have been reading romance for over 35 years, and this book, along with another Kinsale wrote called "Flowers From the Storm" are two of the best, and most memorable books I have ever read. I snatched this up right away when I saw it had been released, and even though it was a well loved, well remembered re-read, I was loathe to put it down.
Laura Kinsale is a scrumptious author. She an intelligent romance writer, and I don't think there's anyone out there who writes romance quite like her. She doesn't follow the common tropes. The heroine isn't always a virginal dilettante` (or even likeable at times), the heroes aren't always noble (nor are they always all that heroic), and love isn't always at first sight. The characters are built into real people by her talented pen, and the relationships grow before your eyes, or rather "your ears" since this is an audiobook.
Which brings me to the narration. This was my first time listening to Nicholas Boulton, but I was not in any way disappointed. His accents were very good, his delivery was smooth and his tone stayed faithful to the mood of the material he was reading. He did a fantastic job, and I will admit I was very worried that one of my favourite books would be given to a narrator who couldn't do it justice. Thank goodness, Nicholas Boulton came through with flying colours.
The story is, in as small a nutshell as I can cram it, the story of a girl whose whole family is killed by a religious cult. In the early aftermath of her grief, she wants revenge on the leader of the cult. So she seeks out a fabled highwayman to help reach her goals. She finds him, but he's not quite what she expected. There's plenty of action to follow, but Kinsale uses the action cleverly to also move along (or in some cases, hold back) the relationship aspect of the story. As the two work toward resolving their feelings about each other, they also have to look inward as well. The sex scenes in this book are all meaningful, each for a different reason, and they blend in nicely but, compared to some current bestsellers, are a bit rarer and tamer than what some readers might be used to.
I will be perfectly honest and tell you that if you are looking for an instant relationship, gratuitous sex scenes, or an easy bunch of literary tropes strung together to make a book, you shouldn't read this author. If you are looking for something outside of the box, characters with serious emotional and/or physical flaws that behave in a way real people might, then you will be stunned and pleased by Laura Kinsale.
The Prince of Midnight is one of the best romantic dramas I have listened to in a long time. The narration was superb. The main characters are endearing--flawed with human weaknesses that make them even more appealing. The wolf, Nemo, will melt your heart with his playfulness and devotion. Worth more than a 5 star rating. Great book.