I read this on holiday and with all the lovely holiday stuff going on - I was still eager to get back to this book. Laura Kinsale sure cooks up the most unusual plots that hold one spellbound. The heroine was said to be unpleasant in some reviews, but after what she had been through she was 'suspicious' and stand-offish i.e. until love begins to melt her 'stone-like' heart. The baddies is this book are unlike other baddies on the whole and are religious zealots, power-seekers and sexual perverts and I, for one really wanted to see their downfall! I love the the hero and his wolf and eventually appreciated the heroine too. I am reading another book at the moment that got good reviews, but it certainly does beckon to me relentlessly to read on as Laura Kinsale books do. I find her completely unique as a writer.
I’ve read a few of the author’s books now. While i enjoyed this read I didn’t find it quite as satisfying as the others. I didn’t warm to the main characters for some time and found their back stories unfolded less smoothly
Such a good story - the only complaint I can have is the lack of proof reading in the Kindle edition. So many spelling mistakes! This author tells such tales. I only came to romance fiction recently & I am so impressed with Laura Kinsale.
I have read this twice - that's how much I enjoyed it. I loved the storyline and the characters. Laura Kinsale's books stand out for me in this genre of fiction - I find her writing lively, quirky and funny; I think most of her characters are well drawn and engaging; the books also have a pleasing amount of historical detail.
I loved S.T. Maitland but had some problems with Leigh who I frequently found irritating. One gradually comes to understand why she behaves as she does but would still like to tell her to take a reality check. Ms Kinsale's writing is skilful and the story evolves at a thoughtful pace. There are also some positively gut-wrenching moments that leave you nervous of turning the page. I'll be reading more of Ms Kinsale's work.
The famed Prince of Midnight no longer rides. He was once the cavalier famous highwayman, full of life and legend, but has long since gone into seclusion at a ruined French castle, cooking rabbit, garlic and whatever veggies he can find in his sparse garden to make a meal. He's now known by his actual name, S.T. Maitland, while hiding out from any potential bounty hunters from England where he has a price on his head. His best friend is Nemo, his partly wild wolf. One day, a young lady dressed as a young man, Leigh Strachan, comes looking for the le Seigneur du Minuit. At first S.T. disavows his identity, but Leigh persists and follows him home. S.T. can't send her away because she immediately falls sick with a fever which lasts for ten days and there's nobody to nurse her but but T.S.
Since T.S. hasn't had a woman for three years, he is particularly attracted to Leigh, which doesn't do him a particle of good. She's there to ask le Seigneur a huge favor, but something about him doesn't seem quite right. In fact, she traveled from England to France to ask the fabled le Seigneur du Minuit if he would give her sword lessons so she could go back to her village and get revenge upon a manipulative preacher who took control of her village, causing the death of her entire family, including father, mother and two sisters. But, it soon becomes obvious to Leigh that she's dealing with a "has-been" and she is so disillusioned, she begins to throw out criticisms toward T.S. right and left.
T.S. is a very prideful male who in his persona as the Prince of Midnight, never lacked for accolades, attention and the love of women. It's particularly hard on his ego when he has to put up with Leigh's negativity, most all of it seemingly continually hurled at him. He wants her desperately but refuses to agree to help her in her quest for revenge. She agrees to give herself to him sexually if he will help her, but he refuses to accept what she offers because he doesn't want a whore, he wants love and affection. To me, this attitude coming from T.S. was a little strange because they had only been acquainted a few days when they had this conversation.
I have never read a book where the H/h were at such cross purposes. Most men want desire and respect, but T.S. was "desperate" for it. Leigh was so cold and hurt inside, she was incapable of love and/or trust. What a pair these two were! When Leigh contracts the fever, T.S. takes care of her night and day, but when she comes out of it, she's colder than a chunk of ice toward him. He's desperate for some warmth, but he's barking up the wrong tree with Leigh.
Finally, T.S. and Leigh head back to town, when Leigh finally realizes there's something very wrong with T.S. because he has no balance whatsoever. He admits that he lost his hearing in one ear due to an explosion, which also killed his beloved horse three years previously. He is so handicapped, he can no longer ride and often can hardly walk straight due to an extreme case of vertigo which comes and goes. Eventually, he agrees to accompany Leigh to her village to do what he can to help her. He wants desperately to prove that he is worth something. When T.S. crosses the channel from France to England, he's so sick from the ear problem, he is absolutely debilitated. But, all the bouncing in the boat seems to have worked a miracle of sorts, because when he finally gets sorted out, the vertigo is gone, he no longer has the balance issues and he can once again ride a horse.
And, boy, can he ride - not only can he ride, he is "horse whisperer" material. He can make a horse do nearly anything. During this time period, he regains his confidence, and he is no longer the bumbling man Leigh had thought him to be and in fact, this reader began to take a renewed interest in him and could begin to see what the fascination with the Prince of Midnight was about - yes, indeed! It's like night and day. But, Leigh is still the damaged girlie who came to get him and puts him down continually even after she begins to realize she's nuts about him. No way is she going to give him an inkling of her feelings, however.
When it comes time to encounter the evil reverend, T.S. has a big shock in store for him. In fact, the entire village is a type of Stepford Wives including some Stepford Men. This reader actually thought they were all drugged, but apparently they were simply under a very charismatic, controlling viper in the person of Reverend Jamie Chilton. From this point, the story becomes incredible, but eventually our hero figures out how to deal with the situation.
We have some of the Hellfire Club thrown into the storyline as well as the Marquis de Sade, who makes an appearance just long enough to add some spice to the story. But the single thing that stood out to me within the pages of this book was the constant negativity coming from Leigh and the constant desire to be admired coming from T.S. Honestly, it lasted until the last ten pages of the book. Only the epilogue gave some semblance of peace between the two. Yes, we had glimpses of hope throughout the storyline, only to have it snatched back very quickly due to Leigh's inherent lack of trust. After things are dealt with back at her village, we think okay, now it will happen, but then it was time for T.S. to get cold feet and not know how to deal with a woman who actually loved him. He was accustomed to loving women and then having them end it. He didn't know how to stay with a woman who truly loved him. By this time, I was weary with the whole "on-again/off-again she/he loves me/loves me not" thing we have going on in the storyline.
Although this book did hold my interest and in some ways, T.S. was one of the most earnest, sweet, vulnerable heroes I have ever been introduced to within the pages of this type of book, Leigh was one of the most aggravating females I have ever been introduced to. Therefore four stars instead of five for this book.