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The Marigold Chain

Narrated by: Alex Wyndham
Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)
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Summary

England, 1666; the year all the prophecies said the world would end. For Chloe Hervaux, marriage to wild, unpredictable Alex Deveril offers escape from a home she hates. For Alex, waking up with an epic hangover, the discovery that he has acquired a bride is an unwelcome shock. But while the marriage remains in name only, other forces are gathering.

England is at war with the Dutch, and Prince Rupert suspects that sabotage is at work in the fleet. Instructed to find and stop the traitor, Alex enters a dark, secret labyrinth of intrigue - where no life is safe and nothing is what it seems.

Chloe, meanwhile, navigates the shark-infested waters of Charles 11's licentious Court and plots a course of her own aimed at financial independence. But as the diverse facets of Mr. Deveril's personality are gradually revealed, her mock-marriage becomes fraught with difficulties - the greatest of which is Mr. Deveril himself.

Absorbed in his search for a traitor, Alex spares little thought for personal matters and less for his bride. But as the flames of the Great Fire sweep over London, he and Chloe face their ultimate test. Their world is at risk...their choices may save it.

The Marigold Chain is a richly-woven tale of intrigue, danger, and love set against a backdrop of Restoration England during the year expected to be Doomsday.

©1983, 2012, 2015 Stella Riley (P)2018 Stella Riley

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  • Caz
  • Frinton-on-Sea
  • 18-02-18

Another winner from the Riley/Wyndham team!

Set in Restoration London, The Marigold Chain is a book I loved the first time I read it almost thirty years ago, and I've been eagerly awaiting its release in audio.

While quite spectacularly drunk, Alex Deveril wins the hand and dowry of Chloe Herveaux in a card game. Not prepared to stay under her wastrel half-brother’s roof any longer, Chloe is only too ready to depart with Alex, intending to go to stay with friends for the night, but she has reckoned without Alex’s stubbornness. He won a bride and a bride he will have – and he won’t take no for an answer. He and Chloe are married that night.

The next morning, amid a hangover of Biblical proportions, Alex comes to the realisation of what he’s done, apologises and suggests to Chloe that they seek an annulment. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick, but he thinks it may be possible, especially if the final decision ends up resting with the king.

What follows is a thoroughly enjoyable romance, set amid the intrigue of the court and against the backdrop of the war between the English and the Dutch, and later, the horror of the Great Fire of London. Alex is a delicious hero, gorgeous, charming, and highly intelligent, with a quick wit and sharp tongue that can wound at twenty paces, but who, beneath it all is a man of courage, honour and deep loyalty. Chloe is no simpering miss, but a strong young woman who metaphorically rolls up her sleeves and gets on with it, quickly adjusting to her changed circumstances and the mercurial husband who keeps her constantly on her toes. The historical background is comprehensively researched and in the scenes which take place amid the streets of London, the reader is completely immersed in the sights and the sounds of the city. The cast of supporting characters – including His Glorious Majesty, King Charles II – is very well fleshed out, and another of the things I enjoy very much about Ms Riley’s work, her skill in writing strong male friendships is very much in evidence.

Ms Riley has the knack of writing the most delicious romantic and sexual tension between her principals, and the gradual progression of the romance between Alex and Chloe is masterful, and something to be thoroughly savoured.

What to say about the incredibly talented Alex Wyndham that hasn't already been said? Not much, really - he's easily one of the best narrators in the business. He gives every single character - even if they only have a line or two - a distinct voice, and differentiates extremely well between all the different male characters in the story. Listeners of A Splendid Defiance will recognise Prince Rupert, and his portrayal of King Charles has just the right levels of humour and gravitas. Alex and Chloe are superbly realised; and his ability to pick up on and deliver every emotional cue is simply wonderful.

Some fondly-remembered books turn out to be disappointing upon a re-read years later, but fortunately, The Marigold Chain is not one of those - and in audio it's an extremely satisfying and enjoyable experience. Highly recommended.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Atmospheric

At first, hard to get into, then,due to the narrator I got transported back in time. Brilliant story and beautifully told .

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Love lies and battle

I was held captive throughout this romantic novel, the twists and turns with the awkwardness of love between two people. As an ex sailor and having sailed a square rigger I was transported straight back to the sounds and smells of a Royal dockyard. How can one man (Alex) produce so many convincing characters from one voice box. I would recommend Stella's books to anyone, male, female, young or old. I hope Hazard is not far away.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Historical Fiction and Historical Romance combined - a rich feast of a book

THE MARIGOLD CHAIN was my first ever book by Stella Riley and I loved everything about it from the beginning to the end. Maybe that's why it has a rather special place in my heart. At any rate, I couldn't have been happier when I learned that the supremely talented Alex Wyndham was to record it and waited with much anticipation for its release. And oh my.... it was worth my wait!

Set in Restoration England THE MARIGOLD CHAIN maps eight months in the lives of Alex and Chloe - a couple thrown together by unusual and unorthodox circumstances.

We get so much for our money in this wonderful feast of a book. England is struggling and in debt. We have suffered terrible life losses during the plague and are at war with the Dutch and then the French join in too to add to our problems. The court of Charles II is central to the story, not only with its carefree opulence and licentious behaviour, but also for a reason I won't reveal but which reason is important to Chloe and Alex. Added to all of this there is the possibility of a traitor in our midst. Alex, along with a couple of friends, set out at the behest of Prince Rupert to unmask the person who, in all likelihood, is responsible for many unexplained, and possibly traitorous so called 'accidents'. The ensuing story is fast moving and exciting during which our young couple pass through various stages in their relationship.

The author does a wonderful job in developing her characters, not only Chloe and Alex but their mutual friends too, all of whom we come to love and care about as the story progresses.

Alex Wyndham has quite a job on his hands as he handles, with great aplomb, the sarcastic, cynical young man that is Alex Deveril. It would be easy to dislike Alex Deveril but I LOVED his complex and even loveable character, and Alex Wyndham captures him to perfection. It becomes obvious that he is reckless with his own safety for reasons he can't help. His friends understand him and the reasons for his behaviour, and for the most part, ignore his biting tongue, remembering instead the daringly brave soldier and loyal friend he had been to them for the past fifteen years. Alex Wyndham, consummate actor that he is has to deal with all of this - an Alex Deveril who does not suffer fools gladly and thinks he wants or needs no one but who then undergoes a lightbulb moment of epic proportions. A lesser actor could not have pulled off this subtle change so effectively and believably. Mr. Wyndham's tone of voice alters - it's subtle, and yet obviously still the angry young man that was - but is no longer - and one knows immediately that Alex Deveril's feelings have undergone a huge change. I was so taken by Mr. Wyndham's performance at this point that I listened to the same part a few times just to enjoy more than once and to marvel at his expertise. There are a couple of places where Alex Wyndham has to deal with Stella Riley at her wonderfully emotional best - real tear jerkers I promise, but no spoilers! All I'll say is that listeners will not be disappointed by either Stella Riley's words or Alex Wyndham's portrayal of them. Oh and he sings in a couple of places AND quotes poetry - I could go on and on...just sit back and enjoy.

I can't imagine anyone who enjoys superbly researched history, fantastic characters...fictitious and historic...a fast paced, exciting story, intertwined with a bone melting romance, not loving THE MARIGOLD CHAIN. And let's not forget the supremely talented Alex Wyndham who gives this wonderful story an extra shot of brilliance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyable

The story is well balanced and believable.
The hero and heroin are no more than the should be and the other characters add to the enjoyment.
The story is intriguing and keeps you hoped to the end.
Well worth reading or listening to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Perfection

Five star does not seem high enough for this combination of a historically accurate account of life at Court, at the time of the French/Dutch British war, the fire of London, with likeable characters, a spy mystery intertwined with a heartwarming love story. Alex Wyndham’s performance as always brings the characters alive so that one forgets that it is just one person impersonating all the actors in the story. And he even sings in one scene. As my title says: if you live historical romance, this is perfection. I wanted it to go on forever but couldn’t wait for its conclusion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Dramatic events in the reign of Charles II

I've loved this book for a long time, and have a very tattered secondhand hardback copy. Alex Wyndham casts his particular magic over the story, bringing a fresh perspective to the story.
A wonderful addition to my library, which I'll listen to many times, I'm sure.
Now looking forward to Hazard, which is coming soon.
How about Lucifer's Champion in Kindle and Audible?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Loved this audio book

What made the experience of listening to The Marigold Chain the most enjoyable?

Great characters in this book and a wonderful story did not want it to end. The narrator brought it all to life.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Hard going

Didn’t like the story teller . And the story never really got going . I really don’t like not to finish a book but I so struggled with this one

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • noagnes
  • 23-02-18

Excellent romance set during the Restoration

Any additional comments?

Having enjoyed the author's other bpooks before listening to the audio edition of this one, I expected to enjoy it, but it surpassed all my expectations. Besides being a historical romance in a marriage of convenience (which is a romance plot I usually enjoy), the hero, Alex, is dashing but flawed - a superior swordsman, intelligent, brave, loyal - but proud, arrogant, reckless, temperamental and both his kindnesses and hurtful remarks appear to be carelessly thrown at anyone around, be it his oldest friends or the wife he won at cards, married while three sheets to the wind and begins to appreciate rather slowly. Chloe,on the other hand, is intelligent, shares his sense of humor, gives back as good as she gets from him, and tries hopelessly to save him from himself and avoid falling in love with his magnetic charm and his complex character at the same time. The story is richly woven, includes an espionage plot, naval battles, and the tension culminates with the Great Fire of London. I enjoyed the appearance of both His Majesty King Charles II and Prince Rupert, the commander of the Royal Navy, who each help and support our protagonists in their own way.
The emotions in the story are intense and gripping - love, jealousy, despair, mourning the death of a friend, forgiveness, and the comfort of friendship tested and true are all present. But there is a lot of humor, laughter, witty conversations - as always, Ms. Riley is excellent in writing dialogue, and an additional delight is Alex's tendency to throw poetry quotes into any conversation.
The audio narration of Alex Wyndham is admirable as always - from the suave tones of Alex's urbane conversation, anger and drunken stubbornness to the French accent of Chloe, the majestic representation of the King and the intriguing Prince Rupert, servants, foppish aristocrats all have their own distinctive voice, the emotions are easy to follow and to feel with the characters. I laughed and cried while listening. I can only recommend this book to all historical romance fans.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-02-18

Vintage Stella Riley

The Marigold Chain is a little different to other historical romance novels - it has a good mystery woven through the character's story and the hero is a little bit tarnished to say the least!

Without giving away key plot elements I truly loved Chloe, Alex, Matt, Danny and the rest of the ensemble. I can see plenty of room for a sequel or three :) and will be looking out for them.

Well worth spending a credit on - if you've never listened to Stella Riley's books before - you're in for a treat and if you have - then you won't be disappointed :)

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Beth B
  • 13-03-18

Another gem from Stella Riley and Alex Wyndham

Not your average Hist Rom but so much richer and more textured. Intelligent female leads who have their own plans and take care of themselves. I loved the flaws of the characters because they made the characters real and unpredictable. Given the nature of the era, where women had little or no power beyond their own wit and men were both indulged and also abused by the situations they were born into, Chloe and Alex have an uphill battle to come together. You really care about the individuals and their fates, but their actions are not always likeable as is the case with Alex. He has a lot of emotional maturing to do but Chloe has always had to be mature.
Rich details of history are woven through the story which get you really hooked. Alex Wyndham is superb as always. He has a way of inhabiting the life of each individual that communicates a wealth of feeling. If I see his name on a book even if I don't know the author I will buy it he is that good,. Do yourself a favour and read all of Stellas books as each one is a pearl and not to be missed

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • D Oberlin
  • 13-02-18

An old favorite reborn in audio

I have loved The Marigold Chain for years. The story is a compelling mix of history and romance, both beautifully languaged and researched. Alex Wyndham performs, as usual, with vocal beauty and grace, bringing the characters vibrantly alive, and adds another dimension of enjoyment to an already wonderful novel.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Patiotoole
  • 26-06-18

Exceptional, as always!

I loved this book - both in Kindle and on Audible. In fact, I already feel certain that I will be reading it again. I "savored" it, reading and listening, and then reading again.

Chloe was everything I would want the heroine to be: bright, witty, compassionate, kind . . . and with enough self assurance to make the most of even difficult situations. Alex was frustrating at times, but I grew to love him as well -- especially after he has his own revelations. Just a beautiful HEA.

For anyone who finds historically accurate fiction to be intriguing, particularly in 17th Century England, The Marigold Chain is a delight. (If only I had history taught to me in this way back in my high school years!)

As always, Alex Wyndham's narration is exceptional and a perfect match for Stella Riley's 17th Century world full of stories. I can't wait for more!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda Wilson
  • 11-05-18

Great!

You just can't go wrong with anything written by Stella Riley and performed by Alex Wyndham.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Cate F.
  • 14-02-18

Another Terrific Book from the Riley-Wyndham Team

Stella Riley manages to create an endearing hero out of a man who initially seems to be set on taking on every immature risk available. He is even willing to wager for the possession of another man’s stepsister, marrying her while he is so drunk that he has no memory of doing so the next day.
The bride is unhappy enough in her situation that marrying a stranger seems preferable to living with her stepbrother. She remains outwardly calm and pragmatic through months of emotional ordeals that wear away the shields both characters have carried for self preservation.
The tumultuous events of the late 17th Century provide plenty of opportunity for intrigue and disaster - attempted betrayal of the country and the Great Fire. Riley’s characters and story are further enhanced by the interpretation of Alex Wyndham who uses his voice to convey the richness and excitement of The Marigold Chain.
I did find myself wishing for a map of London to follow all the comings and goings of the characters but was too absorbed in the book to look for one on the internet.
I’m looking forward eagerly to more books from this perfect team.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • D
  • 22-10-18

An Award Winner for Certain!

What an amazing and enjoyable audio book. It wreaked havoc with my emotions. I was smiling, gasping, chuckling and crying big crocodile tears throughout. I have avidly listened to all of Ms. Riley books now, and this is probably my favorite, next to "The Player." I hated for it to end. I was especially glad the story was not so focused on sex, but on great storytelling and on what it means to truly love another person. I admired the intense fabric of the dialogue and the well thought out plot. Simply smashing! Thanks Audible and Ms. Riley. I also want to give a big shout out to the inimitable Mr. Wyndham, who never fails to add depth to the story, due to his unmatched vocal talent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cam
  • 19-08-18

Enjoyable spy / romance

Really enjoyed the heroine's character. Nice humor. Usual tension between romantic protagonists but relatively little duplicity. Spy plot adds extra dimension. Fun.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DuquesaKE
  • 04-10-18

Was this supposed to be a romance?

I love Alex Wyndam's narration and will listen to pretty much anything he does, but I was confused about this book. There was almost zero lovin'! If you like anything remotely steamy, skip this one!