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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

What listeners say about The Marigold Chain

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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.

7 people found this 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.

4 people found this 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 people found this helpful

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I listen to this story often.

Being of the generation that English history was drilled into one.
I was pleased that this story remained true to the basic facts.
Women were definitely sidelined, while men went around proving their swashbuckling machismo, gallantry, valour, fearlessness and bravery.
This story has it all and the spite, viciousness and gossip that occurred in the Royal court.
The heroine, manages to hold her own in all this excess of gossip and testosterone.

2 people found this helpful

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A wonderful performance of a very lovely story

I don’t think there’s an author whose books I enjoy more than those written by Stella Riley. I last read The Marigold Chain five years ago but was recently given a free audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

It was a joy to revisit Alex and Chloe’s story set during the time of the Great Fire of London and at a time when England was at war with the Dutch. This is an exciting and action packed narrative. The author’s words were brought to vivid life by the excellent Alex Wyndham. I particularly enjoyed the sea battle scenes, Alex and Chloe’s race across London and Alex’s sword fight with the traitor who was selling state secrets to the enemy.

As always, Ms Riley‘a characterisation is pitch perfect. Charles II is portrayed and conveyed just as I have always imagined him. Giles Beckwith is another beautifully drawn character, who perhaps deserves his own story. It goes without saying that Alex and Chloe are utterly gorgeous. I love Chloe’s practicality, her bravery and her selfless love for Alex. I love how Alex redeems himself through love for his monarch, his country and for Chloe.

I think the author has some interesting things to say about all forms of love and their counterfeit. I particularly liked the depth of fraternal bonds shown between various friends and the lack of those depths between family members. I also like the juxtaposition of a selfish love such as Sarah’s and the truly selfless love that is Chloe’s.

Alex and Chloe’s romance is a real joy as they work through so many obstacles to their “ happy ever after”. As always, the reading/listening pleasure is in how they get there. This story is thoroughly satisfying in this respect.

I love listening to Audiobooks as I always hear different emphases and nuances that make me think differently about a story. Alex Wyndham has a lovely voice and is excellent at conveying depth of emotion and these such nuances. They really enhance my enjoyment .

In conclusion, I think it is the unique and perfect combination of impeccably drawn historical backdrops, believable characters and an utterly compelling love story that raise Ms Riley’s novels so high. The Marigold Chain is one of her best. I just loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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Adventure and Romance

Another beautifully crafted story from Stella Riley. Her novels are well researched and gripping.

1 person found this helpful

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A perfect pairing

I love this book, which I read again and again, but I have only just listened to the audio book. Alex Wyndham’s narration is superb, with his range of voices for the large cast of characters and all the emotions that he delivers so well. I was never in doubt about who was speaking, and his switches from male to female voices and accents is remarkable. Stella Riley’s words and Alex Wyndham’s narration work perfectly together, and I thoroughly recommend it.

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Maybe I DO like history!

Ordinarily, I don’t really read (and like) historical fiction based around actual historical events. I start them, but I never finish them. Until now. Facebook is really different, it’s not a straightforward anything! Not a straightforward romance, not a straightforward mystery, not a straightforward war narrative, There is nothing straightforward about it.

And that is why it is such a fascinating, intriguing, interesting, fulfilling book. I am no longer new to Stella Riley or Alex Wyndham, I have journeyed through many historical romance novels with them, but this was the first and I’m tempted to try some more. This particular tale starts slowly and seemingly has no direction. Don’t be misled. This is a tale worth persevering with.

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Sublime!

Why has it has taken me this long time to start listening to audio books? I have discovered I can multitask cook or weed the garden and listen to the dulcet tones of Alex Wyndham at the same time. This was a real surprise - I have loved and savoured every moment, I am truly amazed at how Alex manages to create the voices. I have loved this book from when I first read it in the 1980s and the audio version has lived up to my expectations. Other people have talked about the plot and the characters all I can say is that I have thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in this period in history.

1 person found this 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 person found this 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.

19 people found this 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 :)

13 people found this 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

9 people found this 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.

7 people found this 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.

6 people found this 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!

5 people found this 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.

4 people found this 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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Bunny
  • 19-10-21

Enjoyable Yarn & Love Tale

Stella Riley ha a formula and it’s always enjoyable. A love story. Historical fiction. Handsome devilishly charming men. Lovely ladies. It’s such an easy listen and very enjoyable. The star of the show is the narrator though. I wish he narrated all the books on Audible. He’s the best.

2 people found this 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!

2 people found this helpful