Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale

"Don't let that happen to me." Her words shook. "Don't leave me to be what I'll become without you."

This is a review of the audio book as well as the story itself.

Once again Laura Kinsale has written an amazing novel, and Nicholas Boulton has made it real. I can’t even explain what he brings to the stories he narrates. How he makes the hero and heroine so much more than just characters in a book. He doesn’t merely read their lines, he exists in them. The people, their lives, their passions and trials and triumphs… he becomes them! He makes them living, feeling human beings – flawed, tormented, irredeemable people who I can’t help but fall in love with.

The Story

Leigh’s need for revenge drives her far from home to La Paire, in the foothills of the French Alps, seeking the help of the legendary highwayman known as le Seigneur du Minuit – The Prince of Midnight. She needs someone with his strength, his cunning, and his skills at swordplay if she has any hope of destroying the man that destroyed her family. But convincing le Seigneur to help is harder than Leigh anticipated, and so begins a battle of wits and wills.

S.T. Maitland isn’t the man he once was – not physically or emotionally. As Leigh’s masquerade unravels and her story comes out, bit by bit, S.T. knows that her’s is a cause le Seigneur du Minuit would have championed. But now, barely able to stand up without falling over, hope he once had of healing, any high esteem he’d once regarded of himself is gone, and S.T. doesn’t imagine to be any use to anyone.

My Thoughts

Oh, what an emotional roller-coaster ride this is! At times I loathed Leigh, at times I loved her. At times I hated S.T., at times I worshipped him! From one scene to the next I didn’t know what to expect from these two equally tortured souls! It’s a heartbreaking, uplifting, romantic, painfully brilliant story, and that, lovely readers, is why I was up until the wee hours, listening, unable to close my eyes until the end.

I’m not usually a fan of high-angst stories, but this one sucked me in, chewed me up and spit me out - and I loved every minute of it! I wanted to kill Leigh and S.T. at the same time I couldn’t help but love them both. I desperately needed them to get their happily ever after just as desperately as I wanted them to give up on each other and walk away. But these words made it all come together for me, made it all okay...
He tried to pull away, and then suddenly his grip tightened on her hands. He lifted them to his mouth. "Ah God, you are. . . you are. . . and what can I give you in return?"

"Give me your joy, Seigneur." She pressed her forehead against their clasped hands. "Oh, give me your joy. I can go on alone if I must. I'll endure, oh yes—I'm too strong to break. And I'll grow old and turn into stone if you leave me. I'll never look up and see you play with the wolf; I'll never hear you call me sweet names in French; I'll never learn to beat you at chess." She shook her head violently. "Please. . . dance with me. Take me to Italy. Paint me in the ruins at midnight. Give me all your mad notions and your crazy heroics and your impossible romantical follies. And I'll be your anchor. I'll be your balance. I'll be your family. I won't let you fall."

His hands opened. He slipped his fingers over her cheeks, cupping her face between his palms.

She felt hot tears fill her eyes. "I'm so weary of grief and hate." She bent her head and stepped away, looking up into his face. "I want a chance to give you the best of myself, too."

Far off beyond the lake, a crane made its warbling whoop, exotic and startling against the background of the harpsichord. He lifted his hand, touched her cheek, caught the single tear that tumbled down it.

She bit her lip. The tears came, impossible to stop. "I love you," she said in a cracked voice. "The truth is, Monseigneur. . . I need you more than you need me."

He was silent, his hand against her skin, warm against the night air.

"Don't let that happen to me." Her words shook. "Don't leave me to be what I'll become without you."
And so, in the end, when it was all said and done and I was listening to those final words of the story, I knew it was right. I knew that even though their happily ever after was hard fought, it was so, so well deserved, and that made it right.



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