Genre: Historical Romance
Book List: Laura Kinsale novels
Author: Laura Kinsale
Narrator: Nicholas Boulton
Audiobook Publisher: Hedgehog Inc.
Audiobook Samples: Flowers from the Storm || The Prince of Midnight || The Dream Hunter || For My Lady's Heart || More Fun Audio clips!!!
Feature by: Aimee
Source: Audible Audiobook Purchase(s)Rating(s): Various - 4 to 5 out of 5 (♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥)
Laura Kinsale is a pioneer. Seriously! She's done what many author's dream about. She's taken control of producing her own audiobooks (which is truly impressive) and she chose the most ideal candidate to bring her stories to your greedy little ears. Mr. Nicholas Boulton, who is already a talented stage, screen and voice actor, made it into Ms. Kinsale's vast selection of narrators, then moved his way to the top of her list. The rest is history and I couldn't be more awestruck (and swoony).
As a very picky audiobook listener, I'm easily put off by frequently bad choices made in the selection of a narrator. It's such a crucial decision for an author's work that I wonder what goes through their mind at selection time and who has more control over the choices? Ms. Kinsale wrote a really great blog post in two parts (Which can be found here --> Part One and Part Two) on the whole process and her decision behind producing her novels into audiobooks. She gives you an eye opening view of what it's like, as an author, to hear your own words read to you by someone else. I recommend giving it a peek.
Now, lets get to her books... her stories always spring to life in colorful detail and elegant prose. Every story is an unusual, grande adventure in some form or fashion and she makes each character come alive with realistic flaws that cause you a gamut of emotions from anger to annoyance while still managing to endear you to them. Her characters are also the most unlikely personalities you would expect to be paired together. Often, you find yourself wondering how she's going to manage rescuing you from your irritation of one or the other before the stories conclusion. But it always happens. Somewhere within the stories intricate woven details, you begin to understand each character, empathize, and eventually your heart follows your understanding into the snare and you're hooked.
The first book I listened to, Flowers From the Storm, is where I recommend everyone start. It's an incredible story with unusual heartrending circumstances. I loved this novel so much that I'm currently tearing through more of her stories like a starving beggar. I really can't get enough. In fact, I just finished For My Lady's Heart and even though the next audiobook in the Medieval Hearts series, Shadowheart, will be released this month, the thought of waiting (what… days?) is just about as torturous as having to wait the usual year. I purchased the ebook anyway and I'm constantly battling myself on whether to cave and start reading or wait for the narrated version so I don't miss Mr. Boulton's performance of Allegreto. Torture!
Yes, I am a newbie to Ms. Kinsale's writing. I've had her on my TBR list for a while and have been repeatedly hounded by a few individuals to read one of her novels - *cough* Flower from the Storm *cough*. I'm grateful for the repeated nudging as I was totally hooked from the first listen. I have yet to encounter a Kinsale novel that I don't like and I especially love her novels when narrated by Nicholas Boulton. What a combination! In truth, I'd only read the first chapter in one of her books before going back to audiobook format to hear Mr. Boulton's incredibly sexy... er... talented and evocative voice. He turns every Kinsale novel into a Kinsale/Boulton Masterpiece and each of his performances, in my opinion, are Oscar worthy. He manages to make the story more mesmerizing, if such a thing is even possible; bringing it to life in vivid detail almost effortlessly.
I don't always recommend listening above reading because narration is a VERY TRICKY business and can sometimes ruin a perfectly good story. In this case, however, I'm wholeheartedly recommending the listening experience. His performance is not something to be missed! As long as Nicholas Boulton doesn't… uh.. bolt (sorry) on us listeners, then I'm a super, duper, loyal fan.
So why didn't I write a review for each of her books? Three reasons, really. I decided to write an Author/Narrator Feature instead because I was so impressed with Ms. Kinsale's decision and success at producing her own audiobooks; I am also equally impressed with her choice in narrators (understatement); and last, I have neither the time, nor patience to sit and write a full review for each individual story. Do you realize how much that would slow me down! I'm still trying to work my way to the end of her book list. That's way too many interruptions to get to the next story, and the next, and honestly, this is all I'm willing to spare… Patience be damned! I am on a mission!
All in all, you can't go wrong with a Kinsale novel (especially if it's read by the talented Mr. Boulton). If you're currently wondering what to read/listen to next… look no further! If you had something else in mind, a Kinsale novel should be allowed to cut in line on your TBR list (Mandatory). If you're currently reading something that is really easy to put down and walk away from, I think you need to retire that book and pick up Flowers from the Storm or The Prince of Midnight or The Dream Hunter or… you get the point. I promise you won't regret it!
P.S. - If you're still hedging, head on over to HedgehogInc.com and listen to the audio samples and extra clips. That oughta help. I've also provided links to some samples and extra clips below. Knock yourself out!
Audiobook Samples: Flowers from the Storm || The Prince of Midnight || The Dream Hunter || For My Lady's Heart || More Fun Audio clips!!! My favorite is the last one that has the main character from The Prince of Midnight, S.T. Maitland, pretending he's drunk. Really good scene.