Two noble teenagers are married against their will.
Drugged, Deb has no recollection of events.
Disgraced, Julian is banished to the continent.
Years later, Deb falls in love with a wounded duelist, only to discover it
is her husband, returned incognito!
Can Deb forgive his calculated deception?
Will their marriage survive beyond seduction?
Set in the opulent world of the aristocracy and inspired by real events,
Lucinda Brant delivers another lavish 18th century experience in her
trademark style - heart-wrenching drama with a happily ever after.
2013 Readers' Favorite International Book Award Medalist.
©2014 Lucinda Brant (P)2015 Lucinda Brant
"Lucinda Brant's sweeping family sagas are a perfect reminder of why I fell in love with historical romance." (Cheryl Bolen, New York Times best-selling author)
"Nice twists and turns, dramatic revelations, and some enjoyable chaos make this a book that keeps the reader turning the pages. Highly recommended!" (Fiona Ingram: five stars, Readers' Favorite)
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"Brant & Wyndham: A Winning Combination"
A twelve-year-old girl is awakened in the middle of the night and escorted to her brother’s library where a bishop in full regalia marries her to a drunk, distraught teenaged boy. The groom and the two elderly men who accompanied him disappear, and the bride returns to the nursery. I had a hard time buying into this situation until I learned that this book was inspired by the real-life story of the second Duke and Duchess of Richmond.
Fast forward nine years to 1769 and Deb Cavendish is living in Bath – alone, which is somewhat scandalous – except for her nine-year old nephew Jack, the orphaned son of her late half-brother – which also is somewhat scandalous, as his mother was a Gypsy. One day Jack and Deb stumble across a wounded young man, apparently a participant in a duel, in the woods near Bath. Deb tends to his wounds and falls in love at the same time, but the man is carried off by a stranger to recuperate, and Deb is left to dream about what might have been.
Julian Hesham, Marquess of Alston, cannot get the image of his beautiful savior out of his mind, but he doesn’t even know her name. Later, when Deb visits the home of Martin Ellicott, her French tutor, she comes face to face with Julian, who is Ellicott’s godson. Thus begins Julian’s courtship of his own wife.
After their forced marriage, Julian’s father, the powerful father the Duke of Roxton, had banished him to the Continent on account of Julian’s outrageous behavior toward his mother, with Martin Ellicott as his chaperon and teacher. Knowing that his son was headstrong and rebelious and fearing that he would marry some unsuitable foreign lady, the duke had decided that Deb Cavendish would make a proper wife for Julian, and Deb’s brother and guardian Gerald agreed.
After the wedding, Deb was convinced by her nurse that the strange ceremony had been merely a dream. At the age of eighteen, she had defied her brother Gerald and traveled alone to Paris to nurse her brother Otto through a fatal illness. When he and his wife both died, she returned with Jack to live in a respectable but not fashionable part of Bath. Her reputation had suffered among the high sticklers, but being a cousin to the Duke of Devonshire and a considerable heiress ensured that she was accepted among certain segments of Bath society.
Julian is smitten with his wife, but he fears that she will reject him because of his tarnished reputation. He is thought by all to be a rake and he has been accused by a influential Parisien, M. Lefevbre, of seducing his daughter and refusing to marry her. Deb is Julian’s wife in law, but he does not want her to feel compelled into becoming his wife in fact. Thus, he decides to court her as plain Mr. Julian Hesham and hopes to secure her affection before it becomes necessary to tell her the truth.
This aspect of the plot is a bit too far-fetched for me. I understood what the old duke was trying to do by selecting Julian’s bride, but why the secret wedding in the middle of the night? Why did Deb’s brother never tell her the truth? Here she is larking around Bath with suitors galore and she’s utterly unaware that she’s already married! Indeed, during her stay in Paris she came close to eloping with the artist Evelyn Ffolkes (who happens to be Julian’s cousin), and now she is being pursued by Mr. Robert Thesiger (heir to a baron but rumored to be the natural son of the Duke of Roxton). My goodness, this is an awfully small world. And when Deb does fall in love with Julian and they “marry” again, why does he still not tell her the truth? And why does this otherwise kind and loving man eventually reveal everything in the cruelest manner possible? And why does Deb go completely around the bend upon learning that she is married to a man she loves and who loves her back?
These are among the issues that really irked me as I was reading this book, but when I listened to the audio, they pretty much dissolved into the ether. I decided to quit asking questions and just listen to the beautiful voice of Alex Wyndham and his marvelous narration of this book. This was the first time that I have read a book and then immediately listened to the audio, and it really doesn’t surprise me that while I might have rated the book at 3.5 stars or so, Mr. Wyndham’s ten-star performance compels me to award the audio book a full five stars.
Don’t get me wrong; the writing is excellent. In fact, everything that I have read by Lucinda Brant is first-class and fully immerses the reader in the world of Georgian England. But in the reading, I kept second-guessing the characters’ decisions, while in the listening I was swept up by dialogue and events. And there are plenty of events: marriage, separation, meeting the in-laws, dodging a murderous villain, and all sorts of intrigue. One of the things I enjoy about Ms. Brant’s style is that she doesn’t keep the reader dangling for too long. Instead, she reveals pieces of the story as the book progresses, which has the effect of keeping me turning the pages, or listening late into the night as the case may be.
For those historical romance fans who have been gobsmacked by Nicholas Boulton’s presentation of Laura Kinsale’s books, I am thrilled to report that Alex Wyndham is every bit as good. His narrative voice is deep and lovely, but he skillfully segues from the aging, imperious Roxton to the French duchess to the young boys, Jack and his best friend Harry. He is very good with the various female voices – avoiding the falsetto that some male narrators adopt – but the star of this audio book has to be Julian. He is young and cocky but also tremendously warm and quite funny, all of which comes through beautifully in his voice.
Alex Wyndham already has narrated Ms. Brant’s Alec Halsey mystery/romance series and is set to do the remainder of the Roxton series. For reasons not clear to me, the first Roxton book, Noble Satyr, will be the last one brought out in audio, but I don’t think that it’s necessary to have read it in order to enjoy the remainder of the books.
Despite my quibbles about parts of the plot, I unreservedly recommend that you listen to Midnight Marriage.
"Beautiful, Exciting Story and Excellent Narration!"
Yes, I would listen to Midnight Marriage again. Lucinda Brant is an excellent writer, who keeps the story constantly moving while making you fall in love with the characters. I caught myself rewinding and listening to certain parts of the story to replay the scenes in my head!
This is the first time I've read (heard) Lucinda Brant's writing. Two of my favorite authors are Eloisa James and Jennifer Ashley, and Lucinda's now on my immediate-buy list with these two authors!
I would not have chosen a better narrator than Alex Wyndham. He does excellent voices for each of the characters. I believe he made the characters truly seem real, as if I was watching a movie. I would definitely listen to another book knowing he narrated it.
I actually laughed out loud at several parts of the book and became emotional towards the end. Although I did not cry, I believe it takes an extremely talented author to bring such an emotional reaction to written word. Lucinda Brant is an excellent story teller.
I can't wait to read and listen to the rest of the series!
"A Wonderful Love Story"
I loved this book & couldn't turn it off! Julian & Deb will make you laugh & cry...Alex Wyndham makes you feel like you are in the room listening to each conversation...he has such a smooth & sexy voice you want him to continue long after the book was over...Lucinda's detail for the Georgian period was very vivid...I'm reminded of the passage in the book when she describes Lady Mary's hair with the ship! I felt like I was there in person. The book is about Julian & Deb with several sub plots going on...you will laugh & cry & hold your breath in several places. I am looking forward to the next Roxton book on audio!
"A performance that will blow your mind!"
Absolutely. The writer's style is definitely engaging coupled with this narrator made it magnificent!
The intrigue and complex storyline with an ironic twist...
I have not. But I must tell you, I think his performance brilliant. I was watching a film, not listening to a book -- yep, that good!
An intense, at times humorous, thrilling saga of the union of nobility with all its agony and sacrifices where the individual’s freedom of choice is thwarted at every turn. Yet, from all the cacophony, comes a love so wonderfully deep and poignant, so emotionally fulfilling you wish it were your own. This is the second of Ms. Brant’s books I’ve listened to. It won’t be my last. This series is highly recommended to those who wish to find love the hard way…
I love the way the story starts. A young girl of 12, slightly drugged, is married to a boy of 15, half-crazed with drink, in the middle of the night. It seemed sinister. I asked myself who was the bad guy and kept asking. Who were these children who were coerced into marriage? As chapter 1 begins, I was totally compelled to get the answers to my questions. If Sir Gerald is her brother, her guardian, why was he trying to marry her off? What made the marriage so necessary? Great drama.
Cleverly, the author holds the reins in her hands, taunt, only dispensing pieces of the puzzle and creating greater suspense, propelling us to the moment where all falls apart. The heroine, Deborah did not put all the pieces together until much too late for she had no remembrance of that momentous night.
The story shows us how evil and greedy man can be no matter his station in life. Martin and the Duke of Roxton were hard characters to read, however, hints were dropped, but without a clear picture they could have meant several things. Deborah Cavendish was everything nobility should be, strong of spirit and passionate of heart.
The narrator, Alex Wyndham shows wonderful professionalism and a delight to listen to. He is endowed with a rich baritone which could be listened to forever. His superb voice inflection, interpretation of the author’s words wove a listen extremely hard to put down. Characterization of each player was truly spot on. Elder voices were over the top. I heard each character’s state of mind distinctly. His timing, enunciation, and presentation made an enchanting listen and I’m thrilled to know he continues the narration of the rest of the series.
"Such an unexpected pleasure"
This book was my first Lucinda Brant and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Storyline was gripping with superb writing and narration (truly one of the best). It also added so much more to the story to find out that this book and the marriage scene was inspired by the second Duke and Duchess of Richmond. An overall lovely and light book to kick your heals up to and enjoy.
"First time Audio Book"
For my first ever Audio book I enjoyed this experience. It is amazing how the conversations come alive and you feel like you are there listening to these conversations.
The story of Deb and Julian is a beautiful one full of love and suspense and the drama of misunderstandings. Letting rumors fly without correction almost brings this couple down but thankfully love wins ❤️
"Absolutely lovely story!!!"
As much as I enjoyed this story, and I did, very much, The Nobel Satyr was a particular favorite leading character of mine. This tale is about his son and heir, and his life and trials with his wife. The characters are all very well written and seemed to come alive with Alex Wyndham's tell of the story in the audio book. He did a masterful job with the variety of characters and their speech/mother tongue. Lucinda Brant is a wonderful writer whose skill pulls you into the story to the point of intoxication. Book two is also much tamer in the sexual descriptions if a young person wants to read. The son was not quite the Rake his father was, before his marriage. The ending and clip from book three was also handled well. I was unsure about reading book three at first, but now, feel I can confront the loss of one of my favorite characters. Excellent series in both book form and audible presentation. I would recommend it to my friends who are intrigued by the lifestyle in France and England before the French revolution.
I agree with some that there are some similar attributes with Devil's cub. However, this is really a different story.
Deb of course, smart and love of family
Jullian - captured his persona
When the lawyers met her.
I will continue to look for books narrated by Alex.
"Better second time around"
I liked this. When I read it last year I gave it a 3 rating. I read it (listened to it actually) before I read NOBLE SATYR. Now I've listened to that and re-read this one and I have to change my rating to a 4.5!
The characters make more sense now and it moves the story along better for me. I dislike Julian at times but I think we're meant to. Making up is so good.
The narration is superb.
Not the usual Lord and Lady bodice ripper! The characters have depth and charm. Good intrigue and sensuality to keep it exciting but plenty of humorous sidekicks. The narrator- well lets just say I enjoyed the sexy voice with a British accent! Can't wait to hear the next story in this series.
"Outstanding Narration - more please!"
Incredibly, the premise of Midnight Marriage is drawn from real life. In the story, a young couple (she's 12, he's 15 or 16) are married off in secret and then allowed to go their separate ways, with the girl left to believe that the whole thing had been a dream.
Almost a decade later, the girl - Deborah Cavendish - and her nephew stumble across a wounded man in the woods, and she pretty much saves his life by competently binding his wounds and summoning help. The man is taken away and as neither of them have exchanged their names, have little hope of seeing each other again.
The story may be a predictable one, but Lucinda Brant's grasp of and love for this particular period of history shine through in every word and description. The central characters are both thoroughly likeable, and the developing romance between them is very well done. There is an evil would-be suitor and a plot to do away with the hero, but it's all handled with such a sureness of touch that any minor niggles I might have had (and I had a couple) were easy to set aside.
The other factor key to my enjoyment of this audiobook is the narration by Alex Wyndham, which is, quite simply, outstanding. He has a gorgeous voice which he uses to excellent effect in every aspect of the production - characterisation, narrative and dialogue. Every single character is clearly delineated and there is never any doubt as to who is speaking. He performs the female characters extremely well, especially Antonia, Duchess of Roxton, a softly spoken Frenchwoman who sounds exactly like a French person speaking English, with a light, but obvious accent and specific inflection. Our hero, the Marquess of Alston, is brought to life with intelligence and humour - and while the book's love scenes are far from explicit, there are one or two moments which may produce weakened knees!
I haven't been as completely bowled over by a new - to- me narrator since I heard Nicholas Boulton narrating Laura Kinsale. Alex Wyndham is every bit as good and I really can't praise his work here highly enough.
Very highly recommended.
"The dream team of Brant and Wyndham is unmissable"
A fabulous performance by Alex Wyndham of a first rate, classy Georgian novel which is so much more than a romance. Full of intrigue, romance, court etiquette, glorious fashions and Lucinda Brant's unique style of telling a story. Unmissable...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
The entire story was an emotive one. From the very beginning where the lead characters are married off unwillingly to each other, to the very end (I'll not give spoilers) the story was captivating. I would have loved listening to the whole thing in one go, but it was a bit long for that. Three nights saw it all listened to, and I am sure to listen to it again. I really loved it.
I can't tell what my most memorable parts are because that would give spoilers, but there were a couple of tear jerk moments for me, happy tears and sad. If a story can make me that emotional then it is perfect.
Alex Wyndham being an actor makes him the perfect narrator. Or as described, he performs the book. He brings the characters to life, and his normal narrative voice between the characters' parts is so smooth and a pleasure to listen to. His female voices are as believable as his mens' voices, and each one is totally different to the other. He has to be the best narrator/performer of an audibook I have heard so far. Listening to him read the story made it like watching a film, so easy to picture the characters, and to fully understand the emotions each one is feeling. It's so much nicer than reading the book myself.
There were a few beautifully written moments that I think Lucinda Brant is is a natural at. Her books are always so emotive, so to team up with Alex Wyndham to read them, they are just perfection.
I would fully recommend this book both for the beauty of the characters and their interactions during the story, the whole storyline was captivating, and for the perfect narration/performance of Alex Wyndham.
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