A fatally dangerous man...and the woman who stands in the way of all he's ever desired.
Beautiful and ruthless, the elegant assassin Allegreto will stop at nothing to regain his rightful place. And the perfect instrument has just fallen into his hands, in the lovely form of Lady Elena - the long-lost princess of the land he intends to wrest back from his enemies. But she is no mere maiden to be possessed. Even as he forces her to bend to his will, in the heat of desire and fury Elena finds the hidden power in her own soul, a merciless passion and command that will bind her dark lover and bring him to his knees. Her mastery may destroy him…or build an unexpected future from the bitter ashes of his life and dreams.
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"Another Kinsale Winner!"
Once again, Laura Kinsale has delivered a detailed story with an arduous subject for that time period. The medieval world comes alive with power struggles between families and the corrupt Catholic Church.
I realize this book isn't going to be everyone's 'cup of tea' but if you've read "For my lady's heart" you'll gain more understanding as to why Allegreto has become so ruthless and thinks that he is beyond redemption. We met Elena is the first book as a young 6 year old girl. In this book she has become a young woman of 17. Together they have a strange and unusual relationship. The erotic love scenes (s&m) were intense and sometimes difficult to listen to but their relationship does have an unusual sense of balance. This story is mysterious, intense, sensual and has a love and redemption aspect that I found touching and endearing.
If you enjoy the deeper darker side of Kinsale books you will love this. If not, you might want to skip this one.
P.S. I know I've said it before but Nicholas Boulton is one of the best narrators on Audible!! He makes good books even better!
"BEAUTIFUL AND TOUCHING STORY!"
It turned out to be one of my favorites. I find I don't have the right words to say how much I enjoyed this book. All I can say is this was a well-written book, and this author always has a way of using words that makes the passion and love between the two characters almost seem tangible. And Allegretto just simply took my breathe away! I am glad I got this book. Its a must-read for any one who enjoys a complex, yet profound love story.
Laura Kinsale has seriously outdone herself with this beautiful, exhilarating, mesmerizing, heart wrenching, and fun love story set in the middle ages. I would recommend first listening to For My Lady’s Heart to get the background context leading up to Elena and Allegreto meeting as adults. But while I loved For My Lady’s Heart, Allegreto and Elena have a charged and dynamic chemistry that makes their romance especially compelling.
There are several interesting developments in the story - a young woman comes into her own and learns to harness powers she didn’t know she had, a son strives to ingratiate himself with his father’s mortal enemy, a principality tries to establish equilibrium after decades of upheaval, and houses clash with one another as they compete for power. All this against the dramatic backdrop of the sea and the mountains of Italy, which help to make the story feel almost magical and fantastical.
But the real star of the novel is Allegreto. In For My Lady’s Heart, we knew him as the beautiful, ruthless, cunning, and deadly assassin - with a streak of morality and benevolence that doesn’t start to come through until the end. In Shadowheart, his roguish mask is gradually stripped away by his adoration of Elena and the power she wields over him. We see his vulnerability laid bare - the PTSD he suffers from the dysfunctional relationship he had with his father, his remorse for the sins he’s committed, and his despair at the idea of being cast out of God and the Church’s good graces.
Transformed from Elena’s captor into her submissive, Allegreto finds himself emotionally eviscerated. And interestingly, it’s when he’s forced to abandon his cool façade and bare his soul that he becomes all the more intriguing and captivating.
Nicholas Boulton’s narration - charismatic and affecting - combined with Kinsale’s brilliant writing skills makes this audiobook intoxicating. As an author / narrator collaboration they represent to me the pinnacle of excellence when it comes to the potential of audiobooks.
"WOW.. Earth Shuddering, LK out did herself."
Days later, I'm still trying to take this one in. I believe I will have to have another listen. I'm kicking myself for not downloading this one earlier. Deep stuff, no doubt!
"Another riveting performance by Boulton!"
Wow... Yes wow! I admit I had to go back and read snippets of Allegreto's character in the first book because I found he was so ill mannered, petuous and unbearable at times. I had trouble accepting him as the main character in this book until I came to know HIM in a different way- so many different ways. This is a totally different style of romance from Kinsale and YES with a bit of dominatrix......AHEM! Nicely done Laura :)
"Great Read if you like BADASS HEROINES!"
Sexy, Intelligent, Bondage
Kinsale's exceptional use of language + Boulton's exceptional use of his voice.
Since listening to Nicholas Boulton narrate Laura Kinsale, i am unable enjoy a romance novel with any other narrator (or by any other author). The richness of his voice and the ease with which he switches between different characters is mesmerizing.
I am currently working my way through all 12 of Kinsale's novels ('Flowers from the Storm' is my favorite), after which i will just need to switch genres and bide my time, while i wait for Laura+Nicholas to release their next audio book.
"Noone does historical romance better!"
Splendid narration and story. Laura Kinsale always delivers a blend of romance,, suspense and completion. These narrator is one of the best and deserves great praise for bringing the characters to life.
"Enjoyable in every way"
The book was suspenseful, romantic, full of interesting characters, and well-read. This book took me through many miles of running!
I would say this is a wonderful book. The intrgue abounds.
the first book in this series.
when Elaine realizes who Allegretto truly is.
"It’s like getting chocolate for the first time!!!"
I am so in love with narrations done by Nicholas Boulton that I keep checking for his new books and literally squeaked out loud when I saw this book. I can say with certainty that he is the BEST narrator of his time.
Now that aside, this book was magnificent. It was even better written than the previous ones published on Audible. LK’s books are so very original and amazingly gripping that I can not put the book down. Clever storyline, great imagination and fabulous character building. An A+ for sure.
"Medieval Hearts: Conclusion."
I have read this book in paperback form and listened with Audible; I would love to have the time to read it again but I doubt it because I have so many other tomes to listen to and read.
Laura Kinsale books are in a class of their own but if I was pushed, they remind me of Dorothy Dunnett but on a much smaller scale, simply because she is unsurpassed!
Without Nicholas Boulton, I cannot imagine anyone else who can bring a book to life and add a completely new dimension to this or any other Laura Kinsale book. He is unsurpassed as a narrator. His voice is pure magic!
Sorry! I haven't a clue. I cannot think of this or any other LK book as a film in this day and age as it/they would be mutilated. Please keep something sacred and special for our imagination.
I can find no fault at all with any of Laura's books or Mr Boulton's performance.
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