The Duke of Rockliffe is 36 years old, head of his house, and responsible for his young sister, Nell. He is, therefore, under some pressure to choose a suitable bride. Whilst accompanying Nell to what he speedily comes to regard as the house-party from hell, he meets Adeline Kendrick - acid-tongued, no more than passably good-looking yet somehow alluring. Worse still, her relatives are quite deplorable - from a spoiled, ill-natured cousin to a sadistic, manipulative uncle. As a prospective bride, therefore, Adeline is out of the question. Until, that is, a bizarre turn of events cause the Duke to throw caution to the wind and make what his world will call a mésalliance.
©2016 Stella Riley (P)2016 Stella Riley
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Awesome narrator! Impressive Duke. Heroine with too many secrets and mistrust in said Duke.
This started so well. Sure, the "compromise" was a bit contrived but it worked. The later part of the book bogged down way too much with keeping secrets and all of those ramifications. It became tiresome and I disliked Adeline a lot.
The saving grace was the narrator. I could listen to Alex Wyndham read a cereal box!
"The first half was great but......"
Minimized the misunderstandings
Everything. He's great.
This story had such great characters. For the first half of the book or so, it was great and showed great potential. Then, the author made a turn onto MISUNDERSTANDING LANE which happened to be a dead end. I can't understand why this particular misunderstanding consumed the entire second half of the book. It became tedious and repetitive.
The author could have shortened the book to bring the issue to a head faster or she could have exposed the reason for the misunderstanding and masterfully created a rouse to expose the villain which would have allowed a longer book without all of the angst. Rockliffe deserved so much better than what he got. I fell in love with his character in The Parfait Knight and I still love him. Adeline had potential at the beginning and I really liked her.. she was sharp tongued and charming but by the end, she was a shell of the character I fell in love with.
Of course every romance book has a HEA but be warned it'll come after chapters of tedium.
The narrator is AMAZING. No complaints about Alex Wyndham's performance. He's masterful. I could listen to him all day!
First half of the story: 5
Second half of the story: 1
Overall story: 3
"More to it than the average romance"
This series really appeals to me for a couple of reasons. Alex Wyndham is a wonderful narrator. Also the hero and heroine are surrounded by a cast of friends and family, some of whom appear in other books. This gives it more depth and I really enjoy the importance of friendship. In some romances, the main characters seem to live in a vacuum. There also is some humor, which I always enjoy. I'm looking forward to the next book.
"A delightful nonsensical story."
What a great book to listen to while doing a craft project or housework. Clever and whitty and the perfect ending. Book 2.
I loved the continuation of the series, wonderful characters, superb writing and amazing narration. One of the things I enjoy about Stella Riley's writing is the thoughtfulness of the main male character. Although Rockcliffe has a temper, he cools down and works out other possible reasons for Adeline's behavior and trusts in her inherent goodness (most of the time) . So often male characters in HR novels are total idiots until the very end and never think logically at all. I find a thinking man with an ironic sense of humour much more appealing and interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it highly. I could also listen to Alex Wyndham recite the phone book - he is that good.
"Alex Wyndham rocked my world again"
I can NOT explain and do it justice as to how AW's portrayal of the hero leaves you completely beguiled and in love. This in conjunction with Stella Riley (Lucinda Brant, 😉) ability to write the most clever dialogue I have seen in a long while. Absolutely brilliantly written characters. I only wish she never stops writing. Although I see similarities in her hero's characters and to some extent her heroins, I still adore her books. My only dislike is having to wait for the next book in the series. Thank you both for providing some of my most enjoyable moments.
"Couldn't stop listening"
I thouroughly enjoyed this book! I loved the plot, the side stories and the excellent performance of the narrator.
"Stella Riley & Lucinda Brant are DIFFERENT people!"
Definitely one of my all-time favourites. The story is brilliantly constructed and is filled with wonderfully rounded and engaging characters; and Alex Wyndham's performance is sublime.
Towards the end when Rockliffe's much vaunted control begins to snap. Alex Wyndham is just brilliant in conveying the sense that the character is close to the edge without turning him into a completely different character.
Rockliffe - no contest:)
One reviewer here states that Stella Riley and Lucinda Brant are the same person. They most definitely are NOT. The Mésalliance was originally published in 1990 and was then revised and republished by Ms Riley in 2012.
Just because two authors happen to use the same narrator and set their books in similar time periods doesn't mean they must be the same person. And incidentally their writing styles are very different.
"Scandalous Beginnings Lead to Perfect Endings"
4.5 for the story and 5 Stars for Alex Wyndham's narration!
Having fallen in love with the Duke of Rockliffe from his role in The Parfit Knight, nevermind the oh so soothing and sexy voice of Alex Wyndham (who narrates this series), I just knew I had to listen to The Mesalliance to get Rockliffe's story. Delivering another thoroughly enchanting and heartfelt tale, Ms. Stella Riley has impressed me yet again with her true gift for romantic writing.
As the head of his family, the Duke of Rockliffe's days as a bachelor are inevitably limited. So when his duties lead him to quite the dreaded house party--as the escort for his sister who is also in the market for a suitable match and has her own ideas as to who might be a proper duchess for Rockliffe--the Duke maneuvers what could be quite the scandalous situation into a solution for his familial obligations and his need for a wife.
Adeline Kendrick has been plagued by misfortune since her childhood when a series of unfortunate events end up with her being left with her Aunt and Uncle to be raised. In this household she is treated like quite the cinderella, frequently used to clean up after her two cousins and made to feel like she doesn't belong. Adeline being quite spirited and quick witted, however, survives as best she can and has learned how to deliver little spiteful blows that generally go unnoticed given her shrewdness (and the lack thereof by her Aunt and her favorite, spoiled daughter, Cousin Diana, who are particularly disdainful of Adeline and have their own plans for turning Diana into the future Duchess of Rockcliffe).
Rockcliffe never imagined marrying for love. His only expectations were to fulfill his obligations. And Adeline certainly never expected to escape her evil Aunt's and Uncle's grasp (though the truly evil Uncle is her Aunt's brother, not her Aunt's husband--who seems, along with one of the cousins, to have some altruism to his disposition though its generally squelched by the general black heartedness of the Aunt and Diana); much less be presented with such a higher station. However, when everyone has an opinion as to who should be the future Duchess of Rockcliffe, and many are willing to manipulate the situation to make it happen or at the very least to manipulate the situation for their own advantage, and given her own bold and unlikely background, could there possibly be a HEA in the future for her and Rockcliffe?
As for the narration, Alex Wyndham's performance is simply perfection. Mr. Wyndham's voice is just so dramatically appealing and his attention to the detail of the specific story being told is superb. This is now my third book by Mr. Wyndham and I am clamoring for more.
One of the features that makes Mr. Wyndham's narrations so amazing is his ability to create highly differentiated and personality specific voices for each one of the characters. From the aristocratic and tongue in cheek humor that is so characteristic of Rockcliffe, to the generally somber and yet intellectual voice of Adeline, Mr. Wyndham does perfect justice to the characters that Ms. Riley has penned.
Lovers of historical romance and audiobooks will not want to miss this gem (in fact, the entire series should be on your TBL). Now I can't wait to listen to the third and final book in this series, The Player.
Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
"Very elegant and intoxicating listen"
I loved this. It is the second Stella Riley novel I have listened to and aside from Alex Wyndham breathing a life into characters that only he can do, the story itaelf was rich and mature, the plot well set. xx
"A charming Georgian romance, expertly narrated"
The Duke of Rockliffe is 36, handsome, wealthy and the epitome of gentlemanly elegance and good manners. He needs to find himself a wife, but unfortunately, he has yet to meet the lady who won't bore him witless. When an unscrupulous, spoiled débutante attempts to trap him into marriage, her plan goes awry when she is thwarted by her downtrodden cousin, Adeline - who becomes the recipient of Rockliffe's offer of marriage instead when the pair are discovered in a compromising position.
Adeline is no beauty, but there is something about her strength of character and defiantly waspish tongue that attracts the duke, and he is surprised to discover that he can make an offer of marriage to her with no misgivings. The wedding takes place quickly, but Adeline, taught by life to be cautious, is wary of revealing the depth of her feelings for him to her new husband, and asks for time to become accustomed to marriage before they consummate the union.
Not without difficulty, Rockliffe agrees, deciding to give Adeline the courtship she missed out on - but just as things seem to be going his way, Adeline's smarmy uncle tells her a secret about her past and threatens to reveal it to her husband if she doesn't pay him to keep quiet. This sets off a series of misunderstandings that threaten to spiral out of control, and it becomes difficult to see how things can ever be put right.
I'm not not wild about the Big Misunderstanding in romances, but I've been a fan of Stella Riley's for a long time, and I knew that she would make it work. The story gets very angsty, but she handles it extremely well, especially when it comes to Rockliffe, a man famous for his sang-found, but who finds himself getting closer and closer to the edge. All in all, the writing is intelligent and charming and the characterisation strong; there are a couple of sweet secondary romances along the way, as well as a mystery for Rockliffe to uncover in France. It's a terrific story, and is made even better by Alex Wyndham's superb performance. His interpretation of Rockliffe is spot on - he's unhurried, unruffled (until he isn't!) and does a brilliant job in conveying the tumult of emotion that is bubbling under the surface of his polished exterior.
The book has a fairly large cast of secondary characters, but Mr Wyndham rises to the challenge with aplomb, because every single one - whether male or female - is clearly delineated and easy to identify. I've listened to him a number of times now, and he is just getting better and better.
The Mésalliance is another must-listen for fans of this author and narrator combination and for fans of historical romance in general.
"A great story, great characters & beautifully read"
The characters have real depth - even the small parts - and you understand their motivations and can really engage with them emotionally. The historic period also 'lives' without sounding like a dull history lesson - you enjoy the background and it enhances the overall story.
Rockcliffe - of course - but also the heroine who manages to have character and wit and be a good foil to the hero. The cast of lesser characters also 'live' in their own right, as well as telling you things about the hero and heroine.
His ability not to intrude himself onto the story while making every character live' in their own right. There is never a problem knowing who is talking and whether they are inwardly thinking or talking out loud and the women are women not high pitched-speaking wimps!
The part where Adeline sees Rock for the first time with his hair un-powdered (a scene nicely echoed in reverse a little later) and when Rock finally loses it at the end and displays his real feelings.
It is rare to run across a book where the characters have such depth and which combines humour and witty dialogue with a strong sense of period - overall a delight and highly recommended.
The hero was sexy and adorable, heroine a bit frustrating but a great conclusion!
Great cast of characters and the narration was spot on as usual. Alex Wyndham is excellent!
"Stella Riley & Alex Wyndham – A ‘Tour de Force’"
Stella Riley & Alex Wyndham – A ‘Tour de Force’
The second book in Stella Riley’s Rockliffe series narrated by Alex Wyndham is a true ‘Tour de Force’.
Once again Ms Riley’s characterisation is superb and the story flows along like a gentle stream with Rockliffe – brilliantly narrated by Alex Wyndham – looking for a wife but just sauntering through life with his usual languid air.
Suddenly he meets Adeline Kendrick, described as no raving beauty but very sharp and fascinating, which is something Rockliffe finds frustratingly attractive.
The story then unfolds as Rockliffe falls desperately in love with Adeline and she with him. But as usual there are challenges along the way and problems to be encountered.
And it is here where Stella Riley and Alex Wyndham score emphatically. The writing throughout is extremely stylish, the dialogue is natural, often witty and the characters are so well-drawn and so supremely narrated by Alex Wyndham that you feel you know them personally.
The book is well paced, the love story stunningly handled and when we come to the denouement and Rockcliffe’s true feelings are shown in the last chapter, we finally see him completely unravel. Everything he’s felt and thought for months comes pouring out in a torrent of emotion – and, if I have a favourite bit, it was this - handled with absolute perfection by Mr. Wyndham.
A true ‘Tour de Force’.
I believe Ms Riley’s third audible book in the Rockliffe series ‘The Player’ is coming soon and I for one just can’t wait for it to be released.
"Great throughly enjoyed"
I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed the performance although the female accents sounded somewhat wimpy.
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