Tragedy drove him into unwilling exile. Death demands his reluctant return. In the decade between, he has answered to many names and amassed a variety of secrets. Now the actor known to Paris as L'Inconnu must resume his real identity and become Francis Adrian Sinclair Devereux, Earl of Sarre...a man he no longer knows how to be and whose name, thanks to the malice of a friend turned enemy, remains tarnished by an old scandal. Revenge, so long avoided, slithers temptingly from the shadows.
Granddaughter of a wealthy wool-merchant, Caroline Maitland is not finding her society debut either easy of enjoyable...but, to Marcus Sheringham, she is the perfect solution to his crushing mountain of debt. Knowing she will be married for her money, Caroline never believed she would find love; but neither did she bargain for a certain charming French highwayman...and a surprising turn of events. The stage is set, the cast assembled, and the Duke of Rockliffe waits for the curtain to rise. In the wings, Lord Sarre prepares to make his entrance. He doesn't expect to be greeted with applause.
©2015 Stella Riley (P)2016 Stella Riley
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"One of the best traditional romances I've heard"
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book, but once I got into it, I couldn't stop listening. This is my favorite kind of hero - one who is an actor when he needs to be someone else, has a wicked sense of humour, and gets himself out of situations in ways I'd never imagine. I check the Amazon reviews before buying most books (and if I don't I usually end up returning them), and this book is one I'd recommend. The reader was perfect. How many characters argue with themselves while playing two different people?
"Best one of the series"
I've listened to all three books-this one is the most interesting and funny. The first two are good-and listening to them in order would be best. Alex Wyndham out does himself with the accents!!
"My new favorite author and a fabulous narrator"
I loved this book! Everything about it.
Alex Wyndham is my favorite male narrator for period romances. He does a wonderful job with all the characters. It's too often that a male narrator makes the female characters sound like whiny children or old ladies. Wyndham is perfect!
This has been a great series. I'm so glad I discovered it recently so all the books were available in audio format. I hope there are more. Stella Riley is one of my new favorites.
"Love love loved this series"
Amazing characters and storyline along with Alex Wyndham-what more could you ask for.
I hope you are continuing this series as each one has been a jewel.
All. That man is a genius.
I was pretty disappointed with the previous book in this series. I wash hoping this one would be better and it was by far. The book started out with potential although I was a bit annoyed by the way that things progressed because I could see it causing a huge ongoing conflict. There was a brief moment where I thought the travel down Misunderstanding Lane would consume the book but luckily enough, the author tidied the conflict up in a reasonable time.
From there, it kept getting better. Despite not knowing much about the hero, I really connected with him. There's a great host of secondary characters and laugh out loud moments throughout the entire book. I just LOVE The Duke of Rockliffe. I wish that his book has been better (i.e. not having a secret/conflict consume the entire story). Very good read that I was done with in pretty much one day.
We don't even need to talk about Alex Wyndham. That man has a voice that I can listen to all day. I ♥ him.
4.5 stars for story
5 stars for narration
"Sigh Worthy Earl"
I have enjoyed this series so much but I think this book is, so far, my favorite of all. I love a book that basis it's love on true love and gives a legitimate reason as to how that was formed. What I find frustrating is that in most other books love is based on looks mostly and here that is entirely taken out of the equation. An engaging and wonderful story, characters to fall in love with and a believable plot. Can't go wrong with this book.
"4.5 Story & 5+ Narration Stars!"
4.5 "The Gentleman Actor and the Merchant's Daughter" Stars for the story and 5+ Stars for the narration! (Narration by Alex Wyndham)Stella Riley's creative imagination and wit are in top form for the third book in the Rockcliffe Series, The Player. Proving her ability to weave in unconventional and unique circumstances into a romantic tale, Ms. Riley kept me intrigued and on my toes throughout the entire listen (a 10+ hour listen which I devoured over two short days!). Moreover, Alex Wydham's appealing and soothing voice kept me glued to my earbuds. The rumors surrounding his rushed departure from his home in England have kept Adrian Sinclair Devereux away for a decade. But upon becoming the Earl of Sarre, he can no longer run away from his fate, so home he returns with revenge plans in hand.Having survived in the interim in Paris through an unconventional trade for a gentleman--one which mixed gambling and acting--he soon finds himself leaning on old habits when he uncovers a potential damsel in distress (Caroline Maitland). Caroline appears perilously close to falling victim to a former friend who betrayed him in the worst of possible ways (Marcus Sheringham). Caroline's grandfather has determined to marry her off to a gentleman with a title, and as is typical of the time, the one who has taken a particular interest in her (Marcus), is much more interested in her dowry than love. But the only way Adrian can get close to her involves him polishing off his old acting skills, so he dusts off one of his favorite roles and puts on a show worthy of an encore. But though Sarre first crossed paths with Caroline as an unintended effect of his planned revenge, he must soon determine if his role in the play that involves her salvation (and, in turn, Marcus' damnation) is merely an act spurred by revenge or driven by something much deeper and heartfelt. Moreover, having met her under a cloud of deception will he be able to convince Caroline that he has her true interests at heart?As always, Alex Wyndham delivers a spell-binding narration. Without a doubt Mr. Wyndham is one of my top-favorite historical romance narrators. His voice is so soothing and his deliver is always perfectly timed to give heightened effect to the scene enacted. Additionally, Mr. Wyndham's attention to even the minutest details is sublime. From the age to the regional accent of each character (and even of the same character, like Adrian who switches accents back and forth depending on the role he is playing), you can count on Mr. Wyndham to present both an authentic and easily distinguishable voice for each and every character that perfectly matches the story Ms. Riley has written. Perhaps one of my favorite things about Ms Riley's romances is her ability to capture the societal conventions of the historic times she writes about. Things that appear trivial in today's world, such as whether you earned or inherited your wealth, had profound ramifications in the times Ms Riley writes about. Capturing this cultural depiction and mixing it together with compelling characters worthy of a true HEA makes her romances especially endearing. The Player is no different, and given Mr. Wyndham's extraordinary narration to boot, deserves to be on every historical romance listener's to be listened to list. Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
"Another Alex Wyndham Masterpiece"
This is the 3rd in the Rockliffe Series and Stella Riley is the true standard bearer in romantic fiction for the reader interested in an actual plot. The Player may not be as compellingly rendered as Volumes 1 & 2 (there are a few irritating loose ends and no hint of a Volume 4 as yet!) however her the continued expansion of Rock's world is as engaging as ever. She is SUCH a gift to the thinking reader who also loves a good old fashioned romance. And three cheers for Riley with her brilliant interplay of love, lust and desire without resorted to canned, uninspired sex scenes. Highly recommended.
I love this series. Alex Wyndham takes me to another world with his fantastic accents and his female characters are positively astounding.
"the book was on target. well written."
good plot and characterization perhaps a little too much of the plot is giving away a little too early but still well worth the time excellent voice acting
Yes, without hesitation because it is beautifully written and brilliantly narrated.
Mr Bailes - see review
A expertise in being able to transition seamlessly from one character to another and then back into the narrative. All his characters are well crafted.
Yes - Mr Bailes - see review.
Sublime is the one word I can use to describe the final audio in Stella Riley’s Rockliffe series, The Player.
Once again the collaboration between Ms Riley and Alex Wyndham has proved to be a triumph because of the written and narrated content.
The hero in The Player is Francis Adrian Sinclair Devereux, Earl of Sarre who has spent the last 10 years living in France only returning to England now due to a family bereavement.
While living in France he has learned new interesting skills (I won’t say more!) and acquired a good friend Bertrand who adds a lot of fun to the story. As a result French and English characters are sprinkled throughout the book so Mr Wyndham has to narrate the different languages that he does seamlessly - Wonderful.
The storyline is typically Stella Riley with assured and well-constructed dialogue between all characters where not one word is wasted - Superb.
There are a number of touching scenes in the book but my favourite is when Adrian meets a former employee of his father, Mr Bailes. This is beautifully written and with a real emotional pull.
I will not say anymore regarding the plot but will concluded by highly recommending this book to anyone who likes a really good romance coupled with an outstanding narration, which I can only describe as Sublime.
"Another absolute winner from the Riley/Wyndham team."
I have quickly come to realise that if I see the name Stella Riley on the cover of a novel then I know I'm going to disappear into 'book land' and not emerge for hours! THE PLAYER is no exception and add the velvet voiced, talented and versatile, Alex Wyndham, into the mix and we have perfection, clear and simple.
THE PLAYER, the third in Ms. Riley's Rockliffe series is simply superb. There are deeply moving moments, giggly moments and sheer genius moments. Stella Riley has a deep understanding of human nature and because of this quite unique talent, her writing tweaks something in my heart every time. All of her books are different yet she subtly introduces old friends/favourites - like the swoon worthy Rock from THE PARFIT KNIGHT and THE MÉSALLIANCE - into each of her stories.
Ms. Riley couldn't have chosen a more perfect narrator to perform her fab books; long may their partnership continue. I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her writing.....The whole series is highly recommended.
"Witty & romantic"
Wonderful. Great characters, well written and funny too. A worthy successor to Georgette Heyer. More Rockliffe novels please
This book was a delight from star to finish. It is a good stand alone story but better if read in order The Parfait Knight A Misalliances then The Player.
"An excellent end to an outstanding trilogy"
The Player is the final book in the Rockliffe trilogy, the others being The Parfait Knight & The Mesalliance. All 3 books are very well written & read superbly by Alex Wyndham. The stories ideally would be read in chronological order, but I think wouldn't detract from each story if that wasn't possible. The first book centres around The Marquis of Amberley and the beautiful blind Rosalind; the second is about the Duke of Rockliffe & his life and the third (The Player) around Adrian Deveroux & the Yorkshire heiress Caroline. All 3 tales have Rockliffe (or Rock as he is known to his friends) featured in the storylines. He is, like the other 2 men, a wonderful, gallant hero (very much in the style of the Duke of Avon in GH's These Old Shades, which is one of my favourites).
All the main male characters are handsome, but all have a vulnerable, sensitive side to them, which endears them to the reader. I really enjoyed the minor male characters who were friends to our 3 hero's - Jack, Harry, Philip & Nicholas. I really enjoyed their male relationships, they were written as such good friends to each other, which was a joy to be a part of.
The main female characters were also well drawn, my favourites being blind Rosalind who was gorgeous and in The Player, Caroline. I was a little unsure about Rock's lady - I thought she should have been more feisty.
Rock, Adrian and Caroline
He is a superb reader. Like Nicholas Boulton, he acts out the story as well as reading it too. I think there is nothing finer than a well-written book that has a superb narrator. Stella Riley & Alex Wyndham are an outstanding combination. Highly recommended.
Yes. I didn't manage it in one sitting, but over two days, staying up into the early hours to finish off the last few chapters.
All 3 books very highly recommended.
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