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What We’re Reading: The Prince of Midnight

Post by Leslie Gardner
Posted August 26, 2014 in NoveList Bookshelf

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The Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale

Recommended by: Leslie Gardner

What is it about?

Set in 1770s England and France, this historical romance features two flawed protagonists working through emotional and physical disabilities while on a mission of revenge.  S.T. Maitland -- once the renowned highwayman Prince of Midnight -- is now a partially deaf recluse. He is approached by Lady Leigh Strachan who is looking for someone to train her to kill the man who took everything -- family, friends, and property -- that she holds dear.

Why I like it:

I listened to rather than read this book and enjoyed it immensely. The 2013 audiobook edition has given this 1990 title new life through the excellent narration by Nicholas Boulton.  Boulton's expressive voice made it easy for me to immerse myself in the story and his performance let me hear the separate characters and feel the emotions they were experiencing.

I found S.T. Maitland to be swoon-worthy. He was patient and romantic. He strove to protect and love his damsel in distress. I also loved the affection he showered on his companion wolf named Nemo.

Although the Lady Leigh Strachan lost everything good in her life, I felt little sympathy for her due to the constant unkind words and actions towards S.T. Maitland. 

One such diatribe inspired Maitland to win her heart after she regretted letting down her defenses enough to care for an abused horse:

She shoved away from him. "I want to be free of you!" Her cheeks were flushed, her voice high and strident. "You importune me. You inconvenience me. You're a fraud. I wish you gone." … "You're deaf, cocksure dolt -- deaf -- and bungling, and trying to be what you aren't any longer! Do you think you impress me with this?" She flung up her chin. "Do you think I want your help or your horse or your bloody bribes to make me sleep with you?"

This interlude depicting how a rogue gelding was tamed, movingly resembled the care S.T. Maitland took to gain Leigh's trust and heart.

Interesting tidbit:

The original 1990 book won the Best Romance Novel Golden Choice Award from the Romance Writers of America and the cover features Fabio.  The author based the male protagonist's balance difficulties on her sister's temporary inner ear problem.

I'd recommend this book to…

Readers who like their romances steamy and full of angst.  Both protagonists were emotionally damaged and pretty unlikeable at times but I was happy when they finally got to their happy ending. If it's the subject matter that you enjoy, here are a few recommendations.

Historical romance titles featuring highwaymen:

  • Pale Moon Rider by Marsha Canham 
  • Her Officer and Gentleman by Karen Hawkins
  • Come the Night by Christina Skye

Historical romances with a revenge theme such as:

  • Beware a Scot’s Revenge by Sabrina Jeffries
  • The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig
  • That Scandalous Evening by Christina Dodd

Leslie Gardner is a Senior Cataloger at NoveList.