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Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Lord of ScoundrelsNarrated by Kate Reading

It was a great day in the audiobook section of Romancelandia when the announcement was made that Lord of Scoundrels was finally to be released in this format. When I found out that Kate Reading was narrating, I swear I heard angels sing. It is a perfect match between text and the narrator and I spent most of the listen in a kind of happy daze. (You can listen to sound samples here.)

Lord of Scoundrels is a classic in the romance genre. It regularly tops polls for favourite romance ever and it was one of the early books I read when I got back into romance a few years ago. I didn’t realise then how genre-busting and subversive it actually is. Now, looking back on it from a position of far greater experience in the genre (although I am still a newbie compared to some of the people around the place), I can see where Jessica Trent is so very different form the everyday Regency heroine. I adore her.

For a start, she is 27 – veritably on the shelf. She is smart and doesn’t try to hide it. She has little interest in marriage because she knows that legally speaking, it means her husband owns her. In fact, when she is bantering with the Marquis of Dain at one point, they explicitly discuss this fact. As it happens, when they’re having this discussion there is a wonderful subtext which makes the conversation a kind of foreplay. When I first read the book I didn’t get that subtext. Listening, I absolutely did.

Kate Reading has a lovely, kind of deepish, kind of strident voice which is perfect for Jessica. She is a no-nonsense miss and no ingénue. While she is a virgin, she is not innocent – thanks to her wonderful grandmother, the outrageous, wise, and sexually adventurous Genevieve.

Ms. Reading deepens her voice further for Dain and adds a bit of husk. She absolutely nails his gruff tones and his complete cluelessness when it comes to Jessica. He is so delightfully besotted and so entirely out of his depth when it comes to the finer emotions.

The first part of the book sets up the audience to feel empathy for the unloved child Dain was, the monster he saw himself to be (and still does). So, when we meet him all grown up and being all about the debauchery, we are less inclined to judge him harshly. When Jessica comes to Paris to try and rescue her brother, Bertie, from Dain’s evil clutches, she is surprised to find herself viscerally attracted to him. They butt heads over Bertie and even as Jessica tries to negotiate with Dain to get her brother out of trouble and out of debt, their inescapable attraction meets Dain’s loveless past and it all combines to mean ruin and the longest misunderstanding of the novel (which is, thankfully, not terribly long). It also sets up one of the most iconic scenes in romance and demonstrates again why Lord of Scoundrels is so delightfully subversive.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a big fan of misunderstandings in romance novels (or any novel really). Here, the misunderstandings are, for the most part, dealt with quickly and Jessica is wise to realise that, even when she feels hurt by things that Dain does, it most probably doesn’t have anything to do with her. How often do you see that in a romance novel?  *Adore*

Essentially, the novel is Dain’s journey from unloved to loved and thus, he learns how to love, as Jessica leads the demonstration.

The banter is the best part of this book. The back and forth between Jessica and Genevieve, Jessica and Bertie, Bertie and Dain, and Jessica and Dain. It’s all wonderful. I enjoyed it even better in audio format than in print and I loved it in print.

I first heard Kate Reading’s narration in Lois McMaster Bujold’s excellent Paladin of Souls (here’s my review). If possible, her performance was even better here. The joy of the book is in the snappy dialogue and the subtext of emotion underlying it.  Kate Reading absolutely nails this every single time.I cannot fault this narration. Let me put it this way – she’s giving Nicholas Boulton a run for his money.

I can’t recommend this book enough.  Get thee to an audiobook retailer. Stat.

Kaetrin


Narration:  A+

Book Content:  A

Steam Factor:  Glad I had my earbuds in

Violence:  Fighting

Genre:  Historical Romance

Publisher:  Blackstone Audio

 

Lord of Scoundrels was provided to AudioGals for review by Blackstone Audio.

 

15 comments

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  1. Krista

    This is my all time favorite historical romance!

    1. Kaetrin

      You’re in for an audio treat Krista!

  2. Bea

    Words fail me to convey how much I enjoyed this book in audio format. i agree with everything you pointed out, it was perfection. Thank you so much for your review

    1. Kaetrin

      You’re welcome Bea. I was running out of superlatives! :)

    2. Brenda

      Bea you voiced thoughts straight from my head – there aren’t words to describe how wonderful listening to Lord of Scoundrels is. I know I’ll be listening to this one again and again!

      1. Bea

        I’m already listening to it again and I’m enjoying it more this time. I didn’t think that could be possible!

        1. Brenda

          Bea I’ve just finished my second listen as well – birds of a feather. :D I can not believe how many subtle (and not so subtle) aspects Kate Reading brought home for me with her narration. I’m such a greedy reader – always skimming straight to conversations no matter how many times I re read! I found through listening I missed many of the subtle undercurrents that made Dain who he was. Which Kaetrin points out beautifully in the review

          But I’ve never been one of those that pay so little attention to the nuances that they think Dain is an ugly hero (as I’ve read many times by those who criticize this iconic story}. From the very start it talks of his beautiful mother and how much he resembles her so I knew he was a big gorgeous male who took after his mother and her Italian heritage. His self loathing caused by his fathers cruel treatment along with being a swarthy skinned boy in a world where pale white skin was prized was perfectly understandable while not being the truth. Many of those who criticized the story need to listen to this one so they can easily pick up on Dain being a big beautiful man to everyone but himself (because of self image issues).

          There was no greater match for him than Jessica with her background of raising her younger male cousins and thus understanding the male mind! :)

          1. Bea

            Exactly Brenda! I’m a newbie in the field of audiobooks (only one year and a half) and although I’m delighted with this wonderful discovery, in many cases where i’d read the book in print format before I felt the narration detracted greatly from the reading experience. In one’s mind you hear the voices, the inflections, the subtle nuances and you end up disappointed if the listening experiece does not match your imagination. In the case of LoS the exact opposite is true. Through Kate Reading’s narration Dain is slowly unwrapped before our mind’s eyes like a delicious chocolate, in more than one way ;). His character’s development is beatifully done by Loretta Chase. We come to realize that the physical ugliness of Dain as a grown man is told only through his POV. Throuh Jessica’s POV we discover him and see him with fresh eyes. Jessica responds to him on many levels and although the physical aspect is important to us (this is a romance, we have to fall for the heroe’s sex appeal after all), we also fall in love with his intelligence, dry wit and sense of humor. We discover, as Jessica does, his hidden sweetness and feelings. It’s beautifully done in the book and KR’s performance enhaces the experiece. The voices for Jessica and Dain are perfect. Seldom we hear a narrator nail the voice of the opposite sex with such accuracy. I agree completely with Kaetrin, Kate Reading is giving Nick Boulton a run for his money. And that says a lot. Do you want to know about my dreamboat? Kate and Nick paired as narrators in a romance audiobook. M/F narrators is a trend that is showing great results. So why not this pairing? Let’s dream about it

  3. Brenda

    Kaetrin I may not have the words to express my love of the listen but you’ve expressed the wonder of Lord of Scoundrels beautifully! I couldn’t agree with you more on each and every aspect!

    1. Kaetrin

      Thank you Brenda :)

      I don’t re-listen very often but I expect this will be one of them. I’m so happy that Blackstone chose such a perfect narrator for this story.

  4. Brenda

    Well that’s a recommendation in itself K! A seldom re listener willing to do so for this title.

    A perfect narrator and DRM free from Blackstone – it doesn’t get any better.

  5. Kaetrin

    Oh yes Bea – Nick Boulton and Kate Reading paired for a narration would be pretty special.

    What other successes have you had since you’ve been listening? Maybe we can give you some recommendations.

  6. leslie

    OMG!! ” This is so good” doesn’t even describe how delicious Lord of the Scoundrels is in audio. I have fallen madly in love with Dain (again). Kate Reading is spectacular!

    1. Kaetrin

      We can squee together :)

  7. kathy

    I’ve read this twice but I’m picking up so much more with the audio. I’m laughing more too.

    A+ story
    A+ narration

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