I haven't actually read this book, but listening to the recently released audio version narrated -- I should say perhaps "enacted" -- by Nicholas Boulton was a wonderful experience. At first, the plot reminded me of a Georgian 'Cat Ballou' (an old movie, for you young 'uns, where Jane Fonda wants washed-up gunslinger Lee Marvin to emerge from retirement to avenge her family). There's that same feeling of disappointment and chagrin when she finds that her legendary hero is a drunken mess who's utterly incapable of helping her even if he wanted to. Except Cat Ballou is a comedy and this book most definitely is not.
At times, it was grim and hard to listen to. Terrible things have happened to S.T. and Leigh, and they continue to happen. But then, I fell in love with S.T. and started to hate Leigh for being so mean to him. From what I read of the reviews, that's a pretty typical reaction. There is a deeply felt romance and lots of adventure, leading up to what I wasn't positive would be a happy ending. At times, I was so anxious about what would happen next that I actually increased the listening speed.
Laura Kinsale is an exquisite writer, and I've loved every book of hers that I've read. In choosing Nick Boulton to narrate her books, she really hit the ball out of the park. He is utterly amazing! I have no doubt that I'll listen to every book that he does, blowing my book budget for months.
If you are at all into audiobooks, listen to this one and to [b:Flowers from the Storm|18042822|Flowers from the Storm|Laura Kinsale|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1370508972s/18042822.jpg|788122].