Saturday, September 16, 2017

Flower From The Storm By Laura Kinsale


Rating: ★★★ + .5 | 533 Pages | Avon Books | Historical Romance | 1/1/1992


I feel like there a several l seminal romance novels that I’ve leanred about in my adventures in romancelandia, and one of the big ones is  Flower From The Storm, published in 1992 and proclaimed one of the world’s "most cherished" loves stories.

Jervaulx is a mathemaically gifted but indulgent rogue who suffers a brain hemorrhage that impairs his speech and movement. Consumed by anger and violence he is sent off to an asylum to be forgotten. The only one who seems to notice the humanity that is still in him is Maddy Timms, a devout Quaker whose religious convictions,  inspire her to save him at any cost . It’s the ultimate redemption story that I can see having mass appeal, I think Maddy’s ability to see more than what th book sees as Jervaulx’s disability, iswhat propels this book to the top of many favorites list.

In what I can only assume was daring at the time, Kinsale writes Jervaulx POV from the POV of someone who has suffered a brain hemorrhage, creating what could be seen as an unreliable narrator. When other characters speak the dialogue is written as gibberish and it allow readers to feel the frustration that Jervaulx deals with on a daily basis. In the future I can’t wait to check out the audiobook and see how Nicholas Boulton narrates this.

I think it’s worth noting that this romance has an Alpha hero—a Duke at that--who has essentially lost all his agency. He becomes dependent on Maddy and relies on her to help him escape the ssylum and prove to the world he’s not a madman.

With that said I did have an issue with about  20% of this book, because as Jervaulx fights to prove his worth, I feel like Maddy’s identity got lost. In the end she gives up all of her convictions in service of Jervaulx, some of which she is tricked into doing. And while the ending was dramatic and bough the story full circle,  I don’t think  Jervaulx gave up as much as Maddy in pursuit of his own redemption. 

I found the addition of Jervaulx’s friends (including a lazy churlish vicar and reliable military man) provided some much needed humor. Do they seriously not get books ? Inquiring minds.

There is something about older roances that give them a different tone from modern ones. The dialogue felt more drenched in colloquiliams, most of which I understood thanks to context clues. I was afraid the use of Quaker Plain Speech was going to make this difficult to read but it flows nicely.




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