Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on January 5th 2004
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era, Russia, Royalty
Narrator: Marian Hussey
Length: 16 Hours and 57 Mins
Source: Self Purchased
She played a dangerous game. Carolyn Browne was a poor bookseller's daughter and an enlightened thinker, delighting London with her scathingly witty columns, written under the name Charles Copperville. Penetrating the town's gilded salons in male disguise, Carolyn soon throws her barbs at the wrong man-- the enigmatic Russian prince, Nicholas Sverayov.
He was a dangerous target. His notoriety, extravagances, and indulgent disregard for social convention fuel Carolyn's outrage. Nicholas has moved through the balls and soirees of high society effortlessly, a natural target of gossip, envy, and desire. But Nicholas is furious to find himself lampooned by Copperville, and quickly discovers Carolyn's dearly held secret. Now, as the two spar, a new game begins-- a game of deception and pride, of longing and chance.
And they played for the ultimate prize... As Nicholas sweeps Carolyn from the teeming streets and gala balls of Regency London to the splendor and majesty of St. Petersburg, against all odds the unlikely lovers embark upon a whirlwind of passion and peril until there is no turning back-- for the stakes have changed, demanding no less of them than the unwavering courage to claim the love of a lifetime.
Carolyne Brown was the daughter of a poor bookseller. She had a fierce love of books, but when she found a way to add to their income, she grabbed at it. Carolyne is an enlightened thinker, and she writes witty columns about scandal and deceit of the workings of the Ton and high society. She disguises herself to get more information, but there is one man that she is intrigued by. Prince Nicholas Sverayov. He is famous, notorious for his lady loves and his disregard for rules of morality. Prince Nicholas Sverayov, has come to England for a specific reason. He is to try to get a treaty with the British, to aid in their help against Napolean’s forces. But when he spies a stranger sneaking around his home, he is outraged until he learns that the He is a woman. He goes on a charade all the while knowing of her true identity. Nicholas is intrigued by this slip of a woman who is so different from any other woman he has ever wanted. She is intelligent, book smart, and crafty and very passionate at times. He knows that he is no good for Carolyne, but wants her anyway. But will their love affair turn out to be disastrous or the best miracle they could conceive of?
Prince Nicholas Sverayov, did the duty to his country. He is a military man, and serves his leader and cousin with honor and distinction. He married a woman he was duty bound to, but despite her beauty lies a deceitful snake inside. He is grateful for the little girl he claims as his own, even though he suspects she isn’t his real daughter but he loves her just as much as if he had help in her creation. Nicholas and his wife have been estranged for over five years. They lead seperate lives. Until he arrives in England, and she follows him there. Because she is lonely and needs some entertainment and brings their daughter. Nicholas is a hero I admired. He is loyal and strong and dedicated to protecting his country and those he loves at all cost. He isn’t perfect though, he enjoys women just as much as any man. But he has never known true love, never though it would be possible. We see how Nicholas changes through the course of the story. He becomes selfless and only wants the best for Carolyne even if it means to lose the only woman he could ever love.
Carolyne Browne lost her mother when she was but a child, and was raised by her father who was poor but did his best to raise her to be self aware and intelligent and look for true love. She knew her parents loved each other and she dreamed of finding the same. Carolyne is smart, sassy and pretty. She paves her own path, and does what is necessary. She does have high morals, but the moment she meets Nicholas, she starts to realize that life isn’t so black and white, that there are shades of grey. As she becomes more consumed by her feelings of this mysterious Russian prince, she does she begin to doubt herself and where the future leads. Carolyne was a bit different but I really liked her. She stands her own ground, a bit of a feminist at times, but she also dreams of love and is waiting for it. We see how she handles different situations that stumble her way. She could be a bit naive at times, but when you look at her background, it makes sense. I quite enjoyed seeing the changes in her through the story.
Plot and Story Line
Splendor has been a story I have been wanting to read for the LONGEST time. So when I saw it on sale at Audible, I grabbed it right up!! I had no idea it was on audio and I started listening right away. A Russian prince and a bookish heroine?? YES I am going to pick that one right up. The only one detail about the story I was a bit unsure about was that the hero is married, albeit estranged for years. But as the story gets going, I fell in love with the writing and the plot that I just couldn’t put it down despite the fact that Nicholas is married. But I did feel that Brenda Joyce handles this aspect of the story very well, much better than I expected. Nicholas Wife is quite a viper in my opinion especially in how she treats her own daughter….like she is pretty trinket to bring out when it suits her. The daughter, adds a special element to the story. I loved how Nicholas is with her and is very quiet and shy until she is around Carolyne, and she brightens up and becomes such a happy child. Thus we see Carolyne agree to become her companion, because even though Nicholas needs her around even if nothing can happen between them, he knows how good she would be for his daughter. My heart just ached for this pair, because they love each other and can do nothing about it. I did like how it’s not an insta lust type of story. Where they have sex right away…nope it is toward the last part of the story before that happens. Which was wise of the author to do and is pretty light in comparison to more modern romances now. This story takes us from the streets of London to the exotic lands of St. Petersberg and the war that wages there. This couple really goes through the ringer, but I really liked how it resolved in the end. This story was quite different, is a bit longer than most romances are now but what a blast I had with this story. I just couldn’t put it down, I felt so intrigued by this forbidden romance but no worries these two eventually find their HEA.
In this narrator I found so much greatness here!! I had never heard of this one before, but I liked her from the beginning. She handled the historical details so well and her transferrations of the different characters was very well done!! I am curious to listen to more of her.
With a simple yet pretty cover. I love the Tiara with the pink backdrop.
Splendor is a tale of forbidden love, unexpected thrills and a slow building romance that will have you cheering this pair on!!! FANTASTIC.