Daphne du Maurier is a writer second to none, and one of the reasons that I have an obsession with historical fiction and romance: from the titles I read in high school and college, to the classic Rebecca, the quality of the prose, description and characters are exemplary.
The King’s General
In The King’s General, we have traveled back to the English Civil War and are presented with a story that highlights war, loss, love and scenes from a Cornish perspective. Far different from others I have read, this perspective brings with it a clear visualization of the setting and horrors of war, as well as the overlying grief and terror of the citizens.
Honor Harris is the heroine of the story, and she is reflecting back on her life and love as she details her life and love in a time of war. At eighteen, she met and fell in love with a young Richard Greenville. Honor, at this point, even with her own polishing up of her personality, was a typical woman of her time, a bit selfish and self-driven although highly uninformed about the realities of life. Richard is a single-minded young man, one who will rise to prominence in the army of Charles I, and isn’t always a wonderful archetypal romantic figure. But, these two share a grand passion, one that survives Honor’s tragic accident that left her a paraplegic and her subsequent refusal to see Richard again.
From her hideaway in her brother-in-laws home after her accident start to reveal the intrigues buried within the story: in a time of civil war where intrigues are plentiful, and one never is certain which side is right, or which action will aid in bringing about the end of hostilities, the intrigue and mystery add to the larger picture of a country at war, and are detailed and described with accuracy. Dialogue plays a huge part in this story: Honor and Richard’s conversation are well detailed: one could be sitting at the table watching the back and forth of the players, enjoying the comic and biting moments.
With a chance meeting of Honor and Richard years later show the feelings and passion have not waned, Honor is unwilling to saddle Richard with ‘a cripple’, but their passions and relationship continue in varying ways throughout the remainder of Honor’s story: emotional, sensual and wholly passionate this is writing at its finest. The ability to portray and present passion and emotion that is all encompassing and tactile is the sign of a wonderful book, and even through the slower moments where battles and war are detailed, the promise of returning to that passion has readers glued to the pages, waiting patiently.
Narration in this story is provided by Juliet Stevenson, and her portrayal of the elder Honor relating her life story misses nothing. With appropriate accents, pitch and tone, Stevenson brings Honor to life, and allows readers to bask in the emotion of the moment, revel in the interactions between characters, and appreciate the growth and knowledge that Honor gains as her story progresses. With subtle changes to delineate characters, utilizing the emotion and tension presented in the writing without excess emoting, this was a listen that was meant to be savored and enjoyed, and enjoy it I did.
Stars Overall 5 Narration 4 Story 5
Title: The King's General
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Genre: Historical Romance
Narrator: Juliet Stevenson
Published by: Hachette Audio, Little Brown
Published on: 16 December 2014
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 13 Hours: 10 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
Honor Harris is only eighteen when she first meets Richard Grenvile, proud, reckless - and utterly captivating. But following a riding accident, Honor must reconcile herself to a life alone. As the English Civil war is waged across the country, Richard rises through the ranks of the army, marries and makes enemies, and Honor remains true to him.
Decades later, an undaunted Sir Richard, now a general serving King Charles I, finds her. Finally they can share their passion in the ruins of her family's great estate on the storm-tossed Cornish coast-one last time before being torn apart, never to embrace again.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.