Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Flowers from the Storm

Rate this book
The Duke of Jervaulx was brilliant - and dangerous. Considered dissolute, reckless, and extravagant, he was transparently referred to as the "D of J" in scandal sheets. But sometimes the most womanizing rakehell can be irresistible, and even his most causal attentions fascinated the sheltered Maddy Timms.

Then one fateful day she receives the shocking news - the duke is lost to the world. And Maddy knows it is her destiny to help him and her only chance to find the true man behind the wicked facade.

But she never dreamed her gentle, healing touch would alter his life and her own so completely - and bind them together in need, desire...and love.

533 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1992

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Laura Kinsale

24 books1,328 followers
Laura Kinsale is a New York Times bestselling author and both winner and multiple nominee for the Best Book of the Year award given by the Romance Writers of America.

She become a romance writer after six years as a geologist--a career which consisted of getting out of bed in the middle of the night and driving hundreds of miles alone across west Texas to sit drilling rigs, wear a hard hat, and attempt to boss around oil-covered males considerably larger than herself. This, she decided, was pushing her luck. So she gave all that up to sit in a chair and stare into space for long periods of time, attempting to figure out What-Happens-Next. She and her husband David currently divide their time between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Texas.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
7,080 (45%)
4 stars
4,479 (28%)
3 stars
2,455 (15%)
2 stars
918 (5%)
1 star
517 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,733 reviews
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,599 followers
November 20, 2015

I'm going to start with a warning - this is probably the worse review I've ever written because of how deeply, how emotionally I connected with the hero. My review is a cheesy, rambling, hot mess, so read at your own risk.

With any book I read, I hope to connect with the hero and heroine, to feel what it is the author is trying to convey. Well, I didn’t have to try hard at all with this story, and no matter how many times I’ve attempted to write this review, I find myself in tears. And, as odd as it might sound, I find that I’m very protective of Christian, worried about revealing too much of his story. And wow, when I say that out loud, I realize how strange it sounds.

So how does one review a book like this, one that hits so close to home that it literally could be your own story? The words I’d use to describe Flowers from the Storm are amazing, incredible, and heartwarming, compelling, complex, gut wrenching, joyous, painful, comforting… such contrasting words and emotions that it would take pages and pages to explain why it all means so much to me and frankly, I just don’t have that in me when it comes to this story. Part of what makes this story so hard for me to write about is that I’m married to a Maddy, the heroine of this book, my husband being a man who uses God as the ruler by which everyone is measured, and no one, especially not me, measures up. In this way I have a connection to Christian unlike any other fictional hero I can think of and found myself often in tears, not only for him, but for myself.

As with all books, anyone reading Flowers from the Storm will bring to it, and take from it, different things. In addition to living with a religious… enthusiast, for lack of a better word, I have this fear of something happening to me that will leave me unable to communicate with those around me. I fear being mentally whole, being able to think and understand the things going on, but unable to express myself, to let people know that I’m… here.

We learn early on in the story that Christian suffers a stroke of sorts and becomes unable to communicate. His mother believes that this was a punishment from God in judgment of Christian’s immoral behavior. I’ve also dealt with judgments against myself of a similar nature and so, for me, as I read this paragraph, and understanding Christian’s state of being, both physical and mental at the time he thought these words, this quote truly hit home.

He lay facedown on the bed, his arms spread, his cheek against the silken sheets. His ribs ached. If he'd known a prayer he would have prayed it - coward that he was, to ask for favors now, when he'd never deigned to ask before.

He didn’t reckon that God owed him anything. He reckoned that he’d had it all, and wasted it. Burning lakes and howling fiends had just never seemed that convincing, perils hardly fit to frighten naughty children.

He turned over, staring up at the darkness.

Damned… having found out now what hell was really like.
Well, as you can see, I can’t seem to write a coherent review of Flowers from the Storm, and trust me, I’ve spent months trying. And as silly as it might sound, I’ve been afraid to write this review, because if you’ve read the book and didn’t like it, or if you believe as Christian’s mother and Maddy did, that he was deserving of the “punishment” God set upon him, then you believe those things about me, too, because this book is my life. But, fortunately for Christian and Maddy, they got their happily ever after. So, rather than write anymore and try to explain it all, I’ll just continue to watch over Christian and keep him close to my heart.

Click the link for My review of the audio verion.

Thank you, Mshj Kate, for making this a Secret Santa gift. It's a story that will stay with me for always.
Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,258 reviews1,527 followers
May 13, 2014

“God forgive, Jervaulx - that I sh'd love thee."
"That I should love thee.

Out of all of the Historical romances I’ve read, this is the one that stands out as the most unconventional of them all. What a brave author to have tackled this subject, and what a remarkably insightful, tender way to do it.

Archimedea Timms is a Friend…a Quaker…a quiet, devoutly religious and pious woman who grew up in that lifestyle. She knows no other way; and even if she did, she would still choose her way of life. She lives for God, to honor him in all ways, eschewing anything material, convenient, stylish, creaturely and popular for her people’s way of life.

Meanwhile, Christian, the Duke of Jervaulx…or the “D of J”, as he’s referred to in the gossip columns, is as far from religious and pious as can be. His way of life is one of parties and womanizing, indulging in any spontaneous vice he can. He’s a Duke, and he lives as if he has no rules.

These two couldn’t be further apart socially or morally, so where’s the connection? Maddy’s father is a brilliant mathematician, and so is Christian.

Though they haven’t met, they have been collaborating on a breakthrough formula sure to amaze the world of mathematics. To be blunt, they're nerds in the very best way possible, and this fact not only brings Christian back down to the world of mortals, but it brings him into contact with Maddy.
“Maddygirl deserved to be a duchess. It had been a great mistake of nature to make her a thee-thou sugar scoop bonnet.”

Maddy and Christian have one night of interaction between them, when Christian presents his case to the London Analytical Society. And he proves that he does have a good character when he also gives credit to the blind Quaker man who has so diligently worked with him on this project. He also shows his romantic, poetic, and compassionate side to him when he gives her father the gift of a lifetime…he lets him “see” the daughter that he hasn’t seen since he lost his eyesight more than a decade ago.

This is really the only taste that the reader will get of Christian before a horrific incident takes everything away from him…

Christian Nicholas Francis Langland, His Grace the Duke of Jervaulx, Earl of Langland and Viscount Glade…has a stroke.
He wasn’t a two-year-old. He had not lost his reason. He isn’t mad; he is maddened.

Of course, no one back then knows what a stroke is, so it seems as if overnight, the Duke has lost his mind, his ability to speak and reason, and much of his ability to move. He is spirited off to an insane asylum. Of course, the proprietors think they are helping to cure the poor helpless (and very rich) inhabitants of their establishment. But ice baths and isolation, chains and condescension don’t seem to be doing the trick for a man who is completely sound of mind. In fact, Christian is perfectly fine inside his head…he just can’t move right, or speak well, and his frustration and anger add to the illusion of insanity.

Fortunately, fate steps in and Maddy is led to help her uncle who runs the very asylum that Christian was taken to. And Maddy feels it is her calling to reach out to the mad Duke. In fact, Maddy realized very quickly that Christian isn’t mad at all. And this realization is the beginning of a tender, remarkable story unlike one I’ve ever read before.

This was definitely unexpected but I’m so happy that I read it. I heard from a few people that they didn’t like Maddy very much and at first I couldn’t see why. However, as the story wore on, her pious attitude wore on me. A the beginning, she was such a strong character, doing not what was expected, but what she felt was right. Even though she disapproved of Christian’s lifestyle with ever fiber of her being, she literally put aside all prejudice and judgment in order to help the helpless.

“It was pointless, this small attempt at escape. He defeated her. What she wished to avoid was inside her; not for one instant as she walked did she think of anything but Jervaulx.”

And boy, was Christian helpless! I’ve never felt such pity and horror over a character’s treatment before. To be reduced to this raving madman…going from this vital, brilliant man with the world at his feet…to THIS…imprisoned against his will, his own family unwilling to see anything but madness and insanity…poor Christian! He really was a figure of pity. However, my pity turned to admiration quite quickly. Talk about stubborn and tenacious! As Maddy begins to weaken in character for me, Christian became the stuff of legend. He just never gives up. He is so willful and strong, and with the help of this lowly Quaker woman, he overcomes so much. All he needed was for one person to believe in him.

“He was the Devil - smiling a little tender, a warmth that she’d never foreseen, not in all her everyday prayers to God to keep her soul safe and in spiritual grace. Never once had she imagined that Satan would smooth her hair, would smell of heat and earth…wouldn’t speak, wouldn’t hiss evil promises in her ears. Never once had she thought he would be anything but ugly and corrupt and easy for virtuous Archimedea Timms to scorn.”

Their romance…it’s truly epic. It’s so much more than I can say. It’s a forbidden love for so many reasons but not the typical taboo pairing. This is a slow, sensual dance. There’s nothing lascivious about it…I wonder if people will be turned away, thinking of a romance between a slobbering, raving madman and a shy, dowdy, naïve Quaker woman. Not at all. It was beautiful.

“I‘m afraid,” she whispered. “I‘m afraid of what thou wilt do to my soul and my heart.”
“Your heart…is precious to me,” he said quietly.”

Christian himself is reduced to a small world, relying on his “Maddygirl” for everything…dressing, feeding, even speaking at first. As the threat to his title, his lands, his standard of living and his very freedom becomes more and more real, it is apparent that small successes and slow progress in everyday functions is critical. Maddy believes in him, and she falls for him despite her every attempt to stay devoutly impersonal.

“Oh, stop, say stop, but it‘s too late.
Too late. Because God forgive me, I love thee more than my own life.”

I encourage anyone who likes a romance with depth, who loves the tortured hero but is tired of the same old same old story being retold by different authors, who likes to read outside of the box every once in awhile to do themselves a favor and pick up this book. It's not a happy story...for the most part. It's a heartbreaker and a tearjerker. I mean, it literally made my tummy hurt and my heart ache for all that both of these two went through. But in the end, I was left feeling that happy, sigh-worthy feeling of a beautiful love story, for that's what this really was. And also a story about the resilience of humanity, about how much we each need someone to build us up, to believe in us. In everyday life, perhaps just for an ego boost, someone to say "Yes, you can" when the rest of the world is saying "No, you can't." That's a real partnership, a real love, and true devotion. In the end, Christian and Maddy had that, and it was a hard fought war...but oh, so worth it.
Profile Image for K..
96 reviews16 followers
August 6, 2009
Laura Kinsale’s “Flowers From the Storm”
(From my thread discussion topic post “ on Amazon’s “Historical Romance Forum” sometime around Feb. ‘09 (unchanged))

I recently finished reading "Flowers from the Storm" by Laura Kinsale. This is a well-loved book by many and remains high on the "keeper" shelves out there. So how come I can't figure out why so many people fell in love with this couple? I just don't get it. I found the book to be "all suffering, all the time" (i.e. an over-abundance of serious issues and long drawn out angst).

A brief synop.: [SPOILER - BUT IT'S THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE NOVEL!:] The hero begins the story (literally the first few pages of the Prologue) in bed with another man's wife (in the other man's home no less), discussing the fact that he has impregnated her and she needs to make an effort to sleep with her husband again soon in order to pass the baby off as her husband's. (Already questioning the hero's integrity in a dire way here.) Very shortly thereafter he experiences (what is presumed to be) a stroke, which lands him in a mental hospital, employing methods of the times which are cruel and in no way reflect current modes of medicine. There he encounters the heroine (a Quaker woman) whom he previously briefly crossed paths with while jointly working on mathematical theories with her father (our hero is a mathematical genius). She is there to volunteer time with the patients at the facility, and there is where they begin a journey together to help him recover his cognitive speech abilities (the primary disability he suffered) and regain his social standard in life (he's a duke). The hero is not bedridden or physically disabled to any great impairment other than signals of the brain connecting with his right hand to operate effectively (and his ability to talk). In that day and age, there was little known of the effects of strokes, and basically victims of same were treated as mentally unstable.

The two go on, in my opinion, as classically dysfunctional and co-dependent peple trying to make a stab as a couple. The heroine extremely frustrated me, as she went on for 32 chapters struggling against who she was as she was rasied (her Quaker sociatal obligations) and berating who she reallywanted to become, as she was drawn to the hero. Consequently, she made him suffer for her indecision the entire journey. Mind you, there are only 36 chapters in this book. The final chapter is widely loved and admired (and it was quite captivating, even for me), but I just did not believe it for these two people, and it certainly wasn't enough to save the story.

Some people do go for "all emotional self-torture, all the time" when it comes to what they consider a good story, but that's just not me I guess. Apparently the "balance of happiness" in any given novel when compared to human suffering, can't be considered "serious" reading for a lot of people, I suppose. I don't agree. Like real life, it's more the progress achieved in points of the journey that deserve the most attention and ultimate recognition to my way of thinking. Afterall, it doesn't take much work to remain "miserable and undecided," and that's exactly how I interpreted this read the entire way for the heroine. The hero does come to some self-improvements, but I flucuated between truly caring for his character or just feeling sorry for the way the heroine constantly demonized him and his way of life (ton society). Basically Kinsale failed to slowly "transition" both the characters' self-enlightenment in general, and their journey to establish justifiable romantic feelings for one another IMO, therefore, the ending for me was jarring in effect, and just unbelieveable. I never really connected with either H/H and I believe they never truly understood their own connection.

UPDATE FOR GOODREADS (8/6/09): Wow -- Looks like I'm the only one who one-stared it here to actually "tag" it . . . "I didn't like it!" (Maybe because My "stars" here are judged by the "verbage" when you roll over them with your mouse, rather than my "usual" star rating (I like my half stars in that instance). It might be a 2* on that scale, based on Kinsale's writing abilities and potential. I've actually committed myself to read at least one more book of her's to perhaps find the "good one" for me. ;)
Profile Image for Mª Carmen.
584 reviews
April 10, 2023
4,5 ⭐

¡Qué bonita! No soy lectora asidua de este género, pero esta novela, que me vino muy bien recomendada por amigas en Twitter, me ha conquistado de pleno. Una historia de amor preciosa y original. Entiendo perfectamente a quienes la consideran una joya del género.

Dice la sinopsis:
Inglaterra, 1829. Christian, el duque de Jervaulx, es uno de los hombres más ricos y encantadores de la alta sociedad inglesa, pero también es un hombre extravagante y un seductor empedernido. Maddy Timms, la hija de un anciano profesor de matemáticas que colabora con el duque, le conoce personalmente una vez; en esa ocasión Maddy comprueba que Christian es un hombre inteligente y sensible. Pero al día siguiente, él muere en un duelo.
Transcurridos unos meses, Maddy empieza a trabajar en un sanatorio para enfermos mentales de la alta sociedad y, para su sorpresa, se encuentra con Christian. El duque no murió en el duelo, pero si no mejora en breve le declararán legalmente loco y le despojarán de su fortuna. Maddy es la única que sabe que Christian no ha perdido la cordura. Aunque al principio Christian utiliza a Maddy para lograr sus objetivos, poco a poco sus sentimientos van cambiando…

¿Qué me ha gustado del libro?

Está bien escrito. La prosa es bonita, delicada y fluida. La maneratan especial con que describe los lugares, los diálogos, los pensamientos de Christian y, sobre todo, la forma tan bella de transmitir los sentimientos.

La trama tiene un nivel de complejidad mayor de lo que esperaba. Laura Kinsale se desenvuelve muy bien en ella, presenta, desarrolla y resuelve de forma acertada en cada fase sin que, pese al número de páginas, decaiga el interés. El ritmo es ágil, va de menos a más y engancha.

Es una historia de amor, pero también de superación personal. Encierra mucha crítica social. Las instituciones mentales de la época, la comunidad religiosa intransigente, tipo secta, a la que pertenece Maddie o la familia del duque, carente de escrúpulos, que solo piensa en arrebatarle el patrimonio. Sin olvidarnos de las costumbres del duque y de la alta sociedad.

Los personajes son atípicos en este tipo de género. Son imperfectos, pintados en tonos de gris. De los dos protagonistas, Christian me ha parecido un personaje soberbio. La evolución que sufre a lo largo de la novela sorprende por lo bien construida que está. Es fácil empatizar y sufrir con él. Con Maddie, en cambio, he tenido mis más y mis menos. Sé que es algo subjetivo, pero es la razón de que le quite media estrella.
Entre los secundarios, mis preferidos Durham y Fane, los dos fieles amigos del Christian y su tía, lady Marly, "un dragón", tal y como la define el duque cuando anda falto de palabras.

La historia de amor, que se cuece a fuego lento y es preciosa. Un acierto por parte de la autora la forma en que la presenta. La declaración final de Christian en la asamblea de Maddie, bonita no, lo siguiente.

El guiño a las matemáticas. Entiendo que esto es subjetivo total, pero como esa es la disciplina en la que me muevo a nivel profesional, no puedo ni quiero evitarlo.

En conclusión. Una historia de amor preciosa y bien narrada, que no descarto releer en un futuro. De momento ya estoy mirando otros títulos de esta autora. Recomendable.
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
December 26, 2014

5 Maddygirl stars.

I loved this one. Tortured hero, innocent heroine, Society, expectations, fear, love, hate, tears, laughter ...

The Duke of Jervaulx was brilliant - and dangerous. Considered dissolute, reckless, and extravagant, he was transparently referred to as the "D of J" in scandal sheets. But sometimes the most womanizing rakehell can be irresistible, and even his most causal attentions fascinated the sheltered Maddy Timms.

Then one fateful day she receives the shocking news - the duke is lost to the world. And Maddy knows it is her destiny to help him and her only chance to find the true man behind the wicked facade.

But she never dreamed her gentle, healing touch would alter his life and her own so completely - and bind them together in need, desire...and love.

Christian, the Duke of Jervaulx is a brilliant mathematician. But his circumstances change and he is lost in a world of hell.

He held out his hand. The light behind him caught unexpected color - the long stems of wild Michaelmas daisies stirred by the wind ...

I don't want to say too much. I found it might have dragged a bit in the middle but the end and the struggle they both had to reach their HEA, was wonderful.

This was set in a time where medical practices are not as advanced as they are today. The Duke suffers what I assume is a stroke but nobody knows what this is and his affliction is seen as insanity. Maddygirl is the only one he trusts. But she is a "Friend" - used to a simple life, not the life of a Duke.

Help me. I can't do this alone anymore. Amen.

This is my first time reading this author but I will be checking out some of her other books.

The change in things, the profound chasm between yesterday and today lay between them.

Mist. He'd been living in a mist.

Profile Image for Jean.
5 reviews
January 23, 2013
I wanted to like this book, I really did. The premise sounded great and it received rave reviews. As a work of fiction it was brave, detailed and uncompromising in its depiction of characters who were true polar opposites falling in love. I liked the stark depiction of the Victorian asylum, the inadequacy of health services and rehabilitation, the constant jockeying of mercenary relatives, and political manoeuvring of the upper classes. However, for me, as a romance it failed. I found Christian more compelling than Maddy. For most of the book he was constantly battling being reincarcerated, bankruptcy, his relatives and trying to convey his love for the heroine. It was hard not to feel sympathy for him. I think his character arc began early and remained to the end. In contrast, Maddy's character arc started later, and this is where the romance failed. For most of the book she was so ... unyielding in her staunch religious beliefs, constantly full of prejudice, suspicion, and accusations of Christians' true motives that she came across as sanctimonious and annoying. She had a simplistic moral system, seeing the world only in black and white, misunderstanding his actions, inexplicable though they were at times, and she never gave him the benefit of doubt that all he was trying to do was save himself and his duchy. I stopped counting the times she was obstructive or unsupportive and quite frankly ...dense... about Christian's actions and I got bored of the number of times she contemplated running away from her problems during their marriage. Certainly not "Death us do part". Early on in the book, the moment when she threw his offering of handpicked daisies into the wind and caused him pain pretty much summed up her character's actions for the rest of the novel. Lastly, I don't want to be disrespectful of Quakers as I know nothing about them but Laura Kinsale portrayed them so unflatterringly as ignorant, arrogant, prejudicial people who were not above publicly humiliating their transgressing members that I would not voluntarily read another Quaker novel. In summary, a good historical novel but the religious prejudice and weak, annoying heroine did not endear this romance to me.
February 14, 2017
Flowers From The Storm, by Laura Kinsale: 5 Perfect Stars


* Nurturing
* Serene
* Spartan
* Quiet
* Forthright
* Spiritual

And a Quaker.

“Prim and decent, chaste, careful, loyal, moderately brave in some things, a lion in a few, and when he touched her, she fluttered—nice feminine flutter, modesty and passion.” ~ Christian Langland, the Duke of Jervaulx


* Damaged
* Tortured
* Extravagant
* Rakish
* Devious
* Hedonistic

And, a nobleman.

“He was the Devil looking at her out of gentian eyes. It’s easy to be virtuous—and deceitfully proud of it—across the abyss of their stations: the nobleman and the Quaker lady. But God had taken the Duke of Jervaulx down to the level of Maddy Timms. From an equal vantage, the Devil smiled at kittens and her… and Maddy felt the prick of it on her heart like a tiny claw that seized at her for safety.” ~Archimedea Timms, aka: Maddy


All wrong for each other. As different as chalk and cheese. Obliged by station and religion to remain apart. Save for the Duke and her father’s mutual love of mathematics, they’d never have met at all. Had the Duke not suffered a stroke, been deemed “morally insane”, and committed to an asylum; they’d never have become inseparable.

But inseparable they become. For, when Maggie discovers the Duke chained to a bed at her uncle’s “retreat”, and realizes his “insanity” is merely a loss of speech and motor skills, she has “an Opening”: an inspiration from God commanding her to restore the Duke’s health and freedom.

What follows is a series of events that test Maggie’s faith and Christian’s self-assurance. An insurmountable set of circumstances further complicated by their contradictory ethos and mutual inclination toward obstinacy and pride.

As they battle against unrelenting adversity, as they endure great pain and overwhelming fear; Maddy and Christian refuse to let their differences divide them, and together, they conquer all.

“'That cannot be between us, dost thou understand? I am born a Friend, Jervaulx. Thou art born a nobleman. Dost thou even know what would become of me? Friends would disown me. It is our way.' She exclaimed, frustrated by his lack of response. 'I would be alone!'

'No,' he said unexpectedly. 'Maddygirl. With… me.'"~Maddy & Christian


A flawless balance of light and dark, angst and humor, bewilderment and charm. The writing is poetic, yet plain; descriptive, yet disciplined; expansive, yet essential. Greedy relatives are neutralized by doting ones; and staid, prejudicial friends by amusing, loyal, ones. The hero is equal parts alpha and beta; and the heroine is both independent and dutiful. Their actions are vulnerable but strong; brave but uncertain; frustrating but comprehensible. Every aspect is sheer perfection.

If you haven’t yet read Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm, I strongly urge you to do it now. You’ll laugh and cry; jeer and cheer; and be utterly amazed at this truly perfect love story. You’ll want to put it on your “Keeper” shelf, and re-read it a thousand times.

"'My love.' He held her cheeks between his palms. 'My sweet life. Three horses own—two coaches— velvet—chambers—cushions—bed… my kisses. All my kisses. All to be… for thee alone.'"
~ Christian

Flowers From The Storm, by Laura Kinsale: 5 Absolutely Perfect Stars.

If you like this book, you might want to try:
"Sunshine and Shadow" by Tom & Sharon Curtiss (Laura London)
"The Outsider" by Penelope Williamson
September 29, 2013
Approximately twenty-eight years ago, a young girl picked up a book from her mother's box of books out of boredom. Her life was changed. Ever since then, her favorite type of book has been historical romance. She has read a lot of it. There have been many that she has enjoyed. But some books just stand out. This is one of them.

Because of how much I liked this book, this is a very long review. I apologize if you don't like long reviews. The short of it is I loved this book very much. If you want to know why, keep reading.

Laura Kinsale just doesn't write enough books for me. If you asked me if I want more from her, obviously yes! But do I want less quality but more books? No. A book like Flowers from the Storm is worth thirty lesser books.

This book begins with a hero who is doing something immoral and reprehensible (although to some degree socially acceptable). A reader has to decide if they can get past that. While I really dislike what he did, I wanted to know more about Jervaulx and explore his story. I wasn’t going to write him off just yet.

With Laura Kinsale, you don’t just get an entertaining romance. She gives you a complex, textured novel that has characters that are not just archetypes, but are realistic and multi-faceted like a jewel (and like a jewel, they may have noticeable flaws). Maddy is at times the bully, at times the victim. Sometimes I liked her, sometimes I didn’t like her very much at all. I felt some identification with her as a person of faith, but at the same time, I felt that she gives people of faith a bad name because of her legalistic and judgmental way of life. It also challenged me to consider how I interact with people. Am I sending out the right message about my faith walk, the loving God and all-welcoming God I love? When she gets the epiphany about why she is with Jervaulx, I was thinking all along I knew why they had been brought together. I felt that Jervaulx and Maddy could learn from each other, could complement each other. Could they love each other despite society’s notions of propriety or station? It was hurtful how she denied the love she felt for Jervaulx, as if it was an ugly thing. It hurt me to read because I could see deep down that Jervaulx needed her so much, and she needed him, and loving someone can be intense and powerful (and yes, inconvenient) without being an obsession or leading to doom and destruction. While people shouldn’t be projects, something we can ‘fix’, we come into peoples’ lives to learn something ourselves and to help them learn something. Love that is selfish cannot be mutual, and for me, their love definitely wasn’t a selfish one.

Jervaulx is a very complicated man. It was interesting to see him at the beginning of the story and see his selfish actions and his determination to live a hedonistic life, although deep down, his was a builder and a thinker and a contributor. Those parts of his psyche obviously warred with each other. I don’t doubt that his mother’s cold demonstration of religious faith pushed him to go in the opposite direction. In his own way, he did believe in God, but seeing faith in such an ugly way pushed him further away from God and into a life that didn’t have much meaning outside of his scientific pursuits.

I hurt for him. A person of the mind, an intellectual can have an experience almost like dying when that part of their persona fails. It’s like being caged away, and in the case of Christian, his mouth couldn’t say what he wanted it to say, and sometimes the words just wouldn’t come to him. Also, going from a place of having power and authority over your life and losing that is another kind of death. That process was understandably devastating to a man who was one of the most powerful men in England.

His family was shameful. They all saw him as a thing to be used or manipulated: as a resource, a pawn, or a liability. That made me very angry on his behalf. And afraid. For most of the book, I felt Jervaulx’s fear tangibly. That’s part of why Maddy’s acts at times grated on me. She didn’t seem to get what it was like to be him, to know that he was one step away from being locked in an asylum for the rest of his life. Even though she does have momentary breakthroughs of understanding and a sense of responsibility to him, her hardheaded beliefs about what she should be doing (that being with him long-term is wrong) seemed to try to get in the way more than it should have.

This book feels so realistic, but also beautiful, entrancing, hypnotically romantic. The scenes between Maddy and Jervaulx where their feelings are budding, blooming and coming to full life were the essence of romance. Their passion inexorable, special and inescapable. It’s what makes my heart beat fast when I read romance books. People think writing romance is easy and low-brow. That any hack can write a romance story. How wrong you are. It takes talent and care to craft such a rich story that fulfills both intellectually and emotionally. Especially when you write characters that aren’t just appealing stand-ins for the reader and her dream man. No, they are real people with real lives and struggles. While love doesn’t necessarily solve all our everyday problems, it does get us through the rough spots in life, and gives us hope for the future. Walking through life with a beloved one at our side empowers us to fight for what we need, what we want, what is rightfully ours. While Jervaulx and Maddy didn’t make sense to someone on the outside looking in, who lacked insight, it makes perfect sense to me.

I put this book off for a long time, but it was a case of reading it at exactly the right time. I have been going through a horrible book slump, feeling apathetic about reading. That’s horrible for an avid booklover like myself. A book like this is just the medicine to reinvigorate a reader’s flagging interest. Thank you, Ms. Kinsale!

Profile Image for Lauren.
1,114 reviews86 followers
July 27, 2022
Read: 7/20/22
High expectations lead to major disappointment 😞

I probably should have written my review right away, since I got so many comments. I think this is a love or hate book. Most of my friends list this book in their top 5 favorites. So my expectations were too high!

Instead of writing about the plot (hard on iphone) , I thought I'd make my review brief and just list the positives and negatives.

1. It was a unique and memorable story! That's always a good thing👍

2. It was well written. The author kept the suspense going through the whole book. Though, I have to admit part of me wasn't sure if he had a stoke, was poisoned, or some other nefarious reasons. His family's behavior was very suspicious. SPOILER Alert: it was a stroke.

3. I adored Mady's father! I wish he had been in the book more. There were times I wondered if he was just a Quaker bc his wife converted or was he just a kind man who loved math. It's the latter.

4. I loved Christian 😍 I empathized with his struggles and rejoiced in his triumphs! He's on my top list of great H

1. The book was too long and a bit of a downer. I wish the author put some levity in it to balance the book better. 557 pgs. of impending doom made this a very stressful read!

2. Christian's friends were told he was dead and they never wondered why there was no funeral or grave

3. Why put Richard in the story? She trusted a stranger just bc he was a Quaker? I'm with Christian on punching Richard's self righteous ass!

4. Am I the only one wondering why, in the epilogue, his mother and sisters are over for Christmas? What they did was unforgivable! Yes, I know Mady taught him forgiveness. Still, what his love ones did to him was horrendous and I wouldn't trust them around my wife.

Hated/deal breakers:
1. My strongest dislike all comes down to Mady! Her self-righteousness got old! I flipped back and forth between loving and hating her. The last half of the book I found her annoying. I sometimes wonder if the author forgot Mady was a Quaker and therefore overcompensate in places.

2. While the Quaker idea was unique it was also unnecessary. There was so much angst in the book it didn't really need this complication. If she was a vicar's daughter it would have been better. Their differences wouldn't have been so overwhelming and I would have given the book 5 stars

Conclusion: Good or bad the book left an impression and that alone makes it worth a try! I'm glad I read it 😌
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,343 reviews169 followers
April 5, 2016
Written January 14, 2015

5 Stars - It had it all - A stunning AMAZING epic story

Who dare to start an 19 hours long audiobook? I heard the rumors that in this case there was a great male narrator (Nicholas Boulton) doing this historical romance even better.

And, was it worth it?
Well, I didn't need more than a few minutes to know this would be an fantastic adventure to take part in. There are for sure a lot of heart stopping moments and I cried, yelled and lost my breath more than once. — But gosh, I loved this book.
 photo imagejpg3_zps7b64517b.jpg
‘He liked radical politics and had a fondness for chocolate.’

This IS the grand sort of unforgettable romances that will stay in my heart forever. I'm not sure I manage to do it again for a long tim because this was not that kind if easy sweet, fluffy reads I so often do. More the hard, rough, heart-wrenching kind. I'm stunned...and grateful for my silly happy smile in the end.


Flowers from the Storm is one, by many historical readers highly praised and much loved romance, about Christian Langland, the Duke of Jervaulx, a brilliant and dangerous womanising rake. A confident, intelligent young wealthy nobleman who meet a terrible fate.

His companion to be is the sheltered Archimedea (Maddy) Timms, a quiet Quaker daughter of an older blind mathematician. Maddy is a quite young (28) woman who strongly believes in a plain and simple no-worldly way of life. She just want to take care of her "papa" and be stay with the group of these religious 'Friends'.
 photo 3822d9fc-f45c-49ee-9eec-7c486ce1f2d1_zpse6621f90.jpg

Soon are there som big changes in both our main characters lives. The now suddenly mistreated sick Duke is in big and urgent need of the Quaker girl, Maddygirl's, care and kindness. We are not told what had really happened until much later, but these first rough scenes really shaked me.

It's for the best to not spoil so much about this storyline, and all thrilling events, but lets just say that you have to be in a pretty good mood, and you might need a handkerchief / tissue. ~ It's an long adventure with many turns and both good and bad surprises. Not a calm moment. - An exhausting read.

 photo imagejpg3_zps7b64517b.jpg
‘Could not. Would not. Was afraid to go alone.
He put his hands over his eyes and through his hair, defying the sharp agony in his back. He’d never known he would be a coward, afraid of what he wanted so intensely.’

Oh My, Lord Jervaulx! ~ Gorgeous, wonderful, amazing man. This Duke is for sure a larger-than-life hero I never ever will forget. He wasn't an easy man and not always easy to love, but gosh, I admired him. I wanted him the stars and a warm hugging wife.

Maddy on the other hand was at times a somewhat next to narrow-minded woman. I wanted to shake her and yell. She was so d@mn inflexible, stubborn and I, not that religious, had difficulty understanding her dumb choices sometimes. Nonetheless, I liked her most of the time and can in a way understand her innocence and that it is hard to leave old truths and life-rules.

 photo c38afd0a-4649-468a-b97b-85725e115afd_zps61dd2d0b.jpg

Flowers from the Storm:
Simply fabulous romantic and cruelly nerve-wracking

It started as a heartbreaking read and I can't even express how much I felt, cried, feared etc in the same time as I enjoyed it all so very much. Luckily it ended in a much better way but it hold you there in a cruel angsty phase to the very last chapter.

In my meaning isn't this just another "historical romance" - even if there is a grand beautiful true romance here, and some lovely kiss and yummy steamy parts. I should instead call Flowers from the Storm a very romantic historical novel. It made me think about other, since years adored, unforgettable love-stories, like: Gone with the Wind, The Thorn Birds and Outlander. As well as the fabulous fantastic old Jane Eyre. ~ Yeah, so fervently overwhelming and grandiose felt those nineteen hours audiobooks listening.
 photo imagejpg3_zps7b64517b.jpg
“You…make me…better.”
“Oh, I will try.” She played with a lock at his temple. “But thou art the duke, a bad wicked man, and I love thee too well to make thee something different.”
“Bad wicked…idiot,” he said wryly.
“No,” she said. “A star that I could only look up and wonder at. Thou perceivest my true covetous nature—I’m glad thou fell, and I can hold thee in my hands.”
He gave a hoarse laugh. “Tinsel…star.” He looked down at her lap. “Don’t deserve you, Maddy, but too…reprobate to give you up.”

I'm so grateful I had the courage and started this one at last. The paperback has been lying there on my bedtable for months (nearly a year) but then I bought the audiobook a week ago after some indications that this male narrator is amazing. And he really is. ~ Big applause to Mr. Nicholas Boulton.

A fantastic well written story, Ms. Laura Kinsale!
There will be more from your gifted pen.


I'll not rant about my admiration for this novel any more.
Flowers from the Storm is my first happy dancing 5 stars read this year (I can already promise it will be on my future 2015’s top list).

I LIKE - I'm stunned!!!

A very great choice to use a xmas-giftcard from a very sweet emigrant fellow now in LA. - Thanks hun!!
Profile Image for Anna.
157 reviews131 followers
January 1, 2022
Can’t believe we’re all just living our lives when a book this perfect exists. I can’t even review it. There’s nothing to say, except it’s a masterpiece and reading it will make you physically clutch it to your chest every five minutes and grin/cry to yourself like an idiot. It’s painfully beautiful. Thank you for your service, Laura Kinsale.
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books1,988 followers
June 4, 2014

deliciously dark and somewhat in my black-hearted sweet spot. love me a humbled bad-boy, and love to hate a puritanical idiot unable to resist the promise of an orgasm.

and jesu—what an orgasm.

about the most erotic hetero love scene i can ever remember reading.
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,599 followers
November 22, 2015

It's official - this is my favorite story, ever!

I first read Flowers from the Storm in 2009 and fell in love with Christian and his Maddygirl from their very first words on the page, but it's such an emotional story that I couldn't bring myself to read it again, though I thought of it often. That said, when my sweet friend, Lady Wesley, raved about the amazing narration given this story by Nicholas Boulton, I just had to give it a listen.

And I am so, so glad that I did!

Honestly, I can't even begin to express all the ways in which this audio edition of the story is wonderful. Truly, I'm unable to find the words that will do it justice. Mr. Boulton brought a level of poignancy and sensuality and even an eroticism to the story that wasn't as evident in my reading of it. As amazing as the story was when I read it, it was even more incredible listening to it, because Mr. Boulton gives the characters such beautiful, passionate, tragic, and inspiring voices that you don’t just hear their story, you experience it.

If you've had this on your shelf waiting for the right time, stop waiting. Whether you choose to read the book or listen to the audio, stop thinking about it and just do it. But have tissues handy. You'll need them. But whatever you decide, know this - without hesitation I can tell you that this is one of, if not the best, most profound, thought provoking stories ever told, and the most beautiful happily ever after, ever!

If you’d like to read my full, rambling, emotional, more than a bit embarrassing review of the paperback edition, written after I read it years ago, click here.
Profile Image for Grecia Robles.
1,481 reviews341 followers
July 5, 2018
PopSugar 2018: 24. Un libro con un elemento del clima en el titulo

MADRE DEL AMOR HERMOSO!! Qué libro tan más bonito.😍😍

Estaba en tres y dos cuando decidí leer este libro unas reseñas lo alababan y otras lo crucificaban entonces cuando lo empecé no estaba muy convencida pero me GANÓ😄
Amé, sufrí y me frustré bastante con esta historia es una historia llena de injusticias, conmovedora, con un romance que se va cociendo a fuego lento.

Tiene unos personajes atípicos del género, un Duque (Sí señoras y señores, un hermoso y sexy Duque) que sufre una apoplejía o derrame cerebral y como era común en la época a las enfermedades que no conocían para ellos eran locura lo han encerrado en un manicomio ya que pierde la capacidad de concentración y de hablar y de una Cuáquera hija de un profesor de matemáticas que colabora con el Duque de Jervaulx, ya han coincidido en una ocasión pero ahora ella está ayudando a su primo que es doctor del manicomio donde esta Christian del Duque de Jervaulx ella lo reconoce y ve que él no está loco y decide ayudarlo.

En esta parte de la historia sufrí sufrí y sufrí más, era tan injusto lo que tuvo que pasar Christian😭😭😭 los malos tratos que sufrió por parte de su cuidador a ese tipo lo ODIÉ,😡😠 y la ignorancia del doctor del lugar. Un hombre que no está loco pero que sus funciones cerebrales se han visto afectadas que no tiene manera de poder comunicarse sumándole que batalla para poder entender lo que le decían obviamente estaba frustrado con ira y yo sentía todo su ira su frustración su angustia me partía el corazón💔, me daban ganas de meterme al libro y ayudarlo.

Maddy fue un bálsamo, un consuelo su esperanza, él sentía que lo comprendía aunque muchas veces lo lastimo fue sin intención en esta parta Maddy me gustó mucho.

Christian me encantó, me enamoró, sufrí tanto con el personaje que me llegó al corazón, antes de su enfermedad era un libertino consumado y después se vuelve tan vulnerable y tierno pero con esas ganas de recuperarse y recuperar su ducado y patrimonio. Este hombre es un amor.

Maddy es una mujer santurrona y mojigata pero también es valiente y defiende en lo que cree, me cayó bien en casi todo el libro menos en la parte final fue una cobarde y le rompió el corazón a mi Christian y eso no se hace. 😡

Es un libro emocional con una historia preciosa de esas que sientes, es verdad que a veces la narración puede ser densa pero a mí no me lo ha parecido tanto y yo he devorado. Hay coas que no me han gustado como el 25% final porque no sucede nada y yo tal vez no puse atención pero siento que quedaron cabos sueltos con lo referente a su familia pero de ahí en fuera me encantó.👌👌
Profile Image for Pepa.
938 reviews236 followers
October 27, 2017
Reseña completa: http://masromance.blogspot.com.es/201...
Quizás un final que no está a la altura del resto de la novela es lo que me hizo quitarle una estrellita la primera vez que lo leí. Pero ahora, que he leído bastante más, creo que se merece las 5
Es una novela muy arriesgada, tanto por los personajes tan atípicos que la forman como por la trama y la gran crítica que se esconde detras. Aquí no se salva nadie :
Ni Christian, ese "libertino" de vida amoral, derochador y fiel reflejo de una sociedad egoísta e hipócrita. Es un personaje desgarrador. La autora realmente consigue que te angusties con ciertas escenas
Ni Maddie, enclaustrada en una sociedad-secta que al final se refleja como "no tan buena gente", y esa cobardía al final como muy bien apunta Chisrtian que nos quita un minuto de respiración.
Ni esa familia que quiera a toda costa quitarle el patrimonio ni el control
Ni la doble moral de una Eydie que asusta con esa frialdad ante su descendencia
Por todo ello, y ese crecimiento y progresión en el carácter de los protagonistas que van evolucionando a la marcha de la trama
Por ese amor que nace poco a poco, por esas cosas que los protagonistas callan y la autora nos dice con hechos. Por esa historia que me ha parecido preciosa.
Eso sí, Laura Kindale no es una autora ligera, sus ambientaciones son minuciosas y eso puede no agradar a todos los lectores. A mí me gusta mucho!!!
Profile Image for Eastofoz.
636 reviews342 followers
June 4, 2011
This book was recommended to me as a sad story--I think the people thought it was emotionally gripping but I found it to be neither. First thing: it was too long. An easy 150 pages could have been cut out I thought. Kinsale writes very well but I felt the weight. I didn't find it anymore moving or emotionally gripping than any other love story I've read--ie it doesn't stand out for me. On the cover of the book where it says "One of the World's Most Cherished Love Stories"--I think that's a bit over the top.

Jervaulx was an amazing character and you could feel his frustration when he tried to speak and control his mind to try and make things work. That was all very well-done. The contrast to his life before was very good, when you see him with a devil may care attitude with Eydie.

His family was downright evil! I didn't understand why his mother wanted him locked up unless it was because she was heavily influenced by her son in-laws who were just waiting to grab all the loot. They were big time scum. I didn't always know how to take his aunt Lady de Marly .

Maddy's "Quakerness" bugged me to no end --all that thee-thou-thy crap was irritating . I had a hard time giving this book a period. I didn't really like her until the end when she FINALLY got her act together and stopped with the Light/Truth crap of the Quakers and went to Jervaulx.

The sex I didn't like. It often seemed awkward or unlikely. Sometimes it was good but it was rare.

The abject frustration Jervaulx felt at always being on the edge must have been horrific. Even doing up a button was next to impossible at times for him.

Kinsale showed his sanity through what the reader would think were moments of INsanity.

All in all it was a weird a book for me. It had some touching moments like any romance novel but it was nothing spectacular as several people have made it out to be I thought.

I'd rate it a 4 mild for the writing and Jervaulx's excellent characterization but a 3.5 for romance.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lady Wesley.
927 reviews320 followers
February 28, 2021
The sympathetic hero more than makes up for the annoying Quaker heroine.

The above was my snippy one-line review from three years ago. Since then, I've reread this book, and listened to the incomparable audiobook, and I declare that FFTS is one of the best historical romances ever. Laura Kinsale is in a class by herself.
Profile Image for Emmy.
910 reviews146 followers
February 1, 2016
Warning: Unpopular opinion time

I'm sorry, I have to call it at 38%. I really wanted to love this. Regency era. Man with a disability has to learn to overcome it with the help of a woman and they fall in love in the process. So much potential. But there was so much wrong with the execution.

So, let's recap the first 38% (mild spoilers). Christian, Duke of Jevaulx, starts in bed with a married woman he got pregnant. And he tells her to sleep with her husband so he thinks it's his. -_- Great start for our hero. He later meets Maddy, a Quaker, when he works with her father on a mathematical paper (he's a math genius). He suffers a stroke and his family send him to an insane asylum because he can't speak. The stroke affected his language center and he has trouble connecting his thoughts to speech, but everyone just thinks he's mad. (The first chapter he narrates after the stroke is just one stream of random words. That's how coherent his thought process is.) In his anger and frustration he's become violent. But Maddy goes to work at the asylum and from one mathematical symbol, figures out that he "isn't mad. He's maddened."

So this is where you'd think Maddy begins to help Christian learn to communicate again and get better? Not quite.

On her second day Maddy decided to get Christian his own clothes to wear (because even though he can't speak and is in an asylum, he still cares what he wears) and he thinks she's taking him away. Why he should think this? Who the hell knows. But when she doesn't, he's furious because he thinks it was all a trick to torture him. He thinks the quiet Quaker girl tried to trick him. Huh? Anyway, he decides in a REVENGE SEDUCTION! Yes, this man who, two days ago was a rampaging "beast" and hadn't been able to speak for months, has already managed to somewhat communicate with Maddy and is planning a revenge seduction.

Forget whether or not he would be capable of this, or even forget that his focus at this moment should probably be RECOVERY, but revenge seduction is one of my least favorite tropes. It suggests a really malicious character.

Anyway, within 2 days of arriving at the asylum Christian manages to kiss Maddy on THREE separate occasions. The last one including making out in front of her BLIND father. This is a man supposed to be recovering from a stroke and a Quaker woman. Does this sound like two people who are likely to have romance on the brain? At this point I think this book was firmly established as a dime store romance. This has lost all of the possible depth to the story and just relied on sex. In a story like this, the romance should build slowly while the disability is dealt with and overcome. Having so much sex thrown in so early felt cheap and just sensationalized the story. This is really where it lost me.

I started skimming from there, but got to the point where Maddy tells him she loves him. To be clear, at this point he still can't even say him name. But Maddy has managed to fall in love with him.

Besides all of this, the Quaker Plain Speech was annoying as hell. (Which had to have made it harder for Christian to understand her). And Christian's attitude never got past chauvinistic and arrogant.

I read other reviews and found out how this story plays out and it didn't sound like this would get better for me. I had pretty much checked out anyhow.
Profile Image for Bithi.
Author 4 books15 followers
April 1, 2018
This book is so intriguing - yes, I am describing a romance novel as intriguing - from the beginning to the end. Because, the plot changes so quickly that it is hard to tell what is going to happen next.

I have really loved the character of Christian. He is not the totally dashing and perfect hero of the most historical romance novels. His imperfection makes him human.

The character of Maddy is shy, but, bold when the situation demands.

I do not need to tell that this book is romantic, it is a romance novel after all. The readers who likes historical romance novels will really love it.
Profile Image for Katrina Passick Lumsden.
1,779 reviews12.8k followers
July 18, 2014
Ah, this book would have been perfect had I not had to wade through page after page after page of Maddy's self-righteous, holier-than-thou bullshit.

I loathed her with the fire of a thousand suns.
Profile Image for Erika.
113 reviews206 followers
July 1, 2012
The more we love a book, the harder it is to write the review, right? I have to, with this one. This is not, by any means, an average romance book. It's the kind of romance which I would recommend to those who think romance books have so little to offer. The book is so much more than two people from two different world who break all the rules, find their way to each other, and live HEA. From a woman's perspective, I say this book was too sad, too sweet, too emotionally intense. It's an epic love story which hit every strand of emotions I possess. Personally, it's not my type of romance because it's long. Not overly long, but enough to draw some dramas. But as a reader, I say this is a romance genre at its finest.

Christian Langland, the Duke of Jervaulx, is a rich libertine and a genius mathematician. These two unlikely combinations in a character are actually enough to intrigue me. He was brilliant, powerful, confident, and fearless.
“My apologies, Mr. Timms. I can hardly help myself. Shall we proceed to her nose? That, we shall call a nose of—character. I don’t think we can call it perfect; it’s a little too aquiline for that. A decided nose. A maiden lady’s nose. It goes with the tilt of the chin. But her eyes…I’m afraid her eyes ruin the spinster effect again, most emphatically. And her mouth. She has a pensive, a very pretty mouth, that doesn’t smile overly often.” He took a sip of wine. “But then again—let’s be fair. I’ve definitely seen her smile at you, but she hasn’t favored me at all. This serious mouth might have been insipid, but instead it goes with the wonderful long lashes that haven’t got that silly debutante curl. They’re straight, but they’re so long and angled down that they shadow her eyes and turn the hazel to gold, and she seems as if she’s looking out through them at me. No…” He shook his head sadly. “Miss Timms, I regret to tell you that it isn’t a spinster effect at all. I’ve never had a spinster look out beneath her lashes at me the way you do.”

Laura Kinsale wasn't satisfied with giving her reader a charming alpha hero. She gave us a tortured one. But let's face the fact, from all the romance books I've ever read, I found so many tortured heroes. Too many to count. Yet how many of them did I get the chance to see the process? Most of them have already been 'damaged' from their past when they were presented to me.

But not Christian.

The real magic of this book was started when Christian suddenly lost his charms. And I witnessed how his life turned upside down.

Note: All spoilers are about Christian. It's minor spoilers. Something happens to Christian earlier in the story. I decided to use spoiler because the blurb doesn't tell us what exactly that happens. So I suggest you to skip it if you want to figure out what's the incident by yourself. But if you already know it:

She moistened her lips. “Why didst thou hit him?”
He made a groan, shook his head. “Kill!”
“No. No—I don’t believe that. Thou couldst not have wished to kill him. Why didst thou attack him?”
He gazed at her as if she were some mysterious vision, then shook his head again, looking down.
“Understand?” she asked.
He shook his head, dropped it lower.
Maddy knelt. “I want to understand,” she said slowly. “Tell me why.”

Archimedea Timms is a Quaker. To be honest, I hadn't had the slightest idea what Quaker is until I read this book. So I had googled it. Turned out it could explain a lot of things that would have bothered me, such as the early modern English personal pronoun in dialogues by some characters including Maddy, the term of 'Friend' to refer an acquaintance, the 'Opening' that happened to Maddy and made her devoted herself to help Christian, and many other important details. It's also the ultimate conflict in this heartbreaking forbidden romance.

How couldn't I feel so happy when Christian finds love? He deserves it. Maddy knows it is there between them. But she's also a part of a religious community. They have rules and they have their own ways to serve God. Which was reasonable and acceptable in the period of time. And I believe in the same God. So really, I could understand her. But oh how I was tempted to hate (and curse) her when she decided to do the right and yet wrong things and brought pain to Christian... it ripped my heart, despite the religious principle behind it.

It's what I would have done, had I chosen to see every single thing that happened to Christian and Maddy -and every emotion I felt- pieces by pieces instead as one. I didn't like Christian when he was being rude, though I knew I couldn't blame him. I loved him because despite he was far from perfect, he was a sort of perfection in my eyes. I was very angry to Maddy when she hurted his feeling. I loved her because she really showed that it wasn't that easy to turn away from something you had been holding on for a very long time, especially when it involved your faith. When she finally made the final decision, she left me with no doubt how much Christian meant to her. There were moments so sweet and happy, passionate and heartwarming, I just didn't want to stop savoring it. There were also times when I shed my brokenhearted tears. And what happens near the end... no words could describe how I felt. All of those stand for one story, and it was beautiful. Beautiful in an extraordinary way that I would dare to say 'If I have to pick one, then this is -by far- the best romance novel I have ever read'.
“Want?” he murmured close to her ear.
“They’ll come,” she moaned. “They’ll come, they’ll come.”
His arms tightened. “Want me?”

Because writing is an art
The romance and the characters were only half of the qualities this book had. The details were written in high accuracy. Like what I said before, I hadn't known anything about the Quakers. But from all the sources I've read on the web, I think Maddy's background as a Quaker was polished with great details. From their religious activities, the Meetings, the way they dress and speak, and other particular details of The Religious Society of Friends in the 1800s, such as they did disown those who married non-Quakers.

Romance readers would wonder about the love scenes. There are more sensual words rather than metaphors, but not highly explicit. The main sexual act is not as long as in most romance books. It might be an issue for romance readers, though it wasn't for me. I thought it was wonderful, tantalizing, and their emotions were delivered perfectly.

Flowers From The Storm wasn't the sort of 'likable' romance. The book wasn't light and fun at all. It was complicated and outstanding. If you decide it's the right book for you to try, I hope you would feel the magic of it.
A book is a magic thing. It has a life of its own. Do you doubt it, in the small hours of the night when you sit up in bed reading and reading, living in a world you never made, unable to bear to leave it until the last page closes and it vanishes into thin air?
-Laura Kinsale

Well, I guess I have given enough reason why I have to give my standing applause to the author.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,330 reviews29 followers
February 10, 2017
Slowly the realization came to her. "He isn't mad. He is maddened."

4.5 stars.
The Saint and the Sinner. The Pilgrim's Progress. Paradise Lost and Found. This one is DEFINITELY on my favorites shelf, despite some quibbles. I've read it numerous times. I've considered keeping a copy stashed in the bathroom. More recently, I listened to Nicholas Boulton's wondrous narration.

Try my quiz! https://www.goodreads.com/quizzes/res...

Contents: Several sex scenes, somewhat explicit. Some swearing and profanity. Some violence, including abuse at the asylum. Some scripture quotes, but the book doesn't feel like it's evangelizing.

Christian Langland, Duke of Jervaulx (sher-voh) is a rogue, humorous and mathematically brilliant. His mother annoys him with her endless preachy piety, which puts him firmly in the rakehell camp, but other than that, life is good. Then he suffers what must have been a stroke on his right side. Pronounced dead, then diagnosed manic, his family locks him away at Blithedale Hall, in Buckinghamshire. Bedlamites surround him. He knows only violently enraged and confused fear, until an angel pays a visitation. (Angels could be Quakers, right?)

Archimedea (Maddy) Timms is a Quaker who records her blind father's geometry analysis. Her father John collaborates on geometry with Christian, the Duke of Jervaulx. That's when Maddy first meets the duke. Soon afterwards, the duke suffers a stroke. Time passes. Maddy helps her cousin, Dr. Edward Timms, volunteering at his "health retreat" (asylum). Here, she sees Christian suffering, and her presence calms him, but sometimes he gets enraged with her. He is not an easy patient, but Maddy prevails, because he often responds to her. At first he cannot speak, but Maddy listens closely to his body language. Over time, he gradually learns to communicate, especially with her.

This madhouse setting goes on for a long stretch, until they escape. Then things start turning around. Christian has to protect his ducal inheritance. Also, he wants to keep Maddy, but his sins are coming back to haunt his marriage. Her Quaker "friends" become a big obstacle. (A pox on all controlling churches!)

Secondary characters: I loved his two friends, the Colonel Fane and Mr. Kit Durham. Loved her blind father, John Timms. Vivid scenes with Larkin "the ape" and Calvin (both butlers) are named Calvin, his Aunt Vesta (Lady DeMarly), his nasty brothers-in-law, and Quaker, Richard Gill (the mule). They all seemed credible.

Epilogue: Set 11 months later, celebrating Christmas at the castle. Revelry, babies, dogs, and fireside spirits.

Quibbles: I really felt cheated -- wanted to see all his tormentors suffer. Insufficient and vague punishment got just a passing reference. Why was his family invited to Christmas? Bah humbug! Maddy got annoyingly stubborn at times, and I really wish it had a longer HEA epilogue, to offset all the challenges Maddy and Christian had to overcome. As for the Quaker meeting, great "truth" scene, yet I wanted Maddy to show more decisiveness at the end. But she had several bricks dropped on her head, smashing trust. And -- ugh -- congregations can be so scary.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 47 books128k followers
January 12, 2010
I did NOT want to read this book, I mean, a Quaker chick?! A dude who can't speak?! Bleck!

Well, this is a hot mess of awesome, everything but the kitchen sink is thrown into this dense plot, but in a GOOD way! Characters are great, plot very taunt and gripping (not talking about the sex scenes either, HAR HAR ;) ) I enjoyed it thoroughly and have several other books by the author on my Kindle, including Shadow and the Star, a Victorian romance where the guy is a child prostitution survivor and a Hawaiian ninja. Yes, serious.
Profile Image for Merry .
580 reviews54 followers
March 25, 2022
Ok....this is a hard one to review. I listened to the Audiobook and the reader is FANTASTIC! Coming at it from Maddie-girls viewpoint is that she is raised in a setting of pious religiousness, and this is often discounted by the Duke and his friends. I enjoyed her character at the beginning but found she did kinda wear on my last nerve throughout the book. She tried to stay true to her beliefs but these were manipulated throughout the book.
Now let me say I adored the character of the Duke and the way the reader voiced his character. I felt his moods. I ached with his frustrations and fears. Would I reread it no. Am I glad I read it yes. It is a really good book that delt with TBI at a time where you were locked up (even though actually the one the Duke was in was better than Bedlam).
Profile Image for NMmomof4.
1,517 reviews3,772 followers
April 4, 2021
3.5 Stars

Overall Opinion: I really don’t know how to rate this one tbh. I was fully engaged and I appreciated the uniqueness of the storyline. I even was telling my husband all about it and was doing research because I had thought the Quakers originated in the States. So that aspect and even the H’s issues with cognition and how he ended up relying on the h to re-learn to communicate and appear competent to keep his title were all really enjoyable for me. I even liked their alone time and how they connected. I just felt like it was muddled up with too much other stuff (and drama) to where the H wasn’t being portrayed as the greatest and the h was pushing away — and that wasn’t all that enjoyable. I’m going to go with 3.5 stars with this being more than “just okay” but I’m still unsure if that is a good representation of how I feel about this one...

Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Maddy and Christian’s story. Maddy helps her father with his dictation since he has lost his sight and he is currently working on a big project with the Duke, Christian. While their worlds are very different due to Maddy and her father being Quakers, they bond over a shared love of mathematics. When Maddy and her father are in need of new positions after the Duke’s unexpected death, they are shocked to find that he is not only alive, but a patient in their cousin’s asylum and not the same man they knew. There are some twists and turns with the Duke’s condition, a marriage of convenience, some religious conflicts, and some sweet scenes...and they get a HEA ending.

Point Of View (POV): This alternated between focusing on Mandy and Christian in 3rd person narrative.

Overall Pace of Story: Alright. This took me a while to read but I felt like I was always engaged and I never skimmed.

Instalove: No, they take a while to develop stronger feelings.

H (Hero) rating: 3.5 stars. Christian. I liked him and felt for him but I didn’t like how he sometimes was rough or inconsiderate with the h.

h (heroine) rating: 4 stars. Mandy. I liked her. I appreciated her strength but I also wish she wasn’t so wishy-washy about her own feelings at times.

Sadness level: Moderate. I teared up but never needed any tissues.

Push/Pull: Yes

Heat level: Alright. They have some tension, chemistry, and scenes -- but not so much it takes away from the story.

Descriptive sex: Yes

OW (Other Woman)/OM (Other Man) drama: Yes

Sex scene with OW or OM: No

Cheating: No

Separation: Yes

Possible Triggers: Yes

Closure: This ends with some pretty good closure but, of course, I wanted much more. I would still call it a HEA

Safety: This one is probably either Safe with exception or Not Safe for most safety gang readers depending on personal preferences
Profile Image for Sher❤ The Fabulous BookLover.
865 reviews556 followers
October 24, 2020
5 Maddygirl Stars!!!!!!

I've read quite a few historicals, but none like this one. I don't think I've ever highlighted a book so much. The Duke of Jervaulx is dissolute, reckless, extravagant, a gambler, a womanizer, a rakehell. It's a few hundred years ago and during this time they did not know what we know today. That a stroke can seriously change a life for the worse. Jervaulx went from being a scandalous duke to a raging madmen, a maniac, hidden away from society. Except he was none of those things. He lost his powers of speech and writing and he could not communicate for himself. So he communicated the only way he knew how...through banging shouts, rage and despair.

God I felt so sorry for Jervaulx! Here's a man in his prime, who is mentally sane but is holed up in a crazy house, all because no one back then knew what a stroke was. His own family gave up on him. Everyone gave up on him. But God sent someone in his life to help him. The most unlikely sort of person. He sent Archimidea Timms aka Maddygirl, the Quaker.

This book was an adventure. I never wanted a hero to win so badly in my life! The obstacles the duke faced was impossible! Even I wondered how was he going to redeem himself, how was he going to get through it all?! There came a time in the book where literally the only One who could save him was God Himself:

"He rested his face down in his hands. A cold drop fell from his hat brim onto the back of his neck, but he sat without moving. He actually said a prayer. It was short and to the point.

Help me. I can't do this alone anymore. Amen."

The romance between the lowly Quaker and the powerful duke was a slow, but strong one. She was his strength and he became her strength.

"Upside down Maddy. You turn...my world upside down."

I'm not sure why, but this book made me so emotional. My heart feels pain when I think about this story and I finished it a couple of weeks ago. I will never forget this powerful story.
Profile Image for María Ángeles.
401 reviews72 followers
March 27, 2017
Pues aquí llego yo y sólo le doy un tres estrellas.
Tal vez soy dura. Tal vez me arrepienta.
Pero es que he odiado el libro, y después lo he amado. ¿Entonces más estrellas? No, quiero ser justa conmigo misma.
La primera mitad del libro {y es una mitad muy larga}, me ha parecido lentísima. Muy muy lenta. Tal vez la autora lo haya hecho a propósito para que sintamos en nuestras carnes la agonía que sufrió Christian en el manicomio, para que suframos como él sufrió el terrible trance de no poder comunicarse. He amado la forma en que la autora me ha hecho pensar para identificar una enfermedad que AHORA se catalogaría de una forma muy distinta. Me ha indignado cómo se trataba entonces {miedo absoluto}. Si, tal vez Laura Kinsale ha jugado con nosotros de forma magistral... pero a mi me ha matado. No podía hacerme esto Kinsale.
Es que es tanta la diferencia entre esa primera mitad y la segunda...
Qué segunda mitad!!!!!!! La filosofía de los dos protagonistas, tan presente durante todo el libro, en esta parte construye un muro altísimo y, casi, infranqueable. Mil ganas de matar a Maddy por sus creencias, pero a la vez, mil veces compadecida de ella porque no puede pensar de otro modo. Es su realidad: es el blanco más blanco de todos los blancos;porque es el único que ha visto. ¿Y el mundo de Christian? "El aparentar" como única solución, tan absolutamente real.

Tres estrellas??? Lo dudo, lo estoy dudando. ¿Si, no? Si, es lo que AHORA siento.

Pues ya más tranquila, he publicado la reseña en el BLOG: http://unablogueraeventual.com/flores...
Profile Image for Lady Nilambari Reads HR.
377 reviews88 followers
May 19, 2023

This is probably one the most difficult reviews I have ever written, but that’s because this is one of the most difficult book I’ve ever read. Did you think this was going to be an easy one? Well, think again. This a story that will never let you settle, as it will keep a pit in your stomach, a stone on your chest and crinkles on your forehead. You might also run into a real danger of losing sleep or appetite!

Some books you read for the author, some for the plot, others for the characters, and the rest for the emotions. This story threw a complicated cocktail of all the above and left me with a hangover.

Now, for the unpopular opinion - I have rated it lower, despite the glowing recommendations, and I have my reasons, but it is a book worth reading, just once, at least. Alas, I found it problematic on a few levels, but we will get to them.

I will say that this story is a lesson in humanity - possession or lack thereof.

Now for the drab-ish rundown…

My Thoughts…
- This is a new-to-me author, and I will gladly admit that her writing style injured my pride. It took me a better part of two days to finish it. To say that it was intelligently written would be an understatement.
- This plot is unlike anything I have ever come across. Ever. It felt like it was intricately researched, especially about the treatment plans.
- Plot aside, the only thing that made this book powerful, was Christian, and no, the irony of his name is not lost upon me. To call his struggles heartbreaking and haunting would be underplaying the terminology. His entire experience drove me to anxiety, and I had to ask for spoilers just so that I could sleep at night. His thoughts, his treatment, his shame, his uncertainty, his anger, his failure, his friendships, his recovery, and his love was like a predator that had sunk its canines into my jugular, dragging me deeper into its lair to finish me off one painful morsel at a time all the while wishing for blessed relief. That. That is how you trap a reader, make them feel in-depth, and then break their heart only to mend it at the last bloody second.

As a psychologist, I was horribly distressed by the terrible nature of the diagnostic language of Christian’s illness. It made me bitterly angry at the ignorant fools of two centuries ago, now long dead, but I nevertheless found myself wishing for their violent deaths. How they tortured, caged, and threw religious morality at him made my blood boil.

And here ends the book’s greatness allowing the darker aspects to seep in as if the ordeals were not enough.

- Beginning with the descending order of problems, the primary and most important one was that I failed to see the romantic depth. Argue with me if you will, but I will defend it. Maddy and Christian were from not only different worlds but from different planets. A hedonistic duke and a Quaker girl? They had nothing in common. It’s not the class difference, but the difference is belief systems. A couple can not only survive but thrive despite the distinction in stations but when there is a blatant disregard and a healthy dose of disrespect for each other’s beliefs, it is headed for an explosion. Both of them exhibited this. And we were left wondering till the last bloody second. I resent it in my romance novels, and I will never call it satisfactory.
- I had a big, I mean, a huge problem with Maddy. The only thing she had going for her was kindness, which I am beginning to question because of the religious epiphany propelling it forward. Zealotry aside, she was provincial, ignorant, largely inconsistent, judgemental, and chiding and created more problems for him by her dithering at crucial occasions than she solved. She fought him every step of the way if it did not fit in with her beliefs. Why? Does everyone not have an equal right to their beliefs? Is hers the only one that matters? The only one that’s right? The puritanical nonsense got old quickly but dragged till the last page.
- Debacle after debacle she pulled - Richard Gill, the bankers, the family members, the servants, Lady de Marly, the ball, and the King, to name a few. She disdained the requisite societal appearances, the power of a duchess the influence she could wield. No thoughts of consequences, just headlong reticence. She was no asset to him. Did she want the powerful duke of the realm to slink away into obscurity after being labelled an imbecile? She did shockingly little to help him apart from defusing some tension by calming him down and reading a few letters. Here’s the thing, anybody with a modicum of kindness would have achieved the same result. Maddy was utterly replaceable. Not a great quality in a heroine, is it? And how is any of this romantic?

Christian fought for his own power, survival and longitivtiy. It was his struggle and his triumph alone.

- I do not like my novels with social messaging, and a religious one would be a far cry. It was too much, and that’s all I am willing to say.
- Speaking of too much. There were too many subplots along with an already complicated primary plot. Half of them were left unfinished, hanging or under-clarified. If you want to overload me with information, the least you can do is tie up the loose ends.
- It was too bloody long. God, it needed a hard edit.
- The time period was also confusing. I am guessing late Georgian?

See, if you are going to deliver a powerful plot and an even more powerful hero, I will hold you accountable for underdelivering on most other aspects because I know you have the capability. Gosh, this book would have been phenomenal on every bloody count. It’s a travesty that it fell short of a masterpiece.
Profile Image for Hannah B..
805 reviews1,084 followers
May 20, 2023
Tag yourself I’m ghastly severe grey ghost creature.

All jokes aside this was 18 hours and 59 minutes of pure torture and was quite literally fashioned from my darkest, most triggering nightmares.

The book was comprised of unlikeable main characters, religion, math, and terrible family members. None of which I would ever want read about, specifically never all together in that exact combination. There was VERY little about this book that was romantic.

Only 3 things I liked:
- Nicholas Boulton. He can nic my bolts any day of the week. Twice a day on bank holidays.
- “I just think she’ll be cold and they won’t care”
- His description of her at the beginning to her blind father

Also what was with the ending of the epilogue with the random dog? A flash of plumed tail? Someone please explain my brain is fried.
Profile Image for Karen.
805 reviews1,011 followers
October 20, 2017

With no rule but love between us...

Wow. This one blew me away. LOVED every painful, blissful, second of it.

I want to go back and read it again, and again. Romance perfection is all I can say. There were so many amazing quotes and tender moments, I wanted to highlight the entire book. The writing was brilliant. I have nothing bad to say about this book.

I also want to thank my lovely friend Lisa for lending me her book, and her ear, and her now drenched shoulder to cry on, as I made my way through it.

This one definitely makes it on my short list of all-time favorites.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,733 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.