Summary

England, 1666; the year all the prophecies said the world would end. For Chloe Hervaux, marriage to wild, unpredictable Alex Deveril offers escape from a home she hates. For Alex, waking up with an epic hangover, the discovery that he has acquired a bride is an unwelcome shock. But while the marriage remains in name only, other forces are gathering.
England is at war with the Dutch, and Prince Rupert suspects that sabotage is at work in the fleet. Instructed to find and stop the traitor, Alex enters a dark, secret labyrinth of intrigue - where no life is safe and nothing is what it seems.
Chloe, meanwhile, navigates the shark-infested waters of Charles 11's licentious Court and plots a course of her own aimed at financial independence. But as the diverse facets of Mr. Deveril's personality are gradually revealed, her mock-marriage becomes fraught with difficulties - the greatest of which is Mr. Deveril himself.
Absorbed in his search for a traitor, Alex spares little thought for personal matters and less for his bride. But as the flames of the Great Fire sweep over London, he and Chloe face their ultimate test. Their world is at risk...their choices may save it.
The Marigold Chain is a richly-woven tale of intrigue, danger, and love set against a backdrop of Restoration England during the year expected to be Doomsday.
©1983, 2012, 2015 Stella Riley (P)2018 Stella Riley
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Caz on 18-02-18

Another winner from the Riley/Wyndham team!

Set in Restoration London, The Marigold Chain is a book I loved the first time I read it almost thirty years ago, and I've been eagerly awaiting its release in audio.

While quite spectacularly drunk, Alex Deveril wins the hand and dowry of Chloe Herveaux in a card game. Not prepared to stay under her wastrel half-brother’s roof any longer, Chloe is only too ready to depart with Alex, intending to go to stay with friends for the night, but she has reckoned without Alex’s stubbornness. He won a bride and a bride he will have – and he won’t take no for an answer. He and Chloe are married that night.

The next morning, amid a hangover of Biblical proportions, Alex comes to the realisation of what he’s done, apologises and suggests to Chloe that they seek an annulment. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick, but he thinks it may be possible, especially if the final decision ends up resting with the king.

What follows is a thoroughly enjoyable romance, set amid the intrigue of the court and against the backdrop of the war between the English and the Dutch, and later, the horror of the Great Fire of London. Alex is a delicious hero, gorgeous, charming, and highly intelligent, with a quick wit and sharp tongue that can wound at twenty paces, but who, beneath it all is a man of courage, honour and deep loyalty. Chloe is no simpering miss, but a strong young woman who metaphorically rolls up her sleeves and gets on with it, quickly adjusting to her changed circumstances and the mercurial husband who keeps her constantly on her toes. The historical background is comprehensively researched and in the scenes which take place amid the streets of London, the reader is completely immersed in the sights and the sounds of the city. The cast of supporting characters – including His Glorious Majesty, King Charles II – is very well fleshed out, and another of the things I enjoy very much about Ms Riley’s work, her skill in writing strong male friendships is very much in evidence.

Ms Riley has the knack of writing the most delicious romantic and sexual tension between her principals, and the gradual progression of the romance between Alex and Chloe is masterful, and something to be thoroughly savoured.

What to say about the incredibly talented Alex Wyndham that hasn't already been said? Not much, really - he's easily one of the best narrators in the business. He gives every single character - even if they only have a line or two - a distinct voice, and differentiates extremely well between all the different male characters in the story. Listeners of A Splendid Defiance will recognise Prince Rupert, and his portrayal of King Charles has just the right levels of humour and gravitas. Alex and Chloe are superbly realised; and his ability to pick up on and deliver every emotional cue is simply wonderful.

Some fondly-remembered books turn out to be disappointing upon a re-read years later, but fortunately, The Marigold Chain is not one of those - and in audio it's an extremely satisfying and enjoyable experience. Highly recommended.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Deborah C on 15-02-18

Loved this audio book

What made the experience of listening to The Marigold Chain the most enjoyable?

Great characters in this book and a wonderful story did not want it to end. The narrator brought it all to life.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By noagnes on 23-02-18

Excellent romance set during the Restoration

Any additional comments?

Having enjoyed the author's other bpooks before listening to the audio edition of this one, I expected to enjoy it, but it surpassed all my expectations. Besides being a historical romance in a marriage of convenience (which is a romance plot I usually enjoy), the hero, Alex, is dashing but flawed - a superior swordsman, intelligent, brave, loyal - but proud, arrogant, reckless, temperamental and both his kindnesses and hurtful remarks appear to be carelessly thrown at anyone around, be it his oldest friends or the wife he won at cards, married while three sheets to the wind and begins to appreciate rather slowly. Chloe,on the other hand, is intelligent, shares his sense of humor, gives back as good as she gets from him, and tries hopelessly to save him from himself and avoid falling in love with his magnetic charm and his complex character at the same time. The story is richly woven, includes an espionage plot, naval battles, and the tension culminates with the Great Fire of London. I enjoyed the appearance of both His Majesty King Charles II and Prince Rupert, the commander of the Royal Navy, who each help and support our protagonists in their own way.
The emotions in the story are intense and gripping - love, jealousy, despair, mourning the death of a friend, forgiveness, and the comfort of friendship tested and true are all present. But there is a lot of humor, laughter, witty conversations - as always, Ms. Riley is excellent in writing dialogue, and an additional delight is Alex's tendency to throw poetry quotes into any conversation.
The audio narration of Alex Wyndham is admirable as always - from the suave tones of Alex's urbane conversation, anger and drunken stubbornness to the French accent of Chloe, the majestic representation of the King and the intriguing Prince Rupert, servants, foppish aristocrats all have their own distinctive voice, the emotions are easy to follow and to feel with the characters. I laughed and cried while listening. I can only recommend this book to all historical romance fans.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 16-02-18

Vintage Stella Riley

The Marigold Chain is a little different to other historical romance novels - it has a good mystery woven through the character's story and the hero is a little bit tarnished to say the least!

Without giving away key plot elements I truly loved Chloe, Alex, Matt, Danny and the rest of the ensemble. I can see plenty of room for a sequel or three :) and will be looking out for them.

Well worth spending a credit on - if you've never listened to Stella Riley's books before - you're in for a treat and if you have - then you won't be disappointed :)

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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