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  • The Montesoro Legacy

  • Brandon Brothers, Book 3
  • By: Stella Riley
  • Narrated by: Alex Wyndham
  • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (45 ratings)

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The Montesoro Legacy

By: Stella Riley
Narrated by: Alex Wyndham
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Summary

A dangerous stepbrother...a letter from a Venice...a secret key...and London’s most fashionable portraitist. Dark doings and deceptions surround an unexpected legacy...and an equally unexpected love story.

Upon learning that his stepsister, Mariella Talbot, is the beneficiary of a surprise inheritance, Sir Jerome Farrell decides to seize it for himself. Already struggling to thwart her stepbrother’s other wicked intentions, Mariella realizes two things: To claim the Montesoro legacy, Jerome must make a lengthy journey...but without a certain item in her possession, he will return empty-handed.

Successful, sought-after, and contemplating marriage to a lovely young widow, Leo Brandon’s commission to paint Charlotte Farrell takes him to Surrey for three days. Had he known in advance how those days would rearrange his life, he might have made the catastrophic mistake of staying in London.

Meanwhile, the agents of M Section are interested in Sir Jerome for reasons of their own...and, unlike Mariella, are less than delighted when he leaves the country.

©2022 Stella Riley (P)2022 Stella Riley

What listeners say about The Montesoro Legacy

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Great seties

Another great episode in the Brandon Brothers series.
Stella Riley and Alex Wyndham are the perfect mix.

2 people found this helpful

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Romance and intrigue for Leo Brandon

I enjoyed this enormously, having previously devoured the book when it came out. Alex Wyndham, as usual, is a stellar narrator and it is a joy to hear the characters from the other Brandon Brothers’ book and the Rockcliffe series make appearances. The final book of the trilogy is perhaps my favourite, taking us from London to Surrey and even to Venice. Leo is a charming hero and Mariella is the perfect fit for him. Thoroughly recommend if you’re looking for a romantic story with elements of danger and intrigue!

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Loved it!

Alex Wyndham 's dulcet tones are at their best with this type of book. He brings the characters to life effortlessly, using the expression of his voice and various accents, loved this. Stella Riley 's prose is again wonderful, Leo and Mariella are a memorable couple, and it was good to catch up with old 'friends'. It was so good I didn't want it to end.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent as ever

Enough people have given a full synopsis, so I shall simply say this is a brilliant and very satisfying conclusion to the Brandon brothers trilogy. Not only 2 delightful characters who it is a joy to 'watch' their developing relationship, we also have updates of family and friends from previous books, including the Rockliffe series. As I said, very satisfying.

As ever, Stella and Alex are themselves a match made in Heaven, his narration perfectly complements Stella's writing. His voice is so distinctive, yet each character so clearly defined.
Overall - loved it!

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent as usual

Alex Wyndham on top form, and Stella Riley at her best. Great to see all our favourite characters from previous books, popping up in the story. I love all these series from the parfait knight onwards.

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful conclusion to the Brandon bros trilogy

Stella Riley has done it again, we are transported into Leo Brandon's world where we move from Georgian London to a rural house party and ultimately to Venice. Alex Wyndham brings the characters to life in an effortless narration.

If you are considering downloading this book to listen to, then do not hesitate, you will not be disappointed.

Leo Brandon is the third and youngest of the Brandon brothers to have their story told, and I enjoy the fact characters from previous Brandon brother books and also the Rockcliffe Series make cameo appearances where it feels like I am catching up with old friends.

Leo is talented and an accomplished portrait artist with an easy charm and approach to life. He easily falls in love hoping each time that it is the 'real thing'. When attending a house party to complete a commission he finds himself embroiled in a false engagement following some petty but malicious gossip. Mariella Talbot is our heroine and she finds the unexpected engagement an opportunity to escape from her half brother (the most perfect villain, who has the most satisfactory comeuppance)! Mariella slowly comes to be drawn further into Leo's warm family and friends and finds herself falling in love with him.

This audiobook provides a wonderfully narrated heartwarming romance between 2 honourable and strong characters. There is the backdrop of loving family and friends, who we have met before and Alex Wyndham does a great job of providing all the voices and nuances for all the characters. It is a real treat to immerse yourself in the world of Leo and Mariella as well as the dastardly Jerome for over 12 hours of delicious romance, conspiracy and intrigue. Need I say more? You will listen to this story and immediately re-listen, or download anew the other books by Stella for many more hours of fabulous storytelling. Thank you Stella and Alex for a great partnership in bringing these stories to life. Happy listening!

2 people found this helpful

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Yet again, the perfect pairing

I loved Leo Brandon’s story and his unexpected love interest, Mariella. Stella Riley took us in a new direction, as always with her stories, and this one includes a cleverly observed young man who, in today’s parlance, is on either the Asperger’s or autism spectrum. There are dark deeds with Mariella’s step-brother, determined to get his hands on her ‘Legacy’, the involvement of M Section, the extraordinary portrait painted for Sebastian, the trip to Venice and so much more. All of this is given a voice by the talented Alex Wyndham, who always amazes me with his interpretation of men’s and women’s voices and accents, whatever walk of life they come from. Definitely another winner from this partnership, and I highly recommend it.

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Lovely story

As usual a brilliant and beautifully written and read story.
Alex is so good with his translation of word to voice and evokes such meaning that you can envision the person.
An appearance of the great Rockcliffe added a cherry on the cake

1 person found this helpful

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An other excellent tale

Stella Riley had again written a superb tale of romance and mystery wonderfully narrated by Alex Wyndham I particularly loved her sensitively written character of Donato the heroines autistic brother. Add in a greedy treacherous step brother ,a mysterious inheritance and romance and you have a book you will want to listen to over again.

1 person found this helpful

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A beautifully romantic, clever mystery.

Stella Riley has brought her Brandon Brothers trilogy to a stunning finale with The Montesoro Legacy and, whilst I loved Max, Adam and their wives, Leo and Mariella tip the scales as my favourite couple of the series.

Leo, the youngest of the brothers, has led a charmed life; he’s handsome and charismatic, if somewhat naive, and perhaps inclined to fall in love a little too easily. His extraordinary talent, coupled with two extremely high profile commissions, has guaranteed professional success and popularity with the ladies. The climb up the ladder of popularity has been rapid and, as the darling of society, he is now even more sought after as a portraitist to the rich and privileged. However, its all a little too much too soon, because society can be fickle and, as he discovers, if one climbs the ladder of success too quickly then the way down can be equally as fast, even when one has done no wrong.

Having discovered that public opinion can turn on a sixpence and, disappointingly, that his so called love believes the unfounded gossip surrounding him, Leo sets out to minimise the damage caused to the reputation of Mariella Montesoro Talbot. She is the lady who has unwittingly become the target of malicious gossip as the result of an innocent encounter with himself. Having learned the hard lesson that his comeliness and charm will not save him, Leo re-visits Mariella who suggests a plan to embark on a fake engagement which should save his honour and her reputation. The eventual goal is for Mariella to break the engagement, with honour to both parties restored.

Leo had noticed Mariella when he had encountered her on a visit to her step-brother’s home, where he’d been invited to meet the subject of a portrait he had been commissioned to paint. Her glorious rose-gold hair had drawn his keen artist’s eye, her half-veiled amusement intriguing him further. So becoming ‘engaged’ to her wasn’t too much of a hardship. And, as we discover, the two soon become friends… and more.

Mariella is a delightful character and fully deserving of the attentions of the delectable Leo, whose honour and protectiveness is soon at the forefront when he takes her and her younger brother, Donato, to London under the protection of his family. He is soon helping Mariella to uncover the treachery of her smarmy step-brother, Sir Jerome Farrell. Mariella has fought hard to keep herself and Donato safe from Jerome’s machinations. With no one to turn to, and with sinister, unexplained ‘accidents’ to her person and dark, barely veiled threats regarding Donato, she has been afraid for their safety for a long time. It’s therefore a relief to have Leo in her corner. Even now, the only reason Mariella has been able to make her escape, with Donato, to Leo’s family in London is because Jerome has gone on a wild goose chase to Venice in search of Mariella’s Italian Montesoro inheritance.

There’s more to Sir Jerome Farrell than meets the eye because not only Leo, but also Adam Brandon and the agents of M Section, are investigating his participation in far more sinister activities. It’s good to see this eclectic group of people working as one again behind the scenes. The ensuing investigation and mystery is cleverly plotted and brings the story to an exciting climax with Sir Jerome Farrell getting his comeuppance in a very satisfactory manner.

There are some special moments in this book which stood out for me. Although Donato is a secondary character, he’s skilfully drawn and developed. Throughout the book he grows in stature under Leo’s patience, care and guidance, bringing a richness and fullness to his character. Initially he’s quiet and withdrawn; the only person who really understands him is Mariella, and then only as a loving and protective older sister might… until Leo. Donato finds pleasure in his garden and loves to paint the specimens he has grown himself. Leo, recognising his exceptional skill as a botanical artist, shows him how to use other painting methods and treats him as friend and equal, with the result that Donato flowers before our very eyes. Jerome Farrell has only ever seen him as a candidate for an asylum, and one whose inheritance he can steal - by stealth of course. However, through the eyes of lovely Leo, we see an intelligent and talented young man who deserves respect and admiration.

Also, without giving too much of the plot or story away, there’s one truly beautiful and inspiring point in this story that completely took my breathe. Fans of this author’s work will know when you reach it, as it’s necessary to have read The Wicked Cousin to understand the significance of what I’m talking about. I was not expecting it, and it stands out for me as a truly moving and spine tingling moment. One I returned to and read more than once.

Some of the main characters from the author's award winning Rockliffe series pop in as usual; it really is like having old friends to visit… especially, in this instance, Adrian (The Player) and Sebastian (The Wicked Cousin) - be still my beating heart. Was there ever such a wonderful, funny, endearing and charismatic character as Sebastian? Ms. Riley’s always outstanding skill in character development is again, very evident, as is her familiar wit and humour, especially in the way she has Leo bantering and interacting with his brothers, their love and affection for one another obvious.

As usual Alex Wyndham delivers a flawless performance on all counts, enunciating an impressive variety of voices. The tone, accent and timbre, delineating each character in the story, is only enriched by his cultured ‘smooth-as-silk’ voice, and British accent which is perfect for this genre and in particular, Ms.Riley’s vast cast of Georgians. Mr. Wyndham is the voice of Stella Riley’s superb writing and I doubt there could be a more perfect writing/performing team.

The Montesoro Legacy is a beautifully romantic, clever mystery, and a fabulous addition to Stella Riley’s catalogue of books, brought to three dimensional brilliance by Alex Wyndham. A perfect ending to the Brandon Brothers trilogy.

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  • noagnes
  • 30-09-22

Heartwarming romance of the third Brandon brother

Stella Riley managed to surprise and delight her readers again. The third book of The Brandon Brothers series, like the previous two volumes, has a unique flavour as well as the recognizable heartwarming effect of the honourable character and emotional depth of each Brandon brother and the loving bond of their extended family clan and circle of friends.
This book focuses on Leo, of whom the prequels had revealed that he is a very talented painter. He is starting to make a name for himself as a portraitist, when he is thrust into a scandal through malicious gossip involving him and a young lady relative of one of his clients. This results in a "fake engagement" type romance story, allowing Leo to find what he was looking for, "a wife who would be the centre of his being" in the unlikely young lady who fights her attraction and love for him to avoid forcing his hand, revealing the integrity of character lacking in his previous infatuations with ladies of fashionable society.
The heroine in question is Mariella Talbot, descended from the Montesoro family in Venice through her mother, which is where the “legacy” in the title comes from. Her initial situation includes the responsibility for a younger brother (Donato) who is somewhat different – I’d say he is on the autism spectrum – and the oppression of a stepbrother who, we soon learn, is up to no good: keeps the Talbot siblings under his thumb, refuses to allow them access to their inheritance, and seems to be more and more threatening. The compromise situation, for Mariella, results in the unexpected opportunity to receive the protection of Leo, but being embraced by Leo’s family and friends, and seeing Leo shine in his friendship and sensitive care for her brother Donato threatens with inevitable heartbreak when she’ll have to end the pretence.
Leo’s protective actions bring in the protagonists of the previous book, Adam Brandon and his wife Camilla, and through them, members of the secret government agency described in their story. This results in a storyline of secret agents against criminals sparkling with excitement and humour, counteraction of the gossips introducing Mariella into the aristocratic circle of friends from the previous books, helping Donato to integrate better with a new soon-to-be family, and in the end, revelation of the legacy and Mariella reconnecting with her family roots.
The book fits well into the Brandon Brothers series, but its unique strength is the way Leo is made different from his brothers – his artistic talent, his ability to see and understand people’s inner feelings and character enable him to form a bond with the reclusive and socially awkward Donato, to create portraits that illustrate the subjects’ character rather than their superficial features and to support Mariella in all her difficulties.
Alex Wyndham's talented portrayal of emotions and characters is perfectly suited to bring new life to this story, I love the way his use of different voices for different character types is consistent throughout the series; the way he never falters in illustrating young and old, male and female, aristocratic elegance, perfectly trained valet or seedy criminal... in this particular book, the palette of characters includes the awkward and lonely young man on the spectrum. I was entranced, carried away by emotions, and felt I was really part of this story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bunny
  • 03-11-22

Riley & Wyndham a winning team!

Stella Riley’s gift is her way of writing characters. It’s true she doesn’t write great literary fiction. But she does write are engaging and enjoyable yarns with absolutely fantastic characters. You can’t help but feel like you know them. The stories, as this book, are excellently paced and interesting with good historical detail. Riley is the comfort food of historical fiction. You can’t help but want to reach for them when you want a read that you know you’ll like and which will be worth the time put into it. When you have t the time or inclination to pick up an epic book and you want a ‘sure thing’, it’s Riley. As for narrator Alex Wyndham, let’s put it this way, I’d pay very good money to listen to him read my cereal box. He’s phenomenal. He makes any male lead dashing and devastating with an inflection or the merest change of tone. He’s brilliant. Narration’s best. So Riley and Wyndham together are a winning team. Enjoyable quick read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sandy
  • 16-10-22

I love these Brandon Brothers!

Stella Riley’s novels have a dreamlike and enchantingly romantic feel to them, that I can’t help but return to them time and again for comfort and escape. Leo and Mariella’s love story is no exception. Hoping to temper the effects of malicious gossip, Leo Brandon and Mariella Montesoro Talbot enter a fake betrothal, only for it to foster into real love.

Leo and Mariella are such a lovely couple. I adored their sweet romance. While romance is central to the story, there is also humor, mystery, and danger. I am really enjoying the M Section escapades. Of course, that means more Adam and Camilla, which I heartily approve! Max and Frances, too, are here. Gosh! I love Max and his customary wit and humor. Moreover, Mariella’s younger brother, Donato, pulled at my heart strings. I appreciate Stella Riley for depicting his character in such a sensitive and realistic manner.

The world of Rockliffe feels like home to me. I love reconnecting with these characters. I especially have a soft spot for Sebastian. That portrait unveiling scene was so emotional and poignant that it brought tears to my eyes. I wish I could see the masterpiece in real life.

Are we sure there aren’t more Brandon brothers out there, because I don’t want this series to end. These Brandon brothers have raised the bar too high. They are the perfect romance heroes in my eyes!

I highly recommend this book and series!

All superlatives fail when it comes to describing Alex Wyndham’s performance. Take a bow, sir!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Barbara Lay
  • 17-01-23

Lives up to expectations

I’ve read all the series and it is a fun story and entertaining however becoming predictable. If you loved the others you will enjoy this one. As always the primary attraction is the narrator, A. Wyndham. I wish he would narrate for more authors.

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  • sherry Mitchell
  • 06-12-22

Entertaining as always

Stella Riley creates people I'd love to know and villains we love to dislike and weaves a wonderful story around them all

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  • Sallyk575
  • 03-11-22

Worth the wait!

I have been waiting to “read” this final installment of the Brandon Brothers series by listening to the audio version with Alex Wyndham’s wonderful narration. Most of the characters from the previous Brandon Brothers and from the Rockliffe series make an appearance, or are at least referenced. I hope Ms. Riley continues these characters in some way, with audio versions by Mr. Wyndham. If I read any of the books from the Rockliffe and Brandon series, I hear the characters speaking in his voice, especially Rockliffe’s silky smooth sound. Hopefully, we can look forward to future collaborations between Ms. Riley and Mr. Wyndham. For now, I just might listen, again, to previous books (including those from the Roundheads and Cavaliers series). They are all great.

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  • Anonymous
  • 18-10-22

Wonderful story, Excellent narrator

Extremely enjoyable romantic novel, superbly narrated. Charming, sensitive hero with a sense of humor, a refreshingly modest heroine who is devoted to protecting her autistic brother, and a cast of characters who are likeable and loyal (except for a few villains).
Very well-written.

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  • PennyLou
  • 16-10-22

Lovely story, fast pace, entertaining characters

Stella Riley, Alex Wyndham and the Brandons....what's not to love? Stella Riley does it again with a delightful book with the perfect blend of romance, humor, mystery and Alex Wyndham. The Brandon family is delightful and all their stories are my favorites.

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  • Cate F.
  • 08-10-22

Excellent. Better to read prior books first.

In my opinion, Stella Riley is a brilliant writer. Since I don’t have the patience to wait for the audio versions of her books, I always read the ebook version when it’s first published. Because her books contain accurate details of each time period and charming returning characters, repeated reading makes the stories even richer. Looking forward to the next story.

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  • Karissa
  • 06-10-22

Another delightful listen!!

This third installment of Stella Riley’s Brandon Brothers series, Leo, was worth the wait. As usual, Stella weaves a delightful tale full of romance, intrigue, witty dialogue, subtle humor and bright descriptions of England’s Georgian era. I can’t help but feel that I have become friends with her smart and colorful characters. Alex Wyndham skillfully brings these characters to life with his wonderful narration and variation of voices and accents. I appreciate the portrayal of an autistic character in Leo’s story as a valuable and gifted life, worthy of love, encouragement and support. The Brandons are thick as thieves, they portray the value of a loving and supportive family. I’m tickled when characters from other books and series make appearances in the story. It’s fun to be reunited with old friends! Thank you Stella for anther delightful adventure. My only disappointment is that there are no more Brandon brothers.