Provoked (Enlightenment #1)
David Lauriston is struggling to build his reputation in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. His humble origins are enough of a hurdle, never mind his recent decision to defend a group of weavers accused of treason, prompting speculation that he may harbour radical sympathies. The last thing he should be doing is agreeing to help the brother of one of the convicted weavers find the government agent who caused his brother’s downfall.
David’s personal life is no more successful. Tormented by his forbidden desires for other men, and the painful memories of the childhood friend he once loved, David tries his hardest to live a celibate existence, castigating himself whenever his resolve slips.
But then into David’s repressed and orderly world bursts Lord Murdo Balfour.
Cynical, hedonistic and utterly unapologetic, Murdo could not be less like David. Whilst David refuses to entertain the prospect of entering into a loveless marriage for propriety’s sake, Murdo is determined to wed one day and has no intention of giving up the company of other men when he does so. But as appalled as David is by Murdo’s unrepentant self-interest, he cannot resist the man’s sway.
Murdo tempts and provokes David in equal measure, distracting him from his promise to find the agent provocateur responsible for the weavers’ fate, and forcing him to acknowledge his physical desires.
But is Murdo more than a mere distraction?
Is it possible he could be the very man David is looking for?
Beguiled (Enlightenment #2)
Two years after his last encounter with cynical nobleman Lord Murdo Balfour, David Lauriston accidentally meets him again in the heart of Edinburgh.
King George IV is about to make his first visit to Edinburgh and Murdo has been sent North by his politician father to represent his aristocratic family at the celebrations.
David and Murdo’s last parting was painful and on Murdo’s part, bitter but Murdo’s feelings seem to have mellowed in the intervening years. So much so, that he suggests to David that they enjoy each other’s company during Murdo’s stay in the capital.
Despite his initial reservations, David cannot put Murdo’s proposal from his mind, and soon find himself at Murdo’s door and in his arms.
But other figures from David’s past are converging on the city, and as the pomp and ceremony of the King’s visit unfolds around them, David is drawn into a chain of events that will threaten everything: his career, his wellbeing, and the fragile bond that, despite David’s best intentions, is growing between him and Murdo.
Enlightened (Enlightenment #3)
David Lauriston has been recuperating at Lord Murdo Balfour’s Laverock estate for the last five months. At Laverock, he has regained his health and confidence and has found with Murdo more happiness and contentment than he has never known before.
David is all too aware that some day soon he will have to leave Laverock and Murdo and return to his legal practice in Edinburgh, just as Murdo will have to return to his life in London. But when David’s mentor, Patrick Chalmers, asks David to return to Edinburgh to visit him on his deathbed, it seems that day has come sooner than either David or Murdo would have wished.
Chalmers begs David to undertake one last piece of business for him: to secure the future of Chalmers’s daughter Elizabeth. But to carry out his old mentor’s wishes, David must travel to London, with Murdo.
No sooner have the two men arrived in the capital than they encounter Murdo’s ruthlessly manipulative father, who reveals a shocking secret that rocks David to his foundations. What’s more, when David discovers Elizabeth is facing far greater danger than even her father feared, he is determined to help her, no matter the cost to his own safety.
As the stakes rise, it is Murdo who must choose what he is prepared to sacrifice to keep David at his side, and ask whether there is any possibility of lasting happiness for men like them.
Provoked (Enlightenment #1)
My historical fiction dry spell had ended, and oh, what a wonderful way to end it!
There’s nothing worse for me than being in a historical romance withdrawal (It’s a thing, I swear!). I’ve been desperately searching for one, and that’s when The Enlightenment series by Joanna Chambers kept cropping up on my usual TBR channel searches. This series basically slapped me upside the head and shouted, Read me already! Provoked delivered just the romance I needed.
The story’s set during a time when a rise of radicals is happening in Edinburgh. David Lauriston is a young and impoverished lawyer who finds himself in the midst of it. He has sympathies for the radicals’ cause, but with his career barely started, he has to side-step the issues. A favor for a friend embroils him further, and it just might lead him back to an unforgettable one-night stand, Mr. Murdo Balfour.
One thing I love about historicals are how the characters have to work around the conventions of the time. David grew up in an almost Puritanical household, and he sees his desire for men as a sin. He’s very black-and-white, a little awkward and shy, and he tries so hard to resist the dominating, sexual being that is Balfour. But bless David’s heart (and curse his unquenchable loins!), he struggles. I’m curious to see how everything will come together in the next two books for David.
Balfour is just David’s polar opposite. He lives and breathes in the gray areas, and Balfour has no problem being honest about who he wants. But curses to David’s restraint!
The clashes comes again and again, and it increased the tensions tenfold. I couldn’t stop reading!
I definitely recommend this series for those who love male/male and historical fiction. Chambers seamlessly mixes the romance with the politics and conventions of the time, and it’s a journey you’ll get immersed in. 5 stars!
Beguiled (Enlightenment #2):
Beguiled is filled with exquisite storytelling that brings the emotional turmoil and a heartrending magic. It’s not to be missed!
Daylight robbery! Thrown away on a suit of clothes he didn’t even want!
The boys are back in Edinburgh! David needs appropriate attire to meet the King and he’s about to be turned away for a fitting when he happens upon his old friend—and previous flame—Lord Murdo Balfour. David hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the man and when the opportunity for pleasure at Balfour’s hands comes again, David takes it with open arms. But how long will it last?
There was something so sweet about this, the second book in The Enlightenment series. There’s an ease—an irrepressible charm—to both characters that leaks onto the page and it’s something you want to savor. And yet, I couldn’t stop flipping the pages, and I was so saddened when it ended. The environment around Edinburgh is still rife with tensions, but a visit from King George brings a celebration to David’s doors. But it also brings a previous friend that could land David’s career once more into hot waters.
The best things in life invariably require the most effort, don’t you think?
But it’s not just David who’s in trouble. An old female acquaintance of David’s has a secret that’s tearing her apart, Balfour is showing a mysterious tender side that reaches past David’s defenses, and David’s wondering if giving into his desires—in full—would be such a bad thing. Chambers weaves all of these elements into the story so seamlessly—so truthfully, too—that I was enraptured. The motivations and the heart and the passions of each character are dissected, compared against the conventions and truths of the time, and then given life and humanity by each action.
This story is told once more completely from David’s point of view, but he’s such an intriguing character. I like being surprised by him, and oh god, how incredibly vulnerable some of his moments are.
Happy sighs are all over the place! I can’t wait to see what happens next. 5 stars!
Enlightened (Enlightenment #3):
Wow! What a series!
There’s just something about Ms. Chambers’ world and her writing and her characters that sweeps the reader to another era that’s riddled with every conceivable emotion. I was breathless and filled with fear; I experienced anticipation and hope. This series is simply not to be missed, and Enlightened thrilled me to my toes.
Some things must be said…and they must be heard too.
What I love about this series is how everything comes together. It’s essential to read them all these books in order to get the full impact of not only the story, but the character development. Two souls are meeting in a time and place that’s not in their corner. The journey is long and hard and arduous, but it’s also poignant and tender. It’s not easy, and I’m glad for it because this story is so much more.
In this installment, David’s been recuperating at Lord Murdo’s country estate from an injury. As he heals, however, the ticking of the clock is looming ever nearer. A decision must be made regarding their fates. But it’s never that simple, is it?
There are other things afoot that will change the course of not only Murdo and David’s lives but others around them. It’s a story of fate and choices, opportunities and chances. The character development had me slack-jawed because it was done so effortlessly throughout, and it was essential, each piece placed where it was most needed.
I loved this story.
Heck, I breathed this story for a short time, and it’s one I’m going to read over and over.
I recommend this series so hard. I’d go so far as to say this is one of my top recommended series, ever. Steeped in romance, built with depth of character, and rounded out with nail-biting suspense and anticipation, the Enlightenment series delivers.
A resounding 5 star rating for this series—all around!
Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.
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