Titles: Provoked, Beguiled, Enlightened
Author: Joanna Chambers
Series: Enlightenment #1-3
Genre: Historical M/M Romance
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
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?
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.
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.
David is struggling to make a name for himself in the legal profession, or at least do what he feels is right and create a secure and stable future. Lord Murdo is not quite so noble in his life's pursuit but he does have an idea of what his future should look like. When these two meet, its pretty obvious that neither will ever quite be the same. Provoked is a lovely introduction into Joanna Chambers' Enlightenment series.
It's been two years since David and Lord Murdo were last together and their lives kept moving forward but when they are once again thrown together by outside forces, they find that as much as their ideas of tomorrow haven't changed, how they see themselves in said future may not be quite the same. It's very rare when I can say I enjoyed the sequel as much, if not more, than the original but that is what I found myself feeling as I read Beguiled.
Having been together for the five months since the last page of Beguiled, Enlightened finds David and Murdo enjoying something they never thought they would be able to have, domesticity with each other. Naturally, life is not that easy. We get to see Murdo's father in this installment and let me tell you, he is not a pleasant man. Enlightened finds the couple traveling to London with not so happy tasks but will it be the end for the pair or will they be able to find a way around societies' idea of proper morality?
With this being a trilogy you have to read the entire series to see the whole story. As any followers of my reviews know, I am a true history lover so when I find a new(or new to me) historical I tend to gobble them up. Well, I have never felt so satisfied after binge reading a trilogy before as I have with Joanna Chambers' Enlightenment. David and Lord Murdo will definitely try your patience but their passion for life and each other, even when they deny it, will bring a little zest into your life and a pep to your step. Don't get me wrong, you will most certainly want to wring their necks more than once but it only adds to the passion and heart of the story.
I loved the secondary characters as well, there isn't a single one that could be labeled as just filler, they all a part to play in the journeys of David and Murdo. It's through the couples' interactions with these characters that we get to see what drives them, we see that David wants to help others from the beginning but it isn't really until Beguiled that we realize Murdo isn't as selfish or self-involved as originally portrayed. It may be cliche but there is more to him than meets the eye and it's lovely watching David discover Murdo's drive and heart.
It isn't often that I find myself saying that with each installment the story got even better, sequels by nature are often inferior to the original but not with this trilogy. A truly lovely historical that showed the morality of the time but never lost the passion the characters have for life or each other. Enlightenment has a little bit of everything but at the center of it all is heart and that only grows with each page. So blessed that this series crossed my path and makes a great addition to my historical shelf.
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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