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.
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To be honest, I was nervous about this series.
I always feel really hesitant to start a series that is so universally beloved. For one, I never like to hate what other people like, though it happens often. I like to see the magic that other people see, and I always feel like I'm missing something critical when I don't. In addition, I feel this weird pressure about reading a very popular, very adored book, something I don't feel when I go into a book totally blind.
However, I recently read the very lovely A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers so I was feeling cautiously optimistic. As well I should have been because this book was all it's cracked up to be and more.
I think you have to view this book as a part of one longer book. It doesn't really stand alone, and I don't' know anyone who could read this story and not one-click the whole series.
I was afraid that there wasn't going to be enough tension, enough of a slow burn, but I got a really good burn, and this heated I want you, I hate you, I need you vibe that I wasn't expecting.
Provoked is also far from insta-love, with a really intense buildup and a cliffhanger-esk ending. No HFN even at the finish of this installment. However, the writing makes it all worth the wait. I died for the gorgeous language, setting, and characters. I usually don't love single POVs, but Joanna Chambers made it feel like a perfect fit. I couldn't get enough.
A truly wondrous start to what is shaping up to be an addictive series, I can't wait to see this story unfold. Just lovely.
Two years have passed since our men have seen each other, but the chemistry is just as palpable as before. And the feels.... ah, the feels! They will slay you.
I launched right into this one after finishing Provoked, and I'm so happy I did. After the first one left me hanging, I just had to know what happened next. And the story just continued to progress beautifully.
I liked this more self-assured David. He was more settled, more mature, but I loved that he retained that sense of honesty that defined him. He was more at peace with his feelings for Murdo, and he allowed the relationship to become something greater than just possibilities.
I also adored this more determined Murdo. Murdo was also less... arrogant, less intimidating, and more focused than ever on David. Murdo is a force to be reckoned with when he sets his mind to something, and he set his mind on David. The way they come together, slowly but like a tornado slowly spiraling towards something inevitable, was magical to witness.
The plot is also rich with excitement, enough to keep you on your toes but not enough to detract from the brewing romance. You won't be able to look away.
The setting? Gorgeous.
The romance? Getting more and more intense.
The plotline? Exhilarating.
The dialogue? Period-appropriate and lovely to read.
The sex? Hotter than ever!
Romancy, extremely well written, and a beautiful story, this is shaping up to be a romance for the ages!
I am enlightened.
There are some books that stay with you, and this book is going to stay with me for a very long time.
The Enlightenment series is one that you shouldn't begin unless you are prepared to dig into all three books. In truth, they are all like one very large book that has been split up into three pieces. You really need to read all of them to get the full story and appreciate the full breadth of the romance.
Joanna Chambers did an excellent job plotting this series because each book grows and builds on one another until the pieces slot together and make perfect sense at the end.
This is a series for readers who want an epic romance.Enlightened is a story of a hard-fought happily ever after, a story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles and emerging victorious. It is a story that restores hope in love conquers all and makes you want to grab the ones you care about and never let them go. It is just a really special story, one that you have to experience for yourself.
The story isn't mushy or sappy or overly affectionate or extremely sexual. It is everything in balance. It is smart writing, smart characters, and an ending that will make you clutch your chest with a prickle in your eye.
Enlightened, and the entire series, is historical romance done right. And it won't let you down.
* Review copies provided by the tour organizer in exchange for honest reviews *
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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