Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review Tour: Enlightenment Series by Joanna Chambers

Enlightenment Series
by Joanna Chambers
Genre: Historical M/M Romance

Provoked 

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

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

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) 

Beguiled (Enlightenment #2)

Enlightened (Enlightenment #3) 


Provoked

This book had such a rich content, if one can call it that. The historical setting is down to its finest details, I feel as if I'm transported back to the 1800s with the usual snobbish aristocrats and social niceties. The romance between the characters isn't well develop yet, but I'm liking what I'm getting now. It seems like a precursor to something beautiful later on. There also also an underlying story arc about the government vs radicals and the heroes appear to get tangled in the midst.

David Lauriston came from a humble background and now a fresh faced advocate trying to make a career for himself. David is a honorable, humble and kind hearted man. I guess he is the best kind of boy next door you can find. I find his gentlemanly behavior oddly endearing. Although most of the time he felt low like dirt among the aristocrats, he still put his best foot forward and stand firm for his own believes.

Lord Murdo Balfour is the classic rake who isn't ashamed to get what he want, propriety be damned. Balfour's jaded view in life and wanting to seek pleasure seems to disgust David to no end. Anyway, their view are so different that I bet they find each other intolerable, but sometimes, opposite attracts and all that. 

There are a handful of steamy encounter between these two and even without them getting down and dirty, their mere presence together seems to bring up the intensity a few notch. I know Balfour's page time was quite limited and I find myself anticipating his every next appearance, but the story had enough going on that I didn't find that there is any lull in the book. 

The ending is wholly unsatisfying simply because there isn't even a HFN. Thus, I find myself already reading the next one, while trying to type out this review.

Beguiled

Provoked was good and set a solid foundation for the story arc and the relationships between all the characters. But Beguiled is step up a notch further with an exquisite romantic development between David and Murdo.

It had been a two years gap since they last meet each other at the ending of Provoked, but only a 2 minutes gap for me. Their unexpected reunion seems rather charming with them being nice and social towards each other. I can see both men had grow much since their last bitter parting. Murdo seems less sarcastic and more genuine. I wish I can get into his head and know what is running through his mind. Instead of his tendency push and provoke David, this time around he is more caring, more accepting of David's reservation. To me, Lord Murdo is a force to be reckon with and David is a putty in his hands. 

David is still as honorable as ever and I like that he still stay true to his beliefs. Despite the society pressure, he still stand firm to remain single and hurt Elizabeth's feeling, the young woman he met previously. David is so admirable that he still feel protective and guilt over her demise. Although the idea of a woman feel like a third wheel in the story, I find that I actually intrigue with her's story and hope she can find her own happiness. It might even come in the form of a certain radical. 

Beside the swoony romance that took place, there is a hint of danger with the cloak and dagger stuff that David engage with in order to save a certain damsel in distress. Too bad Murdo always not being told what the hell is happening, but man, he is so quick on his feet and responded perfectly to all the crazy on goings.

I still have much pending books to read, but I can't help other than to read the whole trilogy in one go. This Enlightenment series might just turned out to be my favorite historical M/M romance. Hopping off the next one. 

Enlightened

I'm sad to say that my journey with David and Murdo had ended. After less than three days, I finished all three books and now I'm cursing myself for reading them so fast. I should savor it slowly like fine wine.

This last book is the best among the series, simply because the romance is taking off, get ready to be swoon over by Lord Murdo and we finally got the HEA that we crave. I'm sure everyone already in love with Murdo, but this time around, Murdo is getting even more lovable. Can the man be any less perfect in my eyes? Murdo finally shows us his weakness and vulnerable side and he isn't afraid to make big sacrifice for the man he loves. 

I know David is a such a martyr and his self righteousness might grate on some nerves, but I actually admire him for who he is. Although it didn't appear as he had a lot to give as compare to Murdo, I don't mind that because a relationship doesn't need to be tit for tat. David just to be there standing by Murdo's side and supporting his decision and I'm satisfy.

Looking back at Book 1 and witnessing the changes between these two heroes, I just warmed my heart. David used to be living in a state of perpetual guilt and reservation due to his proclivities, while Murdo is happily sinning his way to hell, both men from such different status and morale ground, but ultimate came together wanting the same happy ending. 


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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