Friday, December 12, 2014

Hilcia's Minis: Provoked, Beguiled, Enlightened by Joanna Chambers

Provoked is a great read on a few different levels. The two main characters are conflicted and therefore intriguing. There's a high level of chemistry and the sexual tension between them is off the charts throughout the story. David with his naive honesty comes off as a bit of a prig, but a lovely one. Murdo is more worldly and outwardly a bit of a cynic, but his passion just burns. They are each right and wrong and although there is not a "happy ever after" or even a "happy for now" ending to this book, Chambers sets up this slowly developing romance perfectly for the second installment. Edinburgh as the main setting gives this book a unique atmosphere. I particularly like how Joanna Chambers uses historical facts from the Radical War in this first installment. It is always a pleasure to read a historical romance where "history" is both well researched and well incorporated. Highly recommended. (Samhain Publishing, July 2013)

After reading Provoked, I couldn't resist and immediately picked up Beguiled.


Provoked hooked me on this series, but with Beguiled I fell in love with the characters. Two years later during King George IV's first visit to Edinburgh, Murdo and David meet again, and the passion between them is scorching! Chambers uses those two years of separation as the basis for character growth. David is still honest and straight forward but now open to what Murdo has to offer. Murdo's passion for David is palpable but tenderness also becomes an obvious, beguiling factor that goes along with the rest. The historical details are just as good in Beguiled as they were in the first installment. Chambers brings back secondary characters from Provoked and, by utilizing David's friend Elizabeth's bad marriage, develops a side story focusing on women's lack of rights and/or choices during that period in time. Additionally, pomp and ceremony details from King George IV's first visit to Edinburgh are featured as background. Sensuality is on the high end of the scale with many more bedroom scenes than in Provoked. The end to Beguiled is dramatic and keeps the reader in tenterhooks wondering how things will work out in the end for Murdo and David. Highly recommended. (Samhain Publishing, December 2013)


After reading Beguiled, I immediately downloaded Enlightened.

Enlightened focuses on David and Murdo. It gives the characters the together time and space to work out the remaining conflicts in the slow-burn of a relationship that was ignited in Provoked and burst into flame in Beguiled. That slow burn has evolved into a passionate attachment that neither man will name but both feel. For David it is all about his inner doubts, but for Murdo the conflicts come from personal mistakes and an outside source. Chambers uses multiple settings for this book. It all begins in Laverock House, Murdo's estate in Perthshire, Scotland where David has been recuperating from his injuries, briefly moves on to Edinburgh, and goes on to London where both men have business to attend to. David must contact Elizabeth and Euan to warn them of possible danger, while Murdo has unknown business with his father. In this last book of the Enlightenment trilogy, there are secrets and revelations that affect the growing love and trust between our main characters. But really the main thrust of this story is about the characters allowing themselves to finally grasp that elusive happiness. The pacing is inconsistent with a slow start that picks up after a while and stays true to the end. It is really tough to find a workable or believable resolution in m/m historical romances, however, Chambers finds her way around those problematic points quite well. Both characters surrender important parts of their lives to achieve happiness, but in the end Murdo and David get the beautiful life they deserve. Together. Recommended. (Samhain Publishing, May 2014)

Of the three books Provoked and Beguiled are my favorite, with Enlightened dragging a bit, but still coming in as a solid read by providing all the right answers. Overall, Enlightenment is a great m/m historical romance trilogy with excellent atmosphere and historical research, and a romance that is memorable for the author's fabulous use of sexual tension and sensuality to build-up a relationship that begins with a sexual encounter between strangers and ends with a fantastic happy ever after. Highly recommended.

2 comments:

  1. Dear Hilcia you've read them!!!
    Seriously, aren't they wonderful stories?? I loved the romantic aspect, the way they were a couple, the little things that made them into a couple. These books are going to certainly be part of my favorites of the year. The end was a compromise for both but something too sugary would have been nonsense.
    I'm so glad you took time to read the trilogy!!!

    kiss

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    1. Sonia, this is a great m/m romance trilogy. I waited until the last book released with the idea of buying them and reading the whole thing in one sitting and didn't get to them until now. Chambers did a fantastic job of developing the romance slowly throughout the three books. I love that she didn't go for the insta love and that the conflict is focused on how gay men would have felt at that time. The historical research and plotting are great too!

      I'm really glad I made time to read it!

      Hugs

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