Title: Enlightened (Enlightenment #3)
Author: Joanna Chambers
Release Date: April 23, 2017
Genre(s): Historical Romance
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Page Count: 226
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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.
In the first two books in the Enlightenment series, Lord Murdo Balfour held all the cards –
wealth, charm, prestige – along with the absolute certainty his life would turn out exactly how he wished. After marrying a suitable woman and providing an heir and a spare, he would continue to enjoy the company of men. But as Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley” meaning that no matter how carefully one makes plans …. well, they often go awry. And in Murdo’s case, plans that once seemed so practical are blown out of the water by what he feels for David:
“I didn’t know I wasn’t happy before,” he murmured.
Murdo gave a lopsided smile. “Before you. Not that I was actively unhappy. I had plans. Objectives. Things to acquire or achieve. But—” He paused, then said simply, “You make me happy, David.”
And yet … Murdo and David (and Elizabeth) still have a long distance to traverse before their HEAs. David feel he must return to his legal practice, Murdo has prior commitments that simply can’t be neglected if one wants to remain in society, and Elizabeth’s situation with her estranged husband is still very perilous. In the first two books, matters of society and government drove the plot, but to me Enlightened is driven by love; love and regrets about love a dying father wants to share with his most beloved daughter, career aspirations changed by love, familial and societal expectations shattered by love. And because we know these characters – we know what they’ve gone through, what changes they’ve made – there’s a bittersweet aspect to this story that really hits your heart – hard.
Sorry I can’t be more specific about the plot elements of this book, but it is just so well constructed and richly developed and I don’t want to spoil the journey for you. So … simply put, Enlightened is the perfect conclusion to an absolutely exquisite M/M historical romance series. If you like well-written historicals, as I do, race to Amazon to buy this series. Even if historicals aren’t your cuppa, give this a try. I think you might be surprised how much you enjoy it. 5 stars and Highly Recommended!
“Words have power […] Sometimes things must be said. And they must be heard too.”