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(Enlightenment #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  4,082 ratings  ·  686 reviews
This is a second edition of a book previously published by Samhain Publishing.

Tormented by his forbidden desires for other men and the painful memories of the childhood friend he once loved, lawyer David Lauriston tries to maintain a celibate existence while he forges his reputation in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world.
But then, into his repressed and orderly life, burs
Kindle Edition, 2nd edition, 202 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Joanna Chambers (first published July 23rd 2013)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  4,082 ratings  ·  686 reviews

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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
**Now FREE at all major retailers (ebook), 6/8/17!!**

*4.5 stars*

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
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Confession time: I’m writing this review after having already read book 2 in the series. I usually NEVER do this. I usually write a review immediately after reading a book…and definitely before reading another one…and forbid myself before reading another one in the series. But…I just couldn’t stop reading…

And honestly…it makes a difference.

I really enjoyed Provoked. I say it over and over again: I don’t read Historicals. And then I always get a raving recommendation from someone (in this case, K
K.J. Charles
Excellent. Great atmosphere, cracking sexual tension, intriguing plotting, likeable but very human characters. The Scottish Enlightenment setting seemed like it might be dour, ditto the massive internalized homophobia issues, but they were brilliantly done, with life and passion. Looking forward to book 2.
Shile (Hazard's Version) semi-hiatus

Damn! these MM/ Historical books. They have now permanently crawled their way into my heart.
All the books that i have read in this genre i have done so in one sitting. When i start i never want to stop until i am done.

“Yes, I hate what I am at times, but at least I accept myself enough to realise that I can’t lie my way through life, pretending to prefer women when I don’t.”

David - you can't help but root for him. I adored the pretty guy.
Murdo- You either love him or hate, i ended up loving him
2020 reread: Still 5 stars, and I've added some thoughts at the end of my original review.

This is brilliant. It goes straight onto my Best of 2017 shelf. Honestly, I had no idea Joanna Chambers could write like this.

My standards for historical fiction are very high — go ahead and call me a snob, I don't mind. I loathe anachronisms, and the worst anachronism of all is populating historical fiction with modern-day people with modern-day values and modern-day attitudes. You know, those funda
Julio Genao

occasionally melodramatic dialogue, crushingly boring prose, and unsympathetic characters hurt my face.

what a frustrating experience!

i find few things more tedious than a whining, puritanical mungbucket denying himself the pleasures of the flesh.

murdo's dialogue was all over the place—sometimes making him sound like a spiteful brat instead of a coolly sardonic peer of the bloody realm.

the ending was completely ineffective, and the prose...

everything is dutifully described in enervatin
Simone - on indefinite hiatus  -
June 2020: Audiobook = ***3.5 Stars***

I wasn't overly thrilled with the narrator's voice for Murdo, he sometimes sounded as if he were pushing 60... 🙄


***4.5 Stars***

Consider me hooked and better brace yourself!

I have no friggin' clue why I always hesitated to read m/m historicals, but from now on you might get tired of me indulging myself in the regency world more often.

Oh, and as for Murdo...
Ähnliches Foto

... of course he gained a new proud member to
Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
Re-read ...Audio 11.4.20

Audio...4.5 Stars
Story...3.75 Stars

Wow! I can't believe it's been a little over 3 years since I read this...
I've lowered my rating slightly. I found myself a bit frustrated by the lack of couple time and actual romance this time around even knowing it will get better as the series continues. 🤷🏽‍♀️

4.5 stars

I'm just moving on to book 2. It's that good and that ending made me sad because I can see it being the end of the story for a lot of gay men back t
Written March 21, 2014

4 1/2 Huge Stars - a charming, well-written super romantic genuine historical romance - just stunning good

Book #1

I LOVE this traditional old historical romances genre (though here with men who loves men).

Speechless, overwhelmed, devastated and so surprised. I couldn't imagine that this HR book would be that good. I would like to write a stunnig and loving "tribute-review" about this fantastic romance. ..but you better read it instead. ~ I dried my tears and here we go:

4 Stars

I can see why this M/M historical series is so beloved by many.

As an idealistic lawyer, living and working in 19th century Edinburgh, country-born David Lauriston does his best to fit in among high-society, fighting to right injustices on behalf of his clients. With strong ideals and a pure-heart, David works tirelessly to set aside his own forbidden sexual desires, which seems to work well for the most part, but when Lord Murdo Balfour enters David’s life, the walls David has carefully
Elisa Glendenning
Re-read 12/2021

I loved this just as much as the first time!!! If you enjoy MM historical fiction, then look no further because this trilogy is fantastic. You won’t be disappointed. I’ll be forever grateful to Leslie for introducing me to David & Murdo 😍
I picked this book up as part of my own Personal Historical Month Challenge. Straight-up historical romance (without any element of paranormal) has never been a favorite genre of mine (either male/male or male/female). Provoked was recommended by a friend, MandyM, and since she loved historical romance, I trusted her judgment.

Initially, I had issues -- what can I say, my brain seemed to start doing mental blocking when I read historical. I was moaning and ready to bitching about the sense of 'ol
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, historical
****4.5 Stars ****

Thank you, Ariana, for taking me out of my dark hole with this recomm.
This was a fine read.
May 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why does it have to be like that? 😭😭😭

I loved this book. I hated this book. I know, I know, it’s the historical context. But it hurts to see David hating his homosexuality. And it hurts to see Murdo talking about marrying a woman to have a family. No. Why can’t they just be together?

The MCs are not a couple here. They meet, have sex, and go their separate ways. Except they keep bumping into each other. The UST is amazing. The main story with Euan’s quest to find the man who betrayed his brother w
Richard Derus
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

I'd rate this lower if I hadn't been prepared for the modest sexual content. What there was the author did well and it wasn't gratuitous or inorganic. I was sure the story needed to be in that place at that moment; I was sure the characters were true to their established motivations; in the end, it wasn't about dissatisfaction that I've read from a few other reviewers. I suspect the issues arose from what I was inclined to see as "instaluuuv" between men of radically (!) differ
4.5 stars ⭐️ omg, how could I not love this book?! David and Murdo are everything. The back and forth between Murdo and David didn't infuriate me at all and only made me too excited to see what would happen the next. I was emotionally invested in the story the whole time. If you never read a historical romance, just read this. It will give you a reason to make a soft spot inside your heart only for historical romance.

David was a farm boy who became now a lawyer and has a deep and sensitive heart
Heather C
Wonderful start to a trilogy!

Those of you who read a lot of historical M/M romance, you know that the majority of it just isn't realistic. I mean the norm is: two confirmed bachelors meet, have a hot and steamy, illicit affair, figure upon a perfectly illogical reason for two men to share housing, then live out their happily ever after together...forever and ever. Totally cliche and predictable, right? You're not going to see any of that in Provoked.

First of all, I'm not going to rehash the plot
Ariana  (mostly offline)
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, lgbtq
Reread June 2020

4,5 stars

Ahhh, so good. David, so full of conflict and beaten up about his sexuality and tall, dark self-assured Murdo who just does as he pleases. Maybe with hindsight, I can see better, how this is step 1 in their relationship. And for that I upped my rating to 4,5.

original review:

Darn, this was like two titans meeting, clashing and then left adrift in the sea.

This is the early 19th century when being gay is perceived as evil, perverted and freaky.
Brought up in a loving, but
Chambers makes Harlequins fun again! The prose wasn't particularly enjoyable. I found David a honorably dull and uninspired Mary Sue and I can't say I enjoyed spending time with him. The ending annoyed me to no end too. BUT....the nice pacing and Balfour made this an unputdownable book for me anyway. Though all would've been much better if Balfour had gotten his way... If you know what I mean...*eyebrow waggle*.

Other than that, I find myself agreeing with Rachel 100%, and will therefore lazily
This has bored me to tears every time I picked it up.

I actually love well-written historical romances, whether m/m or m/f. I like them realistic and steeped in historical detail. So, thinking I can't miss with this after reading quite a few reviews, I bought the whole series. God, do I rue this at the moment! It's however why I tried so hard to get into this story.

But I can't, and I haven't even yet reached any naughty bits or whatever. I'm still just into the setup. Which was enough to show m
I was very hesitant about joining the Murdo Balfour fan wagon. There is always a kind of trepidation when you start a book by new author. But I was persuaded by my fellow readers and good reviews. I was not disappointed.

As historical romance goes this book was typical in a sense that everything was regulated, rigid and formal between all the parties involved. The beginning took me aback by its gruesome details and it set the tone of the book for me - this will not be your run of the mill story
Kaje Harper
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, m-m
This was a very enjoyable historical romance, with a plausible period feel, an interesting (beginnings of a) plot, a sympathetic narrator and a nicely enigmatic love interest.

David is a man with a deep sense of honor, and integrity. This sets him at odds with his sexual desire for other men, because he sees it as an unnatural failing. He tries to remain celibate, but occasionally gives way to temptation. Afterward he battles self-disgust, sometimes with the help of a dram or two of whiskey. Unt
Santino Hassell
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, historical, favorite
Since I plan to power through this series, I'm not going to one of my super long reviews, but rest-assured I loved this book.

4.5 just because I wanted MOAR.

**This review is also slightly scattered.

Although Murdo was hot shit, the best part of this book (to me) wasn't the romance. It was the setting and how that tied into the actions and internal conflicts of the characters. The Enlightenment was an era when people stopped living their lives solely based on moral standards set by the Church. They
Nelly S. on semi-hiatus
4.5 stars

“He thought of Balfour touching him, more intimately than anyone had before, or probably would again.
“You're beautiful.”
Christ Jesus.
That night—that moment—had been the sweetest of all David's life. And if thinking that made him wicked and bound for hell, he wasn't sure he had it in him to repent.”

Turbulent political times, a dangerous environment for gay men, and compelling characters make for a gripping romance set in the early 1800s in Scotland. I’ve been leery about historica
I love a good historical romance, and there is plenty to love about Joanna Chambers' Provoked, the first book in her Enlightenment series.

Provoked gives us two fascinating characters at opposite sides of the spectrum. Lord Murdo Balfour is a wealthy Scot with an estate in Argyllshire; David Lauriston, the son of a farmer, is an advocate (comparable to a barrister) with no safety net of wealth nor privilege. David is ashamed of his sinful "unnatural defect"; Balfour is much more pragmatic:
I don’t

4.5 Stars

Just a few words before I rush onto book II because I am riveted to this series. Joanna Chambers is quite simply more than a wee bit brilliant.

I LOVE that she set this story in an era of such political and social unrest. Bringing together two very different men from the opposite and opposing ends of the class scale is always an interesting perspective for a reader, but here we have David who has worked or is working his way up the rankings, not quite belonging to either of these worlds

I would totally bone Joanna Chambers based on this book. Her words, at least.

This book created some serious excitement in my life yesterday. I was at my boyfriend's hockey game reading this book, and afterward, he said to me, "Did you see the goals I scored?". No, of course I didn't see your goals, I was completely enveloped in this book. "I think so," I replied.

I love the little misunderstandings, the obvious jealousy, the strong male lead (small people can be tough, too!), the partings
Wow. Just… wow.

I don’t have it in me to dissect this one at the moment, but I’ll just say that this book far exceeded any expectations that I had for it at the outset.

Both Murdo and David are compelling characters that command the page and demand a closer look. I adored both of them and the realistic growth in their relationship with one another was beyond well done; Chambers ignited this agonizingly slow burn that made it feel like someone was playing tug-of-war with my emotions. When the char
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
19 Aug 2017 Addition: sooooo, in the last week or so, I've received my order of the paperback copies of this series - with the new covers - and I've purchased the audio book for this, the first in the series - just this morning.

*contented sigh* David and Murdo...

Take the plunge. Oh! And the narrator is a Scot. :D

PS: how the HAYULL has it been almost 4 years since I first read this?? 😱 😁 💗

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From the opening pages, the setting for this story makes
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a story!

Completely different in tone from the Mr. Winterbourne books, but (honestly) Provoked is even better.

From the opening scene, to the last moments with Davy and his family I was completely spellbound. The characters, the story, the pacing... it was fantastic.

Any fan of historicals needs to put this at the top of their list.

Also, a huge nod to the narrator, Hamish McKinlay, who did an amazing array of voices. He even did an American woman, and pulled it of splendidly.

Can't wait to
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Joanna Chambers' muse likes red wine, coffee and won't let Joanna clean the house or watch television.

If you came here looking for a copy of The Bequest you can get it here:

If you're looking for Seasons Pass, go here:

Other books in the series

Enlightenment (5 books)
  • Beguiled (Enlightenment, #2)
  • Enlightened (Enlightenment, #3)
  • Unnatural (Enlightenment, #4)
  • Restored (Enlightenment, #5)

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“Well, since you’re asking,” he said, finally looking at David, “I’d like to see you naked. And then I’d like to fuck you.” David” 1 likes
“The footman entered first. “Lord Murdo Balfour, sir,” he said, addressing Mr. Chalmers. David thought stupidly, I know that name. For the briefest instant, he didn’t connect it with the man at whose feet he’d knelt. And then he saw him. Murdo” 1 likes
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