21 September 2014

Provoked by Joanna Chambers

Hello everyone,

The Book:

When a man loses his heart, he has no choice but to follow…

Enlightenment, Book 1

Lowborn David Lauriston lacks the family connections needed to rise in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. Worse, his latest case—defending weavers accused of treason—has brought him under suspicion of harbouring radical sympathies. 

Troubled by his sexuality, tormented by memories of a man he once platonically loved, David lives a largely celibate life—until a rare sexual encounter with a compelling stranger turns his world on its head. 

Cynical and worldly, Lord Murdo Balfour is more at home in hedonistic London than dingy, repressed Edinburgh. Unlike David, he intends to eventually marry while continuing to enjoy the company of men whenever he pleases. Yet sex with David is different. It’s personal, intimate, and instead of extinguishing his desire, it only leaves him hungry for more. 

As David’s search for the man who betrayed the weavers deepens, he begins to suspect that his mysterious lover has more sinister reasons for his presence in Edinburgh. The truth could leave his heart broken…and more necks stretching on the gallows. 

My Thoughts:

This week I wanted to read a romance set in Scotland, and yes that is due to the recent Scottish referendum. Some searching through my extensive TBR pile I came across Provoked by Joanna Chambers and after reading the blurb instantly started reading. In my head I was going to read for an hour, then go to bed so that I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for work tomorrow. Unfortunately, my plan didn’t quite work, as before I knew it the book was finished and my clock was informing me it was 1am. Not the early night I had dreamed off. However, credit to the author this is an amazing book that completely absorbed my mind.

I will be honest male/male historical romances are my catnip. I love them; seriously I think it’s an addiction... And for me Provoked played right into the main reason I love this genre. It’s the torment the characters feel due to the conflict between personal feelings and societal conventions. For the majority of history being gay has been forbidden, frowned upon and at some points even illegal and personally I love reading a book were the main characters (and the author) have to interweave a love story with historical accuracy. 

It is probably for this reason that I loved the character of David; at the very start of the novel it is made clear he is uncomfortable with his sexuality. To the point where he won’t fully act on it but also refuses to lie by courting/dating/marry women. David is a man of integrity; he’s law-abiding, straight-laced, honest to a fault and genuinely cares about the less fortunate in society so for him having feelings about men, let alone acting on those feelings is a sin. A big one, however, David is also human and like all humans he gives into temptation from time to time.

"Balfour’s warm, firm lips. His sleek tongue. His solid presence. And not feeling alone. David pressed his lips together and remind himself that what he had done was a sin”.

Enter our other hero, Murdo Balfour, a man who in many ways is the complete opposite of David. Balfour likes to indulge in pleasure and sees no problem marry a woman but continuing to have relations with men (just to be clear Murdo isn’t married this is just an opinion he expresses in the books). Whereas David is self-made man, Murdo is a Scottish Lord with an influential father. He’s comfortable, even confident in social situations and will happily charm mothers and daughters alike at version dinner-parties. He happily and confidently propositions David at the being of the book resulting in a steamy scene in the back of an alley. Balfour is also in my opinion a teeny, tiny bit smitten with our straight-laced lawyer-to-be.

“It’s like a sickness,’ Balfour continued. ‘Ever since I met you. You’ve been... preying on my mind. It’s irritating. I never entertain repeat performances”. 

For both Murdo and David this was suppose to be a one-time event, and yet throughout the book it is clear that neither Murdo or David can forget what happened. I loved the emotion, the chemistry, the spark, whatever you want to call it between these two characters. I loved how Balfour is just as confused and lost as David even though he is arguably the more experience of the two. Neither of them knows how to handle the feelings between each other. This is a story of forbidden attraction between two men from two vastly different worlds with vastly different personalities and for me it was quite simply amazing. The writing is superb and gave me that warm feeling in my stomach that I always get when I’ve found a new auto-buy author. Slight warning this is the perfect introduction to these two character and the great start to a trilogy. Noticed I said introduction because this is not a book with a HEA or even a HFN, however, hope is at hand as book two and three are already out. Now if you’ll excuse me I have some more reading to do... 

My rating:
Happy reading and see you next time!