Provoked by Joanna Chambers ~ Review by Lirtle Grafton

Two very different men looking for the very same thing while living in a very difficult time and place. David and Balfour, wanting to find that intangible place of comfort and love (while not even realizing it initially), in 1820’s Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m in!


provoked cover (200x300)Provoked by Joanna Chambers is book one of the Enlightenment Series.

Published by Samhain Publishing

Published 7-23-13

An Historical M/M Romance that includes high society, a bit of lawyering, conflict of the fun and frustrating sorts, all surrounded by the whirling dervish that is two men working hard to get past their arguing in exchange for some loving.

ISBN: 978-1-61921-617-4

This one is 4.5 of 5 stars for me.

From the Publisher:

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.

Warning: Contains mystery and danger set in 1822 Scotland, and a forbidden love between two men that will leave you on the edge of your seat—until the next book.

Love is a complicated and elusive thing…

From the opening pages, the setting for this story makes sense when paired with the characters, the politics and society as a whole: 1820 Scotland, Edinburgh to be precise, strongly under British rule, rebellion against taxes and many other things bringing conflict that needles itself into everything.

This ‘everything’ includes our two main men, David Lauriston and Murdo Balfour. David is an advocate – a lawyer – and is a sympathetic one, at that. He’s a caring man unable to keep from wanting to help another man when he’s been wrong persecuted and prosecuted. He’s a bit of an idealist (at least according to Balfour, and we’ll get to him, I promise), a bit unfair to himself and definitely a determined fellow, at least professionally speaking. This story is told from his point of view and it’s an excellent choice. His voice is strong.

Now, Balfour… Murdo Balfour. Yep, I like him. Most of all because he likes David so much, and so easily. Murdo is intelligent and he’s quiet unapologetic and unafraid to say what he wants, which is namely David. I hesitate to say more because David (well, Ms Chambers) does such a wonderful job in giving us insight, a taste, a full meal of a description of Murdo whenever they encounter each other.

Both of these men are confident in their own ways. This is a simple and yet delicious equation: differences + contradictions x confidence = a simmering pot of hotness heading for an unavoidable explosion. Yeah, yeah, so many ways to take that and you can enjoy them all.

Despite the times and the illegality of being gay, David doesn’t torment himself over the fact that he is or that he even has his desires. He doesn’t deny it or try to fool himself into thinking he can fight who he is. What he struggles with is how to allow it to be a part of his life. His strength of character is a constant companion to his decision-making. Balfour has the type of personality that can, not necessarily open the door for David as he can do that for himself, show David that this is a life that can be achieved. I don’t know if anyone like Balfour existed in 1820’s Edinburgh, but given the diversity of this loony human race, maybe he did. He would have been a challenging, safe and strong place to be for a man like David to be, and vice versa.

Ms Chambers’ writing allows the creation of this world and these characters to easily find a place inside my mind. I can see the wardrobes and the puffs of cold breath. I can hear the exhaustion of one and the smirking lips of another. The style strides comfortably, no matter the action or emotion. Not all writers can do both equally well but she can and does.

There is a turning point for David and Balfour. It’s an event in which they both feel compelled to participate lest someone, more than one someone, comes to harm. Neither of them directly addresses this but I felt it, that slight change, a shift in their attitudes towards each other through the dialogue and reactions. Couple this with a very intense situation, in which I had no idea which way things were going to go, and you’ve got me as a reader. The connection is made.

Things aren’t easy between David and Balfour, not in the beginning and definitely not now. They both feel something, strongly, and act upon it, but it always seems to complicate things. They’re complicated. That’s David and Balfour in a nutshell if I had to choose one. Whether they’re together or apart, all throughout the story, I can feel that undercurrent of complexity and tension. I will tell you that there is sex in this book but not a lot, which may frustrate some readers. Believe me when I tell you that when it does happen, it’s incredibly hot. And just as importantly, when it’s not happening, that tension is just as palpable and I loved it.

Hopeful? A question that remains unanswered at the end of this story.

Be ready to begin reading the next installment of this series, Beguiled, once you have breathed the last word of this one. Don’t say you weren’t given fair warning. 😉


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5 thoughts on “Provoked by Joanna Chambers ~ Review by Lirtle Grafton

  1. Great review! Thanks for the warning that this is part of a series. I like to know so that I can have the next book ready to read!

  2. Thanks so much, and me too re: knowing if I should have the next book ready to start LOL 🙂

    If you like historicals, this will definitely scratch that itch. 😉

  3. I added this to my list also, I am not usually a fan of historical but this sounds like a really good one. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  4. Hi Wendy 🙂

    It’s definitely a historical and is heavy with detail and story, but I lap that stuff up LOL. This is probably a good tester to see if you’ll end up becoming a reader of more historicals or not. 🙂

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