Rating: 5 stars
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For the past five months, David Lauriston has been living in Scotland with Lord Murdo Balfour. David is recovering from the severe leg injury he obtained helping his friend Elizabeth escape her abusive husband. These past months have been the happiest in David’s life as he and Murdo have the peace and privacy to spend time with each other without worrying about others taking note of their close relationship. David also loves the beautiful countryside and is enjoying working on some small legal matters for Murdo around his estate.
As happy as David is, he knows this idyllic time is drawing to a close. David is almost recovered, and if he is to have any hope of salvaging his legal practice in Edinburgh, he must return to it soon. As much as he cares about Murdo, David also knows he faces heartbreak as Murdo still intends to marry someday. As painful as their first separation was, now that his heart is involved, David knows this will be even worse. So as much as he wishes to stay with Murdo, David realizes that prolonging things will only make it that much harder.
But before any decisions can be made, David gets a note that his good friend and mentor, Patrick Chalmers, is dying and David rushes off to be at his side. While there, he learns that Chalmers fears for Elizabeth’s safety as it is seems her husband might be getting close to figuring out where she is hiding. Along with Murdo, David sets off to London to try to help on the legal end as one of Elizabeth’s financial trustees.
Once in London, they realize that Elizabeth is in more trouble than they feared. Not only that, but Murdo’s father is continuing his attempts at manipulation, eager to see Murdo married off to continue his political dynasty. As both crises build at once, David and Murdo must decide whether they can be together, and what lengths they will go to for a future with one another.
Enlightened is the final book in Joanna Chambers amazing Enlightenment series, one I have been enjoying from the start and which she has ended so spectacularly. This story so perfectly wraps up the various threads and storylines that have been building throughout the series, setting up the final conflicts and giving us the joy and satisfaction of seeing the men happily together. Chambers has done such a wonderful job building this trilogy, giving us pieces along the way that have developed throughout the books to this final resolution. For example, we have gotten hints of the tension between Murdo and his father that have slowly grown more significant and finally are addressed here. We also have followed along with David’s relationship with the Chalmers, both Patrick and then Elizabeth. In Beguiled, Elizabeth’s situation with her husband took center stage, and here we revisit it again as we see both how far she has come, and the danger she still faces. This conflict too is resolved, and in a way I never expected but completely worked with the rest of the story.
And of course, the biggest storyline is between Murdo and David themselves, as they struggle to build a future together. I love how in so many ways this has been David’s journey as he has grown to accept himself and what he wants out of life. He started out this series so certain he knew right and wrong and committed to the rules and structure he always lived by. Being with Murdo has taught him that there is more out there than the rules he has imposed on himself, and even more, that he deserves happiness and can have it. I appreciate that even as David comes to accept his own right to happiness with Murdo, he still is a man of principles. He hasn’t fundamentally changed, but he has grown to see the world in a broader way.
The romance between these men has developed so beautifully throughout this series. We have seen how strong their feelings are for one another, but circumstances have always stood in their way. David especially has put up walls, knowing he can not have what he wants with Murdo and that his heart will be broken in the process. So in this final book, we are rewarded to see these men so happily in love. They are romantic and sexy and it just such a beautiful, wonderful resolution for them.
So truly I loved this series and I couldn’t recommend it more highly. Each of the books is great in its own right, but when I look back over the trilogy, I am so impressed by the way Chambers built each story to culminate so well in this final installment. I really loved it and recommend it strongly.