Narrator: Hamish McKinlay
Length: 6 hours, 24 minutes
Enlightened is the third book in Joanna Chambers’ fabulous Enlightenment trilogy and my favorite of the series. The books follow solicitor David Lauriston and Lord Murdo Balfour and their developing relationship, and this third story is where everything really comes together. I had forgotten how sweepingly romantic this book feels, as these men are not only so committed to one another, but are finally able to really accept the way they feel. There is something just so lovely about seeing how much Murdo and David care for one another and how they are willing to be open with one another about those feelings.
This book is called Enlightened and that perfectly captures what is going on with Murdo and David. David has always had such a rigid sense of right and wrong that he judged his own desires harshly and was unable to really accept that part of himself. We see how his relationship with Murdo has not only taught him how to see nuance and shades of gray, but also to accept he is worthy of love and happiness despite his desire for men. And Murdo so astutely recognizes that marrying a woman and having affairs with men on the side does not let him have it all as he once believed, but instead leaves him with nothing. And only by putting aside those expectations and focusing on the love he has with David can he really have the life he wants. So this story is really so wonderful and does a perfect job of capping off the series.
Once again, narrator Hamish McKinlay does a great job here. He is everything I could want in a narrator for this series. McKinlay captures these men so well. Murdo’s silky, aristocratic voice in particular feels just so spot on. Where he is being passionate, or imperious, or tender, Murdo’s personality comes through so well. I also loved David, and McKinlay captures his character so nicely in the narration. These two men are the primary characters in the story and spend a lot of time alone in conversation and their interactions feel comfortable and it is easy to tell who is speaking. The only slight hitch here is that I think side character Euan comes across a bit nasal at times, but nothing significant. The women’s voices feel natural and the whole thing just flows very smoothly.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this series in audio. Getting a chance to revisit it has just reminded me how much I love this trilogy and how wonderful the romance is between Murdo and David. I really loved the audio, but I think this series is worth trying in either format. Chambers has created something really special here and the audio is a real treat.
P.S. I just love the new covers for the re-release of this series. So gorgeous and I love ginger David on this one!