So I have unleashed my inner historical fiction reader, and I am on a roll.
The Enlightenment trilogy (of which there are only 2 books available ,Provoked and Beguiled – Enlightenment itself is not due for release until May) was strongly recommended by many, notably Reading Tipsy – who has never steered me wrong.
I read both books over the course of a week, and famously missed my stop on the way to work towards the end of Beguiled and yes they are that good.
The basic premise is very familiar, two people meet, there is attraction all does not go well, there is a misunderstanding, things get better. However, this is the 1820’s Scotland, our main characters are gay, homosexuality is illegal, there are class issues, politics and treason.
David is a lawyer – a moral and just man, not at ease with his sexuality. Murdo is a Lord, privileged and hedonistic there is the necessary sexual tension between them, but these books are so much more than this.
The sense of place, 1820’s Edinburgh is really strong, it’s exactly how I imagine 1820’s Edinburgh to be- based on my knowledge of what it’s like now and what I’ve read of the 19th century. This is reflected in the writing, it reads ‘old’ so many books that are set in the Georgian period start off with good intentions but fail at the first modern hurdle, these do not.
The character development is amazing, not just the main characters; there is a sub plot regarding the daughter of David’s boss that could be a novel in its own right , which involves unrequited love, spousal abuse and sexual equality.
The overriding theme of the books for me is about acceptance of self, not just via a romantic relationship but through belief in what is right.
Of all the books that I have read so far this year these two are the ones that I would recommend, and I can’t wait (although obviously I will) for the final book.
Not much visually for the song choice, but this is stunning, and a great match.