Saturday, October 31, 2020

Restored (Enlightenment #5) [Henry & Kit] by Joanna Chambers

This book was EVERYTHING. I didn't want it to end and yet I did. I fell in love with both Henry and Kit in a SECOND. They lived their lives with the cards they were dealt with and it wasn't easy. When they first met and the time they shared together was the most naive and innocent for both of them but it all changed one night and nothing was the same ever again. 

While this book can be read as a TOTAL standalone we did actually met Kit Redford before, he is the owner of "Redford" a discreet club for gentlemen of a certain persuasion where characters from previous installments have visited. Kit, or rather, Christopher, started his life as a son of a whore and was raised to become one himself. He didn't resent his life, it was what it was, and while he was with Henry he was happy. They spent less than a year together and while he knew in his heart this couldn't be real he still cared deeply for Henry. He also hoped he could make something for himself once the year they had together is over and he is paid fully but one night Henry disappeared breaking their contract and leaving him with basically nothing. Bringing Kit into dark times. He might have came out of it a successful businessman who lacks for nothing but the prices he had to pay hardened him. He thought he left the past behind but when 18 years later Henry appears, "His duke" as his friend refers to him, it brings everything back. The love, the loss, the betrayal, the pain of fists he had to endure.

Henry Asquith - The Duke of Avesbury - might not have everything he ever wanted but his life was good. Easy. He was married to Caroline, a woman he was never attracted to but was his best friend and the best mother for their 4 children. She even allowed him to seek his pleasures elsewhere (as she wasn't interested in him as well). He had his kept boy Christopher and while he only allowed himself to visit him twice a week these nights where a solace. Though he couldn't say it out loud he loved Christopher and couldn't wait to see him each time. 
Henry's world turned upside down when one night Caroline asks him to leave London and return to their remote estate putting his lover aside to be with her and their kids as she was dying from cancer. Henry devoted his life from then on to care for his children leaving his life and his needs behind. Now, 18 years later, when his kids are grown he visits London with his married (and pregnant) daughter and youngest son he is feeling a bit unneeded. When visiting a local bakery puts him face-to-face with an old friend of Christopher's he can't help himself and asks his help in contacting him. His friend isn't impressed and even resentful and Henry doesn't understand why but when he goes to his solicitor to check the estate he has gifted Christopher as a part of their agreement he realizes his old man of business who has recently discovered to have cheated his family from even before his time has wronged Christopher as well. 

Determined to somehow "fix" this wrong he goes to Christopher's - now Kit's - home and asks to repay him. Kit isn't interested in Henry's money - making Henry feel better - for destroying so much of his life all those years ago. He won't be "bought" again. He didn't think seeing Henry would bring so many emotions out of him but when his anger rises he offers Henry to repay him as he used to only this time in HIS club on his knees in front of everyone. He doesn't expect Henry to accept, and later on show up in the club but once he does an opening for something new blossoms between them. Now, older, and more in-tuned with who they are and what they want and need, they can be more honest with each other, yet that doesn't mean they are ready to confide in one another what they felt back then or what they are still feeling now. 
Spending time together feels right in a way they didn't expect (or allowed themselves to hope) and it's getting harder to contain their emotions. Henry surprises Kit seeing him as his equal (and he won't tolerate anything else between them) but he is also surprised with a side to Henry he never realize existed. From Henry's POV - Kit might be more mature and sure of himself but he is still the same man he has fallen for - kind, caring. 

There is a bit more to the story, with Henry's kids as well as Kit's close friend Clara (and her son) but I would rather say nothing more not to spoiler as I think I've already said enough if not too much. This book is a MUST READ. Reading this one I did something I so very rarely do. Made myself stop reading at times so it won't end so quickly. I loved Kit and Henry so much. With everything that happened to both their heart still remained pure. Not just for each other but for the people around them. They didn't became bitter, the just learned to guard their little family (real or made) and be loyal to the people who has always been there for them as well. The ending was the best I could have imagined for these two. They finally got what they deserved and we got a promise for another installment :)

Read on:
28-30 October 2020

Enlightenment by Joanna Chambers is a MM Historical Romance. It's my first attempt at Historical Romance and I have fallen in love with the genre through Murdo and David's story. The story of these two spans over 3 books (and 2 novels) than continues to new couples. I hope it never ends!

We begin the romance between the junior advocate David Lauriston who came from a small insignificant village and Lord Murdo Balfour who always had his desires in his reach in an insignificant sexual encounter not thinking much of it, and not expecting to either see each other again or the sparks that would still fly when they do. 

David and Murdo seems VERY different in their views of the world around them and not only because they came from a different background. It mostly has to do with the ideals each lives by. While Murdo confesses he expects to get married and fake a family life (while having men on the side) David doesn't plan on getting married or having a family since he couldn't possibly consider betraying his marriage vows. He also tries his best NOT to have sexual encounters with men but sometimes his desires gets the best of him, which is exactly what happened with Murdo. 

The series contains 3 rather short novels (round 200 paged) and one very short novella in between. It's not meant to be read separately - you only get the HEA in the very end. In the first installment it's mostly about convenient sexual encounters yet it slowly progresses into friendship in the second installment and on the third special circumstance temporarily allows them to actually become true lovers. Yet it feels that it could only be temporary. How can them manage a relationship in a world that doesn't accept gay people. Some things have a higher price than others, and some prices are totally worth the outcome.

It was beautifully written, the romance was touching and realistic. I loved both David and Murdo, yet Murdo is my favorite of the two. As I'm not a romantic person per se, I really appreciated Murdo ACTED on his feeling with true loving intentions, he didn't seem overly romantic when you think about it, which is exactly what I enjoyed so much. He was true to his heart and wasn't ashamed of wanting and claiming, no matter the price, what he truly craved - David. 

Joanna has gifted us the perfect epilogue of the two in The Bequest. You can read it for free through sighing up to her newsletter.

Unnatural is a spin off novel of Iain Sinclair whom we've met in the previous installment finally finding his HEA with James Hart his childhood friend. It can be read as a stand alone but I don't advice is if you plan on reading Murdo and David's story later on (there's quite a spoiler in the one scene Iain meets Murdo and David).
Restored continues the series with a new couple - The Duke of Avesbury - Henry Asquith and Kit Redford. We've me Kit before as he is the owner of the "Redford" (a club for men of a certain persuasion). Kit used to be Henry's "kept boy" but when Henry's life takes a turn he leaves everything and everyone who isn't his immediate family to a remote estate only to return 18 years later and realize what he had promised Kit all those years ago was broken leaving Kit, a man he has come to love even if was forced to leave behind, to fend for himself. It took Kit time and much pain to find his footing again and make something of himself. Now so many years later when Kit finds out what truly happened from Henry's perspective he is understanding but it doesn't change the past and what happened to him due to Henry's carelessness in trusting the wrong man. They both have changed so much, yet they are still the same  - they might want something different from what they had before but they never stopped loving each other. This TRULY can be read as a standalone and I don't have enough words to compliment how absolutely amazing it was. A MUST READ.
1. Provoked (Published 23 July 2013) ★★★★½
1.5. Season's Pass (Free Download here) (Published 24 October 2014) ★★★★★ 
2. Beguiled (Published 24 December 2013)  ★★★★★
3. Enlightened (Published 6 May 2014)  ★★★★★
3.5  The Bequest - Murdo and David's Epilogue (Published 14 June 2020)  ★★★★★ 
4. Unnatural [Iain Sinclair & James Hart] (Published 24 November 2015) ★★★★★ 
5. Restored [Henry Asquith & Kit Redford] (Published 28 October 2020) ★★★★★ 

No comments:

Post a Comment