Series: Enlightenment: Book Five
Author: Joanna Chambers
Length: 287 Pages
Category: Historical Romance
At a Glance: Restored is a gorgeous new standalone in the popular Enlightenment series, the perfect fusion of sexy, poignant, and romantic. This book fulfilled every single thing I could possibly ask for, or want, in a Historical Romance.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Eighteen years ago, Henry Asquith, Duke of Avesbury had to leave his kept lover, Kit Redford, in order to devote himself to raising his young family. Now, a lifetime later, his children are moving on and for the first time in years, Henry is alone.
During a rare visit to London, Henry unexpectedly happens upon an old friend of Kit’s and learns that Kit did not receive the financial pay off he was entitled to when Henry left him. Instead Kit was thrown out of his home and left destitute. Horrified, Henry begs Kit to see him and allow Henry to compensate him. But Kit, who now owns a discreet club for gentlemen of a certain persuasion, neither needs nor wants Henry’s money.
“Perhaps you should earn the money you owe me the way I had to earn it? On your knees, and on your back, taking my cock like a whore.”
Kit thought he had put his old hurts and grievances about Henry behind him, but when he sees Henry again, he discovers that, not only is the old pain still there, so is the fierce attraction that once burned between them. When, in a moment of fury, Kit demands a scandalous form of penance from Henry, no one is more surprised than Kit when Henry agrees to pay it.
As Kit and Henry spend more time together, they learn more about the men they have become, and about the secret feelings and desires they concealed from one another in the past.
Henry realises he wants to build a future with Kit but can he persuade his wary lover to trust him ever again? And can two men from such different worlds make a new life together?
Review: Christopher Redford and Henry Asquith, Duke of Avesbury, play out one of my favorite tropes in the Historical Romance genre, in the imbalance of power that exists by circumstance of birth and their conflicting social roles.
Henry becomes hopelessly smitten with Kit upon visiting the brothel where the young prostitute works, compelling him to purchase Kit’s contract for the right to exclusive access to him, and to his body, to put none too fine a point on it. Their time together in the house Henry bought for these clandestine meetings is carefully regimented; he has adhered to the two-nights-a-week schedule for their trysts as a concession to his wife, who has offered Henry her blessing to pursue assignations outside of their marriage—as long as he keeps his promise to put his family first, always and above all else. The strict schedule, however, is more so becoming a means for Henry to hold himself in check, much to his internal conflict and growing dismay, to control his burgeoning feelings for Kit. Through their months of stolen time together, Henry has fallen deeply in love with Kit, and Kit with Henry, but that is a confession neither man was willing to give voice.
Restored is a gorgeous new standalone in the popular Enlightenment series, the perfect fusion of sexy, poignant, and romantic. It is the story of two men who must find a way to begin again on equal footing, to forgive mistakes of the past, and to embrace that they’ve each found a loving partner in someone who knows who they truly are. The love that Henry and Kit feel for each other is, in fact, restored through the power of honesty and the building of trust on a more solid foundation, which includes redefining their sexual dynamic. Kit will never again be anyone’s dirty little secret, least of all to the man who’d shattered his heart so many years ago, which empowers Kit to take on the more commanding role Henry responds to so beautifully.
Joanna Chambers pulls out all the emotional stops, early and often, when tragedy befalls Henry’s family and he leaves Kit without so much as a goodbye, while the machinations behind what should have been a fulfillment of Kit’s contract sets in motion a devastating blow, bringing an effective end to any feelings of warmth and love Kit had once felt for his duke. Heartache ensues for both characters and, by association, for readers, as eighteen long years pass, the loss of that time and their love and, for Kit, any measure of trust, striking a profound blow. The two men change dramatically during their time apart, Kit not willing to trust Henry nor give in to the power imbalance of their former relationship, and Henry having suffered tragedy after tragedy within his family. What is never in question, however, is the love Henry feels for Kit, evidenced by an earnest commitment to do right by him even if it means Henry must let go any hope Kit can forgive him. Their reunion, while far from joyous or simple, through anger and resentment and an eventual understanding, gifts them with a second chance to build a life together.
Henry’s children and Kit’s chosen family add a robust conflict to the storyline outside of their relationship issues, the resolution of which offers a lovely emotional communion between a father and his sons, the eldest in particular. Fans of this series, fans of Historical Romance, and fans of emotional conflict, with an equally emotional resolution, will find plenty to love in Restored. This book fulfilled every single thing I could possibly ask for, or want, in a romance.
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