Author: Joanna Chambers
Narrator: Hamish McKinlay
Run Time: 6 hours and 33 minutes
At a Glance: This is the second book in a planned trilogy, and the narrator is amazing. Hamish McKinlay is so well suited to these books, and it is a rare treat to hear a Scots accents performed by a native speaker.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: Two years after his last encounter with cynical nobleman Lord Murdo Balfour, David Lauriston accidentally meets him again in the heart of Edinburgh.
King George IV is about to make his first visit to Edinburgh and Murdo has been sent North by his politician father to represent his aristocratic family at the celebrations.
David and Murdo’s last parting was painful—and on Murdo’s part, bitter—but Murdo’s feelings seem to have mellowed in the intervening years. So much so, that he suggests to David that they enjoy each other’s company during Murdo’s stay in the capital.
Despite his initial reservations, David cannot put Murdo’s proposal from his mind, and soon find himself at Murdo’s door—and in his arms.
But other figures from David’s past are converging on the city, and as the pomp and ceremony of the King’s visit unfolds around them, David is drawn into a chain of events that will threaten everything: his career, his wellbeing, and the fragile bond that, despite David’s best intentions, is growing between him and Murdo.
Review: The action in Beguiled begins two years after the events in book one, Provoked. David Lauriston runs into former lover Lord Murdoch Balfour during preparations for King George IV’s visit to Edinburgh. David tries to avoid Murdoch and the enticement of his company, and his bed. As a barrister and professor, David has tried to fit into a society where his very leanings could have him imprisoned, or worse.
In the time since their last encounter, David has tried unsuccessfully to forget the closeness of a true lover with whom he could share his life. As a result of this, David has spurned the advances of his mentor’s daughter Elizabeth. She, in turn, accepts a proposal of marriage from a man who is the worst sort of husband. It becomes clear that Elizabeth is being abused and beaten like any other piece of her husband’s property.
Life in this time period can be glorious, and it can be brutal. Amid the pomp and pageantry of the king’s visit, where the lords and burgess of the city turn out in their finery, true natures must be denied, and secrets kept. In the middle of it all, David falls once again for Murdoch, and is tempted into a life that could mean his end.
David sees it as both his duty and honor to help free Elizabeth from her own prison. With the support of Elizabeth’s father, David embarks on a scheme to free her. He relies on the brother of a former client to help spirit her away to a new life. Murdoch offers support and, in the end, rescues David from what could be certain death.
This is the second book in a planned trilogy, and the narrator is amazing. Hamish McKinlay is so well suited to these books, and it is a rare treat to hear a Scots accents performed by a native speaker. The characters are truly performed for the listener, and it is easy to slip into this world and simply float on the sharp, well-paced narration.
I can fully recommend this book and, indeed, this series. You will be pleased with your purchase, if you do buy it. McKinlay’s narration is clear, sharp, and intense. The intrigue and the love-match are fully acted and explored in this book. The listener roots for all the “good guys,” and is pleased by the outcome for the abused. The unclear ending is not a burden or a cliffhanger in the traditional sense. One knows the final book in the series will give us the ending we hope to see. While these books are McKinlay’s only narrations so far, one hopes his career continues and that he continues to grace the world of M/M fiction for years to come.
You can buy Beguiled here: