Confession time: I’m writing this review after having already read book 2 in the series. I usually NEVER do this. I usually write a review immediately after reading a book…and definitely before reading another one…and forbid myself before reading another one in the series. But…I just couldn’t stop reading…
And honestly…it makes a difference.
I really enjoyed Provoked. I say it over and over again: I don’t read Historicals. And then I always get a raving recommendation from someone (in this case, KJ Charles) and I feel I must. I begrudgingly, kicking and screaming, open up said Historical…and I, 4 times out of 5, fall in love. (shhh…don’t tell anyone…apparently I love Historicals!)
Provoked feels…dark…to me. I don’t think it’s the intention. It’s really more the period and how unacceptable it was, and dangerous no less, to be gay. Men often loathed themselves for being ‘unnatural’ and reduced themselves to seedy encounters in dark alleys. This just makes me feel…sad. And I had anxiety throughout the whole book, terrified that they’d get caught.
Despite this underlying emotion for me, I truly came to love David and Balfour. Their brief interactions were so FILLED with desire…both acted upon and not. And their growing attraction…from physical to more…was delicious to read.
All the side stories that filled out the information about their lives were interesting and entertaining. A historical romance that included political radicals, assassination plots, childhood heartache, class/society struggles…and closeted men trying to find lives that include room for their ‘proclivities’…all melded together so engagingly by Joanna Chambers.
The ending was abrupt and it's why I'll say…do NOT read Provoked as a stand-alone. Read it with the intention of reading the entire series. Book 2, Beguiled, is PHENOMENAL, and it just made the foundation set in book 1 THAT. MUCH. BETTER…
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...whether you like Historicals or not!