Restored (Enlightenment #5), Joanna Chambers
Rating: 3.75 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Historical, Second Chances, Older MCs, Standalone Series Book
Length: 287 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
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?
I’ve never read Joanna Chambers before but their covers are always enticing and I know their books are very popular. So I decided to have a look-see. I was in a mood for historical reading and this sounded good. I’m going to say that it was good with a “but” attached. It was good but the editing was not up to par. It let an endearing couple and story down.
He gave hopeless laugh – “a” missing after “gave”
Kit’s heart thundered his chest – “in” missing. I suffer from arrhythmias and my heart can, I suppose, thunder, but my chest does not. So, “in” it is.
“He’s just foxed,” Freddy shortly. – I’m assuming “said” is missing between Freddy and shortly, but who knows? Maybe Freddy is shortly?
“Why do you think he would he not?” I’m assuming the “he” in front of “not” is not meant to be there, but it makes the sentence frustrating and removes you from the moment as you try to work out what the hell the sentence means. Is it an SOS to the reader? It was beginning to feel that way.
“This is a nice,” he said. A “nice” what? A nice arse? A nice headache? A nice predicament? A Nice new Track Changes installation?
This gives you an idea of something frustrating going on throughout the book. It’s the tip of the iceberg, I could go on, but that’s not my job. Still, I have a lot of these moments clipped in my notes. I shouldn’t have. If I have a galley copy, no problems. When I buy something to read, I expect not be distracted by editing issues to the level I was in Restored.
The story itself is not new, there are only so many iterations of romance, to be fair. However, there is incredibly transparent foreshadowing from the beginning. I knew what was going to happen for everyone, and sexual orientation “surprises” were not surprises. I prefer to have to work a tad harder. There is a circular redundancy to the inner monologues – I’m a whore. Does he/does he not care? How could he? But maybe he does? Maybe not? This added to what I felt were extraneous details around rooms or clothing, and the sluggish start. The ending was too quick, it felt like it just stopped. I can forgive a degree of this as the writing overall is bright and breezy, it offers a sweetness with a very light angst kick, all while delivering MCs who could have been uppity, having a pity-party, but weren’t. Kit and Henry were beyond delightful. Kind. Sensible. Deeply genuine. Older MCs who were true to their age. Henry finding it hard to be on his knees – my knees empathised – understanding the limitations of being in your 40s as opposed to no longer being in your twenties, which is how old they were when they first had a relationship. Then add the fact that it’s set in the early 1800s when life expectancy was not like it is nowadays, and it all adds nice human layers of storytelling. Kit and Henry are the kind of characters I tend to gravitate toward. And I did. I adored them both. Kudos here too: I’m not especially fond of families in my romance reading, yet Henry’s family added to the story, something you’ll rarely hear me say. The writing, sans editing issues, was lovely and delivered a strong romantic tone.
But there was another part of him—a long-dormant part—that had been wakened to tentative life a week ago. Wakened by Christopher Redford. Kit. And God help him, but Henry wanted more.
I’m crotchety because I now have to take one and a quarter stars off the rating of Restored and this should have been (very close to) 5 star reading because I sailed through it, because of Kit and Henry, but damned if I’ll give this book 5 stars with the level of invasive editing issues, and the end was abrupt. In spite of my grumbles, I’ve given this a recommended reading spot at the side of our blog. That’s on the strength of the characterisations of Kit and Henry. I also want to buy and read more by Joanna Chambers, given I’m a character obsessive and I loved this pair, but not if this is the usual standard of editing throughout them all – any fellow readers who could let me know would be appreciated.