Oh this series…What can I even say? I loved it, and this last book in the trilogy might have been my favorite. Joanna Chambers is the real deal when it comes to historical romance. Not only is she on the money when it comes to setting, language, and character development…She completely captures all the nuances that really engage those of us who love period romances. This third and final novel was the PERFECT ending to one of my favorite historicals to date. Murdo and David literally walk into the sunset, and everything about letting them go felt right. It is rare that I finish a series that I love as much as this one and don’t feel like I need more. This was just right. David and Murdo were is such a good place at the close of this book, that the only thing I had to give was a happy sigh.
For this book I wanted to do something that I could see Murdo and David sharing at a meal. I loved the scenes of the two of them having a breakfast at Laverock House, so I came up with a delicious scones recipe that I am 100% sure they would be all over. Buckwheat, blueberry and Maple scones to be enjoyed with LOTS and LOTS of sweet cream butter.
Back to the story. We come back to Scotland a few months after David suffered a serious injury while helping his friend Elizabeth escape her abusive husband. David has been recovering at Murdo’s home, Laverock House since then. The months living with Murdo have been the best of his life, he has been whole in ways he never thought he could be. But he knows it can’t last. He has to go back to Edinburgh and his practice, and Murdo has his obligations too. It has been so good to have him all to himself, but it will be over soon, how can it not, men like them don’t get to have that kind of happy ending. The thought of walking away from what he has now is too painful to talk about though. Murdo on his part is torn because he is unsure what David is thinking. He doesn’t want to push, because their happiness just seems so fragile, but he wishes he could make promises and say things that will help them both feel like whatever it is they have stands on solid ground. If there could only be a way to convince David that they could make things work in the long term.
However news from Edinburgh that his friend and mentor, Chalmers, might no have long to live, make the decision of returning to the real world one David can delay no longer. Once they arrive there, they realize that the situation with Elizabeth is still not fully resolved. When Chalmers requests from his deathbed that David go to London and make sure that Elizabeth is safe from ther husband for goood, David does not hesitate. Murdo on his part will not let David, who is still recovering, make that journey alone. So, they head to Murdo’s London home, hoping they can put to rest any possible danger for their friend. Pretty soon it becomes clear that Elizabeth’s husband is not going to go away easily, things escalate quickly and they have to act fast before tragedy strikes.
What I loved best about this series, other than Murdo and David who were magnificent, was the accuracy and coherence of the setting. I really enjoy a historical that is authentic and educating. David and Murdo were both men of their time and their own class, and they acted accordingly ALWAYS. It made their story so much more genuine, they both acted and made decisions based on their circumstances, which made every step they made toward their happy ending that much more solid. There was some ambivalence and a lot of insecurity that happened on both their parts, that’s true, but for me that made complete sense. For men of their time to even contemplate having what they both wanted was not only unlikely, but it was dangerous even for someone with Murdo’s means. When it comes down to it, they both would have to walk away from a lot to be able to be together, the question is how much they were willing to leave behind to have a future.
Again, this trilogy is in my absolute favorites list and definitely one of the best historicals I’ve read in any genre. I really hope Joanna Chambers is just getting warmed up, because I want A LOT more from her.
Totally and completely recommend.
Enlightened will be released tomorrow on Samhain and is available for pre-order here.
Buckwheat, Blueberry and Maple Scones
Adapted from The Bojon Gourmet
Makes 8 medium scones
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup maple sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold, unsalted Earth Balance buttery spread , in 1/2″ pieces
about 1 tablespoon coarse sugar, for sprinkling
If using fresh berries, rinse and dry them, then place them in a loaf pan or pie plate in a single layer and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle), combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter, and work in with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or mix on low with paddle attachment) until the butter has broken down into tiny bits with some larger, pea-sized chunks remaining.
Use a rubber spatula to gently stir in the frozen berries. Begin drizzling in the cream, tossing gently with the spatula (or a plastic bench scraper or your hands), adding cream directly to the dry bits, until the dough will hold together and no floury bits remain.
Gently press the dough into a ball and place on a surface dusted lightly with buckwheat flour. Pat the dough into a 6″ round that is 1 1/4″ high. Cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the scones evenly apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes. (At this point, you can wrap and freeze the scones to bake off later.)
Meanwhile, position a rack in the upper-center of the oven and preheat to 425ºF.
Remove the scones from the freezer, brush with cream and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
Bake the scones until they are golden-brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove immediately from the pan to prevent from sticking. Let cool until warm as the scones are still cooking from residual heat. Serve warm with butter and extra berries.
The scones will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature. For most delectable results, re-heat in an oven or toaster oven before serving.
Hope you enjoy the book and the scones!
Cheers and Happy Reading!