Okay, I confess. I am a big Mary Balogh fan. In reality, Slightly Married is the first book by Balogh that I read. After that, I read just about everything she has written. This “Slightly” series and its spinoff, the “Simply” series remains my favorites. The “Slightly” series involves the Bedwyn family: Wulfric, the Duke of Bewcastle, Rannulf, Alleyn, Aidan, Freyja, and Morgan. We are introduced to the siblings in Balogh’s A Summer to Remember.
Slightly Married by Mary Balogh (copyright April 2003); ISBN 0-440-24104-9; A Dell Book
Book Blurb: Meet the Bedwyns…six brothers and sisters—men and women of passion and privilege, daring and sensuality…Enter their dazzling world of high society and breathtaking seduction…where each will seek love, fight temptation, and court scandal…and where Aidan Bedwyn, the marriage-shy second son, discovers that matrimony may be the most seductive act of all.…
Like all the Bedwyn men, Aidan has a reputation for cool arrogance. But this proud nobleman also possesses a loyal, passionate heart—and it is this fierce loyalty that has brought Colonel Lord Aidan to Ringwood Manor to honor a dying soldier’s request. Having promised to comfort and protect the man’s sister, Aidan never expected to find a headstrong, fiercely independent woman who wants no part of his protection…nor did he expect the feelings this beguiling creature would ignite in his guarded heart. And when a relative threatens to turn Eve out of her home, Aidan gallantly makes her an offer she can’t refuse: marry him…if only to save her home. And now, as all of London breathlessly awaits the transformation of the new Lady Aidan Bedwyn, the strangest thing happens: With one touch, one searing embrace, Aidan and Eve’s “business arrangement” is about to be transformed…into something slightly surprising.
If you are looking for a book full of action and swashbuckling, this is not the book for you. This is a book containing well-developed characters placed in believable situations. Balogh takes the traditional Regency “marriage of convenience” story and adds a few new twists. She takes characters of different temperaments and views of life and brings them together in a fulfilling love story – a love begun in honor and duty and ending in passion.
Aidan Bedwyn does the honorable thing by offering to marry the down and out Eve Morris and, therefore, say her and her rag-tag group of misfits who depend on Eve for survival. Personally, I fell in love with Aidan from the beginning. He is not handsome (his hook nose is mentioned repeatedly), but he possesses a manliness that women would find appealing. I love how Eve stands up to Bewcastle and the Bedwyn’s aunt, Lady Rochester.
I felt especially sad for both Aidan and Wulfric who are thrust into their roles simply because of birth order. Wulfric, as the first born, is deprived of his childhood as he is groomed to be the Duke of Bewcastle. As the second born, Aidan, who has the knowledge and the interest to make the estate wealthy, is sent to war. There is depth in Balogh’s character development. Yet, she does not “tell” her readers what she wants them to know. She “shows” them the multi-levels of characterization by Aidan’s and Eve’s actions and dialogue. Aidan’s stern facade crumbles as he falls in love with Eve Morris, who is a complex tangle of contradictions.
I would give this novel a 4.5 stars out of 5. It made me what to read the rest of the stories (which I will include in later reviews).