on February 29, 2004
It was so hard to decide how to rate this book. It's wonderful, but after the tour de force that was A Summer to Remember (which I finished the day before I started this one), it seemed somewhat less. Having said that, however, I enjoyed the book and will buy it (the one I read was from the library).
It starts a little slowly (not the first chapter, but afterwards), but the reader is soon drawn into the emotional lives of the characters. This is Balogh's forte: intense, realistic emotion. It is a pleasure to watch Aidan Bedwyn slowly (very slowly) emerge from his cool, harsh demeanor, and it is Eve's sweetness and strength that does it. Unknownst to the other, both give up their private dreams to settle for a marriage of honor and convenience--one that is to never be a real marriage at all. But as they are forced to spend time together, they discover a connection that leads to feelings neither had wanted and a new dream neither dared hope for.
I had disliked Freya Bedwyn (the sister) in A Summer to Remember (in fact, I wasn't crazy about anyone in the family except young Morgan), but she becomes a more rounded character here, as do most of the family, especially the Duke. Thus, I am beginning to like them--or at least be intrigued by them. They are certainly not your usual, too-gorgeous-to-be-real heroes and heroines. Aidan is dour and stiffly formal, but so dear once you see the man underneath. And Eve's surprising rebellion against the formidable Bedwyns could have you cheering for her.
The problems for me were a little too much description, some secondary characters that could have been more fully developed (they were merely walk-ons, really), and the love scenes. There was little passion in the latter; in fact, Aidan's approach tended to suck all the passion and romance from the scene, especially the most important one (the first time, it made sense). If I were Eve, and he did that for the rest of my life, I think I'd smack him upside the head.
Mostly, however, Balogh does a fine job of pulling the reader into the lives of her protagonists, getting into their heads and allowing us to feel their doubts, hopes, and heartbreaks.
on January 8, 2004
On a battlefield in Toulouse, France, 1814, Colonel Lord Aidan Bedwyn gives his word of honor to one of his dying soldiers that he will "protect the man's sister - no matter what!" The English had prevailed over Napoleon's army and Colonel Bedwyn, home on leave in England to visit his large family, stops at Ringwood Manor in Oxfordshire to personally break the sad news to the man's sister, Eve Morris. Determined to discover the problem that caused the vehement promise to be exacted, Bedwyn discovers that Miss Morris and all her dependents are to be evicted from their home and reduced to penury unless she marries within the next four days. Her father had bequeathed the manor and land to her for the period of one year. If she had not married in that time, the estate would go to her brother. If he were to die, then a social climbing, grasping cousin was to inherit. Bedwyn, a man of his word, proposes a marriage of convenience to allow the lady to live out her life on her estates. As Bedwyn had never planned to marry, he would, of course, return to the army and the couple would never meet again. As fate would have it, the marriage turns out to be anything but convenient and their time together is prolonged with interesting consequences.
This is the first of a three book series about the Bedwyn family - Wulfric, Duke of Bewcastle, his brothers Aiden, Rannulf, and Alleyne and sisters Freyja and Morgan. This novel about Aiden and Eve makes for a light and pleasant romantic read. There is nothing complex about the tale, no subplots or much tension between the characters, who are charming if predictable. Ms. Balogh writes in her usual warm, emotional style which enhances the somewhat over-used storyline. I enjoyed reading "Slightly Married" and do recommend it as long as potential buyers/readers realize that this is not one of Mary Balogh's best efforts.
on November 20, 2003
The authoress ....
This is the second Mary Balogh ("MB") story I have read and she is becoming one of my favourite autheresses! If you like Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey, Stephanie Laurens, and/or Amanda Quick then I think you will probably enjoy MB! Having exhausted all available books of the other authoresses listed above I have been searching for a new great authoress, with wonderful books I can devour!, and I think I have found her in MB!!
The book .....
Slightly married is a wonderful story with a lot of ROMANCE, humour, and a sweet story-line that keeps you turning those pages. The wonderful thing about MB story's is that no two story-lines are the same!
The Bedwyns are growing on me with each subsequent story that I read (they were first introduced in 'a summer to remember') and following the tradition set in a summer to remember, Aiden is not your ordinary 'leading' man in a romance novel but is refreshingly different, not an arrogant bored rake, etc, etc .... Eve too is not your ordinary 'leading lady', she has spunk, determination, and is well sweet .... not simpering, etc, etc.
Thus, this was a thoroughly enjoyable novel, with enjoyable characters, and although the storyline is not action-packed it is a very good read .... it is more about the romance than it is about action or side-line-issues (e.g. action that takes the story away from the romance part of the plot) ... don't get me wrong there is a plot and story-line (a very good one actually) BUT it is definitely a ROMANCE: about feelings and emotions and love and passion and sex .... which is lovely because that's why we read romance books .... for the romance (emotions, feelings, etc)!
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable story-line and a great addition to the Bedwyns growing novels!
Good reading my friends, Kristina
on September 25, 2003
I know Aidan is supposed to be a solider, but his campaign to woo his wife is absoltely the most unromantic thing I hae ever read. He is constantly telling her he is going to leave her, and even his decision to take her to bed in a tawdry inn is based on the fact that he is going to dump her but since they are supposed to be married for the rest of their lives he might as well show her what it is like to have a man in her bed.
Eve and her lame ducks are very sweet, but she has about as much personality as a vat of goose grease. The interfering Bedwyns really do very little to help this along, and the only man of any real sexual interest is the cold and aloof Wulf.
I cannot imagine anyone describing this book as a romance when the love scenes are at best a coming together of two rathr frigid bodies. There is no inidcation he loves and respects her as the person she has become, and even the premise that her love thaws him is flawed-he never thaws at all throughout the whole book, not even at the end when he decides to hang around after all. This is a wealthy man who can do or have whatever he wants, and hs just settles for her to keep his promise to her dead brother. I have given up on the Bedwyn series-they are all exceedingly dull and certainly do not live up to their titles at all.
on July 15, 2003
Hey, I liked it. It is true to MB's form of writing. It is the 1st of the Bedwyn Series- Colonel Lord Aidan Bedwyn promises a dying soldier (of whom he owes a debt) to not only deliver a message of his death to his only sister in person but also to protect her. Later he finds out the only way of doing that is by offering marriage to Eve Morris, giving her the protection of his name. The offer is made and the arrangement is agreed upon for a wedding by special licence (since time is against them) and then to go separate ways, still married but never to see each other again. Aidan will return to his occupation in the military (with no-longer the possibility of marrying the general's daughter and be his companion during war campaigns). Eve will return to her home without the threat of no chance of becoming homeless and having to turn out those that have become dependent on her (and no-longer the possibility of marrying a former sweetheart/lover that promised to return any day now and announce their engagement). But when the Duke of Bewcastle (Aidan's oldest brother, head of the family) finds out that Lady Aidan exist he has other plans for Eve and its not to stay at home but to be in London with Aidan. A wife's place is beside her husband in society, right?! Even if she is the daughter of a deceased coal miner- she is a bedwyn now and must be presented to society and the family! A plan that was so simply to take place turns upside down. It is a sweet heart-throbbing story of of 2 souls thrown together and love to be discovered. A great read, highly recommended.
on June 5, 2003
It pains me to give this book 4 instead of 5 stars because Mary Balogh is without doubt one of the best in the genre. Indeed, she always makes me feel she is writing for me personally, meeting all of my own personal and private criteria in romantic historical fiction. However, I am sorry to note that Slightly Married was a wee bit of a disappointment.
The opening salvo in the saga of the Bedwyns introduced the family of the Duke of Bewcastle and I will follow it eagerly. I will probably like some of the players more than others and Col Lord Aidan Bedwyn will be a hard act to follow although the story of the Duke himself promises to be something quite out of the ordinary!
My problem with this book was the peripheral characters in our heroine's family. Let's just say that Aunt Mari, Cousin Cecil, the over-drawn domestic servants and even the poor deceased brother Percy were one-dimensional and ill-drawn. Also, although Balogh is herself British (from Wales), she let a number of awkward Americanisms slip into this novel, particularly in the first quarter of it. This, for me at any rate, disturbed the rythym of the narrative and was rather distracting.
The story of our two very different protaganists, once the action moved to London, picked up and became more like the Mary Balogh we all love and admire and I felt she got her stride back after a rocky start. Bewcastle is going to be a wonderful irritant to his brothers and sisters and the saga looks promising. Lord Aidan was a different sort of hero and although his volte face in the closing chapters was hasty and hurried, I liked him; he was not the usual sort of man Balogh presents.
Of course I have to recommend this if only as the start of the Bedwyn tales but I felt it wanted a last re-write and polish. It was an entertaining if sometimes slightly less than perfect Balogh read.
on May 23, 2003
Looks like I've been suckered into another family saga! Gaelen Foley continues to thoroughly entrench me in her Knight Family series and now I believe Mary Balogh has hooked me into the Bedwyn family chronicles (this series technically begins with the wonderful, not-to-be-missed "A Summer to Remember").
Dark and stoic second son Colonel Lord Aidan Bedwyn has pursued a military career only because he felt it was his duty to do so. Now a deathbed promise made to one of his officers leads Aidan to dutifully offer to marry Eve Morris, the officer's sister, in order to save her home and her household of misfits! A marriage of convenience is agreed to and once accomplished, Aidan returns to his family's home never revealing his marriage to anyone and never expecting to see Eve again. But his plans are upended when his elder brother, Wulfric, the Duke of Bewcastle, learns of the marriage and confronts Aidan with the knowledge. Aidan steadfastly refuses to involve Eve in his family though they have been invited to Carlton House by the Prince Regent. Bewcastle, however, is not one to take no for an answer!
Eve Morris is trying to resume her quiet country life - but no, she's no longer Eve Morris. She's now Lady Aidan Bedwyn for what that's worth since, sadly, she will never see her husband again. But when she receives an entirely unexpected visit from the Duke of Bewcastle, he convinces her (for Aidan's sake) to accompany him to London to be presented to the Queen! And so, Eve, the daughter of a Welsh coal miner, is introduced into the world of the arrogant, overbearing, haughty Bedwyn family and the haute ton. This is everything Aidan had hoped to avoid and he is extremely unhappy about Bewcastle's interference. But is it because he wanted to spare Eve or because he is ashamed of her humble origins? And can Eve stand up to his family, not to mention the pressure of being presented? Is a real marriage in the cards or just a sweet, unattainable dream? Read it and find out for yourself!
I must confess that I disliked those Bedwyns (Wulf, Freyja, Morgan and Ranulf) introduced in "Summer". They were so haughtly, arrogant and disdainful - yet also fascinating. These books will explore what lies behind those cool, haughty exteriors and I think I can safely say that the most interesting of the six stories (thus likely to be the last) will be Wulf's. He's entirely fascinating and enigmatic. I look forward to reading more about this family. A recommended read!
on May 19, 2003
I guess it would be kind of difficult even for Mary Balogh to top herself after the incredible romance that was A Summer to Remember. Even so, this book still manages to be a keeper regardless of the generic plot.
This is the first book starring the formidable Bedwyn family first introduced in ASTR. Colonel Lord Aidan Bedwyn has made a battlefield promise to a fallen comrade to protect his sister Eve "no matter what". Ever so dutiful, Aidan takes that promise very seriously. So seriously in fact that he is willing to marry said sister in order to protect her from imminent homelessness. Eve is a proud woman (with a bit of a past) and she would have never accepted what Lord Aidan offered if it wasn't for the unconventional family she is responsible for. Eve's family consists mostly of orphans, abused women and ex convicts and she will do anything to protect them including marrying a man she dislikes on sight. So the plan is quite simple: it will be a marriage of convenience with no strings attached. That is until Aidan's older brother the powerful, awe inspiring Duke of Bewcastle gets wind of the situation and orders Eve to London immediately to be presented to society as Lady Aidan Bedwyn. Not because he is happy about the union (he isn't.She is a mere coal miners daughter, after all) but because it is his duty to protect the illustrious Bedwyn name from gossip and scandal. So, with a lift of his aristocratic brow the duke throws Eve into Aidan's sphere forcing their brains to recognize what their hearts already had.
Anyone who reads romance will recognize this plot and agree that is has been done to death. However, Balogh manages to take the tiresome, overused marriage of convenience and turn it into a sweet, sometimes poignant story of two people who have found their life long mate but due to circumstances or their own stubborness are unable to accept it. Watching them come to terms with their feelings and the seeming impossibility of those feelings ever being reciprocated is what romance is all about.As I said before this book cannot compare to Balogh's previous effort but even her worst book (is there such a thing?) is better than other authors best any day. I was very tempted to give this book five stars if only for the apperance of the formidable Duke of Bewcastle who fairly steals the story from Eve and Aidan. Alas, I couldn't get over the been there done that feeling so four stars it is but still I highly recommend it. :-)
on May 2, 2003
I am a fan of Mary Balogh's books in general and very much like those that are interrelated; thus, I am very pleased to be starting a new series - this one that involves the Bedwyn family: The Duke of Bewcastle and his 2 brothers and 2 sisters.
First in the series, the hero is Colonel Lord Aidan Bedwyn the second son; he has served in the army since age 18. We first meet him making a promise to a dying subordinate to see that his sister is protected "no matter what". The promise sends Lord Aidan off to Ringwood Manor where he meets Miss Eve Morris. Daughter of a coal miner (who bought his way into the landed gentry) she was raised as a lady, is fiercely independent, and collects "lame ducks". Eve needs to be "protected" from her small-minded rather nasty cousin Cecil - and to do that Aidan must marry her to fulfill a condition in her father's will. So begins a "marriage of convenience".
In Balogh's talented hands, this well used "plot" becomes the vehicle whereby we watch the two main characters discover the depths of each other's character and gradually fall in love. Unlike another reviewer, I did not find this book to be "light hearted romance" but something a lot better. As I very much prefer romance stories that are character driven to those that depend on an "exciting" (and too often improbable) plot, Slightly Married is a definite winner for me. Don't get me wrong, there is tension and conflict here, but it mainly involves Eve and her learning to cope with the Bedwyn family and their mode of life. Balogh's firm grasp of the Regency time period is a definite asset here.
Along the way we meet and learn a few things about the two youngest members of the family and learn quite a bit more about Lady Freyja and the Duke. I must admit that I am already wondering how the Duke's story will unfold! In the last chapter we are introduced to Lord Ralf who will feature in the next book - unlike a previous reviewer, I was not bothered by this.
In summary - if you want your romance story driven by an exciting and fast moving plot with a clear cut villain, then you will likely be somewhat disappointed in Slightly Married. However if you, like me, prefer romances featuring multi-faceted characters with depth, faults as well as virtues, then I highly recommend this book.
on April 26, 2003
This is my first Mary Balogh and I was impressed. Ms. Balogh's portrayal of the duty-bound and honorable man in this book, Col. Aidan Bedwyn, was truly moving. My heart ached for Aidan's, whose mile-wide streak of honor makes him unable to declare his feelings easily. Misunderstanding pride for honor is proving a stumbling block to true happiness. The heroine, Eve, not daring to dream that it is possible for him to love her in return, was also believable and human (she even has a past!). Their happy ending was delightful.
I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 simply because, in my opinion, Aidan's quick acceptance of Eve's eccentric household, and vice versa, was done a bit too glibly. It seemed to this reader that Eve's home of 'lame ducks' was fraught with dynamic potential enough to fill another book. I am not sure if this plot twist was done to show the depths of Aidan's gallantry or Eve's, but it all seemed to go too smoothly and felt a little like a plot afterthought, of some sort.
...But I have it BAD for the Wulf, Duke of Bewcastle, Aidan's older brother, and was disappointed that the younger brother and sister are to have their stories told next. I was literally PINING for Wulf at the close of his scene in this book when Aidan, observes that his brother Wulf is "now a cold, lonely aristocrat." I can assure you all that this Little Red Riding Hood wouldn't leave that 'Wulf' out in the cold! Besides me, what kind of woman will Balogh decide is good enough for the arrogant, handsome, powerful Duke? I can hardly WAIT for Wulf's story to be told!