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Slightly Married by Mary Balogh

Slightly Married (edition 2003)

by Mary Balogh (Author)

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8682210,253 (3.87)27
Title:Slightly Married
Authors:Mary Balogh (Author)
Info:Dell (2003), 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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Slightly Married by Mary Balogh



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I haven't been able to tolerate historical romance for a while, but this was recommended in a recent AskMefi thread. So I put my trust in the wisdom of the hive, and picked this one up with a little less trepidation.

In the first chapter the scene unfurls as if in a movie. I am impatient with elaborate descriptions, and usually gloss over them, but this one had just enough for me to really get into it. It felt like a scene from Les Mis. You could hear the dull boom of canons in the distance, and smell the iron tang of spilled blood, and the smoke of gunpowder. Another reviewer commented that the author's writing has a quality that transports you into a vivid setting of England from the past, and this one successfully conjured up those images of a bloody battlefield, and in the next chapter, the warmth and tranquility in a small summer garden. I also found myself getting emotional in the first few chapters, when the heroine receives news of the death of her brother Percy. So the writing is definitely a step above the usual!

It's your basic marriage of convenient plot. The hero, Aidan, makes a promise to the dying Percy that he will protect the latter's sister, despite never having met her, "no matter what". He means to fulfill his vow, not just because it is a dying man's wish, but because Percy once saved his life in battle. I like how Aidan's physical appearance is not romanticized like that of a typical hero. None of that "his thick dark hair and broad shoulders, those muscular thighs" etc. In fact he sounds plain and almost unattractive, with that "hawk nose" and mouth in a thin harsh line. It reminds me of the hero one of my other favorite romance books, Loretta Chase's *Lord of Scoundrels*.

The convenience part comes because the heroine, Eve (get it? Aidan and Eve?), will be kicked out of her home because of a stipulation in her father's will that says the entire property will go to a repulsive cousin, unless Eve marries by a certain time, which happens to be in four days. Eve keeps this info to herself but Aidan learns of all of this at the inn he is staying at, because of the gossiping townspeople. (How convenient!) He also keeps a straight-face and pretends to agree with the said obsequious cousin, Cecil, to find out more about the plans, but Eve overhears and thinks Aidan is a typical stuck-up lord, like her cousin, so she starts to dislike him.

Aidan eventually presents his plan of the marriage to Eve, and Eve is initially hesitant because she's still hoping her secret lover, John, will come back and propose to her. But the urgency of the situation, and her concern over her "lame ducks", the group of distant relatives and staff living in her home that she's supported when no one else would, drives her into agreeing. Since she's selfless and all.

Okay so they get married, and Aidan planned to keep it a secret from his family, especially his eldest brother, the Duke. He plans to return to the army, leave Eve in her home, and both parties will be satisfied with the arrangement, and that is that. Of course that isn't how it works out, because one earl or somesuch that they bump into spreads the news about the new Lady Aidan Bedwyn, so she has to be presented to the Queen and the ton or risk dragging down the good Bedwyn name (the family has to show that they're not ashamed of her). And who else better to perform this drab-to-duchess task than the intimidating but influential she-dragon Aunt Rochester.

I don't know why I'm paraphrasing the entire book. Maybe because I really liked it and it's the kind of things you want to tell your friends about, however clumsy your retelling is. Will just focus on what I liked and disliked about it then.

- it isn't love or even animal attraction at first sight, but their relationship grows because of realizing how kind and good-hearted the other person is. I really like that the lust is secondary.

- I like when one side or the other has a family of strong and likable characters, such as the Julia Quinn's Bridgerton family, or Jude Deveraux's Montgomery and Taggerts. So maybe it's a marketing strategy so you buy more books, but I grew up in a large family, and all the warm sibling interaction makes me feel cozy.

- the misunderstandings that are so typical in romance, to provide the necessary conflict, were also present here, but they didn't have me rolling my eyes or wanting to bash the hero and heroine's heads together. They seemed to make sense, developing naturally, and weren't more drawn out than they should have been.

- the hero is the first to say I Love You

- the hero has a deadpan kind of humor which takes a while to figure out because many think he's being completely serious. Most other heroes have a "he drawled sarcastically" plus "teasing eyes" kind of thing going on. So I liked this one, it was a little different.

- the heroine is defiant, but not to a point where she's making life harder for herself out of spite or just to prove a point. A lot of "spitfire hellions" have me going "You little fool!", but not this one. I like how the hero thinks of it as something like "Her presence seemed to say Here I am. Take me or leave me." She does get melodramatic at some point but it seems like for good reason.

- the language in the sex scenes weren't florid. No "his throbbing manroot" or "her quivering womanhood". Just plainly written, but you could feel the tenderness between them.

- the ending was lovely. The couple described Happily Ever After as something that had to be worked on daily, together, for the rest of their lives. This is possibly the most realistic, grounded HEA I've ever encountered. Good model for teens.

What I didn't like:

- ¯_(ツ)_/¯

- they might have had one too many of the little misunderstandings. First about what Aidan says about not wanting Eve in London, which is what pushes her to accept the challenge of transforming into the belle of the season. Then when Aidan overhears how Eve describes his "kindness" to John. Then later on when one of them feels hurt that the other person only feels gratitude, and nothing more. So it was a little frustrating how they were both pretending that it was nothing more than an arrangement, even when they were both falling in love, so it became a waiting game, because of their pride. I was relieved when one of them finally 'fessed up.

- I wish I knew if they eventually had a child of their own, but maybe this will be mentioned in the other books in the series.

In summary, my interest in the romance genre is restored, and I'll be checking out the rest of the books by this author. ( )
1 vote mrsrobin | Jun 24, 2017 |
This was a very funny nd sweet book and i liked it better than i had expected. From page 1 i began reading and barely stopped till i finished, which resulted in another sleepless night for me. Again... I'm sure the neighbours thought i was crazy when they heard me laughing at 4 in the morning. ( )
  LadyJoana | Apr 9, 2016 |
Very good for a romance novel. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
Great kick off to my latest series by Mary Balogh.

This book is a keeper -- Mary Balogh writes good rereads! ( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
Colonel Lord Aidan Bedwyn never thought that by delivering the news of a fellow officer's death that he would end up married. This was not part of his plan, he had worked out how things were going to be and this was not the plan, only she]'s attractive and interesting and is starting to catch his interest.

Miss Eve Morris didn't believe that she wouldn't marry a neighbour, a man who gave her vague promises about marriage, but she's only days away from losing her house, Aidan offers her a way out, a way to keep her misfit family together, where he will not interfere, but the two of them start to be attracted to each other and maybe the terms and conditions could change.

Entertaining and light ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jan 2, 2015 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Baloghprimary authorall editionscalculated
Flosnik, AnnReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cardenas, JuanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luzia, MargaridaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tranchart, Marie-NoëlleTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440241049, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:56 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

There are six brothers and sisters in the Bedwyn family. One of the brothers, Aidan, goes to Ringwood Manor to honor a dying soldier's request to comfort and protect the man's sister. The woman is being turned out of her home by a relative and to save her home she marries Aidan. What began as a marriage of convenience, eventually transforms into something else.… (more)

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