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 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.