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4.5 out of 5 stars
Slightly Dangerous: Number 8 in series (Bedwyn Series)
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2007
In the "Slightly" series, Mary Balogh has been building up to this novel: Wulfric Bedwyn, the eldest of the Bedwyn bevy, has been shown to us as a mysterious and unexplicable character - cold, totally withdrawn and inapproachable, and yet always the most important person outside the two main figures to clinch the matter between them, the pattern-card aristocrat and still always the one to accept his siblings' romances with people of definitely lower class and to help them to a happy conclusion. There is a lot of love between the younger siblings and Wulfric, even if it is not shown in a conventional way. Between Aidan (the next in age after Wulfric) and him there is strain, even a kind of aggression from Aidan's side, and yet Aidan can count on his brother in a tight corner, and I am sure Aidan knows this as well as we do. Real-life people are exactly this complex, and this is why I'm sure every reader of the "Slightly" books has been agog to find out more about Wulfric.

Wulfric's facade has mostly been so strong and without cracks that it has been difficult for me to imagine him in a relationship with a woman. Is his outfit always as perfect? Does he use his quizzing-glass in bed? This has made me even more curious. And now we have a whole book about him, telling us about his feelings that he has kept hidden, revealing to us why he has become the perfect aristocrat without cracks in his facade, having him find a person who can see the Wulfric Bedwyn inside the mantle of the Duke of Bedwyn. It is totally fascinating, as if I had had a film of household plastic before my eyes, and now it is gone and I can see this Wulfric Bedwyn for the first time.

It also gladdens me that the person, who is against her will forced to see the man inside the mantle, is not a conventional type of a heroine. I might have understood with a little less convincing that Christine is a very spontaneous person bubbling with humour, but nonetheless she is very lovable. Her anxiety and distress is very real and I feel it in my body, when she inexorably finds that there really is a man inside the mantle, little though she may want to see him. Wulfric helps her to find out the truth about her past and her relationship to her late husband, and this is important, not because we now see Christine white-washed from all her supposed sins in the eyes of her late husband's relatives, but because she has let Wulfric be her friend. Friendship is not only being kind and nice to the other person and "let me hold your hand and I'll UNDERSTAND you", it is also letting the other person do the helping and understanding. In Christine's case she lets Wulfric show what he is really good at: understanding what is what without being shown a wire model, and arranging things so that everybody except the crook is satisfied.

Wulfric's and Christine's sexual relationship is believable. Christine is not one of your virgins giving up her treasure in the garden's depths during a ton party, but a widow and a barren widow at that, so I can believe that she gives in to her desires, and those desires are very believable, too. Wulfric is as much Wulfric after the heated encounter in the depths of the garden as he was before it, and I now forget that I always before thought him to be so controlled a person as not to be able to function as a sexual human being at all. Because of his self-control I now find him more sexual than many of his overtly sexual counterparts in other novels.

We now come to the conclusion that I find these characters well-written, in Wulfric's case downright excellently written, as I am at this moment duelling with a queer feeling that I am writing into the Internet an evaluation of a living person's sexuality. I have read the book several times over, and I am ready to forgive Ms. Balogh the scent of Mr. Darcy proposing to Miss Elizabeth Bennet in the scene where Christine does not accept Wulfric's proposal. Of the approximately 15 Mary Balogh novels that have hitherto come to my way, I find this book one of the absolute best.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
The first time I read "Slightly Dangerous" I was a little disappointed. I decided not to keep the book and put it up for sale. When someone ordered it I quickly read it again before dispatching it, deciding then that I enjoyed it rather more. And since it's gone I've read four more of the "Slightly" series and I now rather regret having sold it. Anyway, I got a copy from the library and read it - for the third time - and this time I loved it.

Why? Well of course it's the final book in the series following the Bedwyn family in the "Slightly" series. Wulfric, Duke of Bewcastle, has featured in all the others as a cold, aloof and toplofty chap with silver eyes. We haven't really learned a great deal about him except that he was crossed in love when young and has kept himself away from women, apart from his mistress, since then.

"Slightly Dangerous" starts after Wulfric's mistress has died and he's very much on his own now that all his siblings have married and set up home elsewhere. He ends up agreeing to attend a House Party with a friend which he expects is going to be a gathering of gentlemen who can enjoy conversation and relaxation. When he gets there he discovers there are a large number of younger guests, young girls on the catch for a duke as a husband, and one slightly older widow, Mrs Derrick, who rubs him up the wrong way from the start.

Christine Derrick feels very out of place at the house party, having been invited as she is a friend of the hostess and the numbers needed to be evened out when the Duke of Bewcastle accepted the invitation. She has been a widow for two years and the last years of her marriage were rather difficult; her late husband's closest relatives are at the house party and they treat Christine badly. She finds herself thrown together with the Duke of Bewcastle on many occasions and although they disagree she finds him strangely compelling. The action moves to London and then to the duke's property, Lindsey Hall, in Hampshire as the Duke and Christine discover more about each other and discover some of their original impressions of each other were very off the mark.

As usual Mary Balogh has written some excellent and in-depth characters. In her books her characters always seem to grow and change - in this book it's not so much that they change but that aspects of their personalities, long-hidden, are brought to light. It's a charming book and the comparisons with the plot of Pride & Prejudice are reasonable - the hero is icy cold and aloof and the heroine is warm-hearted and fun and of a much lower class. It's also good to read about the happiness of the rest of the Bedwyn clan (they all appear to have been procreating rather dramatically) and although knowledge of these other books is helpful it's not necessary to have read them to enjoy "Slightly Dangerous". I felt the character of Wulfric in this book was a little less arctic/icicle-like in actual behaviour than in some of the other books; we're told a lot in this book that he's cold and aloof but his actions don't always bear that out, although there is definitely more of a thawing in him in the latter part of the book. This is indeed a book I very much enjoyed reading for the third time and I am feeling rather irritated with myself that I sold it - it may just be good enough to buy again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2007
The first time I read "Slightly Dangerous" I was a little disappointed. I decided not to keep the book and put it up for sale. When someone ordered it I quickly read it again before dispatching it, deciding then that I enjoyed it rather more. And since it's gone I've read four more of the "Slightly" series and I now rather regret having sold it. Anyway, I got a copy from the library and read it - for the third time - and this time I loved it.

Why? Well of course it's the final book in the series following the Bedwyn family in the "Slightly" series. Wulfric, Duke of Bewcastle, has featured in all the others as a cold, aloof and toplofty chap with silver eyes. We haven't really learned a great deal about him except that he was crossed in love when young and has kept himself away from women, apart from his mistress, since then.

"Slightly Dangerous" starts after Wulfric's mistress has died and he's very much on his own now that all his siblings have married and set up home elsewhere. He ends up agreeing to attend a House Party with a friend which he expects is going to be a gathering of gentlemen who can enjoy conversation and relaxation. When he gets there he discovers there are a large number of younger guests, young girls on the catch for a duke as a husband, and one slightly older widow, Mrs Derrick, who rubs him up the wrong way from the start.

Christine Derrick feels very out of place at the house party, having been invited as she is a friend of the hostess and the numbers needed to be evened out when the Duke of Bewcastle accepted the invitation. She has been a widow for two years and the last years of her marriage were rather difficult; her late husband's closest relatives are at the house party and they treat Christine badly. She finds herself thrown together with the Duke of Bewcastle on many occasions and although they disagree she finds him strangely compelling. The action moves to London and then to the duke's property, Lindsey Hall, in Hampshire as the Duke and Christine discover more about each other and discover some of their original impressions of each other were very off the mark.

As usual Mary Balogh has written some excellent and in-depth characters. In her books her characters always seem to grow and change - in this book it's not so much that they change but that aspects of their personalities, long-hidden, are brought to light. It's a charming book and the comparisons with the plot of Pride & Prejudice are reasonable - the hero is icy cold and aloof and the heroine is warm-hearted and fun and of a much lower class. It's also good to read about the happiness of the rest of the Bedwyn clan (they all appear to have been procreating rather dramatically) and although knowledge of these other books is helpful it's not necessary to have read them to enjoy "Slightly Dangerous". I felt the character of Wulfric in this book was a little less arctic/icicle-like in actual behaviour than in some of the other books; we're told a lot in this book that he's cold and aloof but his actions don't always bear that out, although there is definitely more of a thawing in him in the latter part of the book. This is indeed a book I very much enjoyed reading for the third time and I am feeling rather irritated with myself that I sold it - it may just be good enough to buy again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2010
Yes I just love this book, and have read it a couple of times. The 'cool, ever responsible Duke, Bewcastle, having seen all his siblings married off (in various other of Balochs books), gets invited to what he thinks is a house party for intellent men!doing a spot of fishing and chatting, to fined himself at one of the kind of weekends who would never attend,lots of simpering females.
However the woman who catches his ever correct eye, continually enlarged by his magnifying glass, is respectable,but anything but proper.
She is also one of those people who glows from within with personality and love of life.
Continually getting into scrapes, but also very misjudged by members of her family. There are lots of funny and interesting parts to this story, but also an underlying theme about injustice, judgemental relatives, and a rather wicked 'friend'
Its great to see Bewcastle 'let down his guard' and show real humanity and fall in love. read it for yourselves, it's a good one.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2005
I was also looking forward to Wulfrics story. He was of course a well described character in the other Bedwyn stories. I did, however, notice a very Pride and Prejudice storyline right down to some of the dialogue. A cold, duty bound man versus a lower gentry lively woman. Both of whom dislike each other dispite being attracted to one another.
Having said that I love P & P so enjoyed reading a similar story. It was a great ending to an enjoyable series of books.
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on 20 June 2015
When I began reading historical romance novels after a 20 year break, I came across a few heroes who were amazingly intriguing. One was Bey Malloren, the Marquess of Rothgar from Devilish (Mallorens & Friends series Book 5) by Jo Beverley, Lucien de Montforte, the Duke of Blackheath from The Wicked One (The De Montforte Brothers, Book 4) by Danelle Harmon and our own hero from this book - Wulfric Bedwyn, the Duke of Bewcastle. These three gentleman have one thing in common - they were the heads of their families from a young age which included several siblings. The fact their personas are similar might have to do with that simple fact, or it may have to do with the writers borrowing some traits or characteristics from one another's characters for their own heroes. I haven't checked out which book was written first, second or third. I can only state that these men are very fascinating and if I were a young lady living during the times they lived in, I might want one of these men for my very own. I know, I know - they're not real... but still... I might want one.

Another thing these men all have in common is that when it came their turn to have their stories written, in my opinion, the stories were simply not up to snuff. Getting back on track for our hero of this book, Wulfric deserved a much better book. Honestly, he had served his family faithfully for many long years. Now, at age 35, his mistress of ten years has passed away and he's in grief. Did he love her? No! She was not of his class, but he was fond of her and now he's adrift.

Into this mix, he's invited to a house party that he believes will be attended by intellectuals and having nothing better to do, he decides to attend. Much to his surprise, it's a typical house party that is boring beyond belief. But, one lady, Christine Derrick, herself a widow very reluctantly attends and captures Wulfric's attention by continually falling into minor disasters. He's appalled and Christine finds herself on the receiving end of more than one glare from Bewcastle's eyes via his quizzing glass. For her part, she refuses to be intimidated and gives as good as she gets. In fact, eventually she tells Wulfric in plain English exactly what she thinks of the persona of Bewcastle - basically accusing him of having no heart. She gives him no credit for the years he's spent putting the ducal responsibilities before his own desires. Poor Wulfric, it's been long years since he was a little rebellious boy who was separated from his enjoyable life and isolated for five years from friends and siblings while he was trained to be the duke. All this because his father was seriously ill and could die at any time. Wulfric has lost some parts of himself and no longer knows how to behave in any other manner than as the perceived persona of the ice cold disdainful Duke of Bewcastle.

Problem is, Wulfric wants Christine in the worst way and she also desires him. During the process, they make some decisions they don't actually regret but it does complicate their relationship. After some turmoil, especially on Wulfric's part, he takes some steps that could be truly life-changing. Christine is struggling with her own past in which she was married to Oscar, a man she loved, but his death left her wounded, with his relatives now shunning her, blaming her for his death. The reader isn't privy to the circumstances surrounding Oscar's death until toward the end of the book. Nevertheless, Christine continues to reject Wulfric time and again. I found this a bit much. I'm of the opinion that Wulfric deserved more than she gave him or perhaps I should say the reader deserved a bit more romance as opposed to the constant disagreeable scenes we are put through. It went on for so long, it became a bit tedious.

There were some very enjoyable parts in the story just not enough. 3 1/2 stars upped to four stars.
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on 17 September 2010
This book is about Wulfric, the head of the family and last of the Bedwyn siblings to remain unmarried. throughout the series he has come across as very cold and unemotional, even with his siblings, very much the proud, haughty duke. He attends a houseparty where he meets Christine Derrick, a poor widow with no real beauty or social graces. The unmarried ladies have a bet to see who can engage the Duke in a conversation (as he had been avoiding everybody at the party), which Christine originally has no intention of joining in, but ends up winning.

The duke is unwittingly fascinated by Christine, and they end up making love. The duke offers for Christine afterwards - she refuses him. That should have been the end of the matter, but he can't get her out of his mind. She won't have him because he would want her to change into somebody totally different (even though she did fall in love with him), and she also tells him that he is cold and unable to love anybody.

Wulfric invites Christine and her family to the Bedwyn family's Easter gathering, where the rest of the siblings and their families come together. There Wulfric reveals his true self to her, and does things which are totally out of character, thus proving that he really loves her.

I enjoyed this book the most out of the Bedwyn series. There is plenty of witty repartee, with a bit of a side plot (Othello anybody?)There were a few hints of Wulfric's potential in the previous books, and Balogh really developed his character in this one. An imperfect, but eventually loveable hero.
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on 16 January 2012
Hats off to M.Balogh, I believe this has to be one of the best regency romances I have read in a very very long time. And I have read so many of them and gotten weary of the same old childish plots and stratagems, boring heroines rakish heroes. For once, I felt like was reading a proper story, well fleshed out with no loose ends left dangling. I was drawn to the characters, so real and multifaceted. I cared about them. I thought it was a beautiful book and that Wulfric and Christine have to be my favorite MB characters.
I picked up this book intending to read only a few pages before going to sleep. But I couldnt put it down and I ended up reading to the last page into the early hours of the morning. Please buy this book or borrow it from someone.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2004
Our hero is Wulfric Bewyn (the duke of Bewcastle), a complex character who if you have read the previous books you have already come to love.
Wulfric attends a house party and Christine Derrick (a widow) catches his eye in more ways than one (lemondade!). He invites her to become his mistress, then his wife but she refuses as all she knows appart from the sexual attraction between them is the duke. She also misunderstands when he says a duke could not marry her and lists the reasons why even though he is asking her to marry him! Wulfric has to then find a way to show her the man under the mantle of the duke(with his responsabilities). Along the way he does his usual trick of helping everyone else solve their problems and misunderstandings.
I always had a soft spot for Wulfric and understood where he was coming from in the previous books and am glad that this book does not let him down in anyway.
The last in the Bedwyn family saga, but can easily be read alone. You just will not come to the story desperately wanting te best for Wulfric before page 1.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2009
I have enjoyed all of Mary Balogh's books. They are easily read, enjoyable and just right to read when the one is fed up with the ethos of today - violent and greedy. They never leave you depressed.
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