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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Slightly Wicked: Number 4 in series (Bedwyn Series)
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 31 March 2013
Review taken from my Blog Post (#70) in January 2011, after borrowing the book from the library.

This shouldn't have been called "Slightly" Wicked, far from it ............. Completely Depraved Wanton might have been a better title to describe what Miss Judith Law got up to early on in the book.

She has had to leave home (probably for good) to live with her wealthy Aunt Effingham due to the excesses of her selfish young Brother, Branwell. Of the 4 sisters, it was her who volunteered to go. In actual fact, she knew that in all probability she would be acting as unpaid servant, and treated shabbily, as was so often the cases in those days.

With very little money, and travelling on the stage, there is an accident and it overturns. A heroic stranger (Ralf Bedard) offers to take her on to the next inn, as help would be many hours away. She accepts, but somewhere along the way she loses all sense and involves herself in one reckless night of passion, thus also losing her virtue and reputation. At least she will have something to dream about now to carry her through the dreary days as a companion.

He wants her to go away with him for a time, but she comes to her senses whilst he is off looking for a carriage to take them on, and runs away. Eventually making her way to her Aunt's home, Harewood Grange just in time for a large house party.

A big shock, however, is in store for her as one man of the party, Lord Rannulf Bedwyn arrives to woo her cousin. The very same Ralf Bedard who had bedded her just days before.

He makes honourable and dis-honourable advances to her, so does Aunt Effingham's oily step-son, but she holds firm against them. But scandal rocks the household when she is accused of stealing a vast quantity of jewels. The only thing she can think of to do is run .... but Rannulf pursues her to help here clear her name.

Is it possible that love can grow out of a something that started off slightly wicked?

I think as the last one in the Slightly series that needed reading there were marvellously layered examples of a hero and heroine. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and a highly recommended 4.5 ***** Star read. As it was some time ago I read the story of Wulfic, Duke of Bewcastle and his Christine, I think I will go back at some point very soon and re-read it. Actually, I think that I will miss this series a lot.
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on 9 October 2015
I have just got the Slightly series in paperback, although I have read the Mistress, Huxtable and Survivor series published to date. The first book, about Aidan Bedwyn, was very good and very much in Mary Balogh's style. This one, which I thoroughly enjoyed, seemed quite different in style from other books of hers that I have read. I wouldn't think of calling MB's books 'sweet' but I really thought this one was very sweet! Although the author probably wouldn't thank me for saying this, it was very much in the style of Georgette Heyer - specifically a mix of 'the Nonesuch' and 'Arabella'. The villain, the self-absorbed, selfish young lady, her ambitious, scheming mother, the indigent but proud poor relation, were such over-the-top characters that I suspect in another MB novel it wouldn't have worked. Here, however, it works perfectly. Even the formidable Bedwyn clan were less than daunting, given how they behaved when Aidan arrived with his wife - and they all appeared to be sweetness and light at the wedding. I presume it was intentional to shock the reader at the beginning with the couple of days of unbridled passion, and the circumstances under which it happened, but thereafter it was just the sweetest story, one I know I will read again and again. Occasionally, a lighter read is such a pleasure
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on 2 February 2007
I'm a real fan of Mary Balogh's books. I think "More Than A Mistress" and "The Secret Pearl" are brilliant pieces of writing with engaging characters. These are some of her older books though, her newer books are the "Slightly" series following the Bedwyn family and the "Simply" series which tell the stories of four schoolteachers (not all yet published).

Slightly Wicked, therefore, is a story about the Bedwyn family. It's the second in the series and follows Lord Rannulf Bedwyn, brother to the Duke of Bewcastle. The events take place a month after the close of the first book in the series, Slightly Married, which followed the story of Aidan, second brother.

Rannulf is a very different character. Both the Duke and Aidan have very much lived up to the expectations of their positions - they do their duties admirably (apart from Aidan marrying a coal-miner's daughter). Rannulf, as third son, should have gone into the church - but didn't. Instead he's spent the last decade or so not doing a great deal, just wandering about and having fun. He's pretty bored and not expecting much out of life but is on his way to see his grandmother, who has made him her heir.

On the way he comes across a stagecoach in the ditch with a number of stranded passengers. He agrees to ride to the next village for help but takes up one of the passengers, a young lady, on his horse. When they get to the village he realises that she is an actress and courtesan and so they spend a couple of very pleasant nights together. He offers to go with her to York, her destination, to prolong the acquaintance but she runs away without saying goodbye except in a letter.

However, it wouldn't make much of a story if that was it! Rannulf and Judith meet again under unexpected circumstances and although she's entirely unsuitable for him he can't quite seem to let go. Rannulf takes a while to work out what his feelings are, Judith's whole life seems to be going down the toilet, especially after someone tries to rape her. Her position in life as drudge to a family is insupportable, her carefree and unthinking brother is bringing their family to impoverishment and she finds herself the target of a nasty plot. Having her secret lover in the picture is even worse - she wanted a time in her life to remember and dream about but reality has a nasty habit of intruding.

Although I enjoyed this book I didn't feel that it quite engaged me as some of her others have done. I liked both characters, although there seemed to be a lot of importance placed on the fact that Judith was beautiful. The theme of Rannulf trying to at last live up to his responsibilities was lightly played - and Judith's learning of her beauty was also part of her growing experience. There's nothing wrong with this book, it just didn't grip me like some of her others which is a shame as she is an excellent writer.
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on 24 December 2016
What was the narrator thinking??? Rannulf is supposed to be a 28 year old 'jack the lad'. She has voiced him like a 58 or a 68 year old stodgy 'old pervert'. The voice does not convey a vibrant young man, but a sleasy, creepy old man.
A really disappointing audiobook. I have read the print version several times and was looking forward to the audiobook - what a disappointment. The narrator makes an absolute 'hash' of the shole thing - ugh
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on 13 March 2017
Mary Balogh is nearly always a really good read, but I found this one just too predictable and drawn out.
However, probably a necessary read for fans of the series.
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on 7 October 2017
The book arrived in even better condition than I had expected it to. I was totally impressed. Love it!
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on 20 September 2017
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on 26 May 2017
Very enjoyable, easy read.
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on 11 June 2013
For me, This book has just what is needed in a historical romance.A depth of understanding about humans and relationship,a great sense of the era she writes about,and the ability to open the door into the world these people lived in.The lovely warmth of a truly happy ending without it being unrealistic!
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on 2 March 2017
Another great read
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