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The excellent third book in the Bedwyn Series,
This review is from: Slightly Scandalous (Mass Market Paperback)
Although very much a fan of Mary Balogh's Regency romances I have been a little disappointed in some of her more recent books, mainly in the "Slightly" series. Chronologically "Slightly Married" (the story of Aidan) and "Slightly Wicked" (Rannulf) come before this book, although "A Summer To Remember" introduced this family. In many of these books Lady Freyja appears and she was always a character I found difficult to like - she was positively nasty to the heroine in "A Summer To Remember" and seems to go around punching people; not very endearing.
Slightly Scandalous is Freyja's story and it's actually very good. It starts off as she is on her way to Bath to stay with a friend, ostensibly to be social but really to get away from her home and her neighbours as Viscount Ravensberg, the man she loved, is expecting a child with his wife (the characters from "A Summer To Remember"). Despite these events having happened almost a year ago Freyja is most certainly not over them - Bedwyns love only once, of course, and she loved Kit Ravensberg. What hope is there for her future?
But in Bath, and in fact before, she bumps into Joshua Moore, Marquess of Hallmere, who seems to be about the only man who can match her in fun, humour and derring do. They have great fun together (despite Freyja's lamentable tendencies to punch him in the nose) and it ends up that they will both help each other out by a fake betrothal. But fake betrothals are rather difficult to handle when people get more and more involved, especially when one of the two is accused of murder.
This book was excellent in terms of plot and character. Joshua, Marquess of Hallmere, slowly reveals to Freyja that he's not just a wastrel laughing lad but also has hidden depths. Freyja is revealed as someone who can have her heart broken and who has her own secrets - some of which are very honourable (she is the benefactress of a school, which is the school featured in the most recent "Simply" series). The rest of the Bedwyns make quite a showing in this book - it's evident that Mary Balogh loves these, her creations, but I find them a little trying at times. Still they worked well in this book, even Wulfric, who sometimes seems too cardboard a villainous character.
My reservations about this book were its similarities to "A Summer To Remember" - fake betrothal etc. Also I couldn't separate out the characters of Kit Ravensberg and Joshua Hallmere - they seemed almost identical; if I were Josh I'd worry his wife was trying to find the man most like her lost love. But these are minor niggles in what is otherwise an excellent story and something for the keeper shelf.