Slightly Married by Mary Balogh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've yet to find a book by Ms. Balogh that I didn't love. Her writing always sucks me into the story right from the start, with slightly (no pun intended) imperfect characters that I can't help but feel strongly about. Taking this book as an example, my eyes were already misty when I finished reading the 1st Chapter, and I had just met the heroine Eve...
Slightly Married is a beautifully slow paced story, completely focused on Aidan's and Eve's emotions and the loving relationship that grows between them despite their "best intentions". Aidan starts off being rather cold, reserved and grim, but as he slowly falls in love with Eve, his demeanor starts to change and he opens himself up to the possibility of a life of happiness with her - something that he's never dreamed of when he proposed a marriage of convenience to her. Eve's a rich coal miner's daughter, sweet but strong, and the least likely candidate for marrying one of the aristocratic Bedwyn brothers, but Aidan's remarkable sense of honor and duty is stronger than this "mere" social inconvenience. He's promised her dying brother to protect her, no matter what!, and if marrying her is the only protection Aidan can offer Eve, so be it. It's not supposed to be a real marriage at all, but life has a way of getting in the way of best laid plans...
Aidan was a difficult hero to love at first, due to his stiffness - please, keep your minds out of the gutter, LOL - and coldness, but once his facade started cracking up, I fell for him as strongly as Eve did. And when he finally smiled at her for the 1st time... When he kept finding excuses to delay his departure... When he took her swimming in the river... *sighs*
On the other hand, Eve was extremely easy to love from the start. For a moment, I was afraid she was going to cave under the pressure of Aidan's older brother, the mighty Duke of Bewcastle, but she stood her ground not only once but twice. She was willing to submit to Bewcastle's demands to a point in order to help Aidan, but she was no pushover.
If I had one "problem" with this book was, there was something "off" with the love scenes. I don't know if I've been reading too much erotica/romantica lately, but I didn't feel much passion in Aidan and Eve's lovemaking. There was hardly any foreplay - the 1st time, they didn't even bother to undress - and Aidan came across as the ultimate wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am guy. The fact that Eve always reached the Big-O was only because they were in Romancelandia. Anyway, that didn't really bother me because Ms. Balogh had me around her little finger all through the story and, quite frankly, I wouldn't have minded if there were no love scenes at all. Yes, that's how much I love her writing!
Note: I feel like the Bedwyns deserve a "special" comment from me. I didn't like any of the Bedwyn siblings when I met them in A Summer to Remember, and I admit that I only read Slightly Married because Aidan wasn't in that book and therefore was "saved" from my wrath, LOL. Now that I've read this book, I don't dislike them anymore - except Freyja, who I still want to kill slowly and painfully - and I'm interested in reading the next books in this series.
View all my reviews