Book Review: Slightly Scandalous by Mary Balogh

13Title: Slightly Scandalous
Author: Mary Balogh
Series: Bedwyn Saga #3
Released: June 3, 2003
Genre: HR
Format: Kindle
Pages: 374
Dates Read: June 14-17, 2017
Grade: A-
Synopsis: Meet the Bedwyns…six brothers and sisters—men and women of passion and privilege, daring and sensuality.

Enter their dazzling world of high society and breathtaking seduction…where each will seek love, fight temptation, and court scandal…and where Freyja Bedwyn, the wild-hearted daughter, meets her match in a man as passionate, reckless, and scandalous as she.

Growing up with four unruly brothers has made Freyja Bedwyn far bolder than most society ladies. From feisty manner to long, tumbling hair, Lady Freyja is pure fire, a woman who seeks both adventure and freedom.

Adventure soon finds her on a visit to Bath, when a handsome stranger bursts into Freyja’s room and entreats her to hide him. His name is Joshua Moore, Marquess of Hallmere, a man with a hell-raising reputation of his own who is quickly intrigued by the independent beauty. So intrigued, in fact, that he makes her a surprising request: to pose as his fiancée and help thwart his family’s matchmaking schemes. For two people determined to be free, it’s the perfect plan…until passion blindsides them both. For as Joshua sets out to achieve his complete seduction of Freyja, a woman who has sworn off love is in danger of losing the one thing she never expected to give again: her heart… (Goodreads)

Review: I really enjoyed this one.  If I’ve read any novel that has reminded me of Jane Austen’s writing, but modernized, it’s this one.  It was such a pleasure to read.

Fake engagements are always such a lark, aren’t they?  They never get you into any difficult situations.  Such fun!

I loved how free-spirited Freyja was.  There aren’t many ladies of the ton who would just ride off into a field on a horse unaccompanied, not caring if anyone followed her–suitable or no; of course, Joshua followed her, being both the most suitable (in the readers’ eyes) and the most unsuitable (in society’s eyes) option.

I guess you could say there was another love interest, but I honestly can’t remember his name.  That’s how much of a threat he was, even if he was on the verge of proposing.  There was also the previous love interest, but luckily, Freyja realized that she could move on from it without too much fuss.

There is an autistic character in this novel: Joshua’s cousin, Prue.  I love love love the way she is handled.  Yes, her mother wanted to put her in an insane asylum, but everyone else in the novel loved Prue and treated her with kindness and even respect.  She was even given agency as a character with a free will and the right to make decisions about her own life.  I just wanted to hug her, and I know she would have hugged me right back and made me feel better.

“I know what you meant when you told me she is full of love and brimming over with it. And so innocent that one fears for her. Perhaps we ought not to fear for such people but for ourselves whose experience has taught us not to trust one another or life itself.” (317)

But there was no guile in her and no stupidity or dullness or negativity.  She was a sunny-natured child who simply did not possess whatever it was in most of the rest of mortality that enabled them to move away from the innocent exuberance and loving trust of childhood to a darker place they labeled maturity. (321)

Freyja was not a beauty, and she was okay with it.  I love what Balogh wrote:

She was as she was.  Anyone who did not like
looking at her might simply look elsewhere.

I think we could all stand to take a lesson from that.  Especially today, so many people are concerned with how they look to the world, instead of whether or not they’re comfortable with themselves as they are.  It’s one thing to want to exercise to be in better shape or to get surgery to look a way you want to, but it’s another thing entirely to feel pressured to change a part of your body simply because someone else doesn’t like it.  Your opinion and your heart should come first.

Favorite Quotes:

  • And why was it, Joshua thought somewhat ruefully, that all women believed that once a man had succeeded to a title and fortune he must also have acquired a burning desire to share them with a mate (56)?
    • Oops, sorry.  Blame Jane.
  • Perhaps it was not so much Kit she had been in love with all these years as the exuberant passion of her own nature that had burst into glorious life when she had been with him four summers ago (85).
  • Brooding was not in any way a satisfactory activity (111).
  • “If we live always in constant dread, Free, how can we enjoy the time that is allotted to us (212)?”

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