Mary Balogh






Delacorte Press, June 2004
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding

The cold and stuffy Duke of Bewcastle, Wulfric Bedwyn, accepts an invitation to a two week houseparty at Scholfield Park from Viscount Mowbury. Mowbury assures him there will be "superior company and intelligent conversation there as well as some fishing" at Lord and Lady Renable's home. In a low moment, Wulfric accepts the invitation. His home, Lindsey Hall, has become a lonely and unhappy place since the other Bedwyn family members have married and started families of their own.

When Lady Melanie Renable discovers her cousin Mowbury has invited the Duke of Bewcastle to her houseparty she is frantic to find a suitable lady to even out the numbers of her party. She appeals to her dear friend, local widow Christine Derrick, to attend the gathering.

Christine lives a quiet life at Hyacinth Cottage with her mother and sister. She is content with her life far from the influence of the ton, especially since the death of her husband under scandalous circumstances. The scandal was hushed up, but there has been bad blood between her and her brother-in-law, Viscount Elrick, since Oscar's death. The Renable's party brings her back into the circle of the social elite once again.

Christine is naturally charismatic and her presence often adds a touch of fun to any social gathering she attends. It's that aspect of her personality that often gets her into trouble with the dour restrictions of the ton. Her interaction with the Duke of Bewcastle brings out her playful personality and exaggerates the contrast to conventional behavior even more. Despite his refined manner, the Duke is charmed and repelled by her warmth and easy laughter. Soon the combustible chemistry between these two very different people turns their worlds upside down.

SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS is the sixth and final title in the Slightly Series by Mary Balogh. This first hardcover release features the enigmatic head of the Bedwyn family, Wulfric. His story arc has spanned the entire series, but it is this novel that finally reveals the secrets of his early life that formed the powerful man. The characters are well drawn and fascinating. Balogh has created the perfect foil for him in Christine Derrick, and their courtship forces Wulfric to pursue her and break through the cold, emotionally detached facade he wears. Evenly paced and charmingly written, this story is a pleasure to read and brings this series a conclusion that won't disappoint.

June 2004


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