Friday, February 25, 2005

Book Review - Slightly Wicked, Mary Balogh

Another entry in the Bedwyn series, Slightly Wicked is the story of Rannulf and his lady love, Judith, who has been sent to live with her wealthy relatives to help ease the burden on her impoverished father. When Judith's coach overturns an attractive young man offers to help. Convinced she will never marry (her parents have told her she is ugly and on the shelf), she seizes the opportunity to have a little adventure.

Rannulf is faced with the prospect of his grandmother marrying him off, a fact about which he is less than enthusiastic. Encountering a sultry actress in peril provides a pleasant diversion. Imagine his surprise when she turns out to be his intended's poor relation. Not only must their love overcome a wide social chasm, it must also defeat a vengeful spurned suitor.

Though the story is fairly standard, the quality of Ms. Balogh's writing sets it apart. She breathes fresh life into typical lead characters and surrounds them with an outstanding supporting cast (especially Judith's grandmother). Her setting is realistic, full of period detail without seeming like a catalogue of facts, while the plot contains some unique twists. A fast-paced, well-written enjoyable read.

© Teresa Basinski Eckford 2003
This review first appeared in the May 2003 issue of The Historical Novels Review

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