Monday, October 10, 2016

#Audiobook Review: Slightly Married by Mary Balogh

Series:     Bedwyn Saga #1
Pub. Date:Sept. 30, 2016
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Rosalyn Landor
Length:10 hrs 57 min

The Bedwyn saga kicks off with a classic marriage of convenience story that takes place shortly after England has emerged victorious from the Napoleanic wars. This story was narrated by Rosalyn Landor, who lends authenticity to the British setting with her very proper speech. Landor did a good job with the variety of character affectations and stuffy demeanor of our hero and his brother.
At the opening of this story, our hero, Colonel Aidan Bedwyn, is making a promise to a dying man on the battlefield at Toulouse. As he lay dying, Captain Percival Morris elicited a promise from Bedwyn to protect his sister, Eve, no matter what. So it was for this reason that, when everyone else in London was engaged in victory celebrations, Aidan found himself visiting the country to deliver sad news to Ringwood Manor. He subsequently discovers that the sole way to save Eve and Ringwood from the trouble caused by Percy's death is to marry her. As an honorable man and true to his word, Aidan is determined to proceed with a marriage of convenience to satisfy his debt to Percy (who had saved his life during the battle). Aidan was a bit of a stuffy hero, which I believe could be attributed to his career. He rarely showed any emotion, even to smile, and instead maintained the stoic bearing of his military station.

In direct contrast to Aidan, Eve Morris, was a bleeding heart leaking emotion all over the place. Eve collects strays that Aidan refers to as her lame ducks - orphaned children, fallen women, disabled soldiers, an elderly aunt, etc. It is for her lame ducks that she agrees to marry Aidan, so that she may keep possession of Ringwood and continue to provide for it's inhabitants. Believing herself in love with another man, it appeared that this marriage was a great sacrifice for Eve and she did not realize or appreciate the sacrifice that Aidan was making for her benefit. Oddly Eve's penchant for collecting people did not extend to Aidan, and so she did not bestow the affection on him that she did for her lame ducks.

As both the hero and heroine were guarded in their emotions for one another, I did not feel a reluctant grand passion resulted from their marriage. They slowly grew to bear affection for one another, but it was due more to the machinations of others than anything else. If left to their own devices, this couple would have separated shortly after the vows were taken, never to meet again.

Luckily there were a couple of antagonists in the plot which forced the couple together. The first was Cecil Morris, the cousin who stood to inherit Ringwood if Eve did not marry in time. Cecil was a great antagonist, one that you were really glad to see get his comeuppance. The other antagonist for this story was Aidan's brother, the Duke. His character was more of the sad sort... imposing restrictions on his family out of a sense of duty, and seemingly without love. I hoped to have more of a reconciliation between Aidan and the Duke, but I suspect we may see redemption for his character later in the series.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of the audio book that I received from the publisher, Tantor Audio.