Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mary Balogh - Slightly Scandalous

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… 

Comment: This is the third installment in the Bedwyn Saga series by author Mary Balogh. Like the previous stories, it focuses on one sibling, this time Freija, who we know has had bad luck with love. I was curious about Freija's story, even more so after having really adored the previous book.

In this book, Freija is in Bath, trying to pass the time while the child of the man she loves is born. Freija knows she wouldn't endure the looks and the pity and while in Bath she tries to occupy her time leisurely but just before the even manages to get to Bath, she is surprised at an inn, where a unknown man simply enters her room and tries to hide from an angry owner, accused of trying to seduce his daughter. 
Freija wanted to out everyone in their place but something about the man and the adventure of it allows her to let him go. Later, they meet again and Freija acts impetuously and is proved wrong. Can these two find common ground even more when it looks they both will be in Bath for a while? And can a simple prank be just the beginning of everything for both of them?

I had a great time with this book. I don't think it was as amazing as the previous one, simply because the heroine in that book was more to my tastes in terms of personality but this was quite the surprise. Freija ended up being a great heroine, especially because she never tried to be more or less than what people thought her to be. Same for the hero, with every page something new - and better- was found about him as a person and that made all the difference when I think about why this gradually grew on me. I confess I wasn't terrible impressed with both in the beginning.

The development of this story was very good. It started with some apparent unimportant scenes and situations I couldn't really see the interest of but when the two protagonists decided to escape a situation that would be bad for both, things changed and we got to see them interact better, especially when together with other characters as well. This allowed me to see them in different contexts and that was great, we could see how many layers they both actually had and it proved there was a reason behind all their less then appealing features.
I liked the feeling of getting to know them better individually but at the same time it make sense they should be together. I feel very glad they were so much more than what they seemed and how that wasn't done in a way that would make them look too good to be true, but their flaws only made their good side seem even better.

What probably made this book as good as it was for me were all the character interactions we've seen. I really like when character just don't talk to each other, just don't go through the motions and when we have interesting character connections that allows room for more development. Freija's family is particularly interesting, loving and supportive and I liked how every member had a distinctive voice without taking over the whole story. I'm very curious to see if the family interactions continue because I feel they really leave room for more positive scenes and aren't there just to fill up space.

The plot isn't complicated but I really appreciate the author's style and narrative. It makes things have specific meanings, detailed characteristics and that makes everything feel complex in a realistic way. I like how the characters are portrayed seriously ad how the romance isn't simply based on lust or redundant situations.
This book isn't as good as the second one was to me but I recognize many positive aspects and that convinces me that this author might be one of those who improved with time and can be a winner for me. I hope it's not just one series wonder and after reading this series, others can captivate me as well.
Grade: 8/10

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