Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mary Balogh - Slightly Sinful

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 Alleyne Bedwyn, the passionate middle son, is cut off from his past--only to find his future with a sinfully beautiful woman he will risk everything to love.
Lord Alleyne Bedwyn is recovering at a brothel in Brussels from wounds sustained at Waterloo. He needs to go and find his own people, but the ladies who saved his life need his help in order to put on a masquerade for the recovery of a fortune in jewels so that they can go in pursuit of their stolen life savings. It is just the sort of mad and slightly sinful caper that Alleyne cannot possibly resist, especially when Rachel Yorke, one of the ladies, resembles a golden angel.

Comment: This is the fifth installment of the Bedwyn saga series, featuring the Bedwyn siblings. This is the story of the youngest brother, Alleyne, a man who was beginning his career as a diplomat but who got wounded in a battle near Brussels and, sadly, lost his memory. I was curious to see how this story would develop, considering Alleyne's problem and I have to say I was a little disappointed with this book.

Alleyne lost his memory after a fall from his horse and is rescued by Rachel York, a young woman who was looking for loot among the deceased soldiers. However, Rachel can't stomach it even though she and her friends would need the money they could gain from it. Rachel saves Alleyne instead of robbing him - something impossible because all his things were already gone - and together with her friends from a whore house, she helps to take care of his wounds and health. When he recovers, Alleyne doesn't know who is is but he feels indebted to the women who helped him. After some talking, somehow all of them get into their heads to get Rachel's inheritance from her uncle, thinking he never loved her so they would not mind deceiving him. Rachel needs to be married to get her inheritance before her 25th birthday, still three years away but everything changes when they get to her uncle's house and it appears he was never as distant as she imagined from her childhood...

This was obviously a good story, all the stories in this series have been so far, but it seems to me, this was the weaker of them all. I guess I'm not overly fond of the amnesic just doesn't seem very believable and the romance suffered a bit from that because part of the fun of a romance is precisely how both characters see each other, considering their past and experiences, something not easy to accomplish if one of them isn't aware of who he really is.

Alleyne has been quite the captivating character from the glimpses we've had of him in previous stories. I was interested in seeing how he would behave in his own book, because we've gotten the idea he wasn't exactly certain about his future and his place in the world. He clearly finds his call in this book and that is great but I can't help thinking all his impressions  - and mine as a reader - got muddled because of his amnesia. It was Alleyne but at the same time, it wasn't he. In the end, as everyone can guess, things work out. But the path wasn't as thrilling as I imagined.

I think the biggest problem for me, personally, was the lack of family scenes we've has in the other books. Everyone else's books had scenes with almost all members of the Bedwyn family and that is a huge component of the series for me in terms of character evolution and cozy atmosphere I feel were key elements of a good romance series. I felt the lack of this here.
Adding to this the fact the romance itself wasn't as thrilling...

The heroine, Rachel, wasn't a bad character. She has interesting elements but the way their story developed wasn't exciting to me. I wasn't eager to see them together as I did with the others. Maybe their personalities, instead of complementing each other, were a bit too much alike in a way that didn't add much vibrancy because neither was too different from the other. Then the amnesia. didn't help and I felt the couple who was falling in love wasn't really aware of one another.

The secondary cast of characters was amazing, that is obvious. But there were too many people to focus on and while most had no POV, it just seemed the focus wasn't entirely in the main couple. I usually don't mind many characters, the Bedwyn themselves are quite the bunch ad I love to see them interact but in this case, the characters we do have, although interesting and all that, just didn't add that much to the overall plot. Jut my impressions.
However, this doesn't mean the story wasn't a good one. But I think I'll probably remember others better. Now the book most readers certainly were anticipating is next. I'm very curious to read the older Bedwyn 's story and I hope it's good and has his family around.
Grade: 6/10

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