by Mary Balogh

January 2004
ISBN: 0-440-24106-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

Slightly Tempted, the story of Lady Morgan Bedwyn, moves from the glittering parties of the ton to a war-torn Continent as the English continue to fight Napoleon. This change in scenery marks a subtle shift in the tone of the remaining Bedwyn stories, and I find it refreshing.

It is one thing to read a Regency romance, expecting to envision the exquisitely gowned women, escorted to fabulous parties by well-dressed men. That is what makes the era so appealing. Sparkling soirees, witty dialogue, and romance, showcased in diamonds and silk. The realities of a protracted military engagement, and a ravaged European countryside are rarely revealed. This story, with its strong romance intact, displays the true nature of the underlying historical events of the day.

Gervase Ashford, the Earl of Rosthorn, has been away from England for nearly a decade. Forced into exile through scandal and renounced by his family, he has earned his rakish reputation abroad. When the opportunity for revenge presents itself in the guise of the youngest Bedwyn, he cannot resist. Her beauty and charm make his overtures simple to comprehend, but the lady is not stupid. She sees through his charisma and knows to keep him at arm’s length. This man is dangerous.

Lady Morgan may lead a life of privilege, but it is not an idle one. Beneath her beauty is a steel core incased in velvet. Her strengths are tested as she travels to Brussels with her brother Aiden and family friends. While the British entourage continue to partake in the usual society gatherings, war is imminent. When her escape route is closed, she must trust Rosthorn to insure her safety. But even in times of war, the rules of society cannot be bent without repercussions.

Slightly Tempted is a compelling tale. Not satisfied to be merely an excellent love story, it brings the turmoil and terror of the front lines into the parlors and ballrooms of Europe. The vivid descriptions of the field hospitals and nursing centers bring the horror of war to life. When the setting returns to England, the events have forever changed the characters of the book, and not even the Duke of Bewcastle’s iron will can alter history. As much as I enjoyed the first three books in this series, I am now wondering how much better the remaining two stories will be. This book, the fourth of six, is gripping reading and well-worth its five-rose rating.

Reviewed in December 2003 by Paula.

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