Monday, March 3, 2008

Mary Balogh 'Slightly Dangerous'

Wow, I liked this book much more than the other book I read by Mary Balogh. It's always slightly dangerous for me to get distracted from my regular life by starting to organize my romance novels (or any bookshelves for that matter). Invariably I end up on the floor with an old book that I can't recall if I ever really read. I'm pretty sure I have read this in the distant past but it was so enjoyable I read it again.

Our effervescent heroine is Christine, widowed, penniless, but happily living with her mother and sister in a small picturesque English village. Her friend, the local landed gentry is giving a house party and convinces her to attend. There she meets the icy imposing Wulfric, Duke of Bewcastle. Wulfric spends most of his time looking down at her through his quizzing glass. Christine spends most of her time laughing and playing with the children in an entirely unsuitable way.

Does this sound ridiculously inane. Yes, but Ms. Balogh pulls it off. Her writing is terrific, and her dialog is (mostly) witty and entertaining. The book isn't short, so she takes her time getting these two together. The only important scene in the book that I thought was entirely unbelievable was when Wulfric dives from a tree branch into his estate's lake in front of his entire family. He supposedly does this to prove that he isn't too toplofty to still have fun. This guy proves he's fun simply by smiling in public, and that was enough for me. The phrase quintessential romance definitely springs to mind.

Historical Romance 2005: 5 of 5 icy stares.

14 comments:

Stewart said...

OK first of all what the eff is a "quizzing glass"? While you ponder that one, I will mention that this book was published sometime in 2004, in clear violation of your "new romance book" policy.

All will be forgiven if you simply read the blog-fan requested (and brand new) "Just a Taste" by Deirdre Martin! This one actually features a chef as the protagonist, so already it has something going for it.

Kate said...

What's the time period on this one? Something about 'Wulfric' screams immediately post-Conquest to me, and I think I'd be disappointed if it weren't.

Kate said...

Or maybe Welsh? Bedwyn? Hm. Intriguing.

Anne said...

"Christine spends most of her time laughing and playing with the children in an entirely unsuitable way." Hmmmm, this sounds a bit creepy to me. I think it was wise of Wulfric to keep an eye on that one.

Marg said...

I read this book first, even though it was last in the series, and had to go back and read them all again to see each of the sibling's stories! I hate reading a series out of order!

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

As I explained, Stewart, I was sucked into this 'old' book while tidying up. What can I say. When you buy me a copy of 'Eating You' I'll read it.

Kate, Wulfric's name isn't revealed for quite some time in the book, and I believe you are thinking of The Wolf and The Dove (my most embarrassing bodice ripper I loved!). No, it's Regency through to it's toes.

Anne, keep your mind out of the gutter, you hussy. I run a respectable smutty book review site here.

Kate said...

I've never read "The Wolf and The Dove," actually, just having fun. With a name like Wulfric Bedwyn, there's gotta be something going on there.

Anyway, I just ordered the first one on the series from PBS.com.

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

Oh, that threw me for a loop. I've got two kids under 8 so pbs.com means Cyberchase and Dragon Tales to me. :0

I wish I could say you really should read The Wolf and the Dove. It was one of the few books I read over and over and one of my favorite of all time but it's very much a product of its' time and I imagine if I picked it up now it wouldn't have aged very well. You would have to read it as a sociology experiment. :)

Kate said...

Oh - Kathleen Woodiwiss. I seem to remember checking out one of her books from the library when I was in high school but don't remember what it was - or even if I read it. I guess it didn't make much impression. Anyway, I'm a medievalist by training so I tend to be really skeptical of early-middle-medieval/conquest-era fiction set in England - that's my focus, and sometimes they just tick me off. But you've got me intrigued now, especially how it might not have held up over the years! Pub date 1974=anything goes???

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

I knew I liked you for a reason. My undergrad history concentration was in Medieval History. Which only meant I did a 'thesis' on marriage in the 12 Century Northern Europe. :)

Kate said...

YOU ROCK. Probably a lot of Georges Duby, I'd imagine? I did medieval archaeology with a focus on hierarchical space in domestic buildings post-Conquest (which, as I recently told an undergrad class, meant a lot of staring at door rebates and identifying toilets...truly sexy stuff.)

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

Does hierarchical space change a lot after the Conquest? What's a door rebate anyway? And I assume you did this in England? Very Cool.

George, of course. I put the term thesis in quotes cause it was just a long term paper. Heloise and Abelard were one subject, Christina of Markyate was another and dang I can't remember the third.

Have you read King Hereafter? It's amazingly interesting.

Kate said...

Haven't read it...who's it by?

I'm going to hazard a bet to say it didn't change a lot immediately before-immediately after, but to be perfectly honest I didn't study a lot of before. I know the hall existed as did the chamber in some of the same typology, but I'd have to genuinely read up on the subject to tell you something for sure.

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnett. All about historical person MacBeth, from about 980-1050. I don't have the book in front of me, but you can check out my review of it here