Slightly Sinful

 
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Product Description

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.

As the fires of war raged around him, Lord Alleyne Bedwyn was thrown from his horse and left for dead—only to awaken in the bedchamber of a ladies' brothel. Suddenly the dark, handsome diplomat has no memory of who he is or how he got there—yet of one thing he is certain: The angel who nurses him back to health is the woman he vows to make his own. But like him, Rachel York is not who she seems. A lovely young woman caught up in a desperate circumstance, she must devise a scheme to regain her stolen fortune. The dashing soldier she rescued from near-death could be her savior in disguise. There is just one condition: she must pose as his wife—a masquerade that will embroil them in a sinful scandal, where a man and a woman court impropriety with each daring step...with every taboo kiss that can turn passionate strangers into the truest of lovers.


From the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • Slightly Good
    A good story line with entertaining characters. Just a bit thin on the relationship between Alleyne and Rachel. And, without spoiling the plot, let me just say that their sexual relationship was rather cold.
    ...more info
  • Welcome once again to the fabulous Bedwyn family
    Mary Balough, is turning out to be my favorite author. Never is a book cookie cutter, all are original, and always wonderful.

    Slightly Sinful proving it once again. I'm sad that the series is soon ending, I have fallen madly in love with this family, and not ONCE disappointed with one single member. The next book, the last, I know I will have to buy a HUGE box of Kleenex. This book, Slightly Sinful (about Lord Alleyne), made me shed a few at the end. *blows her nose loudly* I can just imagine how the last will be. I will be a soggy mess.

    She writes so perfect, Ms Balough, with enough story to keep your glued to the pages, with enough sex that will make your heart pound, but not trashy, and emotions that make you laugh and cry.

    I salute you once again Mary Balough....I LOVE LOVE LOVE your books....more info

  • More like 4 1/2 stars...
    I really like this series. Rachel's "friends" are fun and Alleyne's return in believable. Can't wait for Wulf...but I wish there were more brothers or sisters!...more info
  • Wonderfully funny, best in Bedwins so far.
    I thought I enjoyed Slightly Wicked, but I did not know what Mary Balogh is capable of until I read her Slightly Sinful. In this book her style comes as close as it gets to Julia Quinn and Suzanne Enoch. Because of Alleyne's (how do you pronounce his name anyway?) character it is full of witty dialogs and funny comments. It is very light compared to Slightly Scandalous and Slightly Wicked, but because of that it is an absolute joy to read.

    The book is full of colorful characters and I could not put it down once I started reading. As a word of caution, the narrative for the book sounds way too boring compared to the plot itself. I had reservations about reading it. In fact, I had the book for over a week before I started reading it. And the experience was worth every minute of it. My favorite part was the Chapter 23, I kept coming back to it. Enjoy it!...more info

  • Balogh's not big on originality within the series...
    Two words: Fake Marriage.

    *smacks head* It's not quite a fake betrothal, but it's not all that different. So when I came to the part in this book where Alleyne and Rachel decide to pose as being married, I wanted to smack myself in the head. That makes, what, four or five books so far in this series where there is a a fake relationship? That's pushing it just way too far in my opinion, and it's hopelessly unoriginal. At times there's something to be said for some congruency when writing a series. It binds them together and offers that sort of parallel fate that can be interesting. But this isn't one of those times. When most of the books in a series share an almost exact plot hook, it gets real old real fast.

    Aside from that, the thing I liked most in this book was the variety of characters. Most of the others have featured a very homogeneous set of societies best...even with several heroines not being quite up to snuff, they were still proper ladies. So I liked that in this book, four of the supporting cast were "painted ladies". They were boisterous, off-beat, and likable, and just a nice diversion from all the prim propriety of the beau monde. Plus there was Sergeant Strickland to add some more variety. And I like Rachel and Alleyne's romance. They were a sweet couple. The "plot" also worked for me for the most part, aside from the fake marriage bit.

    I think if the fake marriage hadn't been part of the story, I would have enjoyed it quite a bit. I still did, but that aspect just annoyed me to death because of it's repetitiveness....more info
  • Another Mary Balogh great
    This is the fifth book in the wonderful Bedwyn ser-
    ies.Mary once more gives us a wonderful heroine in Miss Rachel
    York.I also loved the amnesia device,as it really gave Alleyne
    a chance to take really good look at himself&who Lord Alleyne
    Bedwyn truly is.I also loved the secondary characters.The "lad-
    ies" were four of the most genuine whores I ever ment&Mary has
    done a good job making such women genuine? stereotypes....more info
  • Sweet and satisfying entry in the Bedwyn Saga
    Arguably, the most rewarding romances feature heroines with whom one can identify and heroes with whom one can fall in love. "Slightly Sinful," the latest entry in Mary Balogh's ongoing Bedwyn series, provides both.

    Overlapping somewhat with the action of Balogh's previous book "Slightly Tempted," "Slightly Sinful" begins during the climactic battle of Waterloo. Lord Alleyne Bedwyn, aspiring diplomat, has been sent to the front with a personal message for the Duke of Wellington. Riding back to Brussels to deliver the reply, Alleyne is shot in the leg, then topples from his horse, suffering a severe head injury in the process.

    On awakening, Alleyne finds himself ensconced in a brothel, being tended by its inmates; more alarmingly, he has no memory of who he is or where he belongs. Cut off from his past, Alleyne forms an attachment to Rachel York, the young woman who rescued him from the battlefield. Rachel herself faces an uncertain future, thanks to the wiles of a con artist who has robbed her and her friends--a quartet of enterprising prostitutes--of their savings. All five women are out for revenge against the thief, now fled back to England, but they need funds if they are to pursue him. Not a little smitten with the lady he views as his guardian angel, a recuperating Alleyne proposes a scheme to retrieve Rachel's fortune, which is in the keeping of her estranged uncle. The catch? They have to pose as a devoted married couple to convince Rachel's uncle to release her inheritance into her keeping. Rachel's friends insist on taking part in this charade, as does the one-eyed army sergeant who aided in Alleyne's rescue and has now assumed the position of a gentleman's gentleman. Soon this lively entourage is bound for England--and an adventure that will exceed everyone's wildest expectations.

    Despite some of the plot's seeming improbabilities, everything works in "Slightly Sinful." The romance between Alleyne and Rachel unfolds with a pleasing mixture of sweetness and sensuality. Although an early misunderstanding makes them wary of each other for a while, their continuing attraction and growing affection help them to overcome the obstacle in a timely fashion. Thankfully, they do not spend the majority of the book bickering. Rachel is a sympathetic heroine, neither a doormat nor a shrew, and Alleyne is a revelation here. An amiable lightweight in the earlier books, the youngest Bedwyn brother comes of age in "Slightly Sinful." The reader learns about Alleyne as Alleyne learns about himself, and the results are worth the wait. Despite trying circumstances, Alleyne retains his courage and sense of humor; his memory loss may cause him frustration and panic at times, but he never forfeits the reader's sympathy by becoming surly, whiny, or ungrateful.

    Secondary characters are also well-drawn. Rachel's friends and the former Sergeant Strickland are likable and resourceful; it is satisfying to read how their fates are resolved too. "Satisfying," in fact, is the word that best sums up "Slightly Sinful" for me: I was entertained from first page to last, not wanting the story to end. "Slightly Dangerous," the finale of the series, is yet to come and the included excerpt looks promising indeed. However, "Slightly Sinful" is going to be a tough act to follow....more info

  • Slightly implausible?
    If you've read Slightly Tempted, Morgan's story, this is the book you'll have been waiting for. Lord Alleyne Bedwyn, slightly bored, not sure what he wants to do with his life, joins the diplomatic corps. In Brussels on official business just before the Battle of Waterloo, he's dissatisfied with his position and his life; he isn't convinced by the war effort and he's wary of getting too close to it. Yet he doesn't have a choice. On the day of Waterloo, he is commissioned with taking a letter to the Duke of Wellington, which will require riding right into the thick of battle, finding the Duke and waiting for him to write a response before he can get away again. As we already know from Slightly Tempted, Alleyne does not return from this mission.

    Rachel York is also affected by the war, but in a different way. In Brussels as a companion, she is beguiled by a clergyman who offers to marry her. On the way back to England, she discovers that he is actually a conman who has stolen a lot of money from English residents of the city by promising to take it back to England and invest it. He only pretended to be interested in Rachel because of the family jewels she will inherit when she marries. She returns to Brussels to inform other victims of their misfortune, and is taken in by three of them, prostitutes. In order to try to make some money back, they decide out of desperation to rob corpses (don't worry, they can't actually go through with it) and as a result Rachel stumbles on a naked, barely-alive man. Pretending that he is her husband, she takes him back to the brothel, with the aid of Sergeant Strickland, who has lost one eye and is discharged from the army as a result.

    From here on, the story is somewhat predictable: Alleyne doesn't remember who he is and is amnesiac for most of the book. He believes that Rachel is a prostitute, but once he knows the truth the entire group - the prostitutes, Sergeant Strickland, Rachel and Alleyne - decide to go to Rachel's uncle's home with Alleyne masquerading as Rachel's husband, so that she can claim her inheritance.

    As others have commented, the fake betrothal/marriage plot is by now very tired in this series. This book, too, while it's still very readable, did not grip me as much as others. The implausible nature of the plot - prostitutes masquerading as members of high society - and plan to deceive Rachel's uncle didn't sit well with me. I felt that perhaps, unlike earlier books in the series, this was intended to be more of a farce, but I'd have preferred something in a similar style to the others.

    I was also disappointed that Alleyne's family reunion was so long delayed, too, given the grief we saw in Slightly Sinful. I will say that one thing I do commend Balogh for, however, is Alleyne and Rachel's first sexual encounter. It's a brave author who makes her characters' first sex scene a disaster, and then doesn't revisit lovemaking for at least 150 pages, but it worked. Real life is like that. Rachel was a virgin and Alleyne thought she was a whore; why would it be perfect?

    Overall, this book is a must-read to complete the Bedwyn series, but not really worth it on its own....more info
  • Bedwyn Slump.
    Criticizing a favorite author's work is always difficult. Tragically, I think the Bedwyn family is running out of steam! The family saga is down to the crucial last book (A June 2004 release date -- Wulfric's story) and I am afraid! If SLIGHTLY SINFUL is any indication - I should be terrified!

    SLIGHTLY SINFUL is Alleyne's story. Lord Alleyne Bedwyn is the fourth and last son in the Bedwyn clan. Stationed at the British embassy in Brussels, Alleyne is shot when returning from the front lines and left to die in a Belgium forest. Rachel York comes upon his naked body; Alleyne's next stop -- a Brussel brothel -- minus his memory.

    Of course, Alleyne and Rachel are the main love interest; regrettably, their relationship lacks substance. Significantly missing is the romance, the lust, the sensuality between the two. In fact, the entire book just doesn't have enough interesting content. Tediously, I read to the end hoping to enjoy the Bedwyn family and their reaction when Alleyne returned to them. Letdown notice -- the family ONLY appears briefly in the waning pages. What a shame! The energy from the vivacious family would have given much life to this lackluster story.

    Is there a highlight? The ladies of the brothel and a crusty sergeant are delightful people. Yet, is their participation enough to recommend this book? Sadly, no.

    I am disappointed! Mary Balogh is one of my all-time favorites. Presently, I am tracking down her Signet Regency Romance books. These little treasures are wonderful stories; unfortunately, SLIGHTLY SINFUL is a poor imitation.

    Grace Atkinson, Ontario - Canada....more info

  • What a way to spend a Saturday!
    I have loved Mary Balogh's books for YEARS! I was so excited when I spotted this series. With each book it has gotten better and better. I loved this book I think because in Morgan's story we got a glimpse of Wulf's vulnerability, and in Alleyne's we got to see him show it (albeit briefly). I've told all of my friends and passed my books on to them. Now we're all on a countdown. Can't wait until June! Less than a month to go! WooHoo!!!!...more info
  • the best
    Out of the series I felt this one to be one of the best. the story was great from begining to the end. The end was the best It made me cry. I think the Bedwyn are a wonderful family and I love reading about what they are up to. ...more info
  • wonderful regency romance
    With the battle raging against Napoleon who recently escape from his prison, Lord Alleyne Bedwin, a diplomat working for Sir Charles Stuart, relocates to Brussels. Though frightened to do so, Alleyne agrees to deliver a message from his employer to Wellington at the front and return with the response. He marvels how his courageous older brother survived twelve years of this hell called war. However, he is shot on his return and though he tries to concentrate on getting to his sister as he is her chaperone in Brussels, he falls unconscious onto the forest ground.

    Alleyne awakens in a Brussels brothel where his angel of mercy is Rachel York. She lives amongst these ladies ever since Reverend Nigel Crawley conned her and left her broke. Though he suffers from amnesia, Alleyne wants to help the woman he plans to marry once he regains his memory. Posing as a married couple, Rachel and Alleyne return to England to expose Nigel as a fraud, not yet realizing the sinful scandal nor the danger their masquerade causes the two of them.

    The fifth of six "Slightly" tales is a wonderful regency romance that charms the audience due to a delightful lead pair and a fabulous support cast that brings back many star players from the previous entries. Mary Balogh keeps the amnesia gimmick fresh through the interrelationship between Alleyne and Rachel. Sub-genre fans will find SLIGHTLY SINFUL totally entertaining and will eagerly await the next and final book in this series.

    Harriet Klausner...more info

  • Not as good as the rest
    Well, I've read all of the books in the "Slightly" / Bedwyn series so far.. and honestly, I liked this one the least. I had a hard time getting in to it and after reading part-way through I found myself skimming page after page trying to find something interesting. I normally enjoy Mary Balough's books, but I think I was just expecting too much from this one. I really enjoy reading about the Bedwyn family and, in my opinion, they weren't in this one enough! They don't show up until the last 25-30 pages of the novel.

    The basic story is: Lord Alleyne Bedwyn was a diplomat carrying a message to a Duke during the Battle of Waterloo. He ends up shot and unconscious. This part happens actually in the previous novel, which is Morgan Bedwyn's story. His family thinks he is dead. Enter Rachel York, a well-bred young lady who has had a rough life. Now an orphan, she is taking refuge in a brothel run by good-hearted prostitutes. She met a conman, got engaged to him, then he took off with her money and the life savings of the prostitutes.

    She's now living with them, trying to figure out a way to get their money back. They end up searching the dead bodies on the battlefield and come across Alleyne, who has been stripped naked. They bring him back to the brothel and nurse him to health. Unfortunately, Alleyne has amnesia and doesn't remember anything about himself! Alleyne decides to help Rachel and her friends find the conman, which ends up involving visiting Rachel's uncle and pretending to be married in order to get Rachel's inheritance.

    For me, the story didn't even get interesting until Alleyne, Rachel and friends show up at the uncle's house. The relationship and dialogue between Rachel and her uncle is interesting and quite touching. Rachel's prostitute friends are quirky and interesting, especially when interacting with each other and with Alleyne. Alleyne is kind of bland compared to how he has been portrayed in previous "Slightly" novels.

    In my opinion, the amnesia thing went on far too long. Amnesia as a plot device is so tired and overdone, especially in romance novels. I've probably read 25 or 30 with virtually the same plot. Probably even an even MORE tired plot device is the "Pretend marriage!"

    Not bringing in the rest of the Bedwyn family until the last chapter or so was a huge mistake. Some of Mary Balough's best and most interesting characters are the Bedwyns, especially when they're interacting together. They were sorely missed! I'm hoping that Wulf's story is better than this one, especially since he has been the most intriguing and mysterious Bedwyn sibling.

    To be fair, I did manage to get through the whole book and it wasn't all bad. The supporting characters were interesting (albeit a tad bit unbelievable) and the subplots were pretty amusing as well. Alleyne and Rachel had their moments as well. Overall, I would say it was an average romance novel. Unfortunately, it just doesn't compare to Mary Balough's other works. My favorite Bedwyn novel so far has been Freyja's story (Slightly Scandalous), I highly recommend reading that one over this, if given the choice....more info

  • the best of the Bedwyns so far
    I was only "Slightly Tempted" to continue on to the next novel in the series after Morgan's dull, dull story, but I'm very gald I did!

    Slightly Sinful is the best in the series so far, in my opinion. It pretty much summed up everything I look for in a romance novel: A hero with a sense of humor and a good dose of good looks, an endearing heroine, one of the best cast of supporting characters I've ever encountered, and a lively and original plot.

    Mrs. Balogh knows how to write with class. Her heroes are rarely domineering, her heroines are rarely argumentative just for its own sake, and the love scenes (towards the end) are always touching. Another thing to appreciate: Mrs. Balogh isn't afraid to let her heroes show some emotion. (Gasp! A man actually cries?! Can express himself clearly? Isn't afraid to say "I love you"? Thank goodness!).

    I saw that this book only recieved 4 stars in Romantic Times, and I really don't understand why. Perhaps this book isn't as emotionally compelling as some of the author's other works. Most of the depth in the story comes from Alleyne's search to discover who he really is, which serves as a great tool for developing his character and the story. So I suppose, if you're looking for something a bit heavy, try Slightly Tempted, which deals with the gravity of war (and weighs the story down until I could barely persuade myself to pick it up again). However, if you read romance novels for the pure joy of entertainment, this one won't fail....more info

  • Best of this series by far!
    The first book I ever read by Mary Balogh was Slightly Tempted followed by Slightly Married. It's a miracle after reading those two duds that I ever read anything by her again. But I did and thoroughly enjoyed Slightly Wicked, A Summer to Remember, One Night for Love and her latest, Slightly Sinful. Sinful is probably my second favorite book of hers, first being One Night for Love. It's romantic, silly, sweet and in the end, very satisfying (unlike the incredibly boring Slightly Tempted and the incredibly unromantic Slightly Married). I'll keep reading Mary Balogh, even though she is very hit and miss, and I can't wait for Wulfric's story, I hope it's as lovely a story as Slighty Sinful was....more info
  • Great, great read - Rachel and Alleyne are wonderful, and the secondary characters extremely colorful
    SUMMARY (Bedwyn Family, Book 5):
    Slightly Sinful overlaps significantly (chronologically speaking) with the previous book in the Bedwyn series, Slightly Tempted (Morgan and Gervase's story). Lord Alleyne Bedwyn (26), working as a British diplomat in Brussels, is sent to deliver a letter to the Duke of Wellington during the Battle of Waterloo. He receives a reply letter to deliver and heads back to Brussels, though he is in pain from being shot in the leg. When his horse throws him from the saddle, he hits his head and is knocked unconscious.

    When we meet Miss Rachel York (22), she is practically all alone in the world, with an estranged uncle as her only remaining relative. She has recently split with her betrothed, who was a relatively new acquaintance made while she was a companion to an elderly woman in Brussels. After entrusting her pretty meager funds to him and convincing four other women to do the same, she overhears him and his sister talking and realizes that they are not the charitable Christians they appear to be (he's posing as a reverend) but are in fact con artists. They had been departing Belgium and heading for England, but she makes a quick getaway and returns to Brussels and the four women, whom she feels honor-bound to tell the truth to and in some way recompense.

    The four women (fantastic characters! - they had me laughing throughout the book) are Flossie Streat, Geraldine Ness, Phyllis Leavey, and Bridget Clover, the latter of whom was Rachel's nurse for six years in her youth. They are prostitutes and have been running a brothel for the past four years, saving up money so that they can return to England and retire.

    I tend to be long-winded in these descriptions, so I'll try to cut it down to the basics (and fail horribly): Rachel comes across Alleyne and the women take him in, nursing him back to health. Due to his fall, he has amnesia and unfortunately remembers nothing, including his own name; he is given a new one in the meantime - "Jonathan Smith." They also pick up Sergeant William Strickland (another wonderful secondary character), a soldier who lost one of his eyes at the Battle of Waterloo. They all head to England after deciding to visit Rachel's uncle, Baron Weston, in order to deceive him into thinking that Rachel and "Jonathan" are betrothed so that she can secure the jewels her mother left her. They will then be able to track down the evil con artists and get back their money. Of course, things don't go exactly as planned - nothing in life is ever that simple - but everything ends well and there are happy/deserved endings all around (who would expect otherwise?!).

    REACTION:
    I greatly enjoyed this book and thought it was a real treat, especially after having been somewhat disappointed by Slightly Tempted. I've looked through some of the other reviews and have seen many of the same complaints. The first is that people are tired of Balogh's repeated use of the same plot devices: fake/will-be-broken-off betrothals; in this case she goes past a fake engagement to a fake marriage (my question is, has anyone else also noticed how there is *always* a lake with a small island that the main characters row to and make love on?!?). The second complaint is that this book's plot leaned to the implausible.

    My response to the first would be that I agree, but that Balogh is such a good writer that when she is able to succeed in all other ways (good writing, great chemistry, wonderful characters) I frankly don't care, but that's personal preference. To the second, I really have to protest - do we actually read these books because they are based on reality and believability? No, we read it for the romance and the chemistry, for the wonderful if-only-they-were-real-and-waiting-outside-my-door heroes and the great, strong heroines whom we can (let's face it) either imagine to be us in another life and alternate universe or a dear, dear friend, so we can share in the happiness.

    CHARACTERS (main and secondary):
    The book is brimming with wonderful characters. It's nice for a change to read about a Bedwyn who doesn't carry himself with haughtiness and arrogance, but instead has an easy grin and is good-humored (even before he falls in love!). Alleyne definitely changes from how we've seen him in past stories (somewhat shallow and aimless) to how he is by the end of the book (responsible, with a sense of purpose), and I think the development rings true and is well-done. I thought Rachel was a great heroine (and what a great change to have the heroine save the hero - literally). She's a strong young woman who has had a painful childhood and youth, but is hard-working and tries to be positive. I especially liked that she was friends with the wonderful female-quartet and was slightly protective of them, refusing to look down on them because of their profession (though I don't think Balogh should have had her call them "whores" in her thoughts as often as she does at the beginning).

    Not only are the hero and heroine wonderful, but all of the secondary characters are well-written and add much laughter and tenderness to the story. The reunion that Alleyne has with his family is very emotional if you've read the other Bedwyn books, though I'll concede it occurs later in the book than I had expected. I also agree with the other reviewer who said that Balogh was brave in having the first romantic encounter not be wonderfully successful so that we can see the characters work through it; adds a certain reality to the story which is otherwise blissfully far too perfect to be real. I loved this book and think it is definitely one of the best ones of the series (ranks up there with Slightly Married and Slightly Dangerous, IMO).

    BOTTOM LINE:
    Read it and enjoy!!! (And then settle in for the wonderful, amazing, one-of-the-best-Balogh-books and the final in this great family series: Slightly Dangerous. Finally Wulfric gets what's been coming to him: a woman who will make him laugh and smile - hard to believe, I know ...)....more info
  • Worth a read
    While not the best of the series, it was a good read. I read it through in one sitting, and enjoyed the whole book (which is becoming a rare thing these days). I'm a little bored by the amnesia victim story line (tired; very, very tired), but she handled it well. I especially liked the way she handled the wrap-up at the end. Everyone gets to be happy (and call me what you will, I LIKE a happy ending for everyone!). Over all: totally worth my time and money. Can't wait for the final one about the duke (will even buy it in hardback, which is the ultimate compliment!)....more info

 

 
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