Book 1 in the Bedwyn Saga series
Author Mary Balogh
Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
Publication date Sep 30, 2016
Running time 11 hrs
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Like all the Bedwyn men, Aidan has a reputation for cool arrogance. But this proud nobleman also possesses a loyal, passionate heart—and it is this fierce loyalty that has brought Colonel Lord Aidan to Ringwood Manor to honor a dying soldier’s request. Having promised to comfort and protect the man’s sister, Aidan never expected to find a headstrong, fiercely independent woman who wants no part of his protection, nor did he expect the feelings this beguiling creature would ignite in his guarded heart. And when a relative threatens to turn Eve out of her home, Aidan gallantly makes her an offer she can’t refuse: marry him . . . if only to save her home. And now, as all of London breathlessly awaits the transformation of the new Lady Aidan Bedwyn, the strangest thing happens: With one touch, one searing embrace, Aidan and Eve’s “business arrangement” is about to be transformed into something slightly surprising.
Mary Balogh’s work always strikes true even though there are several themes common to all her books and series. She is one of Romance’s great scribes.
Inequalities between the nobility, the aristocracy and the common man in the Regency, Women and Property, the Post-Napoleonic era and the lack of support for returned soldiers, and Illegitimacy only being an issue for the mother and child.
Mary really understands that honor was key to the functioning of the class system. It is indeed the key to any system: we have honor when we treat others fairly and with respect, when we keep promises and pledges, when we protect others, and when we follow laws and procedure without buckling to domination.
In this one, though it is as elegant as her other stories, Mary presents how a sad situation can get better. Writing this the morning after the presidential election I can definitely use that feeling. Her prose is elegant and she doesn’t insult her reading by over explaining or repeating information.
When she writes about honor she also accepts that pride is important. Balogh recognizes that the ideal of the British Regency period requires heroes who behave with honor. I wonder whether such was actually how men behaved at that time. She also deals with the difference between nobility, aristocracy, wealthy landowners and the common man. Can such a stratified society ever really expect that the people in power at the top of the triangle will behave honorably as such a system needs? I don’t think it can.
But what her book does is open a door to thinking about what the inequities of these systems. And present a picture for how people should behave with others, including people who may be beneath their economic levels.
Rosalyn Landor has become the voice of Balogh’s books for me. I used to find her rhythm hard to take but it has grown on me. I now find it soothing.