Book 3 in the Bedwyn Saga series
Author Mary Balogh
Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
Publication date Jan 17, 2017
Running time 12 hrs
I voluntarily reviewed a publisher-provided, review copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Growing up with four unruly brothers has made Freyja Bedwyn far bolder than most society ladies. From feisty manner to long, tumbling hair, Lady Freyja is pure fire—a woman who seeks both adventure and freedom.
Adventure soon finds her on a visit to Bath, when a handsome stranger bursts into Freyja’s room and entreats her to hide him. His name is Joshua Moore, Marquess of Hallmere, a man with a hell-raising reputation of his own who is quickly intrigued by the independent beauty. So intrigued, in fact, that he makes her a surprising request: to pose as his fiancée and help thwart his family’s matchmaking schemes. For two people determined to be free, it’s the perfect plan . . . until passion blindsides them both. For as Joshua sets out to achieve his complete seduction of Freyja, a woman who has sworn off love is in danger of losing the one thing she never expected to give again: her heart.
When her ex-beau’s wife is about to bear his heir Freya goes to Bath only to meet up several times with Joshua Moore, Marquess of Hallmere who she at first thinks i s a rogue. Indeed she punches him in the nose twice.
This delivers up Mary Balogh’s usually subtle relationship and romance development, as well as a look at a world where a woman’s position, regardless of her appearance, her intelligence, her status, all depended on men.
Freya is 25 – practically past her “use buy date,” she is educated, witty, but, she has frizzy hair and a big nose; I imagine she looks a bit like Sarah Jessica Parker – not classically pretty but stunning in her self-possession and confidence. But, she’s been rejected by a ma she thought she was in love with.
On the other side of the equation, a woman who is widowed with a reasonable income, but who wishes to maintain her position of power and the home she knew and controlled for over half her life. With her husband and her son died, the nephew she mistreated is now the Marquess and controls where she will be able to live. Anyone familiar with SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, is familiar with this scenario. One can imagine the lengths one might go to to retain the security and position one endured an aristocratic marriage to obtain.
Not that I am explaining away the remarkable bitchiness of the Marquesses Aunt. One can take things too far and she certainly does , of course.
Freya has had a taste of that with the death of her fiance and the rejection by his brother with whom she had shared a romance. She is also canny and sees it happening.
She could hang onto her spinsterhood quite comfortably, perhaps not moving within society as she would wish and with less importance than she would have if married.
And, then, there is Hallmere, a man who seems promiscuous and callow, but, underneath the bluster and bravado, is there possibly a hero? It’s hard to imagine and the character’s constant use of the word sweetheart, instead of name or title, felt marginalizing of Freya. But did I and Lady Freya mistake his character?
I found it hard to like him. Balogh is good at subtly turning characters around though and by the end I was, of course, rooting for him.
I liked how Balogh links this series with her Simply series. But, I swear, it seems like every other romance I read – Historical or Contemporary – has a fake fiance/relationship. I am sick of the trope.
Rosalyn Landor does her usual perfect job voicing the book though I find her men either a little too effeminate or blustery.
I always enjoy listening to Balogh’s work – it’s always more than a little, steamy regency romance.
TANTOR MEDIA: https://tantor.com/slightly-scandalous-mary-balogh.html