3.5 of 5 Stars
With his laughing eyes and wild, rakish good looks, Lord Rannulf Bedwyn is a hard man to resist. To Judith Law, a woman in need of rescue when her stagecoach overturns, Rannulf is simply her savior, a heroic stranger she will reward with one night of reckless passion before she must become a companion to her wealthy aunt. Imagine Judith's shock when the same stranger turns out to be among England's most eligible bachelors...and when he arrives at Harwood Grange to woo her cousin. Certainly, they had made no vows, no promises, but Rannulf never did forget his uninhibited lover...nor did she forget that one delicious night. And as scandal sets the household abuzz, Rannulf proposes a solution...but when Judith refuses to have him-in love or wedlock-Rannulf has only one choice: to wage a campaign of pure pleasure to capture the heart of the woman who has already won his.
Mary Balough is a new to me author and I think she is one of my new favorite historical romance writers.
Slightly Wicked is the second book within this series, which I did not know when I picked it up in the store. However, this book read as if it were a standalone, which I love.
This book had me hooked from the start.
The beginning was strong - Judith Law is a woman whose family has fallen on hard times. On her way to her to her aunt's home (to live amongst them as a poor relation) her stagecoach crashes.
Lord Rannulf is a carefree rake (the best kind for Regency novels). He comes upon the over turned coach on his way to his grandmother's home. Judith ensnares his attention from the start. Judith decides to embrace the moment, she knows that once she enters her aunt's home her life is over. So, why not share a passionate night with an attractive stranger - oh!- and why not pretend to be an actress?
After their night, the two go their sperate ways and were shocked to find out their true identieis when Rannulf shows up to court Judith's irritaing, self-centered cousin.
As I said, the book started off strong, but it fell off and became unnecessarily long. I began to lose interest. The character development was slow and it was nice to see how the hero and heroine changed over time. Some of the drama was typical for a historical romance, which added to my lowered interest level. All that being said, I greatly enjoyed the book! And I'm going to pick up the first book. The side characters were fantastic and I'm interested in the upcoming books.
If you like Regency romance, be sure to check out Mary Balough.