Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Dell
Released on March 1, 2005
What happens when a man reared from his formative years to be a duke, loses his parents young, gains the guardianship of five younger siblings and many other responsibilities finds that he’s in a time in his life encounters a hoyden of a woman full of joie du vie and wants nothing to do with his lofty title? Wulfric Bedwin can finally lay aside duty and responsibility and do something for himself and his eye is set on Christine Derrick, the last woman in the world he should want. Wulf has met his match and fireworks ensue.
Slightly Dangerous is the six and final book in the Bedwyn Saga. I suppose it could be read alone and the reader would have a good time, but this book will mean ever so much more to the reader who has seen Wulfric from the beginning in the background of each book and making the reader anticipate what his story would be like.
A country house party comes along at the time in his life when Wulfric is feeling decidedly low with all his siblings married and settled in their own lives, with his responsibilities in the House over for another year, and with the sad loss of his long-time mistress. He’s looking for something to distract him and gets more than he bargained for when the widowed Christine Derrick drops lemonade on him and tumbles into his notice often enough to catch his interest when her plan was to stay in the background at her friend’s party and definitely not gain the notice of the ice cold, arrogant Duke of Bewcastle.
As many who follow my reviews know, I have been anticipating Wulf’s story since I started this series just as many have before me. Wulf is the oldest and most difficult Bedwyn because he seems so aloof and unentangled by emotion. Yet, series readers see glimpses that this is not true. He loves his siblings and will do anything for them, but he was chained to duty early by a parent who was dying and saw no other choice for his heir. Wulf knows how to take responsibility for others, but has never had the freedom to be carefree. I liked seeing that this was the challenge the author set for such a wondrous character who deserves so much.
Now, at the same time I was anticipating Wulfric’s story, I was also curious with what type of romance and heroine he would get. The author went with an opposites romance, and as others have pointed out, it did have echoes of Jane Austen’s most famous novel. Wulf offends and his true, generous and good character is misunderstood while he takes a bit to understand how he can win the woman who, without trying, has captured his heart even as she gets to know him and realizes his worth almost too late because she is willfully blind about him.
Christine Derrick had the potential to be a true delight for me and thrill me to see her make Wulf get his chance at happiness. I really was poised to like her and did at first. She has a free spirit that engages others and she went with the flow when she would rather not be at that house party. I thought it was hilarious the way she accidentally dropped lemonade on him and was cheering for her in the face of some stuffy guests and her rude former in laws. Her reaction was just the wake-up call that Wulf needed when he insulted her with his first offer. He deserved her reaction.
But- yes, there’s a but… Christine got on my nerves after a bit and she lost her shine for me as things progressed.
Here’s the thing. She is twenty-nine and the widow of a man from the upper classes, she has been in the highest of society and was the daughter of a teacher. In other words, she knows how to conduct herself at a country house party. I’ll grant you, she had a bad time of it right after her husband died and I can see wanting to thumb her nose at some in the crowd of guests who didn’t treat her well. But, “act like you’ve had some raising” as my grandmother used to say. She didn’t want to be there, but she is there and has a responsibility not to embarrass her hostess or ruin the party. Did I say she’s 29? She acts like she’s 9 rather than 29, climbing trees and tumbling down grassy hills and bouncing around with vivacity and a flirty attitude without a care in the world (though she’s doing it to hide that she does care).
This wouldn’t have bothered me that much if she had been paired with fun-loving Rannulf or Alleyn, but it did make it a huge stretch for me to see her in the role of Wulfric’s duchess or see what he saw in her goofing off, spouting hasty words, flirting around and naively not getting that she’s doing it and giving a poor impression. A woman who takes on that role has to demand respect because she takes on a dukedom and not just a duke- just how it is. There are opposites and then there are too opposite for me to believe. Let me put it this way since there is already the comparison earlier to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Christine act like silly and irresponsible Lydia rather than her older sister Elizabeth.
But, it wasn’t only that. Wulf deserved her first tongue lashing when he made her a shocking offer, but then after that, she held a grudge like nobody’s business. Nothing he says or does is worthy of more than her scathing snap opinions and judgmental attitude. It got ridiculous and soooo hypocritical after the way she knows how her in-laws judged her wrongly. She is ignorant of so much that a little time and effort to verify the truth would have set her straight. She calls him arrogant because he is quiet and aloof and doesn’t suffer fools, but man, did she demonstrate some pretty deep amount of arrogance looking down her nose because he doesn’t lark about and act the buffoon. I could not get her attitude. It’s like the worst thing to her that he behaves with dignity and maturity. Just what is she expecting from a man who has been responsible for a dukedom, the wealth to run it because lives are depending on him, and not to mention his siblings?
On the other hand, Wulfric was just what I was expecting. His chance to finally come into his own that had been stifled back before he was twenty when he was bowed down with all that responsibility and duty thrilled me to see. He stayed Wulfric in all the ways that mattered, but he was the version who got to be happy and fulfilled like his siblings. This book slowly saw him exploring this opportunity and tentatively trying new experiences and learning more about himself. Wulf is a gem as a character who deepens and grows even more wonderful even as he opens himself up to exposing vulnerability and takes chances with his feelings.
I still count this as a solid read even if the heroine drove me to distraction. I mentioned Austen’s P&P a few times, but I don’t want to give the impression that this is a version of that tale lovely that it is though Austen lovers would enjoy some of the parallels, I think. I’m going to keep going with the spin off series because I enjoy the author’s writing, her historical settings, and her character and romance development.
Mt. TBR #57
Austenesque TBR #25
Reading Assignment #1 Professor Author Love
Oldie But a Goodie #12
Library Love #18
Series that Never Ends #7