Review: Slightly Sinful by Mary Balogh

Posted June 5, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 16 Comments

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Review: Slightly Sinful by Mary Balogh
Slightly Sinful

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: Bedwyn Saga #5
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Dell
Released on April 27, 2004
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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The Delight

After the events in the last book that left me dying to know what came of Alleyne, I dove in and put my fears to rest.  He’s a Bedwyn.  Even an epic battle couldn’t end him.  Though, in all seriousness, it was war and a stray bullet did nearly end him save a generous, determined woman and a broken soldier saving Alleyne’s life.  This was my favorite entry in the series since Aidan’s story in book one.


Slightly Sinful is the fifth in the Bedwyn saga and would work fine standalone if necessary.  That said, it works best when read in order as the series is about a family of siblings getting their romances.

Alleyne is the youngest of the Bedwyn brothers and feeling somewhat at loose ends.  He takes up a diplomatic job as assistant to Sir Charles Stewart on the eve of Waterloo.  He is given the task of delivering a message from Stewart to the Duke of Wellington on the raging battlefield.  He completes the task and sets out with the reply only to be hit in the thigh by a bullet.  His horse spooks, throws him and he hits his head only to wake up in a brothel with no memories.  He’s being cared for by a handful of entertaining ladies of the night and a young woman who is not what she seems and tries to put on a brave front though she’s been battered about and now is at a loss.  Can a man with no personal memories still manage to know when a good thing is right in front of him?.

Rachel York is full of guilt and remorse for naively trusting a scoundrel with her friends’ life savings, her own nest egg, and stupidly thinking they were engaged when he runs off with it all.  She and her friends who sell themselves to make ends meet are stuck in Brussels with little money and a burning desire to get their money back and a bit of revenge from Crawley.  Now, she’s burdened them with the handsome wounded man they decide to call Jonathan Smith who has amnesia and a gruff sergeant who was wounded in war and dismissed from the only thing he’d ever known.  Mr. Smith and the others have a devilish scheme to get her jewels from her tightfisted uncle so she can sell them and restore everyone’s money.  She can go along with the plan of deception, but she must guard her heart from falling in love with a man who could be anyone.

If this book had a theme, it’s there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to people and situations.  It also blends heavier themes with lightheartedness to create a romping adventure when a group of people set out to catch up with a crook and shake him down for their money and do a scheme of deception of their own to help Rachel be put in possession of her rightful fortune.  I’m always up for a good misfits tale and there is nothing more misfit than four middle-aged prostitutes, a one-eyed former army sergeant, an amnesic gentleman and a naive young lady.

Rachel possesses beauty, generosity, loyalty, and determination, but she was hampered in the beginning by sheltered naivete and a need to be wanted and loved after her parents are dead, her father gambled away a comfortable income, and her sole remaining relation has turned his back on her.   I felt sorry for her because her past had left her not just lonely and needing family, but desperate for it which was why she was easily duped by a conman and now gets all growly when Alleyne identifies her as a lady and not with her prostitute friends.  She even goes so far as to lie to him and say she is a prostitute before she attempts to seduce him because she has the mistaken notion that losing her virginity will identify her more closely with her friends and take away her naivete.  She can’t even see just how she wronged him by the lie or the future repercussions on herself- a baby?  a venereal disease? a hard and desperate life as a woman who is always being used and used up to survive?

Alleyne’s story is interesting after seeing him as a side character throughout the series.  He’s lighthearted and takes very little seriously.  He’s loyal and helpful when his family needs him, but is restless and trying to figure out his place in life like his older siblings.  Then, here he is with a clean slate.  His personality is unaltered and of course he questions and fears the unknown that is his past, but he puts this aside to help Rachel secure her future before trying to figure out his own.  It was interesting seeing how his character grew and became a part of a makeshift family even though he was also part of another family.

The romance is a blend of fake mates and friends to lovers.  Attraction is there, but the deeper feelings develop over the long haul.  I felt that the romance wasn’t always front and center though it was always there even when Rachel learns the truth of her past and gets that family she was always craving, while the group worked to take down the shyster who took their money, and then when its Alleyne’s turn to face his past.

There was so much going on in this one that I know I haven’t done it justice.  I really enjoyed how the author wove it all together and brought out all the emotions in me.  I think I liked this one precisely for all the elements equally balanced instead of the romance filling up the middle and marginalizing the rest.  This was a solid outing in the series and leaves me buzzing with need for the most highly anticipated book in the series with the romance of the icy, utterly controlled, and powerful Wulfric.  This is a solid historical romance series that I can definitely recommend particularly if you like the tie of family.

Challenges Met

Mt. TBR #49
Library Love #17
Series That Never Ends #6
Oldie But a Goodie #11


About Mary Balogh

Mary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling ‘Slightly’ sextet and ‘Simply’ quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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2 years ago

It’s been a while since I have read a HR but I love the genre and I don’t think I’ve already tried this author

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Melliane

Balogh is one of the best in the genre. Hope you get the chance soon, Melliane!

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

Sophia, i really need to try this author. I honestly don’t think I have.I love historical fiction. Any recommendations as to which series/and or novel?

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Yes! Either The Survivor’s Club or The Westcotts. Those are are her latest, but are really good showings of what her work is like. 🙂

2 years ago

Ah I’m loving your reviews of this series! Alleyne’s story is so great. And there are all these tiny moments that tie into the rest of the family’s stories, like when Wulf sees Alleyne is still alive…it’s just so great.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  SEWhite

I was bowled over by Alleyne’s story. I thought I’d like it, but I ended up loving it.

Oh, oh, well, you probably won’t like my next review. I wasn’t that fond of Wulf’s heroine. But, Wulf I loved.
And, that scene when Wulf see’s Alleyne is alive gave me some strong feels, too. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
2 years ago

I like the sound of this one and I haven’t read this author so I might have to give her a try.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

She’s old-style historical romance, but I like that she puts a lot into the relationship part and works to keep things consistent with the era.

Rachel @Waves of Fiction

There does seem to be a lot going on, but I do love Mary Balogh! I need to get to this one for sure. Wonderful review, Sophia Rose! 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

It’s fun finally getting to some of her backlist. This was a tie for my favorite of the series so far. 🙂

2 years ago

Another author I need to try. Nice trope.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Nadene

Yes, worth trying for sure. 🙂

Carole rae
2 years ago

Sounds complex and I do like complex!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Carole rae

I like the way she does layers to her characters and their romances.

2 years ago

Oh, this does sound good! I’ve read a couple by her(not this series) and enjoyed them. I’m glad you are still loving the series.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Lorna

I’m pretty sure this one tied the first book for my series favorites. Totally recommend this one, Lorna. 🙂