Slightly Married (Bedwyn Family Series)

Slightly Married - Mary Balogh Wow! I've enjoyed a book or two by Mary Balogh recently, but none so much as I did this book. I had tears in my eyes several times, as Ms. Balogh's writing is poignant, witty, descriptive, and so encompassing that I felt as if I were there.At the end of the Napoleonic wars, Captain Lord Aidan Bedwyn finds himself at the side of the man who saved his life in a previous battle. The man, Percy Morris, is dying. And with his dying breath, he extracts a promise of honor from his Captain: a promise to protect his sister, no matter what. Aidan travels to deliver the news to Eve Morris, thinking that he can offer some small service and then proceed to his family estates and spend the rest of his 2 month leave enjoying and reacquainting himself with his family, whom he hasn't seen in person for the past 4 years.But Aidan finds that Eve is in need of much more protection that he'd thought to offer. While she would never tell him herself, Aidan learns that in 4 days, Eve will be destitute -- turned out of her home and lose her family fortune to an odious cousin, Cecil. And not only Eve, but the rag-tag bunch that Eve has formed a family with... all good people whom have been snubbed by any society for having some sort of "past", and 2 orphaned children whom cousin Cecil can't be bothered to take in. The only possible way to prevent this from happening is if Eve were married. And so Aidan does the honorable thing: he marries Eve, thus making her Lady Aidan Bedwyn. Except that the marriage of convenience that the two of them agreed upon is disrupted time and again, as Aidan and Eve find themselves constantly thrown together. Will these two independent people who are so used to duty and honor and taking care of others find their way to each other? And can they consummate this marriage (to make it a true marriage) and separate intimacy from love?--------------OK, so much for the summary, here's my review: Perhaps I've become too easy and overly sentimental these days, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It seemed to carry the right amount of balance for me. Yes, there is The Big Misunderstanding, and not just 1, but at least 2... or perhaps there are several Small Misunderstandings between Eve and Aidan... But I was grateful that none of them were overly dramatic or overblown. Each had their own private emotions of jealousy, anger, and fear, but neither really took it out on the other.And I truly felt as if I had the privilege to hear both Eve's and Aidan's most private thoughts... and I didn't find myself cringing or snickering. I especially enjoyed Aidan's private thoughts, and seeing how this staunch stiff-upper lip duty-and-honor-at-all-costs man discovered that it's not weakness to feel true emotion... or to be vulnerable enough to love and be loved.Perhaps this being Veteran's Day, I found the book especially enjoyable for Britain's celebration of victory over Napoleon and the honoring of brave soldiers, such as Aidan (Captain). The book's premise and characters could easily have been overshadowed with the "devices" of the romance-formula or drama for drama's sake. But they were not. Their author and editor did an excellent job of staying within the expected bounds and still providing a fresh, emotional, lovely tale of romance -- including duty and honor.And I dare anyone to not be moved by the last scene in the book... have a box of tissues handy!