Book Review — Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh

'Tosin Adeoti
3 min readFeb 2, 2024

I had decided on this book on a whim. A member of the Naija Book Club had posted, ‘This book is highly recommended for comic relief! My ribs are permanently cracked…’. Without thinking too deeply, I told her I was going to go for it. After a few searches on Google, I wondered if I had made the right choice. This is a romance novel? What have I done to myself? I have never read romance in my life. Well, that’s if you don’t count the few eroticas I picked up in my previous life. But even then, all I did was leaf through them seeking out the ‘hot’ scenes.

But I decided to forge ahead because I had given my word, and a man’s word is his bond. After finishing the book two nights ago, I can say it’s not as bad as I thought.

“Slightly Dangerous” is the last series in Mary Balogh’s beloved Bedwyn saga. Balogh, a prolific author of about 37 New York Times bestselling books, is a former teacher who grew up in Wales and now lives in Canada. I find her website at quite enchanting.

The book itself is about Wulfric, a powerful and dutiful brother and duke, who so happens to be a widower, and who finds himself unexpectedly in love with a genuine and vivacious woman not at all ‘his type’. Christine is a joyful and lively impoverished widow of a lower gentry school master.

The challenge is that Wulfric wants Christine in the worst way, and she also desires him. During the process, they make some decisions they don’t actually regret, but does complicate their relationship. After some turmoil, especially on Wulfric’s part, he takes some steps that could be truly life-changing for them.

Christine is struggling with her own past in which she was married to Oscar, a man she loved, but whose death left her wounded, with his relatives now shunning her, blaming her for his death. The reader isn’t privy to the circumstances surrounding Oscar’s death until toward the end of the book. Balogh must have done that to keep the reader engaged.

Nevertheless, Christine continues to reject Wulfric time and again. As someone not used to the forever-chasing game, I found this a bit irritating. Why be so focused on her that you lose focus on everything else? But then, as they say, the heart wants what the heart wants.

“He had never expected to fall in love. He had certainly never expected to develop an attachment to someone so very ineligible. And so, he was quite unprepared to deal with the emotional turmoil that doing both had brought with it.”

She was his perfect counterbalance — loud to his quiet, fun to his serious, unconstrained to his rigid. Opposites attract, isn’t it?

Still, I feel Wulfric, the Duke of Bewcastle, deserved more than she gave him. It got tedious at a point, and the book was only saved through the enjoyable verbal sparring between the two. If you are not so rigid, like Wulfric, to roll your eyes at the conversations, I bet you will find them amusing and may even laugh at a few of them.

What I liked about this particular story, in addition to the fact that all the Duke’s siblings and spouses get involved in the relationship, is that the interaction is between two individuals who are not young — they have their own stories, their own hurts, experiences, personal secrets, goals, and expectations. How they deal with those items in a setting away from the fashionable ton environment of London is a refreshing change from the more traditional tales in other regency-era romance stories I have heard about.

And, oh, how can I forget to mention Justin? That SOAB almost ruined a lovely story. You will see why when you read the book.

Mary Balogh made Wulfric and Christine both likable and credible characters, real people notwithstanding their starkly different backgrounds. I do not understand how folks say they finished this book in one sitting. I couldn’t — it took me weeks to do that — but I enjoyed reading it, especially the last feel-good chapter.