Title: When He Was Wicked
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Bridgertons #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Regency romance
Dates read: 9th March 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: He shrugged.
Everything was so much simpler…
WHEN HE WAS WICKED
In every life there is a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one’s life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London’s most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton.
After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love, it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca’s surname was to reamin Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer – the occasion of the meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.
But that was then… Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love… until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets…
Francesca story is kind of alluded to a little in the two books beforehand (To Sir Phillip, With Love and Romancing Mister Bridgerton). Which kind of makes sense because the occurrences in all three books happen in the same year… but, unlike the other Bridgertons, Francesca is much further removed and less intrinsically tied into the rest of her family. She’s a little quieter, a little more apart, and I actually really loved the differences that she showed in this story.
Again, this story took a nice little departure from a typical romance… for starters, it starts with Francesca being married to another man. Who then dies. And then you get to fast forward four years to the couple as they try and get over their guilt and renegotiate their relationship. I love that the biggest hurdle in this story wasn’t so much about them realizing their feelings and getting together… it was about getting over their guilt and finding a way to their own happily ever after.
I found this story the most tragic of the series thus far. Not only does it start off with a woman who is put through the absolute ringer, you also don’t even feel completely confident that they’ll get their happily ever after. I mean, you assume that they do, because it’s a romance novel. But, it’s not really as much of a given as any of the other stories. And, even if they do, you worry a little that they’ll be too tied up in their guilt to actually get their happily ever after…
Reading this story will make you feel kind of gooey inside. But, not in that everyone gets one partner way. It’s a great story of hope for those who have already lost the person that they planned to spend their lies with. It deals with death, infertility, miscarriage and the overwhelming feelings of guilt and jealousy. All of which are so completely human, and difficult to deal with more often than not. This whole story just made my heart skip a beat, in a way that none of the other Bridgerton stories have thus far…
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