Book Review of When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons, Bk 6)

When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons, Bk 6)
mrsbarbara125 avatar reviewed on

The story begins with a John and Francesca Stirling...and, well, Michael Stirling, too. John and Francesca are a couple that epitomizes the meaning of a "happy marriage".

In chapter one, we are given a good view of just how perfectly matched and madly in love John and Francesca are. However, we are given this view through the eyes of Michael Stirling--John's cousin and best friend.

Although it is John who holds the title, and John who is seemingly the more responsible of the two, both men share many similar qualities. They are both kind, caring and intelligent, and unfortunately, both men are very much in love with the lovely and vivacious, Francesca.

No one is wise to that last little bit of information, of course. Well, no one save Michael--and you (the reader) *wink*.

For years Michael has been tormented by a secret longing for the one woman he knows he could never have. Yes, he was quite the playboy, and yes, he'd had his fair share of women through the years, but never--ever would he even consider making his move on his cousin's wife. He loved John far too much. And Francesca, well, Francesca is simply far too in love with John, and not to mention she wasn't the sort of woman to indulge in such a scandalous affair.

So silently Michael suffered, trying everything in his power to push his wicked desires to the back of his mind. He felt guilt ridden and ashamed of his thoughts, and yet, no matter how many women he bedded or how desperately he tried to avoid close proximity to Francesca, still he was plagued by his love for her.

At this point you absolutely LOVED John and Francesca. You envied their love for one another. And yet, you can't help but feel so terribly sad for Michael. He was just so tormented in his love that it made you want to scream. To view John and Francesca through his eyes was terribly heartbreaking. Just when you begin to wonder where the heck JQ is going with this tale, it takes a sudden turn.

Enter the "darkness"...

Francesca is terribly in love. John is everything she could have ever dreamed of in a husband. Loving, caring and kind. They are so completely in tune to the other's thoughts and desires that Francesca couldn't even begin to imagine her life without him. He is her other half completely and truly.

Now, if only she could manage to find someone just as special for John's cousin Michael...

With John complaining of a terrible headache, Francesca urges him to lay down for a bit while she and Michael take a little stroll. What she never imagined was that her perfect little life was about to come to crashing down around her.

John was gone. Just like that. He went in for a nap and never came out. But that was only the beginning.

Forced to bury her husband and endure a terrible miscarriage, Francesca is left emotionally broken and feeling terribly alone. Although she is surrounded by family and friends, she feels the only person who could possibly understand her grief is Michael, who she knew loved John just as much as she.

Michael is beside himself with grief. It was bad enough losing his cousin and seeing Francesca suffer through the loss, but now, he is to inherit the title. Every mention of it, every document he is forced to sign only makes Michael feel as if he is driving yet another nail into his cousin's coffin. As for Francesca, in his love, he wants nothing more than to comfort her. To hold her and tell her that somehow everything will be alright. But she isn't his to comfort and so unable to cope with the stress, Michael flees.

Years pass, and because Michael has not married, Francesca continues with her duties as countess. Michael has written, and yet, Francesca can't bring herself to respond. It took time, but slowly she has begun move on with her life. She will always love John, and miss him forever, but she has come to the realization that she doesn't want to be alone. She wants children. She wants a family and the only way she will ever have that is if she were to re-marry.

And so, Francesca decides she is going to spend the season in London. She knows she will never love again but hopes that maybe, she will find a man suitable enough to marry. Thanks to the magic of romance, this just so happens to be exactly the moment that Michael returns.

Michael realizes he need to get past his grief, and face not only his future but Francesca as well. And so he returns to his home, with the hope that what he had once felt for his cousin's wife had somehow managed to subside since he had been gone.

And....Nope. It's worse. And with the sudden knowledge that Frannie is in search of a husband, Michael finds his emotions in complete turmoil. He knows he has no right to feel this way. She deserves to be happy, especially after all she had been through. But, dammit, he can't be the one to make her happy. He may very well just stomp on his beloved cousin's grave if he ever acted on his desires. Yet, these feelings just won't go away. He tries to keep his distance. Tries desperately to remain cordial....

But when you have one man who had been secretly in love with a woman for years, and a woman who inside is desperate to feel love again--there can only be one conclusion.

Especially when you have Julia Quinn behind the keyboard :D

She made it work. She seriously made this story work. How could you love John so much and yet want Francesca with Michael? It's insane. But I did. I wanted it so badly my teeth hurt!

I sat through 200 pages. 200 PAGES of this book without a single kiss and Julia Quinn did not lose my attention for one second!