Title: When He Was Wicked
Author: Julia Quinn
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 2/28/17
Length: 330 Pages
Series: The Bridgertons #6
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 remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer—the occasion of their 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 . . .
One of the greatest things about how our amazing author writes this series is that each Bridgerton has a different personality, a different story and therefore gives us the reader a really good reason to continue on reading. We’ve had a tease of Francesca’s story throughout the series thus far and now it’s time to see how it all played out. While we don’t get the background on how she met and married her John, at least we understand what passed to make her life into what it is now.
Throughout some of the prior books, we learned that Francesca married a Scottish Earl and as a result, spent much of her year in Scotland. She returned to London for the season as was expected, but she spent the first two years of married bliss with her husband. She felt as though she had hit the jackpot with him as they shared intense passion and love, and all the while, she also gained a best friend in his cousin Michael – a man who was as close as one could expect. Michael of course had the same reputation of her brothers, and perhaps why she got on so well with him.
Then that all changed when one day while in London, he complained about a headache, went to bed and never woke up again. There was no rhyme or reason behind it, just that she now found herself mourning the love of her life. What she wasn’t aware of though is that the entire time that she had the company of Michael, her husband’s cousin, someone that was her true confidante -well…he was madly in love with her and had this jealousy that John found her first.
Once John passed, Michael found that he couldn’t be around Francesca any longer and he heads to India for several years. Over those same years, Francesca tries to figure out who she is now that she’s a widow and alone. We’re then fast forwarded into the future when she’s decided that she truly does want a baby and that means that she has to find a new husband. She’s resigned that she will never have what she shared with John, but she’s hoping for companionship at least. Parallel to that, Michael who is now the Earl of Kilmartin realizes that he’s due to get married in order to maintain stature and the line for his family, so we watch how these two play the game of trying to find someone suitable when we know that perhaps they don’t realize that their mate is right there. (at least Francesca doesn’t – even if her brother Colin does).
It’s a nice dance that we watch between them – they have this love hate relationship where they can’t quite go back to the ease of what they had in the past, but they also realize that they have both grown so much over the years that perhaps what they want is the same but in a different vantage point.
What I really enjoyed about this story are a few things. One, it’s happening the same time that Colin and Eloise are going through their own experiences so we know how those play out by now but we also know what prompts action by Francesca as a result. Two, because Francesca was married before, she’s not deemed an innocent by society so the way that men behave towards her or around her is different and perhaps a bit less gentlemanly. Three – we see the passion amped up quite a bit in this story since there’s something to be said about a lady who has experience. She has that and she takes control in instances and it’s really enjoyable to watch how it catches certain suitors off guard.
I have to say that the more time I spend with the Bridgertons the more that I truly love them and wish that I were in this fantasy 1820s world. There’s so much that a woman of the right stature could gain from society but then again there is the same level of cutting that would make it a catty and horrible place for the wrong type of person as well. I fall in love though with each character a bit more and can’t wait to see what’s next for the youngest two Bridgertons. I wish that we could also get a true story for Violet – the matriarch but I don’t think that’s in the cards based on what’s out yet. So on that note, i’m going to search out book Seven. Enjoy!