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Bridgertons #6

When He Was Wicked

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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 . . .

448 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 29, 2004

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About the author

Julia Quinn

150 books34.7k followers
#1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don't read (or write) romance, and and if you watch reruns of the game show The Weakest Link you might just catch her winning the $79,000 jackpot. She displayed a decided lack of knowledge about baseball, country music, and plush toys, but she is proud to say that she aced all things British and literary, answered all of her history and geography questions correctly, and knew that there was a Da Vinci long before there was a code.

A graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, Ms. Quinn is one of only sixteen members of Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame. Her books have been translated into 32 languages, and she lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.

The Bridgertons, her popular series of historical romance, is currently in production by Shondaland as a Netflix original series starring Julie Andrews, Phoebe Dynevor, and Rége-Jean Page.

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5 stars
50,819 (34%)
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32,620 (21%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,895 reviews
Profile Image for Anne.
3,922 reviews69.3k followers
July 5, 2022
2.5 stars

Ok, so the first time I read this book (11 years ago) I didn't like it.
But I'm trying to read as many of Quinn's Bridgerton books as I can get my hands on, and quite honestly, have enjoyed all of the other stories so far.
I thought maybe I just read it wrong back in the day.
I still didn't care for this one. I'm bumping it up to 2.5 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed Rosalyn Landor's narration of the audiobook and it is well-written, but I disliked everything about the plot.


First, I thought it was weird that Michael fell instantly in love the moment he laid eyes on Francesca, which was made doubly weird when she didn't notice him at all. Yes, she was marrying his cousin and I liked that she was faithfully in love with her husband. But. The fact that she felt nothing but friendship for Michael and it was all just a one-sided crush on his part for years? I can't decide whether it was creepy or sad.
But either way...no.


Also, Michael is supposedly this notorious rake. Except you never actually see him do anything even remotely rake-y. He just pines away for Francesca while his cousin is alive, and then pines away more when his cousin dies.
And all you hear is that "women are still talking" about what a rake Michael was back in the day.


Francesca's husband, whom she loves very much, dies suddenly very early on in the story. And the rest of the book is just these two feeling guilty, pushing each other away, grieving, and then feeling a bit more guilty. It's depressing.
Michael finally decides to pursue Francesca after she decides that she wants to remarry so she can have children. It takes FOREVER for Michael to get to the wooing.
And then once he does, Francesca won't agree to marry him! WTF? Like, you want to remarry, and you keep saying Michael is your best friend, and he's ASKING you to marry him, so what the hell makes more sense than to just do that?
The ending of this is so long and drawn out for no other reason than to just be looooooong and drawn out. I couldn't stand Francesca by the end of the book.


The 2nd epilogue is included in this book, but her infertility problems didn't make me like it any better. She magically ends up getting pregnant once she learns to be happy and stop stressing over not getting pregnant. Ta-da!
I would have appreciated the epilogue more if she had decided that life was fine without children and the story had ended, or if she had adopted a child.
And can I just say that it's FUCKING WEIRD that she kept her pregnancy a complete secret from her family until a YEAR later? Is there something I don't know? Did they actually adopt this kid and you don't find that out until another book?
Ugh. This story is just...
It's my least favorite Bridgerton book so far.

2 stars
I didn't enjoy this one. Yeah, there was the 'Happily Ever After' at the end, but it just didn't do work for me. The story was a mess of guilt, with a side helping of more guilt. Not my cuppa.
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,510 reviews4,571 followers
June 22, 2015
5 stars – Historical/Regency Romance

I’ll be honest, this is the book that attracted me to Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons to begin with and the story that I was most looking forward to reading in the series. I mean, with a title like “When He Was Wicked”? Well, I knew I simply couldn’t pass it up. Although I really liked this, surprisingly, it’s not my favorite of the series. That honor is still tied between the breathtaking, fairy tale romance An Offer From a Gentleman and the sweet, whimsical Romancing Mister Bridgerton, both of which I loved immensely.

The main reason I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as I’d hoped is because I found the heroine, Francesca, rather frustrating. Of course I felt sorry for her being widowed young and for the pain and grief she endured, but her wishy-washy attitude toward Michael really annoyed me at times. It seemed as if she sensed his hidden feelings and deep yearning all along and that she liked having him at her emotional and sensual beck and call. I honestly didn’t feel like she gave him much in return with her companionship, other than managing his estate, until towards the end that is, and there were times that I really wondered why the heck he was so completely enamored of her. But then who can possibly predict what attracts one person to another or claims to know the great, elusive mystery that is love, anyway? It is certainly not I, my friends.

Michael is such a loyal, caring, to die for, wickedly sexy, dirty talkin’ (oh my, yes!) hero, and his unrequited love for Francesca broke my heart several times over. And the love scenes? WOWZA! Let’s just say that the title is absolutely fitting. It has an endearingly sweet, deeply touching, and achingly romantic ending that brought some serious tears to my eyes, soothed my irritation with Francesca, and improved my overall enjoyment and rating. And I highly recommend reading the second epilogue, When He Was Wicked: The Epilogue II, which gives a beautiful glimpse into their future and solidifies that they truly belong together. 5 stars!

Oh, and one final thought. If I had a nickel for every time Francesca uttered the phrase “I don’t know” in this, I’d be able to buy a book! That drove me crazy!

June 4, 2013
This book recounts the age-old tale of falling in love with your best friend's girl...but what happens when you get your chance at her hand, albeit at the loss of your best friend through his untimely death?

This is a beautiful Regency romance on grief, loss, and moving on. I've read and mostly loved all the books featuring the Bridgerton family, and this is the book I return to time after time because I think it is the best in the series. It is written in your typical inestimable Julia Quinn style, so expect to burst out in giggles every so often, but it is one of her more serious and well-written novels. The topic is not touched on lightly, the pain, the guilt, the resignation and denial are all there; you want stages of grief, you got it. It's a 5-hanky book. Possibly more, depending on the quality of your handkerchiefs (lace won't hold up here).

The characters are intricate and well described, complex in their thoughts and believable in how they mature. It's not a perfect book; I had some problems with the characters and plot, but overall, it is very well-written and remains one of my favorites in the Regency genre. The writing. THE WRITING. Did I mention the writing? It flows so naturally, so eloquently without being flowery and prosaic. Julia Quinn's earlier works have the ability to make me laugh, cry, swoon, and this ranks among her best.

Michael has been in love with Francesca since he saw her, which ordinarily wouldn't be a bad thing since he's a very eligible bachelor...but they met at Francesca's engagement party. To Michael's cousin and best friend. What makes it worse for him is that they are so compatible; unlike his other conquests, he truly enjoys her company; Francesca and Michael end up liking each other immensely. They wind up becoming good friends after her marriage to his cousin; he hides his pain and feelings for her through his usual light-hearted debauchery. They laugh together, tease each other, have fun together, all the while with Francesca blissfully happy in her marriage with her Lord John and blithely oblivious at the pain Michael is suffering despite his outwardly vivacious facade.

His love for her is confounding, love at first sight, as clichéd as it may sound...but unlike the usual story when the hero/heroine falls inexplicably in love, Julia Quinn has a lovely way of putting his abstract and inexplicable attraction to Francesca in words:

"It wasn’t her hair, that rich, lush wave of chestnut that he was rarely so privileged as to see down. And it wasn’t even her eyes, so radiantly blue that men had been moved to write poetry—much, Michael recalled, to John’s everlasting amusement. It wasn’t even in the shape of her face or the structure of her bones; if that were the case, he’d have been obsessed with the loveliness of all the Bridgerton girls; such peas in a pod they were, at least on the outside.
It was something in the way she moved.
Something in the way she breathed.
Something in the way she merely was."

Tell me you don't get a lump in your throat after reading that.

And Michael would never dream of betraying his cousin, his best friend. He loves John as much as he loves Francesca, and betraying either of them would be an unimaginably atrocious act. Michael is willing to and is determined to spend his life devoted to maintaining the happiness of the two people he loves most in life. So imagine how torn he feels when his chance inevitably come in a way he never would have dreamed of or wished for: John dies (NOT A SPOILER). He now has the chance to make Francesca his? Dare he take it? No. He flees all the way to India because he couldn't find a way to deal with his grief, much less with Francesca's, on top of his conflicting emotions for her, and doesn't return until he felt "he could be with Francesca in friendship, without feeling as if he were a thief, plotting to steal what he’d coveted for so long," which only took him several years. Michael is not a perfect character, lest I make him sound like too much of a martyr. He's a coward at times, running away from his feelings and his responsibilities when he inherits the earldom upon his cousin's death, and to be honest, I wanted to smack him repeatedly, particularly towards the end of the book, when he starts acting like a patronizing asshole towards Francesca. However, his love for Franesca remains constant, and I can't find it in my heart to dislike him much.

Francesca is a wonderful character. Spirited and bright, having grown up in the loud and lively Bridgerton bosom. She likes Michael, she loves John. Lest the reader believes her relationship with John was terrible, in a book setting her up to inevitably be with Michael in the end, it's not. She loves her marriage and her husband.

"He was her kindred spirit, so like her in so many ways. But it had, in a strange sort of fashion, been a relief to exit her mother’s home, to escape to a more serene existence with John, whose sense of humor was precisely like hers.
He understood her, he anticipated her.
He completed her."

Obviously, she suffers upon her husband's death, but it comes as a double loss when she miscarries his child. Within a short time, she lost her husband, her unborn child, then her friend Michael through his flight to India, but she survives and comes to terms with the loss. What is harder for her to come to terms with is her growing feelings for Michael, whom she has always seen as akin to a brother. Until one day when she, in turn looks at him.

"But suddenly… But now…
She’d looked at him, and she’d seen something entirely new.
She’d seen a man.
And it scared the very devil out of her."

...then she, too, runs away.

Here are two people trying to move on with their life, trying to get past their grief, trying to ignore their growing attraction for each other. Trying not to fall in love, trying not to forget the man they both loved so much, the one who will always be a part of them. Both of them have so much to deal with in reconciling that their love is not a betrayal of memory or trust or friendship, and the book does a tremendous job of portraying that.

I also loved the presence of Violet Bridgerton in this novel. She is the matriarch of the Bridgerton clan, mother to eight young children, and it is she in whom Francesca turns to for advice and comfort at her own loss. Violet knows only too well what Francesca went through, having been widowed herself at a young age. Even if she does not get much screen time, I so enjoyed seeing her reveal a little bit of herself and her own grief. We have only ever seen Violet as the steel-cored matriarch who has raised eight young children on her own, and given not much thought to what she must have been suffering all these years. I loved seeing her through the veneer of perfection, giving her own advice to Francesca here.

Some latter parts of the book were weak; Michael and Francesca spent as much time fighting with each other as with themselves, and I grew frustrated with both. However, this book remains one of the best Regency romances on my shelf, and I highly recommend it.
October 12, 2021

”It was the one dream he’d never permitted himself to consider”.

La verdad no sabía qué esperar de este libro de Francesca porque, en el fondo, es quizá a la hermana que menos se menciona en las otras historias. Pero lo bueno es que me llevé una gratísima sorpresa con ella y, por supuesto, con Michael.

En El Corazón de una Bridgerton todo empieza cuando Francesca pierde repentinamente a su esposo John. El conde de Kilmartin muere y la deja únicamente con Michael, quien ha sido el mejor amigo de los dos desde hace muchísimos años. En medio del duelo, Francesca va a tener que hacerse cargo de las propiedades y, eventualmente, de encontrar un nuevo marido que la ayude a cumplir uno de sus más grandes sueños. Michael, por otra parte, siempre ha amado a Francesca y se ha odiado cada día de su vida por ello. Después de todo, ¿qué hombre decente se enamoraría de la esposa de su mejor amigo? Sin embargo, tras la muerte de John, Michael se va a enfrentar de nuevo a sus sentimientos y, quizá, a los de Francesca.

No saben cuánto amé la fórmula de esta historia. Hay algo en la idea de un hombre enamorado de una mujer que no puede tener que, sin duda, me mantuvo enganchadísima de principio a fin. Además, Julia Quinn es una maestra en el arte de la tensión y en hacer que sus personajes, a pesar de la época, no se precipiten y piensen muchísimo en las consecuencias que tendrán sus actos. Y es que, por supuesto, tanto Francesca como Michael tienen un montón en lo que pensar. Ambos saben, muy en el fondo, que quieren estar juntos, pero se mantienen alejados por respeto a la memoria de John.

Me encantaron todas las pequeñas discusiones, los gestos y las frases reveladoras que, poco a poco, se les iban saliendo e iban demostrando sus verdaderos sentimientos por el otro. Además, cuando llega el momento en el que por fin dejan todas las pretensiones y miedos de lado todo es maravilloso entre ellos. Y amé que, de todas las Bridgerton, Francesca fuera la más osada y empoderada durante aquellos momentos, if you know what I mean. Aunque, claro, tiene sentido porque ella ya estuvo casada. En fin. Fan de ella.

Y Michael… ay, Michael. Creo que es uno de los personajes masculinos de Julia Quinn más leales, entregados y absolutamente adorables que he leído hasta ahora. Sin duda se convirtió en uno de mis favoritos. Además, es escocés, así que nada puede ser más perfecto. ¡Ah! Y hay algo con respecto a él que es un spoiler y que me iba matando de la angustia sobre el final, pero menos mal la autora aclaró cierto aspecto de eso en su nota final.

En fin, que sigo con este camino de los Bridgerton y, honestamente, estoy empezando a preocuparme por cuando no me queden más libros de estos hermanos por leer.
Profile Image for Layla.
334 reviews371 followers
May 25, 2022
I don't know why I'm still reading this series.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,078 reviews13.3k followers
December 15, 2020
TW for miscarriage and death of a loved one.

Michael is EVERYTHING. I love a romance where the guy is pining over the girl and cannot get over her. In this one, Michael is in love with his cousin's wife. TALK ABOUT ANGST. When his cousin dies, Michael goes off to India and doesn't come back for four years.

I really loved how Francesca was genuinely in love with her husband and had never seen Michael in a romantic way until he came back from India and was in her life again. She had always known that Michael was a rake, but as soon as he was back looking for a wife and she decided that she was ready to remarry, the tension between those two was amazing! I could not get enough of their romance and banter and friendship.

I don't want to share too much else about the book, but I, as usual with this series, loved the family scenes and loved the romance. I couldn't put this book down and flew through the audiobook in only two days! Definitely a new favorite in the series!
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,861 reviews5,643 followers
February 28, 2021
*4.5 stars*

Finally, finally I get to join the Bridgerton love-train! After reading most of the books in the series and giving many low ratings, at last I found one that I adore. When He Was Wicked was the unrequited love, high sexual tension, friends-to-lovers book that I needed.

I have most of this series in paperback, and I have to say, though I'm a total Kindle reader devotee, I love having these romance-y romances in print. They feel more authentic that way, for some reason. Maybe it was my mood, maybe it was just a really well-done book, but either way, When He Was Wicked felt nearly perfect.

I tend to dislike Julia Quinn's male MCs, but I really loved Michael Sterling. I adored his broken-hearted rake persona, and I loved how respectful he was of his cousin and Francesca. Francesca was private and quiet, but I loved her slow-burn romance with Michael. Though he had loved her for years, I adored how her attraction unfolded over time and how she remained in love with John but opened her heart to Michael.

A swoony, heart-clenching romance, and, for me, by far the best in the Bridgerton series to date.

Profile Image for Christy.
3,818 reviews32.4k followers
July 2, 2022
5 stars
This thing between them, this bond—it wasn’t just passion, and it wasn’t wicked. It was love, and it was divine.

I am always here for a slow burn/friends to lovers/forbidden love story and When He Was Wicked combined all three for me. Michael is the best hero in this series and you can’t change my mind. Gah. I adored him. Francesca had moments where I was like come on girl… but I could relate to her in so many ways and I understood her reasoning. But Michael… that man loved her so much and there’s not much I love more than a completely devoted hero.

Now I don’t know if The Viscount Who Loved Me or When He Was Wicked is my favorite of the series, because I love them both so much! I guess it’s a good problem to have. I only hope the next two are as good as this one because it was dang near perfect for me. Sweet, swoony, angsty, and so romantic- this one is a must read!

Audio book source: Hoopla (library borrow)
Story Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Narration Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Historical romance
Length: 11 hours and 30 minutes
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,600 followers
July 10, 2016
My Review:

This, the 6th installment of the Bridgerton series, is so different from the rest of the stories that it took me by surprise – a pleasant surprise. Having read and found the previous books lighter, funnier reads, I hadn’t expected to find this one much different. If there was ever any question as to Ms. Quinn’s ability to write a more intense, deeper story, When He Was Wicked has answered it with a resounding yes!

When He Was Wicked is the story of Michael Stirling, Rake Extraordinaire, who has finally met the one woman who makes him want to give up his wicked ways for a life filled with love and family.

It’s the story of Francesca Bridgerton, beautiful, sophisticated…everything Michael could want… except, there’s a small problem; she’s in love with and married to Michael’s cousin John, and while that keeps Michael from acting on his feelings, it doesn’t stop him from wanting her. Francesca loves Michael as a cousin, dear friend and confidant, but nothing more.

And then one tragic night, without any warning at all, Francesca finds herself widowed and devastated and needing Michael’s friendship more than ever, but because his feelings run so much deeper and he feels horribly guilty because of it, he won’t allow himself to become any more vulnerable to her than he already is…

But one night, when loneliness and desire can no longer be denied, they find themselves being swept away by a kiss that holds more passion, more pleasure and more fulfillment than anything either of them had ever felt before. This one kiss, they both knew, had changed their lives forever. Feeling that she was somehow betraying John’s memory by caring for Michael this way, Francesca runs away to Scotland to gather her thoughts. Michael is having none of that now that his feelings are finally out in the open, and decides to pursue her and win her however it takes. He tries reasoning with her, wooing her, all to no avail. So, what’s a reformed rake to do? Seduce her, of course! And seduce her, he does. Pulling out all the stops he does whatever he has to do to make her give into her feelings and see that what they have is not something to feel guilty or ashamed of, rather something to be cherished.

While I love all of the books in the Bridgerton series, When He Was Wicked had something…more. The sexual tension in this book is amazing, as are the intimate scenes themselves. If you’re looking for a romance novel with depth, conflict, passion, and a happily ever after ending, this is the book for you.

Though it is part of the series, this story is separate enough from the rest of the Bridgerton’s lives to easily be read as a stand-alone novel. I hope to find more stories of this caliber amongst Ms. Quinn’s writings.
Profile Image for Maria Clara.
996 reviews512 followers
November 23, 2020
Vamos a ver, esto no es serio; que me he pasado la mayor parte de la novela con un: "ay, Dios mío, ay, Dios mío, ay, Dios mío..." en los labios; tanto que parecía estar en la iglesia justo cuando repartían los pecados. ¡Todos para mí!, parecía decir. O, bueno, seamos realistas, todos lo que se dice todos, no, solo los de la carne, que con esos ya tengo para ir tirando. ⠀

De verdad, qué manera de hacernos sufrir (entiéndase "disfrutar" en argot romántico). Pero ¿por qué la autora nos hace esto? Este sin vivir, este suspirar, este no sé qué de no sé cuando. Este "ay, Dios mío" convertido en página, porque si fuera en carne estaría yo aquí ahora. Y, sí, puedes decirme que estoy siendo demasiado frívola, pero cualquiera puede decir un Te amo, un te quiero o estoy enamorado de ti, con cara de burro degollado. Pero el poder ir más allá de estas frases y lograr que alguien se estremezca es muy difícil. Casi, me atrevería a decir, que es un trabajo de Titan. Porque, seamos realistas, es más fácil quedarse en lo conocido, en un te quiero, que expresar lo que uno realmente siente. Y justamente esto, lo Titan, lo encontramos entre las páginas de esta novela, que a más de una ya nos gustaría que fuera de carne y hueso. ⠀

Así que sí, escribo una reseña frívola, y me encanta hacerlo, porque puedo, porque he leído y pecado de pensamiento.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,941 reviews1,553 followers
April 16, 2019
This is sixth in a series, but the characters in this one are almost determinedly independent and isolated. Further, this happens pretty much simultaneous with both book 4 and book 5. There's a scene with Colin (book 4) in this one that appears in both, but that doesn't mean you need to read in any particular order.

I really liked the premise of this story. And Quinn takes a chapter or two to establish the reality of the emotional stakes so we see Michael, John and Francesca interacting and can see how close they are (in addition to Michael's dilemma knowing that he is in love with his best friend's wife). It's touching and was a great setup and I couldn't wait to read this story.

And then Quinn doused everything in gasoline and lit it on fire.

Okay, it wasn't that bad if all you want is a standard romance with characters who are emotional cowards trying to overcome their milquetoast idiocy so they can have a life that doesn't suck. But when Michael went all coward on us and fled the freaking country, I felt a deep foreboding. I really wish I had stopped at that point looking back. I had hope that Quinn would pull out of emotional weakness as the center point of the story arc. And I maintained that hope in the teeth of mounting evidence to the bitter end. Because I am apparently a fool. I console myself that at least I have more courage than boiled cabbage—a feat neither main character in this story managed.

I had worked up lots of rage in the final hours of reading this but I think I'll stop with the tortured cabbage analogy. Seriously, this is an immense squandering of that incredibly tight and impactful opening. So very sad. I'm giving it a second star for that lovely start and the continued family dynamics. But it's a weak second star the story probably doesn't really deserve.

A note about Steamy: There are three or four explicit sex scenes which gets close to the high end of my steam tolerance. It doesn't help that all but the last are founded in manipulation and shame.
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
December 4, 2020
Francesca has been hovering in the background throughout the previous books. Did we ever even meet her ... she married and moved to Scotland but tragic circumstances rendered her "free" and Michael, who has loved her forever, is in a position to declare his love ... Michael, who "took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing." But guilt and society expectations are things that stand in the way of true happiness ...

Michael, the Merry Rake who has spent his life flitting from woman to woman and living the life of a happy bachelor ... Michael ... gosh, I don't think I swooned over a hero quite like this in a long time. I don't know what it was about him. He just endeared himself to me ...

He would never escape her, this woman. He would never escape her, and he could never have her.

It was impossible. Quite simply wrong. There was too much there. Too much had happened ...

"What, Francesca?" he asked ruthlessly. "What do you think of me?"

"I think you are one of the finest men I know," she said softly.

Damn. Trust her to unman him with a single sentence. He stared at her, just stared at her, trying to figure out what the hell she'd meant by that.

For all his toughness and "man about town" attitude, Michael yearns for Francesca's approval.

His lips touched hers in the barest, softest hint of a caress. It was the sort of kiss that seduced with subtlety, sent tingles through her body and left her desperate for more ...

I can see how Francesca would frustrate some people. But I can totally understand her reasons. Nowadays, people don't really care of other's opinions but back in the 19th century, of course one cared what others thought ... one wrong move and you could be a pariah and banished from society. So, yes, Francesca was sort of coming and going and just couldn't make up her mind but I forgive her for it ... I am understanding like that (you know who you are - those of you that she drove batty. I shall mention no names)!! LOL. And Michael was worth waiting for ... swoon.

Because it had never been like this.
That had been his body.
This was his soul.

Francesca flees to Scotland, to Kilmartin House, when things get a little bit too much for her.

“I think you're going to break more hearts this spring than I'll be able to count."
"It isn't your job to count them," he said, his voice quiet and hard.
"No, it isn't, is it?" She looked over at him and smiled wryly. "But I'm going to end up doing it all the same, won't I?"
"And why is that?"
She didn't seem to have an answer to that, and then, just when he was sure she would say no more, she whispered, "Because I won't be able to stop myself.”

A wonderful tale. Each book has been at least 4 and 5 stars for me. I think Ms Quinn is a fantastic author. The narrator, Rosalyn Landor deserves a shout out too ... she brings the pages to life! How she can stay so calm while reading some of the passages is beyond me ... Ms Quinn knows how to write a sensual scene ... no doubt about that.

There was one letter written by Janet Stirling, dowager Countess of Kilmartin, to Michael Stirling at the end of the book. If that doesn't bring a tear to your eye, I don't know what will ...

"Thank you, Michael ..."

A wonderful series. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for NMmomof4.
1,518 reviews3,784 followers
February 7, 2021
3 Stars

Overall Opinion: This was fun and sexy, but left me wanting. The ending downright sucked. I liked this couple and I wanted to experience their HEA not just assume they fully get there! I really liked Francesca in the previous books, but sadly in this book I just often felt annoyed with her. Michael was a gem and I’m glad Francesca finally saw the light in the end. But, overall, I was just underwhelmed and bummed.

On a side note, I am super stoked to see the teaser for a new Netflix series about the Bridgertons!! Look super good and done by the same creator of Grey’s Anatomy — what?! Yes please!

Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Francesca and Michael’s story. Michael has loved Francesca since he met her and she married his best friend and cousin. When his cousin dies, he is suddenly the new Earl and has to deal with his guilt on a new level. Francesca mourned her beloved husband for four years and missed her best friend, Michael, when he abandoned her after her husband died. She has decided that she wants children and that she must enter society again to get a new husband. Michael happens to return from India at the same time and they have to navigate their friendship back to what it was before their loss while also dealing with feelings of guilt and, for Francesca, new attraction. There is some funny banter, some sexy times, and some drama...and they get a HEA ending.

Point Of View (POV): This alternated between focusing on Francesca and Michael in 3rd person narrative.

Overall Pace of Story: Alright until the abrupt ending. I never skimmed.

Instalove: No, friends to love (H is in love from the start)

H (Hero) rating: 4 stars. Michael. I liked him. I appreciated how he cared for the h from afar (and loved how he was with the h’s mom!)

h (heroine) rating: 3 stars. Francesca. I liked her but then her pushing away the H got old.

Sadness level: Low, no tissues needed

Push/Pull: Yes

Heat level: Good. They have some good tension, chemistry, and scenes -- but not so much it takes away from the story.

Descriptive sex: Yes

OW (Other Woman)/OM (Other Man) drama: Yes

Sex scene with OW or OM: No

Cheating: No

Separation: Never when they are what I consider ‘together’

Possible Triggers: Yes

Closure: This ended super abruptly with what I would call a HEA . I am super disappointed in this ending though! Why not give us some time with them as an actual freakin’ couple?! Why not ?? This is the main reason for my lower rating.

Safety: This one should be Safe for most safety gang readers
Profile Image for Bibiana In Bookland.
323 reviews1,797 followers
September 21, 2020
He disfrutado muchísimo de la historia de Michael y Francesca. Ellos dos han sido increíbles. Me ha gustado mucho que fueran amigos desde hacía tiempo, esa camadería y ver cómo poco a poco iba evolucionando, pero a un ritmo lento y natural. Michael ha sido un amor, me encantaba las partes en las que veíamos la historia desde su punto de vista. Ha sido un libro súper intenso, divertido, lleno de pasión, de amistad y de amor. Maravilloso !!
Profile Image for Katrina Passick Lumsden.
1,779 reviews12.8k followers
August 16, 2014
*Fanning myself*


This book should get two stars from me, but here's an interesting fact; Michael Stirling rates an entire star on his own. I found myself frustrated with Francesca's behavior. It's not that I couldn't understand it, just that it dragged on for far too long. I've noticed that a propensity to draw out a story is one of the weaknesses in Quinn's writing. This isn't the only book of hers I've read that had me heaving a sigh, rolling my eyes, and uttering -

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But if you can get past the drawn out melodrama, Michael Stirling is quite a hunk o' man meat, and reading about him is certainly no chore.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,228 reviews2,058 followers
September 2, 2019
Book 6 and it is Francesca's turn. But she is already married you say? Yes indeed she is but life has a funny way of turning things upside down when you least expect it.

This was not my favourite book of the series so far. Basically I felt it was too long because the focus couple came together too soon and the rest of the book seemed very forced. There were some very long and very steamy sex scenes too which added little to the actual story.

Colin and Violet were the best characters in my opinion. They played small but important parts which were much more interesting than the two main players who basically stormed around denying each other and running off to either India or Scotland.

I have made it sound like a bad book. It wasn't. It was entertaining and fun, just not as good as some of the earlier books!
Profile Image for Karen.
805 reviews1,012 followers
August 9, 2019

In every life there is a turning point.
A moment so tremendous, so sharp and clear that one feels as if one's been hit in the chest, all the breath knocked out, and one knows, absolutely knows without the merest hint of a shadow of a doubt that one's life will never be the same.

I was all over the place in my mind trying to rate this one. I did really enjoy it, despite my updates suggesting otherwise. The hero Michael Stirling was a fabulous character. He totally made up for the foolishness that was Francesca. I may have been just a little hard on her and her namby-pamby ways. She was, after all, grieving for her dead husband, who just happened to be Michael's cousin and best-friend. But in all honestly, I don't think I would have vacillated half as long over the issue.

It was another great episode in the Bridgerton saga. And if you read this, don't stop without reading the second epilogue. It was literally the cherry on top that squeezed that extra half star out of me.
Profile Image for Book Wonderland .
178 reviews61 followers
October 24, 2019
*2.5 stars

This book is my least favorite of the series.
Francesca is the worst Bridgerton for sure. She was really annoying in this book. I really hated how she was fooling Michael, because she couldn't made up her mind! She was constantly running away (literally!) from her feelings.

Profile Image for Floripiquita.
1,367 reviews153 followers
February 25, 2020
Menos humorística que entregas anteriores y con una protagonista que es la menos Bridgerton de los Bridgertons, a su favor juega que sale Colin -eso siempre será un must en esta serie- y que tiene a uno de esos protagonistas masculinos que te cautivan y te roban el corazón. ¡Qué maravilloso personaje es Michael Stirling (‪🔥‬😍‪🔥‬😍‪🔥‬así te pasas toda la lectura con él), como se las gasta dentro y fuera de la cama y qué bien ha sabido transmitir Julia Quinn sus sentimientos por Francesca! Pena que ella sea lo más indeciso que te puedas echar a la cara y que la autora despache el descubrimiento de su amor por ese pedazo de escocés de forma apresurada y casi en el último párrafo.

#RetoJulia #RetoRita4

#popsugar2020. Reto 50: Un libro cuy@ protagonista tenga veintitantos años
Profile Image for zainab .
121 reviews39 followers
May 30, 2022
Francesca Bridgerton, a person you almost don't know from the other parts. The only thing you learn is that she lives in Scotland and is a widow. But after four years in mourning, she finally wants to marry again, because she wants a baby. A wish that seems almost impossible. If it weren't for her best friend and cousin of her late husband, Michael. When he turns her life upside down and then proposes unexpectedly, she is torn between her love for John and these new feelings for Michael.
The story itself, is very well told and it is a nice change from London to be in Scotland for a change. However, there is one thing that is dealt with more, whole chapters and that bothers me personally more.....
Profile Image for Millie Razeh.
62 reviews13 followers
August 12, 2022
Don’t you just hate it when you’re in a love triangle with a dead man? Yeah, same.

Francesca is the sixth Bridgerton, an incomparable of her season, married at 20, widowed at 22. Michael was a rake, and he’s in love with his cousin’s wife—now widow. The book revolves around their guilt, their self-discovery, and their desire for something they couldn’t have: Frannie, a baby; Micahel, his cousin’s wife.

When John died, Michael's life changed. He left the title, estates, fortune, everything... to him. Well, almost everything. The only thing he actually wanted- Francesca- is not for the taking. He was so freaked out, that he ran away for four years.

Dynamic & Characters
The tension is like an elastic band stretching slowly, and when it snapped you received all the love you wanted. This is a slowburn. But once they're in, they're all in baby! Though I kinda wish they let go of their restraints a bit sooner.

As a character, I admit Francesca and Michael have astounding chemistry. All compliments I give to Michael, who loved her enough for the both of them. Frannie, however, took her precious time deciding. And I don't blame her for feeling guilty. I just wished she had done it off-page, in the four-year time gap-- NOT now when she's actively searching for a second husband. I think for most of the book, their guilt towards John became the star of the plot. John is a big part of the story, but he is only present for one chapter.

This brings me to my final point: I think the main problem with the book is its dependency on John. If John is such a big part of the book, if you want the readers to understand Frannie's loss and guilt, you have to put more of John's character and involvement. Maybe not outright scenes, but just a few romantic facts of the two years Frannie was married. We need to feel an attachment to John to feel the guilt from Frannie's pov, instead of being glossed over all the time and summarised in sentences such as "I loved John". Well, we get that she loved John, but what makes her love John so much?? If John isn't such a big plot device, then maybe the lack of information is okay. But he's in every chapter, lingering like a ghost. I need to be invested in that relationship a bit more to understand her guilt, is all I'm saying.

This is why I don't blame people for disliking Frannie. She really took her time and played with Michael's feelings. Before we get into this, I'll warn you: I have a bias toward unloved children. Maybe that's why I'm more forgiving towards Frannie. Aside from the fact that I hate her being indecisive, I actually like her as a character. Not as far as being the favourite heroine in the series, but close enough. She rarely appeared in the series, she's quiet, and reserved, and yet, she's the most successful one in terms of finding love. She's the incomparable of her season. She got married so quickly to John. Michael, the most rakish hero in Bridgerton imo, fell in love upon his first meeting. When she finished mourning her first husband, she gets swarmed by offers immediately. She was just universally loved. It's truly a wonder why her family rarely mentioned her.

Imagine being so wonderful, beautiful, kind, witty, and humorous that you leave broken-hearted men everywhere you go. That's Francesca. She is destined to be the Countess of Kilmartin, and both heirs fell completely in love with her. And they both got her.

This book is not a comfort read. But I did read it in a day. Michael and Francesca are the most fascinating characters in Bridgerton for me. Maybe it's because they have the most heartbreaking journey towards their love. Michael is a hero filled with his love for the heroine that it hurts, and maybe that's what makes this story a bit more emotional: our sympathy towards Michael and his love.
Though it has a couple of flaws, I do admit I enjoyed it (or more like emotionally invested) and therefore I decided this is the second best Bridgerton book I've read.
If you’re a masochist and are drawn to unrequited love, here is your meal.

Profile Image for Lamaleluna.
287 reviews1,143 followers
April 29, 2021
Mmmm no se muy bien que opinar
A esta altura del partido ya no sé por qué sigo leyendo estos libros. Son puro entretenimiento y no tengo nada mejor que hacer.

En este libro 6 de la saga Bridgerton tenemos como protagonista a Francesca, una mujer ya viuda que cree que nunca volverá a encontrar al amor nuevamente. John no solo era su esposo, era su amigo y una persona de muchísima confianza y perderlo fue perderlo todo para Francesca.
El romance en este libro es con Michael, el mejor amigo de John y su primo. Quien fue por mucho tiempo el mejor amigo de Francesca también. Ambos personajes tendrán que atravesar la muerte de su persona de mayor confianza y seguir adelante.

El libro está bien y ya está. Pobre Francesca sufre un montón. Es el menos tóxico y machista de toda la saga, lo cual está muy bueno. Aunque tampoco es la gran cosa. No es muy atrapante a decir verdad, no tanto como los otros. Y realmente siento que en todo el libro no pasó NADA. No recuerdo nada en concreto que haya pasado en este libro.
A esta altura del partido ya todos los libros de Bridgerton se me hacen prácticamente iguales.. pero bueno, ya estoy cerca del final así que voy a leer los que me faltan.

Yo leyendo el corazón de una Bridgerton: 😲😌🙂😳🤔
Profile Image for Jasmin.
360 reviews78 followers
November 17, 2014
Preparations necessary when reading When He Was Wicked:

Materials needed:
bucket of ice -to douse the heat
handkerchief -to wipe off the sweat
blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitor -to monitor if your BP and pulse are still in safe levels
guardian angel -to prevent infection of wickedness
handcuffs -to prevent being wicked
sedative -to reduce excitement

Preferential reading temperature:
20° or lower -things can get hot

(1) Breathe slowly. (Especially when approaching Chapter 17)
(2) Stay away from coffee. (to minimize levels of stress)
(3) Don't forget to breathe. (I must put emphasis on breathing)
(4) Don't forget it is Julia Quinn who created WHWW
(5) At this point, a sedative might come in handy.

Alternative titles for the book
(1)When Julia Quinn Was Wicked
(2)Read If You Want to Get Wicked

Additional words of advice:
Get your hands on this book now and witness how Julia Quinn becomes wicked. Also, wickedness is infectious, so caution is needed to not catch it.

Profile Image for r..
174 reviews79 followers
January 29, 2012
I had two primary concerns going into When He Was Wicked: 1) I was curious to see what Quinn would do with a heroine who GASP isn't a virgin!!1 and 2) I was pretty sure she'd never given more than like five minutes thought to Francesca until it was time to write this book.

Francesca was (prior to this book and following it, honestly) the Invisible Bridgerton. I'm fairly certain that she's only ever present in a scene once in the previous five books, and that's a scene wherein Simon Bassett can't tell her and Eloise apart, so it's entirely possible (and likely since the dialogue in the scene was very, very Eloise) that she literally never had a single line of dialogue before her own book. On top of that she's rarely, if ever, mentioned except in the most casual passing fashion, and the only specific reference to her goings-on that I can recall is when Penelope Featherington reflects on the fact that Francesca was married and soon after widowed at some point in the rather large time gap between An Offer from a Gentleman and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.

Quinn's solution for Concern #2 was simple: she immediately establishes Francesca as an independent and reserved soul who, while she loves her massive, boisterous family, generally prefers being off and away from them doing her own thing. How convenient!

While that's a perfectly fine personality archetype and Francesca is, indeed, a perfectly fine character, the disconnection from the rest of the Bridgertons necessitated by it means that a huge draw of the series -- the interplay between the Bridgerton family -- is almost wholly absent from the book. Julia Quinn pretty obviously struggles a bit around the middle of the novel attempting to make up for this deficiency by inserting Colin into Michael's half of the narrative essentially for no other reason than to troll him and, I imagine, add some interest by including an appearance from a beloved character. And while it did predictably, delight me, Colin doesn't really belong in this narrative. Indeed, the contrast between how forced his appearance is in this book and how perfectly it fit in To Sir Phillip, with Love is stark. Colin, Eloise, and Francesca's stories all take place concurrently, but while Colin and Eloise's complement each other narratively, structurally, and emotionally, Francesca's, much like Francesca herself, is clearly an afterthought.

Which isn't to say that Francesca is in any way unbearable, again, she's perfectly fine! Or that the book itself is. It's not. Now, Michael isn't all that exciting given how many ~rakes~ we've seen at this point -- almost all of them more interesting than him -- and while his pining for Francesca surprisingly never turns the corner to gross, let's not pretend anyone really cares all that much about his manpain. However, his interactions with Francesca are passably charming -- though, honestly, actually moreso before they become involved. But the book as a whole is just... flat. Francesca's closed off nature (and, again, Quinn's obvious lack of interest in her) makes her almost inscrutable as a character at times, and even though she's the lead, you never quite feel like you've gotten into her head. The emotion in the early portion of the book, when she's with John and immediately following his death, is strong and affecting, but after that it just sort of flounders and never really picks up again. Likely because it skips ahead to when she's pretty much over it (or as over it as anyone can be).

Then the book just dives into her and Michael and their attraction, which is when we finally get to Concern #1. As a widow, Francesca is the only female romantic lead in the Bridgerton series who is not virginal upon her first encounter with the male lead, and I was extremely excited to see how Julia Quinn handled a woman who isn't just learning and stands hopelessly ignorant about the needs and desires of her own body (not that there's anything wrong with that, nor to say that Quinn doesn't actually do pretty well with regard to portraying the various ladies' sexual awakenings, as I think that she does). It turns out, Quinn pretty much just dives in. But much like I actually liked Francesca and Michael's banter more before they became involved, I mostly found them much sexier before... they actually had sex. Whereas the other heroines in the series are, as mentioned, blushing virgins finding out what this and this and that does, Quinn pretty much takes Francesca straight to dominatrix porn star, which cool. And yet! Not doing much for me, personally, alas.

But points for trying. I guess that's my feeling on this book as a whole actually. Points for trying, but ehhh.

I'd probably have to count this the weakest in the series.
Profile Image for Pepa.
938 reviews237 followers
July 19, 2019
Reseña completa: https://masromance.blogspot.com/2019/...

Distinto. Cautivador

Me ha vuelto a encantar. Creo que esta novela es una delicia, una historia preciosa. Michael es un personaje genial hasta el final. Quizás algo precipitado ya que todo se resuelve en un par de páginas.
Pero he sufrido con todos los sentimientos de Michael, con esas cartas no enviadas y las que sí

Una novela muy distinta de toda la serie.
Me ha faltado en el epílogo, una aparición estelar de los Bridgerton
Profile Image for annelitterarum.
223 reviews1,424 followers
August 9, 2021
J’ai plus aimé ce tome que le cinquième : on retrouve une intrigue qui ne se résout pas à la moitié du tome, et la romance connaît de l’action jusqu’à la toute fin. Sans parler du smut qui est, pour le moins, le meilleur de la saga dans ce tome🤓 #theresonlyonebed #donttouchherorillkillyou
Profile Image for exploraDora.
541 reviews257 followers
April 19, 2023
I'm torn between giving this a 3 or a 4 star rating, as it was probably my least favorite in the Bridgerton series so far.

Book #6 is about Francesca, one of the siblings I knew or cared least about. Her love story is a more complicated one, because she was married and in love, only to lose her husband after merely 2 years of marriage.

But then after a while, love comes creeping back into her life from where she would least expect it and it was all nice and dandy, I just wasn't swept away by any of it.
Profile Image for Dilushani Jayalath.
911 reviews158 followers
October 24, 2021
I wish I could love these books the way I did in the past years but something in me has changed over the years and the exciting aspect of it is gone. Now I see them for what it is. Manhandling of women and the constant screaming and venting out of anger is not quite my cup of tea so excuse me for not liking this as much. Yet there is a tiny part of me that still holds a small liking for the genre thus there are parts that really got my heart to beat a little faster. But unfortunately that part was overruled by the part that was sick of the eight male chauvinism. Hopefully there will come a day that I would find a book that I actually liked in terms of this genre.
Profile Image for Marta Luján.
Author 20 books160 followers
April 23, 2019
Una novela entretenida, con un tono melancólico, de la que lo que más me gustó fue el final.

La trama se desarrolla en el pasado de los personajes, y luego en el presente, pero no tiene grandes inflexiones ni giros sorpresivos, además de que carece del tono humorístico que caracteriza a la autora. Se echa de menos la interacción con los hermanos y con la madre -tan característica de las otras novelas-, ya que solo aparece Colin y muy brevemente.

Los protagonistas de la novela son Francesca Bridgerton, casada con John, conde de Stirling, y Michael, primo de John, y que ha estado siempre enamorado de Francesca. Ya en la novela, la misma protagonista nos relata que ella ha sido siempre diferente al resto de los hermanos, y la verdad es que se nota bastante. No parece tener una personalidad muy desarrollada, a no ser que sea su carácter indeciso, por el que se pasa más de media novela incapaz de decidirse por Michael.

Michael es un personaje contradictorio. Aparente libertino y enamorado hasta las trancas de Francesca, no llega a tener el encanto de los hermanos Bridgerton y te roba el corazón, al menos en mi opinión, solo al final de la novela. Eso sí, parece tener la paciencia del santo Job con Francesca, porque persevera a pesar de todo y por encima de todo. Me gusta su lado romántico y tierno.

El estilo se aleja de lo habitual en la autora, y, como dije antes, el tono de la novela se vuelve melancólico, quizás por las dudas de conciencia de ambos personajes, y, sobre todo, por la muerte de John y la situación de Michael con respecto a su salud.

Aunque no es de mis favoritos, me ha gustado. Una frase que me encantó, ya al final del libro, es de una carta de la tía de Michael a este: "Gracias, Michael, por permitir que mi hijo la amara primero".
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
December 4, 2020
I know I only read this (for the first time) a couple of months ago and I wondered would I love it just as much this time. I did. One of my favourite ever Historicals.

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