When He Was Wicked Mass Market Paperback – Jun 3 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Unlike the hero of Quinn's newest Regency-era romance, who falls in love with his cousin's wife upon first sight, readers won't be swept off their feet by the protagonists of this tale. Indeed, while Michael Stirling, dubbed the Merry Rake, is charming enough, subdued Francesca Bridgerton rarely seems worthy of his pursuit. All is well at the novel's outset, aside from the fact that Michael covets his cousin, the Earl of Kilmartin's, wife. Then, barely two chapters into the book, his cousin suffers an aneurysm and dies. Devastated and unable to cope with his new position as earl and his feelings for Francesca, Michael flees to India for four years, only to return still very much in love and suffering from malaria. In London, the two attend social events, trade quips and try to restore their friendship, but the more intimate they become, the more their feelings of guilt gnaw at them. Guilt is the only thing that stands in the way of the couple's happiness, and it's often frustrating to witness their slow, overwrought progression from denial to acceptance. While this book possesses some of the qualities that Quinn's fans have come to expect—sprightly prose, feverish love scenes and well-developed secondary characters—it is weighed down by the sheer intensity of the protagonists' grief.
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smart, funny ... Reminiscent of Bridget Jones --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Michael Stirling fell in love the moment he met her, but she was forbidden. She belonged to someone else - his cousin. A cousin they raised him with, a cousin he respected, a cousin he loved. And then the inconceivable happened: his cousin died and she was free.
Francesca Bridgerton was beautiful and lovely. She adored and loved her husband, John Stirling. They were happy; they had a marriage made in heaven - a marriage the angels kissed. And then John died and she was alone. But she had Michael, she was not alone, she had her best friend.
Truly, Julia Quinn writes this story from her heart.
Of course, this is Book 6 in the 'Bridgerton series'. Shamefully, this novel sat on my 'To Read Shelf' for several months, continually being shoved aside. Why? I was SO disappointed in Quinn's last entry: TO SIR PHILLIP, WITH LOVE, I did not want to experience another letdown. I felt the 'Bridgerton series' had run out of steam. I was wrong!
This time Ms. Quinn delivered. This time Ms. Quinn abandoned the COMPLETE history of the Bridgerton clan. This time the author chose to whisper the family through the pages. Here big brother Colin Bridgerton is a crucial character, yet his presence does not take over. For this I thank you, Julia. We fans know the Bridgerton history. Thank you for simply writing Francesca's story! A story that is romantic, beautiful and sensual. WHEN HE WAS WICKED is pure 'Keeper Shelf'.
Reviewer for: [...]
Instead of the light-hearted banter, she has told a very moving story of what it's like to lose a loved one and find love again. Francesca and Michael were the closest people in her husband, John's life, and I thought Julia did a wonderful job of showing their grief and how they worked through their individual fears to find each other.
Francesca is not like the other Bridgertons, as she herself states in the book on occasion. What she IS is a grieving widow, who loved her husband, mourned him for four years, and is beginning to feel things for his cousin that scare her.
Michael Stirling was a wonderfully sweet, passionate man who lives with incredible guilt for all he gained at his cousin's death. And the one thing he loves above all is the one thing he feels he has no right to ever have - Francesca.
I was impressed by the manner Ms. Quinn did this story. She didn't skirt the issue of their grief and mourning. Instead, she embraced it in a way that makes you feel for both Francesca and Michael. She developed their relationship from the friendship it had been in a careful, understandably slow way...all in all, I felt it was a very rich, very fulfilling story.
I think Julia Quinn wrote a much more mature story this time. Francesca Bridgerton Sterling is robbed of her young husband, John; he dies unexpectedly of an aneurism two years into their marriage. Francesca is distraught, so is Michael Sterling, John's cousin and best friend. Michael is doubly plagued by the death because he lusts after John's widow . . . in fact, has always lusted after her. Now that she's attainable, he has to find a happy medium between loving her and wrestling with the guilt of knowing that he covets John's wife.
Quinn does a great job of spanning the emotional gauntlet with this one. It's poignant in some parts, sad in others. The subject matter is not as 'fluffy' as other tales, but it's well done all the same. The humor is toned down, but the sex is tuned up. What you lack in one you make up for in another.
End result . . . buy it. It's great. I think Julia's growing with her writing, getting better at her trade - and more willing to experiment. I think I would have been disappointed with another cookie cutter romance in the Bridgerton line. The others books are great - don't get me wrong - but this one deviated from the formula in a big way, and I enjoyed it tremendously because of it.
Most recent customer reviews
Julia Quinn is brilliant. She breaks the received romance molds and reshapes stories that are absolutely unforgettable. Michael Stirling is one of my favourite heroes of ALL TIMES. Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2014 by Zeenat Mahal
This book is soooo boring and slow I don't even want to finish it. I am disappointed b/c I really like this series. The last book was also not up to par, but this one is worse. Read morePublished on July 17 2004
This book is not one that I would recommend to read. It was incredibly slow and depressing!! I was very disappointed with this book. Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by S. Wertelka
If there is one problem I have with Julia Quinn, it is that she is milking the Bridgerton series for all that it is worth. Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Ms. Sixty
I bought this book at the store instead of online like usual. When i got home I immediately went to Amazon to see what my fellow readers had to say about it. Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by Cynthia L Boyce