Now we come to the sixth book in the Bridgerton series, When He Was Wicked
. This is
probably the darkest one so far. I have to give Julia. Quinn
credit for trying to tackle some heavy-duty issues, trying to delve a little deeper in to angstland, but I’m not quite sure she succeeded. This story had the feel of another experiment. Here’s the plot.
The Bridgerton sibling we’ve never seen in the other books, Francesca, is in a wonderfully happy marriage to John. Unbeknownst to John and Francesca, John’s cousin Michael Sterling falls head over heels in love with Francesca when he first meets her. Through the years, Michael has hidden his true feeling behind the rake facade while all the time he has hung out with John and Francesca. The three of them have become the best of buddies. They go places together, they laugh, joke, and confide in each other. They all have come to depend on each other. Then one evening John dies. This opens up allll
kinds of problems for Francesca and Michael. Francesca turns to her best friend Michael for comfort in her grief and doesn’t understand when Michael rejects her. In fact he does more than just reject her, he runs away to India. He has all kinds of guilt, yearning, passion, guilt, torment, guilt rushing through his system. The only way he can handle it is to disappear and not be around the woman who he craves.
Francesca not only has to cope with the loss of her husband but the loss of her best friend. She travels into pity-poor-me land. Michael and Francesca become humongous
martyrs. Then after four years Michael decides it’s time to return, at the same time Francesca decides it’s time to move on with her life. So now instead of watching depressing people suffer apart we get to watch them suffer together. Oh joy. Rant.
I know authors have to stretch their boundaries; they can’t just stay in that little rut, writing the same thing over and over and over. But – some authors can write wonderfully witty, funny, lighthearted books and that’s not
a bad thing. Just because it’s funny doesn’t mean it lacks substance. One of the most depressing authors ever, John Steinbeck, wrote one of the best fun books ever – Cannery Row.
What a wonderful book, full of great characters, and
there is a wealth of meaning behind this story. What’s my point? I don’t know, but it just seems to me that one can get a message through just as well with comedy as with angst. And, if an author already knows how to write so-called lighthearted books, just put more pathos in them. There’s nothing wrong with fluff.
Anyway, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the rest in the series. There was too much hand-twisting-oh-me-oh-my. Besides that I didn’t feel as if I knew Francesca. She was just a name in the other books and she never seemed fully-developed in this one. So, this one was a disappointment. I wonder if the Bridgerton series is like the Star Trek movies – even/odd/good/bad.
Kay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.