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A second-time-around story for Francesca Bridgerton and Michael Stirling. Michael, an infamous rake, falls in love with Francesca on the day before her wedding to his beloved cousin, John, so he hides his feelings and becomes her friend… until, unexpectedly, his cousin John dies. Michael inherits the family fortune and title, and unwilling to take advantage of John's widow (despite his feelings) takes himself off to India. Four years later he returns. Francesca, newly out of half-mourning, has decided to look for a husband, and Michael's mother is urging him to look for a wife. We know which way it's heading but it's the route it takes that makes it interesting. Julia Quinn's Bridgerton novels are always entertaining.
Oh my goodness! This was by far the raunchiest of the Regency series, the Bridgertons! Francesca is #6 in the order of siblings to get the Julia Quinn treatment, and it had been a long time coming. At some point, during the other books, Francesca married and was whisked off to Scotland to take her seat with her Earl. Sadly, two years into their blissfully happy marriage, he passes away. Four years after being widowed, she realises that she wants to marry again. She wants, desperately, to be a mother. Michael, John's cousin, has been one of her best friends, throughout her short marriage, but, in her widowhood, he disappears off to India. He's been described as the Merry Rake, and now, as the new Earl, when he arrives back in the country, there is no shortage of offers for marriage. But none come close to being the right woman. Because the right woman is the one woman he can't have. Another great addition to the Bridgerton series, and the raunch factor was definitely upped in this one!
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed the other 7. Although there was always delicious lovemaking in the other books, and fitted naturally into the story, here I felt there was too much in this novel and it got in the way of the story. Francesca was always different to the other Bridgertons, but even so, she was TOO remote from the others. If I read 'But this is Michael' and her running away one more time I was going to scream! Each to their own I suppose, but this book wasn't for me.
I got this to complete a set - I first bought it a year or two ago, before the tv series was A Huge Thing, and enjoyed it. I didn’t watch the series but thought I’d read the rest of the Bridgerton books. I think it’s the best one. As historical romances go, it’s ok; as a depiction of an awkwardly framed love story, it’s good.
Out of all the female leads in JQ’s books I like Francesca the least, it’s all me me me. However the storyline is excellent and Michael needs a medal for perseverance. I do enjoy the book because the overlaps with books 4 and 5 do mean we see the other Bridgertons which is fabulous.
I actually really liked this one, although there was a lot of guilt... Which *spoilers* everybody knew was going to be resolved. Frankly if I were her first husband I wouldn't have been all that thrilled. It would have been nice to see the relationship between francesca and her first husband a bit more too. Some of the bridgerton books are a miss, but this is not one of them.