Julia Quinn explores this idea in her romance novel, When He Was Wicked. Michael is in love with Francesca, who is married to his cousin, John. But when John dies suddenly, Michael is too guilt-ridden and absorbed in his mourning that he cannot and will not open his heart to Francesca.
Throughout the novel, Michael struggles with his feelings, allowing the guilt that he feels from his cousin dying to keep him from what he wants - a life full of love and happiness with Francesca. Readers can relate to Michael through his fear, guilt, and self-esteem. He's scared that Francesca will never love him and he allows that to stop him from trying to win her heart. How often do all of us not do something because we let fear get in the way?
Does Michael indeed deserve Francesca? Would it be unfair of him to woo the woman his closest cousin once loved? Or is he just holding himself back from what he could easily obtain, making himself his own worst enemy?
When He Was Wicked on Amazon
rating: 3/5 cups