Francesca Bridgerton as played by Hannah Dodd in season three of Bridgerton
(Netflix)

Francesca and John’s Love Story in ‘Bridgerton’ Is Just the Beginning

Are we seeing the beginning of Francesca's happily ever after?

Bridgerton is back with season 3, and fans are thrilled to see Penelope and Colin’s relationship blooming! We’re also seeing Francesca Bridgerton in court, leading us to wonder if this is the beginning of her happily ever after.

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But first, let’s talk about this season of Bridgerton so far. In season 3, fans are introduced to a new actress playing Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd). While we spend most of the first four episodes with Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan), Francesca also gets a bit of time to shine. She’s old enough to go to court, which means that she’s Queen Charlotte’s (Golda Rosheuvel) pick to sparkle. But for all of Lady Danbury’s (Adjoa Andoh) plotting, it seems as if Francesca has made up her mind.

John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin (Victor Alli) has captured the young Bridgerton’s attention. While Francesca is being courted by both Stirling and Marquis Samadani (David Mumeni), by the end of the fourth episode it’s clear that Francesca has deeper affections for Stirling. That’s what happens when a man listens to a woman and recognizes what she likes! Is there anything sweeter than the moment when he brings her sheet music??

Spoilers ahead for the Bridgerton book series.

Francesca’s story plays out similarly in the Bridgerton books, but not necessarily with John. As we’ve seen in the series, the other Bridgerton children have all been matched, and it seems as if Francesca’s love match could be with Stirling instead of Marquis Samadani. That said, even when things go well for them, John does not end up being Francesca’s love match.

Fans of the books are a little wary of what is currently happening in the series. So what exactly goes down between Francesca and John Stirling?

The books tell a different tale

As of this moment in Bridgerton season 3, we’re still in the “happy” part of John and Francesca’s story, but things don’t stay that way in the books. The two are only married for a couple of years before John unfortunately passes away. He complains of a headache and suddenly dies later that day, leaving Francesca a widow. So just when you think she’s found happiness, Francesca’s real love story has barely even started.

In the books, Francesca’s lasting relationship is with Stirling’s cousin, Michael, whom she meets just a few days before marrying John. We haven’t yet met Michael in the show, probably because Francesca and John are not yet engaged or ready to marry, but knowing what happens in the Bridgerton books does put a dark cloud over their relationship. Enjoy it while you can!


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.