He Was Kind If I Stopped

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The first man she ever loved in her life was taken from her by her half-sister.

So she took the older brother of her first lover as her own.

Emperor Achilleon, the man who brought an entire continent to its knees knelt at her feet.

It was Hazel who made him beg for love.

“Tell me, what does my Empress want?”

She was able to get whatever she wanted.

Except for one thing: her first love.

On the night of the hunting festival, when she was beautifully decorated and invited.

The emperor offered her his most coveted prey.

“What do you think? Isn’t this much gentler?”

“Ah, Your Majesty.”

“I’m a husband who will let my wife have everything she desires.”

Caught up in her ‘sweet’ husband’s cruel plans for revenge, Hazel faced her last chance to undo everything, however…

“I found it.”

The emperor’s blue eyes shone only on her.

Associated Names
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그만하면 다정했다
Related Series
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Recommendation Lists
  1. Best of the Best
  2. ceaseless
  3. rae's bunnies
  4. Romance fantasy
  5. rofan novels stuck in my tabs pt. 2

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Review
10 Reviews


mtzig
mtzig
Sep 06, 2021
Status: c40
I wrote a long and winding review (I'm sorry lol) below but
TLDR: The premise of this story somewhat reminds me of "I Don't Want to Be loved" -- albeit with in my opinion a much better written heroine and I sincerely hope it won't go to sh*t like that story. But otherwise it's a must read.

What struck me when I first saw this novel was the book-cover and how it deviated from the norm of Korean romance novels by lacking a drawing of a beautiful heroine on it. Rather, all it has is the drawing of a beautiful slightly mysterious aristocratic figure whom I presumed (correctly) at the time would be the male lead. This paired with the somewhat enigmatic and wistful title "He Was Kind if I Stopped" drew me in to read the story.

I highlight this observation about the cover as I believe that it in some ways (whether deliberately or not on the author's part) is indicative of the novel as a whole. Just like how the cover does not have a beautiful, lithe and perfect heroine gracing it, the novel similarly does not have a perfect, flawless, good princess as its heroine. Unlike other popular Korean romance novels such as "The Tragedy of the Villainess", "Remarried Empress" or "Who Stole the Empress", our heroine, Hazel, is not the saintly overwhelming embodiment of good being bullied and plotted against by undoubtedly evil and tr*shy antagonists. Rather she resides in the grey zone, a flawed imperfect character that strives to do the best for herself. And while the novels I listed above are undoubtedly amazing novels (otherwise I wouldn't be reading them), it is still quite refreshing to read a novel that deviates from the well trodden path and presents a not so perfect heroine.

While the novelty of a deeply flawed heroine is interesting, it by itself does not mean a deeply interesting story. After all "I Don't Want to Be Loved" which has a similar premise to this story also has a deeply flawed main character. But in that story, rather than evoking interest and sympathy in me, the heroine just brought me disgust and frustrations at her actions. However fear not, that phenomenon does not occur in this novel due to the author's ability to create a cause to justify each and every one of Hazel's actions. As an example, while Hazel is a woman who selfishly married the emperor -- who was deeply infatuated with her -- simply to get back at her first love, the emperor's half brother Sisef, that fell in love with her half-sister, this is only half the story. For she is also a princess who was never loved by her father because to him she was the epitome of the political struggle he despises -- the puppet on a string of a queen backed by a powerful family. She was the princess who had to suddenly accept the entrance of a half-sister who was showered in the paternal love she never got. She was the princess, whose first real friend and first real love was taken away by that sister. She was the princess who never felt the love of her father that her sister easily received and lost her first friend and love to the same sister. She was the princess who finally after all this pain and perceived injustices finally made this flawed and bad decision to marry the emperor to get back at them. Thus while Hazel does make some questionably selfish and despicable choices, considering the magnitude of these misdeeds (she's not commiting genocide as a mass-mu*derer) and the fact that they aren't arbitrary but come about by misguided decisions from her own misfortunes, the author creates a convincing and realistic character that garners support and sympathy from the reader.

And because this novel is a regression-style novel (surprise if you couldn't see that coming from the synopsis), we also see significant change in the Hazel of pre-regression and post-regression which adds another dynamic to the story. Post-regression Hazel has been traumatized by a husband who killed her first love under the (I believe) misguided belief that they've been having an affair behind his back. Furthermore, he locks her up in a room to become a baby breeding machine and he r*pes her daily (btw this isn't a spoiler cuz it happens in the first 2 chapters) causing Hazel to fall into deep despair before she finally escapes back in time. This trauma is vividly depicted by the author and sets the stage for the sort of character Hazel will be in the story. For unlike some other regression stories, Hazel does not seek revenge or reconciliation nor does she try to use her knowledge of the future to her advantage. Rather she just wants to avoid both her first love and the emperor all together and leave nightmare behind. The traumatic incidence and Hazel's actions in response to it, is in my opinion the strongest part of the novel. It's genuinely interesting to see how Hazel tries to slowly recover herself and repent from her "foolish" past -- and this redemption on her part further drives my sympathy and like of her as a character.

In this review, I have mostly only focused on Hazel, however most of the other characters are similarly not simply black or white. Besides Lady Pais -- the mother of Hazel's half sister -- who is the prime antagonist of this story and seem to be written like such simply as a narrative device to drive tension (although this opinion of mine may simply be because it's still somewhat early in the novel and I haven't had much exposure with the character), the actions of everyone else (for the most part) have justifications behind their actions. For some, these justifications are somewhat extreme and tenuous, such as the emperor raping Hazel (which in my opinion is an entirely unforgivable crime but will probably be brushed past in this novel for the sake of "romance") for cheating on him, but despite this it brings a greater sense of realism to the story. It makes the story more believable and less like some cheap cathartic escapist story where the heroes trample on the face of the s*upid bad villains that some other Korean novels tend to fall into.

And while as this is a romance novel and thus it is most definitely that Hazel and the emperor are to (sadly) end up together, I am intrigued and curious how the story will proceed and go forward. I honestly have no idea what direction the story will take (fingers crossed Hazel and the emperor stay separated), but I am cautiously optimistic that an amazing story will unfold.

Thus, ultimately I would recommend giving this novel a read. It's not the next Salinger or Nabokov or Austin. It doesn't hold some deep profound commentary about trauma or redemption. But as a guilty pleasure type of reading, it's amazing. Perhaps, Hazel isn't your traditional delicate saintly flower or your typical strong beautiful flawless female lead, but her tenacity in trying to climb out her past nightmare and redeem herself is both admirable and interesting to see. While it does start out dark (in case you couldn't see from my review), it builds on it with interesting characterization and plot. And while the pacing is somewhat slow and thus more conducive to spurts of binge reading every 30ish chapters, the high quality translation makes the reading experience pleasant and easy.
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evanesco99211
evanesco9921
Jul 11, 2021
Status: c33
MC's background is quite pitiful and the situation she got herself stuck in is stressful. Still, that doesn't change the fact she is, somehow, unlikeable. Even though her husband in the first life turned into a rapist after he lost his trust in her (for what I think are valid reasons to lose one's trust), I actually like him and sympathize with him a lot more than I do the MC. For one thing, he is consistent, kind, and not unnecessarily cruel (until he finally breaks, I guess), unlike the... more>> MC with her constant mixed signals, volatile actions, and unstable mind.

Spoiler

I mean, really? Put your hands in the air if YOU like it AND would NEVER feel suspicious if YOUR spouse, for YEARS, constantly stares at her ex who lives at YOUR house. Maybe your method is a bit wrong but due to the suspicion, you put a bait to confirm your doubt AND your spouse ACTUALLY took it (in this case, our MC sneakily ran to find her ex after reading a scandalous note from him). What exactly would run through your mind? Even if your spouse denies it so much, would YOU actually believe your spouse's words over their past actions that they chose to take? Yeah, hence I sympathize more with her husband and despise her for her s*upidity. I still do NOT condone his actions after that. There is no denying, however, that he is a lot more patient compared to me. I would have made my stance clear and divorced her if she chose to continue even if the sharks are obviously going to destroy her after that. Heh, that makes me wonder if people would hate yandere ML more or heartless ML more.

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Hence, it makes the story interesting.

I'm used to somewhat likeable MC. To read a story with this kind of MC, give off a different feeling. It's a similar feeling to dealing with a problem child. Instead of being almost 100% supportive of the MC, I feel like I've been cursing her often while trying to be supportive. Sometimes, I don't even care about her and just enjoy reading about the ex-husband and their hot scenes.

For now, I'll keep reading just to see how it goes. <<less
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Lulucute
Lulucute
Oct 15, 2021
Status: c54
Well since the publisher demanded for the translation to be stoppped there's nothing I can do about this. God, I truly have the worst of luck whenever I like a korean novel. Anyways, I truly loved this novel, I enjoyed every chapter that was given to us by the translator (thank you for the hard work). I liked the female lead, I truly did. Very rare we get a female protagonist who is emotionally not loyal, torn between power and love and also impulsive. Almost 9 times out of 10... more>> makes bad decisions or is impatient when she has a plan and wants to execute it. I just feel she is more human than other fls who are either just known for being beautiful and pure or cunning and independent. Honestly, she is a mess which I appreciate cause like I said it made her more human and we humans don't always do the right thing or pick the right choices. For the Ml, ooooh do I like him. I like the crazy type, I truly do and I wanted to see his development throughout the novel but unfortunately I will not get that. I hope at some point the publisher will change their mind and give their consent to translate this novel. Anyways, I enjoyed it a lot and I have to say probably one of the best written and one of the best Korean novels I have read so far. <<less
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Aleaxo
Aleaxo
Sep 18, 2021
Status: c40
I don’t think Hazel is as bad as some make her out to be. She is suffering from trauma and mistreatment. The only person who showed her kindness was Sisef which in turn made Hazel depend on him emotionally. He was clearly leading her on/ giving her hope in regards of their relationship. Him betraying the MC with her half sister naturally scarred the MC. It’s only natural for her to be in despair which lead to a tragic ending in the Mc’s past life. She realizes her mistakes in... more>> her new life and definitely is starting to change for the better. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of Hazel’s character growth. <<less
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jeehunst
jeehunst
Sep 26, 2021
Status: c48
This is my favorite type of novel, if you appearently like obsessive/yandere male lead then this is perfect for you to read. I don't hate the MC, I think she's doing her best but I hope she will realize sooner which option is the best for her so she could survive from any danger that threatens her. Because the novel is still new and the raw is currently on c104, the novel has a slow progression that makes me a little bit sad because I can't wait for the ending!!... more>> So far the MC is doing great. Can't wait for the future chapters!!
Spoiler

I hope Hazel started to have feelings towards Achilleon, even tho the ML was a jerk before because he thought that Hazel cheated on him with his half-brother but still before everything went chaos he was such a sweet and loving husband. He even make Hazel the only empress and women that he will ever have😭.

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Spoiler

I add this because I just saw someone review on this novel, YES THE MAID. PLEASE KEEP YOUR MOUTH TO YOURSELF. How many times does the MC already told the maid to keep her mouth and to be careful?? And yeah the maid annoyed me to death. I wish the MC will punish the maid or something at least that maid will shut her mouth more often.

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Ichigoeater
Ichigoeater
Sep 26, 2021
Status: c48
It's not bad. The MC is okay, and the person complaining about her in their review is overexaggerating.

... more>>
Spoiler

I'm extremely prejudiced against adultery due to personal reasons, I should state that first. So, the MC's mistake in the previous life of going to meet her white moonlight after being married, I'd normally absolutely hate it. But as I read more, I kind of get it. I mean, I don't see what's so great about him that she'd be so thirsty for him, but given her experiences, it could be said that he was her only light, and when even he was taken away after everything else was, it became an obsession even being empress won't absolve.

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Also, my opinion of the ML has yet to improve. Like, at all.

Spoiler

She came to his bed willingly to have a one night stand, as a sort of short-sighted revenge on her white moonlight. She stayed because she was corrupted by power. She wasn't a good person, by any means, but that means she has room to grow. The ML, on the other hand, is nothing but an archetype. He's got power, he's in the highest position, and is cold-hearted. Never seen that before. But his treatment of the MC after her alleged liaison (without a proper investigation, as it didn't actually happen) is outright unforgivable. He worked hard to make her absolutely miserable to the point of wishing for death. And, having seen him in the past, my analysis is that he is a huge, steaming pile of doo-doo, a complete failure as a human being.

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The story has potential because of the MC's growth, but she always flubbs without a fight when it comes to the pig ML, even though she's supposed to be fearful and revolted by him. Logically, after what he did to her, it should be impossible for them to be together unless she's forced. Generally, I hate MLs like this the most, so for him alone, I'm docking two stars. He's just unpleasant to read.

Also, Mary, the maid. Dude. MC. Just tell her you hate the princes to death, or at least punish her when she irresponsibly decides what you want without input. Jesus. <<less
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sopherius
sopherius
Oct 14, 2021
Status: c106
I- this is my guilty pleasure novel don't come for me.

The female lead is a hit or miss for some people and I can tell why. I actually like her character.

... more>>
Spoiler

Her main goal is to have a better relationship with her father so he won't try to marry her off to some creep just for political reasons- and also to have better control over who walks all over her in the castle. A side goal is to avoid the two male love interests and not get involved with either of them in general, which isn't working out since they are princes formally visiting her country to sign a peace treaty- so she can't hide herself away for long. Despite this, a lot of things are going very differently than they did in the first timeline, and I mean that in both a good way and a concerning way.

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It's been an interesting read, I've enjoyed it so far. <<less
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bozakir
bozakir
Aug 23, 2021
Status: c10
You know those regression stories where some incel gets back in time just so that he can take revenge from (his inferiority complex fueled delusions) the world? This is that story but for women. Hazel is a despicable bastard. Bad things happen to her and she has my sympathies. But bad things happening to bad people do not make them sympathetic. She is still a despicable bastard, just one that bad things happened to.

I am scoring this 2.0 not because I despise MC's character but her character changes... more>> for no discernible reason, without any pathos. "She was obsessed with Sisef in a way that seemed odd now." (the obsession, that caused sh*t hitting the fan in the first place and caused everything, just goes poof) Which is just bad writing.
<<less
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Maririma1408
Maririma1408
Aug 08, 2021
Status: c20
So far, I like the story progression. And I have hope that the FL will be able to live a better second life this time around.

Spoiler

Although I must say, the first few chapters narrating about the FL's first life were rather... dark. And it evidently shows the ML's yandereness (and it's not like the fluffy yandere. It's more like the dark obsessive yandere. Tho idk if that'll change in the second life.)

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SmilingSunshine
SmilingSunsh
Nov 16, 2022
Status: c52
Hi, it's great so far 🙂 But when are they going to finish translating this?! They left it with a cliff hanger 😖!No nobody was hanging off of a cliff but just bam that's it! And It's been ten months since someone last uploaded a translated chapter 😭! It says on here that over 200 chapters have been written, so where's the rest of them?! Could someone translate the rest please! Pretty please with a cherry on top 🥺?

Update: Never mind 😞 I just read the review before mine for... more>> some reason the publisher doesn't want it translated 😞. But why? If it's about money I'm willing to pay for the book as long as it's not over $30 🥺 <<less
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