Thursday, March 03, 2011

When Beauty Tamed the Beast, Eloisa James

Title: When Beauty Tamed the Beast
Author: Eloisa James
Published: 2011, HarperCollins
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 8/10

Eloisa James is one of my absolute favorite romance authors, so I bought this one as soon as it came out. Even though I wasn't crazy about her last one (A Kiss at Midnight) and I was even less crazy about The Lady Most Likely, which she co-wrote with Julia Quinn and Connie Brockway. But When Beauty Tamed the Beast was lovely! Yay.

This is (obviously) a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, though it follows the original storyline only very slightly and is quite original. Linnet Thrynne is the beauty -- the most beautiful woman on the marriage mart in London. Unfortunately, she attracted the attention of the prince, who then dumped her and ruined her reputation even though she didn't really do anything wrong. So her father sends her off to Wales as a prospective bride for Piers Yelverton, who is the son of a Duke. He is the beast of the story, but rather than being beastly in appearance, he's beastly in attitude -- a seriously painful injury sustained as a child has made him an irascible man who is rude to pretty much everyone. He's also a doctor, which is quite unusual for a gentleman of that time period. Linnet at first thinks that this match is impossible, but as she gets to know him better, she sees him for the good man he is.

I really loved all the characters in this book. Linnet is smart and surprisingly not annoyingly snobby about her beauty. And Piers! So funny. As I was reading the book, I was thinking, who does this guy remind me of? And then it occurred to me -- House! And the author actually says in the afterword that he was the inspiration for Piers. The dialog between Linnet and Piers is such a delight to read. I also appreciated that while it's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it's really very original, with a great little twist on the story at the end.