Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Miss Linnet Berry Thrynne is a Beauty . . . Naturally, she's betrothed to a Beast.
Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, lives in a castle in Wales where, it is rumored, his bad temper flays everyone he crosses. And rumor also has it that a wound has left the earl immune to the charms of any woman.
Linnet is not just any woman.
She is more than merely lovely: her wit and charm brought a prince to his knees. She estimates the earl will fall madly in love—in just two weeks.
Yet Linnet has no idea of the danger posed to her own heart by a man who may never love her in return.
If she decides to be very wicked indeed . . . what price will she pay for taming his wild heart?
An original and well done rendition of the Beauty and the Beast tale. Piers, a brilliant doctor has a crippled leg and... umm... a crippled something else as well. He refuses to marry Linnet, the gorgeous redhead who has to come to his castle in Wales with his estranged father, a duke who made a series of mistakes in his past which terminated his marriage and caused the crippling injury to his son. Linnet is considered damaged goods amidst the ton in London, unfairly for she has done nothing to deserve it. (This part of the story was a bit much and unbelievable, but it served it's purpose by making Linnet the victim of the impression that everyone thinks she is pregnant by a prince and hence needs to marry to save her reputation.) Piers' father is also under the impression she is carrying a prince's child. A good thing, as far as he's concerned for he had given up hope his ducal line would continue due to his son's... umm... injury in his nether regions.
And so begins the story of how Linnet and Piers are thrown together, both refusing to marry yet both unaccountably attracted to the other which leads to some sexy scenes between them as they become playmates in every sense of the word. It turns out that Piers has manufactured the tale that he cannot sire children in order to make his father feel guilty from his past behavior as an opium addict when Piers was a child. I had trouble with Piers, I liked him yet I also disliked him for he was extremely gruff and I felt he should have forgiven his father much sooner. Thankfully, Linnet's entry into this damaged family is like a breath of fresh air. From her perspective she thinks they're all mad and the games and pretending they use against each other are ridiculous. They should all just get on with their lives and forgive and forget. Not so easy.
This was much more than just a simple romance. I loved many of the details and developments in the storyline including a natural ocean pool (very cool) where Piers swims everyday for therapy and teaches Linnet how to swim. The relationship between Piers divorced parents was a nice side story that I really enjoyed and the outbreak of Scarlet Fever and it's consequences to Linnet was compelling and kept my interest until the very end. Overall an engrossing story and one of the better Eloisa James' romances I've read.