Imagine Dr. Gregory House as a Victorian.
As a member of the Adult Reading Round Table I receive certain assignments. One of those assignments this year is a deep dive into all things romance and, more specifically for this month, historical romance. While romance has never been my genre of choice, I have no problem curling up in bed and enjoying a sappy love fest once and a while. That being said I find it hard to find romance novels I actually enjoy as so many are rife with misogyny and sexism, which takes me completely out of the book. I stumbled upon this book while looking through the Goodreads historical romance results. The reviews for this title stated it wasn’t over the top with a hopeless heroine so I presumed it was worth a shot.
I was beyond surprised by how much I completely loved this book. When her life choices in London are questioned, Linnett Berry Thrynne is cast aside and betrothed to the only man who her father and aunt believe with take her, Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant and generally salty individual. Throughout the course of the novel it is revealed that Piers is considered a “beast” for two reasons; his gruff bedside demeanor as a genius doctor (think of Gregory House from the TV show House) and the fact that his leg is crippled from a childhood injury and he must use a cane. Linnett’s father disguises her as pregnant, which London already believes, and sends her off to Piers as it is assumed (incorrectly) that he is impotent due to his injury and she can provide and heir.
Although heavily relying on tropes and classic themes of romance, this book never feels stale and boring. The dialogue is sharp and smart, which is refreshing compared to many historical romances I have read. Linnett is her own person with her own ideals, who accepts herself falling in love the Piers and doesn’t deny it. Piers, while cantankerous and witty, still reads as likeable and honest. I never struggled with liking him the way I do most lead male love interests. He was a brilliant jerk, sure, but he never toed the line into cruelty unless it called for it.
This is a book I would happily read again and would quickly recommend to anyone who steers away from the genre due to the tropes and sexism. It’s a quick, fun read and made me want to give more Eloisa James books a chance. Although I was told the other books in this sears are not nearly as good as this one, I think I’d still be willing to try a book by this author or something similar!
Title: When Beauty Tamed the Beast
Author: Eloisa James
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Three Descriptors: Witty, Heartwarming, Engaging
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