RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James


Title: When Beauty Tamed the Beast
Author: Eloisa James
Publication Info: Avon 2011
ISBN: 978-0062021274
Genre: Regency

When Beauty Tamed The Beast This review was written by Tessa. This story was nominated in the Best Regency Historical Romance category.

The summary:     

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?

And here is Tessa's review:

While this novel is a re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast story, it is only so in the loosest form with an Earl/Doctor who is call the Beast and a stunningly beautiful woman as his fiancee.

Our Beast (Piers) is bad with people, suffering with chronic pain and a limp, who happens to be a brilliant anatomical pathologist and heir to a duchy. (If you are thinking of Dr. Gregory House, you would be right on the money.) Our Beauty (Linnet) is utterly ruined due to a kiss with a prince who won’t marry her, some bad shellfish, and a dress that makes her look very pregnant even though she is still a virgin. The Duke is estranged from Piers and thinks Linnet would make a perfect (already pregnant) wife for his presumed impotent son, so he announces their engagement and hauls her off to Wales to meet Piers.

You may be wondering why on earth a beautiful, smart, and well dowered woman would agree to go off and marry a grouchy and temper-prone doctor in Wales, even if he is heir to a duchy? Well, it is because the heroine dislikes kissing and thinks men are childish and rather annoying, so the thought of an impotent husband sounds like an excellent plan to her. Unfortunately, or actually quite fortunately, our hero’s equipment works just fine and he strategically keeps this information to himself until he manages to get her alone in a bedroom while they have conveniently left their clothes by the ocean. The sex scenes are good, but Eloisa James has written better ones and I thought they could have been longer or more of them.

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. Her Cinderella adaptation (A Kiss at Midnight) annoyed me but I did like her Princess and Pea adaptation (The Duke is Mine) so I hoped this would be more like the later than the former. It is. The story moves along at a nice, quick pace. The hero and heroine are quite snarky with each other, which I like. The secondary characters are interesting and move the plot along. There is an over-dramatic aunt who should be “treading the boards”, a former addict Duke and his French ex-Duchess, a spying butler, and a cute little boy with a broken leg.

One of the more interesting things about this book is the medical plot. Piers runs a sort-of teaching hospital out of his castle in Wales where he and the other doctors are trying to fix the very high mortality rate that accompanies surgery. The book is scattered with old wives tales and what we would now consider bad medicine. Piers and his cousin Sebastian are excellent doctors and people from all over come to the castle for treatment. One of those patients brings scarlet fever to the castle and the final third of the book is concerned with the epidemic. Our hero must save our heroine’s life, and then convince her that he loves her for more than her looks.

Now, I must caution the historical accuracy sticklers that you may be annoyed by the book with such lines as “What happens in Wales, stays in Wales” or two doctors named Kibbles and Bitts. I, personally, find such things funny, so it didn’t bother me that it was not Regency. I thought it was a fun story, much like a House episode mixed with some Grey’s Anatomy relationship drama. Piers is very much like House in that he is cranky, hobbles with a cane, and believes that everyone lies to doctors. If you are a big House fan, you might find this book amusing to think of what he would be like if he were stuck in Regency England where no one has ever heard of lupus. Or you might just find it distracting. I don't mind some meta in my literature, so I enjoyed watching for House-isms. Overall, I would say that it is a good read and worth checking out.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    cate says:

    It just goes to show that Eloisa James hasn’t been to Wales…Because I can assure you that – “What happens in Wales ….” gets shared with the the world and his wife – The Welsh are the most inquisitive & talkative people on the planet !

  2. 2
    Lynne Connolly says:

    Actually, if you want House in the Regency, here he is:

  3. 3
    Crystal F. says:

    You enjoyed this novel a lot better than I did then. The only time it really held my interest was when Linnet went missing.

    I remember not liking that the ‘pregnancy’ aspect in the very beginning, and the bet had been pushed silently to the sidelines. But that’s just my own feelings on it. ;)

  4. 4
    Crystal F. says:

    (Just adding that it’s been a year since I’ve read it, so it might not have been an ‘actual’ bet?)

  5. 5
    Dueep Jyot Singh says:

    I decided to give the book another chance because I decided that Eloisa James was pulling my leg. That was because I am a regency purist and decided not to wince at a British Prince who is a Duke (NO not ever gonna happen) and a Duke who is a doctor (Never in your life)
    So I decided to suspend disbelief and decided to read it for the wit. She is witty. The rest of the strory. He’s supposedly impotent and she’s pregnant because she looks it so the father decides to marry her off to a duke who would love a prince’s by blow. That’s the first chapter and that’s when I threw the book at the wall with a snarl.
    This Barbara cartland type twit keeps hooting inanities while her aunt and her fahter duke it out on she’s just like her sainted mother, a flighty flirty faithless bitch. Just because she’s just been kissed by a prince and then jilted. That gives her the intellegence and vocabulary of a rutabaga. But Eloisa James and Bobby dawson smith love such suspend disbelief stories because they don’t think much about their readers’ intelligence either. BDS has earls who are maths teachers in schools run by ladies.
    Gnnnn. Georgette heyer and Ms. Austen must be turning in their graves. But then what does one do with a reading audience which enjoys the nauseating idea of Mr Knightley being a sea monster and his wife enjoying her marital duties with a tentacled monster.
    Now that I have got rid of all that bile, my recommendation is forget about the regency idea. Think of the character as a beast tamed by a dumb beauty. and sex. that’s what sells.

    My rating – The curates egg. good in parts.

  6. 6
    kkw says:

    I enjoy the show House largely because I can watch Hugh Laurie do just about anything, but having him the hero in this book felt to me like some sort of rip-off fan fiction.  It felt like cheating on the author’s part, and I was disappointed, because I usually like Eloisa James, not withstanding her apparently uncontrollable inanity.

  7. 7
    bookworm-airhead says:

    I’m puzzled by your comment “decided not to wince at a British Prince who is a Duke (NO not ever gonna happen)”.  Are you saying that think this is unrealistic??  Because George IV, who was the Prince Regent (and therefore named the regency period), was Duke of Cornwall…

    Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, holds two dukedoms – Cornwall and Rothesay – as well as a few earldoms, baronetcies and other titles.  British princes generally are given a dukedom when they get married so Prince Andrew became Duke of York and Prince William is the Duke of Cambridge – it’s kinda what they do!

    Sorry if that sounds snarky!! It isn’t meant to…

  8. 8
    Dueep Jyot Singh says:

    Grin!Hey there was absolutely no snarkiness seen here . I really love the idea that somebody got me to elaborate. So that means that there is somebody out there who knows about Regency times and mores.
    I should have elaborated. Princes of the blood, especially those belonging to the British Royal family can be dukes, because after all their royal papas were the ones handing out the Dukedoms and the Marquisates. And that is why they were very protective about their Royal prerogatives. So a duke’s heir could never be a prince. On the other hand a Royal byblow could be a duke but he would not have the right to style himself a Prince. That title is only restricted to legitimate Princes.

    you may say that Prince Philip is the Duke of Edinburgh. But then he is a prince of the blood, a born prince of Greece, before he became the Queen’s consort.
    Eloisa james’ Prince what his name is nothing of the sort.
    in the same manner, the first son is titled Lord before he succeeds to his father’s title. The rest of the sons are just Honorables.

    This is just restricted to the British aristocracy. Other European aristocratic families have Dukes and counts styling themselves princes and princesses at the drop of a Crown.
    Also, this gives me a chance to wince about another airy fairy term used by so-called popular Regency authors.
    The heir to a dukedom or an earldom is never ever going to be called Jason Alexander II, or Jason Alexander III. The Roman alphabets behind the name is the prerogative of the Royal ruling family only.but this unimaginative concept of Roman numeralising one’s grandfather’s name is a totally Democratic American conceit of naming their kids the third, the forth and so forth, and in one fine day, we are going to have a American Who’s Who with XYZ the XIIIth and PQRS the XVII th. Talk about trying hard to stick to an idea of being an American blue blooded aristocrat….

    In the same manner European aristocrats would definitely not name their children something so common and plebian as Jason Alexander Junior. Do me a favour. Also,however much a wishful romance writer wants You to think so, Europe and the Middle East is not chock-a-block full of royalty, coming to America to pick up a half literate female from behind a bar somewhere in the midwest and make her into a princess.Also, talking about cavemen heroes. This idea was perpetrated by E.M. Hull’s The sheik who kidnapped Lady Diana and brutally forced her to be his slave. Naturally, this idea had every red-blooded American woman swooning in the Thirties. This so-called barbarian turned out to be a British aristocrat, but nobody bothered about his brutal behaviour, because that was expected from a Desert sheik, was not it. Huh???

    So if anybody wants to ask me how to write a Regency American-style, I am going to say something on these lines-
    The hero is a British aristocrat named Abu hassan the IV with an American grandmother and an Arabian mother.He is brought up in the desert by his father, who is adopted by a desert sheik, while he was out hunting Nubian lions.  His grandfather, the Duke of Vanderbilt brings his grandson home after the kid was found running wild with some pirates. Where did the pirates come from? Oh, they were hunting treasure in the Gulf of Persia. The Pirates immediately recognise the boy for the blueblood he is, because he calls them sirrah in an Oxfordian accent. So they take hold of him by an ear and drag him back home to England. They are suitably rewarded by the duke , who hangs them by the flag post because he does not have a yard arm handy.
    The duke is horrified at the boy’s unsuitable manners. He eats meat with his hands.
    And so he tells a virgin lady of aristocratic blood with lush lips and a lush figure ,(these attributes have to be emphasised especially the lush lips and lush hips) the lady Honoria who runs a finishing school for ladies to finish the boy and turn him into a worthy British gentleman.
    Naturally the lady teaches him everything about wenching by allowing him to practice on her.  And then she gets him ready to make his debut at Almack’s which she as a virgin of 8 seasons behind her knows very well.
    Why has not somebody thrown this book to the wall yet?
    I cannot think of anything more ridiculous to add here. How about his breaking out into a sword dance with lady Hester Stanhope, who was his Daddy’s lover and suddenly recognises him as her son?

  9. 9
    Norwegianne says:

    So a duke’s heir could never be a prince.

    Actually, you’re wrong here. The current Dukes of Gloucester and Kent, who were princes prior to inheriting the Dukedom of their fathers (who, themselves were sons of George V.) The grandchildren of the monarch are styled Prince/Princess of the United Kingdom, and their fathers are usually given the Ducal title.

    Ie. if Prince Andrew, the Duke of York had had a son, he would be Prince and the heir to the Ducal title.

    Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge will inherit the title Duke of Cornwall – and would have done so regardless of whether the Queen had given him the title he currently holds or not.

  10. 10
    Dueep Jyot Singh says:

    Yup, seems I made a big boo- boo here. Thanks so much my friend, for putting me straight- my mental druthers were all in a coil with too much half baked information!!
    You are right here. as in Prince Andrew.
    But let’s take Eloisa James’ Prince and other regency writers who keep thinking up titles without worrying about hierarchy and modes of addressing them.  I have not picked up her book from the corner where it was hurled five days ago because I could not be bothered about checking out further inanities .
    And what this site could do with is a good rant column, grin where one could talk about Broad Americanese spoken by Regency Lords like Hullo, my Lord,and so on.
    Here’s a taste!

    So now that other Regency wince making writers writing something on the lines of Lord XyZ said “I am in the soup for sure. And its only gonna get worse…”
    How does one get that way?
    Guess the book and the writer and you get an 18 gun salute.
    The dialogue is authentic. The name and title has been changed…


  11. 11
    Kim says:

    I know!  I felt like I was reading Alternate Universe House fanfiction!  AND, I PAID for it!

  12. 12

    I just couldn’t get past her name. “Linnet Berry Thrynne”? Has that EVER been period-appropriate?

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