Monday, July 11, 2011
When Beauty Tamed the Beast
Linnet Thrynne is the belle of the ton and everyone has taken notice, including one of the royal dukes, the Prince Augustus Frederick. But when the scandal breaks, the Prince hies it off to a castle, and Linnet is left outcast from society with everyone believing she is pregnant. Her father, a Viscount, and her aunt, the very dramatic Zenobia, run roughshod over her suggestions and come with a solution. The Duke of Landling is desperate to find his son, Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, a wife, and since Piers is believed to be impotent and the Duke is obsessed with royalty, the belief that she is carrying a royal bastard is more of a help than a hindrance. Piers has earned a reputation as a beast since he is a doctor who treats his patients with very little patience and yells at everyone who crosses him. There is no love lost between father and son as Piers has never forgiven his father for being an opium addict who, while intoxicated, threw him into a fire and permanently damaged his leg so that Piers still walks with a can. The Duke also divorced his loyal and loving wife and dragged her through the mud when she left him.
Piers is determined not to like his father's choice, but Linnet is certainly gorgeous and she brings happiness to his dreary hospital. She immediately befirends several of the patients and proves invaluable in the sickroom and soon Piers finds himself offering to teach her to swim. Seeing her in nothing but a wet chemise makes it all too clear that Piers is not impotent and he sees the need to make it clear to her that he will not marry her and she agrees that she would never marry him. But the two spend more time together, both during swimming lessons, and while Piers is grousing at patients that Linnet is trying to help, and neither can resist the other. Sparks fly between them, but Piers still refuses to admit that there is a possible future with Linnet, even while she finds that she is falling in love with her grumpy lover. When his mother begins to forgive his father, Piers clings even more tightly to his unhappiness and throws Linnet out. Only when it is a matter of life and death does he come to his senses and realizes he would do anything, risk anything, to win back the woman he loves.
I was initially worried about Linnet because the first chapter was all about how beautiful and perfect and well liked she was. But she did become real as the book progressed and I was able to see her faults and that there was a real person who had feelings, and cared about others' happiness, underneath the very beautiful facade. She was definitely not very self aware as she did spend a good portion of the book convinced that Piers was not the right man for her even as it was obvious she was falling in love with him. It was nice to see that she was able to stand up to the gossip and survive on her own. Piers was not so likeable, and that is the god's honest truth, because he was certainly miserable and unhappy and seemed to do his best to be completely unlikeable and make everyone around him as miserable as he was. Yes, he was in immense pain because of his injury, yes he had to deal with some lying and miserable patients, but I just wanted to slap him and tell him to smile. He was even less self-aware than Linnett with his bad attitude and insistence they wouldn't suit in the face of the truth.
While I could see what he saw in her, because she was caring and considerate to the patients, I really did not see what she saw in him. He was intelligent in regards to the medical profession, but the brief moments when they were together and happy doesn't equal a lasting and caring relationship to me. Other authors have done unhappy heroes much better and the heroes have ended up changing/ redeeming themselves throughout the book, but in this instance there was just one very dramatic incident at the end where Piers had to prove his love and how much he had changed. I was definitely not impressed to find out that Piers was based on my least favorite television character, Dr. House, who, to me, represents everything that is wrong with the medical profession and makes me fear going to meet a new doctor. I really did enjoy the side plot about the romance between his mother and father and it really rang true and was quite heart rending to read about a man who was desperately trying to make up for the many mistakes he had made when he was addicted to opium; it was very moving.
Rating: One character that I liked and one that I absolutely loathed did not lead for a good romance, but the writing was lively and amusing and fast so it might be worth a try.