The novel takes inspiration from many sources -- from the Fox TV show House; from a real-life doctor who published a medical manifesto in 1799; from Enid Blyton's children's books; and from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock, written by T. S. Eliot. Intrigued yet?
The prince (an earl, actually) is not handsome and is about as charming as Dr. Gregory House (to whom he bears a striking resemblance). The lady is not the poor ward of an evil stepmother, but a woman fallen into disgrace. In When Beauty Tamed the Beast, these two souls, judged by everyone on appearances alone, discover the true beauty found in loving someone no matter how they appear -- regardless if they are a beauty or a beast.
The Beast: Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, crippled and angry, hides himself in Wales, serving as a doctor and surgeon to surrounding towns. While brilliant at diagnosing even the most unusual maladies (again, like House!), Piers can't master the art of polite conversation. Instead, he snarls and snaps at everyone who crosses his path…even the breathtaking Linnet.
The Beauty: Linnet Berry Thrynne was the most beautiful woman -- like Helen of Troy whose smile could bring men to their knees -- until nasty rumors force her to retreat to Wales for an arranged marriage with the reclusive Earl of Marchant. Instead of being repulsed by his beastly demeanor, though, she sees him as an intriguing challenge. Will she be able to break through his snarly facade and discover the man within?
Eloisa James is well known for her ability to write an incredible romance, but her mastery of fairy tale comes from a more personal level. Eloisa's father is the poet Robert Bly, most famous for his interpretation of the Grimm Brothers fairy tale, Iron John, which sold millions of copies worldwide in the 1990s. James' eloquent interweaving of fairy tale, romance and real life makes for a fantastic novel that will sweep you off your feet this Valentine's Day. For more about Eloisa and her books, visit her website.
Don't miss the rest of our Valentine's Day recommended reading list. If you're in the mood for a heartfelt read, we picked Dreaming in English or if you have a more unusual idea of what love is for Valentine's Day, check out our Raven's Bride book pick.
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