If the five star rating is not a clear indication, I absolutely love When Beauty Tamed the Beast. I cannot stop raving about how good it is. When youIf the five star rating is not a clear indication, I absolutely love When Beauty Tamed the Beast. I cannot stop raving about how good it is. When you pick up an Eloisa James' book, you know that you will receive more than just a romance genre novel. Besides the fantastic research for the historical period, she brings the characters and the story to life. By the end of the book, I was crying and visibly shaking from the characters' torments. I bit my nails waiting for the happily ever after that I knew was sure to come. In my final stretch of reading, I stayed up from 11pm until 5am to finish the book.
The story begins like any fairy tale with a beautiful maiden. Linnet is a woman envied by all because she has beauty, wit, charm, and intelligence. She deserves a prince, and she even gets one to fall madly in love with her. Yet, he does not marry her, and she quickly falls from society's good graces. Suddenly, she is thrust in the midst of a beast. Piers is insanely attractive, so he does not look like a beast. His temper and brutal honesty renders him a beast. He does not worry about social graces, and uses his analytical eye to diagnosis all the people that come to his castle. The two protagonists are more similar than either realizes, and they quickly form a friendship that is destined to be one of the greatest romances ever told, that of Beauty and her Beast.
The supporting characters were all necessary, from the most inconspicuous ones, such as the duckling doctors in training that follow Pierce around to the necessary ones, like Linnet's maid. James has a talent of breathing life into every character. She even develops a side story about Piers' parents that is so charming that their relationship is a rival to Linnet's and Pierce's.
As I listened to the audiobook, Susan Duerden played a key role in bringing every single character to life. Her voices is fantastic! I especially like the French and Welsh accents that she uses in the book. For example, Gavin, the little boy that Linnet meets in the west wing, is absolutely endearing with Duerden's accolades. She is an excellent narrator, and I look forward to other audiobooks with her voice talents.
The setting is fun and just the right amount of difference from some of the versions of "Beauty and the Beast." Linnet travels from her home in London to a strange castle in Wales where she is to meet her future beastly husband. The castle is not a traditional one. It is used as a hospital, and Piers is an ingenious diagnostic doctor. He situates the various wings according to the patients' illnesses, so now the west wing really has medical secrets for Beauty to discover. Piers' cousin, Sebastian, rivals the main character and acts the counterpart to Piers. Where one is a diagnostic doctor, the other is a gifted surgeon. Sebastian reminds me a little bit of Lumiere from the Disney version of "Beauty and the Beast," but that is probably because of his French accent and the frivolous manner in which he dresses.
The action is well paced. The beginning is a little slow because it takes quite a few chapters before Linnet makes it to Wales to meet the fearsome beast. However, the beginning is very important because it sets the stage for details about Linnet's past that will be crucial midway and at the end of the book. Both her father and aunt are truly uninspiring and selfish characters, yet Linnet loves her family all the same. Her mother is an unfaithful trollop, and, still, her daughter loves her completely. There is a strong emphasis on forgiveness and love in the book that the early chapters layout.
The main action scenes are right near the end of the book when the fairytale comes crashing down around Linnet. I cannot say much about these scenes without spoiling the book, but once you hit this part, you will not be able to stop reading. I could not set the book down. I needed the afterglow from the happy ending. It is fast-paced, believable, and really illuminates the courage and unshakable faith that true love entails. It is my favorite and least favorite scene in a romance novel all at once. I have no idea how James accomplishes this feat, but I loved and hated the climax.
As with all of James' books, there will be a happily ever after. I loved it! It felt like a perfectly real fairy tale, if that makes sense.
I never thought I would love another book as much as Scottish Rose by Janis Laden. When Beauty Tamed the Beast is the one book that rivals my all time favorite romance novel. I recommend this book to mature individuals, after all there are some steamy sex scenes, who love a good twist to a well-known fairy tale. Make sure you read the author's note at the end to find out some interesting facts about doctors and the research that James put into this masterpiece. ...more