The opening scene of this book is hysterical. Our heroine Linnet has just been ruined. Why is this funny? There were a couple factors in her being shunned from the ton but the biggie was her new gown. It's this fabulous new frilly ballgown...that makes her look pregnant!!! Combine that with her absolutely gorgeous face, her large bosom, her mother's reputation, and being seen kissing a prince, she's ruined.
Her father and her aunt felt it was her beauty. She got it from her mother, Rosalyn, who was never faithful...or discreet.
"I've been a model of chastity this season. In fact, through my entire life!"
Her father frowned. "It's just that there's something about you--"
"You look naughty," her aunt said, not unkindly."God help Rosalyn, but this is all her fault. She gave it to you. That dimple, and something in your eyes and about your mouth. You look like a wanton."
The first chapter had me smiling like crazy at how witty Linnet is, and how witty the author Eloisa James is. This is part of her series that had A Kiss at Midnight and Storming the Castle. For me, both of those were 5 star reads.
Then we meet Dr. House, er, I mean, Piers. Piers is a doctor in Wales who is just brilliant. But he's
His father, the duke, sprung a fiance on him, though, and Piers went out of his way to make her miserable...but Linnet didn't scare easily. Mind you, she's just been sent to Wales, after being shunned from the only society she's ever known. And the way she handled Piers was fantastic. I adored her. Usually super gorgeous heroines who know they are beautiful are just either idiotic TSTL silly chits, or they are just plain irritating. Linnet was none of that. She was a fabulous heroine. Eloisa James writes wonderful heroines.
That being said, I may rant a bit.
Piers and Linnet were engaged because Linnet was supposedly pregnant, and Piers was supposedly impotent. The duke wanted an heir...voila! A foolproof plan. Right?
******SPOILER AHEAD, but I can't continue without telling it*****
They start having sex. Lots of it, and all the time. I liked the personality change that Piers went through-he stayed true to himself (by which I mean he was still an ass) but we got to see the inner hero material in him.
Too bad he didn't stay that way. He was suddenly inundated by villagers who had Scarlet Fever. It becomes an epidemic. Villages are warned...and Piers' solution to keeping Linnet from contracting the disease is to drive her away so she'll leave the infected village. So he tells her some really incredibly UNFORGIVABLY horrible things. Linnet finally tells him she loves him, and this is his answer:
"For God's sake, have you no dignity? I tupped you and we were good together. But you're not the first and you won't be the last."
As if that isn't bad enough, Linnet gets Scarlet Fever. (ahem, duh-she was at ground zero of the epidemic!)
And he's sent her away. Alone. And she ends up unable to speak to tell the innkeepers what's wrong...so they steal her clothes, carriage, horses, and whatever else their sticky little fingers can find.
And they put linnet in an old chicken coop. No, really.
And His Assholiness Dr. Piers Yelverton is able to come to her rescue. He was awful to her. Pages of him rejecting her. And then he gets to come in and play hero? I was pissed, but I handled it. (deep breaths, right?) And Piers really did go through hell to keep Linnet alive. And he does keep her alive...at the expense of her hair-he chopped it off rather than wash the chicken poo out of it, even though he washed her body. Okay, that was a bit harsh-what did Linnet do to deserve that? Then after days, she did pull through, but anyone who's seen Scarlet Fever knows it turns the skin red (a friend of mine in high school had it-she was out for 2 weeks! I could only imagine that 200 years ago). So Linnet's skin is scaley and scabby and red and peeling. She feels that if Piers rejected her when she was beautiful, he won't want her now that she's lost her beauty-she thinks forever. She refuses to see Piers because she doesn't want to see pity in his eyes. He believed she lost faith in him, in his feelings for her...He freaking rejected her!!! She thinks he loves her, but i'm curious how she knew it. As you can tell, this is where the book fell apart for me.
He continued to be an ass to Linnet, who took him back...healed and didn't loose her beauty, and they lived happily ever after. with an epilogue.
I'm still pissed.