Miss Linnet Thrynne has to get married fast, after her obvious flirtation with a prince and an unfortunate fashion disaster has made the entirety of polite society convinced that she is pregnant. But what man would be willing to take a woman embroiled in scandal, possibly carrying an heir of royal blood?
Piers Yelverton, the Earl of Marchant, lives in a fairly remote spot in Wales, and has absolutely no wish to get married. He'd much rather practise medicine and let his formerly alcoholic father's bloodline die out without issue. Piers is a brilliant physician and also in constant pain due to a leg injury from his childhood (see bad relationship with his Dad). Yet when his father comes to visit, bringing the stunning Linnet with him, Piers can't help but be impressed, both with Linnet's physical charms, but by her sarcastic wit and refusal to be threatened or cowed by him. Used to bossing his junior doctors around and having everyone obey his every whim, he rather likes having Linnet around to talk back at him.
As the gorgeous Linnet and the crotchety Piers spend more time together, their attraction grows. But when an outbreak of scarlet fever erupts in a nearby village, their budding romance might come to a dramatic end.
Eloisa James freely admits that her hero, the Earl of Marchant is based on Dr. Gregory House, and that, as well as some of the wonderfully witty dialogue between the many different characters, is what really made the book for me. Linnet isn't a bad heroine, but no matter how witty, it's hard to fully sympathise with a character who's looks are constantly described as gorgeous, stunning and bewitching. Piers, with all this flaws, was a lot more appealing, and I admired his dedication as a physician, as well as understood his fraught relationship with his father - alcoholism really can and has destroyed many a happy family.
By no means one of my all-time favourite romances, the Regency version of Dr. House more than made up for some of the flaws the book had, and the book really is a lot better than the awful cover makes it seem.