For Eloisa James' latest book, she picked the Princess and the Pea as her inspiration. While Olivia Lytton isn't a princess by even the loosest of descriptions, and Tarquin, aka Quin, isn't anywhere near being charming, still the concept is there.
Olivia has been trained all her life to be a duchess, having been betrothed to a duke's heir since before she was even conceived. She has been taught everything it means to be a true lady. But, just because she knows what it means to be a lady doesn't mean that she appreciates that knowledge. Instead, she likes using puns in her everyday conversation, reciting naughty limericks at inappropriate moments and behaving more hoydenishly then genteelly.
Quin doesn't care whom he marries, he just knows he needs an heir. Since his mother was once married to a duke, why shouldn't she find his future wife? His first wife was of his own choosing and that was a complete disaster. This time, his mother can pick the woman, and he'll just keep his nose in his books.
All Olivia and Quin's plans are for naught the second they catch a glimpse of one another, when Quin opens the door late one evening to find a sodden siren on his doorstep. Despite both of their efforts to mask and conquer their feelings, they can't help but be drawn to each other.
I can only hope that Ms. James has as much fun writing this series as I am having reading it. Fairytales are used all the time in romance novels, even the concept of rewriting fairytales isn't uncommon, but somehow Ms. James has found a way to write the fairytales that makes them refreshingly new and yet somehow stay true to the basic concepts.
The hero and heroine are perfect for one another. Quin has no lack of book smarts, but can't traverse the minefield of human emotions to save his life. Olivia has not only an abundance of emotions herself, but has always been able to read people. Olivia is the first person that is able to explain people to Quin in a way that makes sense, and Quin is the first person that is able to make Olivia interested in less comedic pursuits.
Beyond Olivia and Quin, Ms. James has packed this book full of supporting characters that had me rolling with laughter, and yet, were never in danger of taking over the story - only enhancing it.
All in all, a great book with which to start the new year.