Beauty: Library Journal

Library Journal named Beauty one of the top Ten Best Romances of 2011, calling it a “funny, offbeat, deliciously sensual story that takes the famed fairy tale to a new level with its vivid description and exquisite writing."

Inside When Beauty Tamed the Beast

  • If you’ve never seen the Fox T.V. show, House, M.D., then you are missing a treat.  It was while watching Hugh Laurie’s brilliant performance as an irascible, egotistical doctor that I started wondering what it would be like to be a doctor back in the 1800s—with just that same amount of self-assured arrogance. A bit of digging led to a historical doctor who was pleasingly similar. So although my story (and Piers) veered wildly from House, my initial inspiration for Piers came from the television show.
  • I’ve always loved Beauty and the Beast. I grew up reading scarier versions than the Disney movie and its dancing teacups, but when my six-year-old daughter fell in love with Belle and the household staff, I happily watched (and re-watched) the movie with her. My heroine definitely has a flavor of Belle—a beautiful girl who is an intellectual at heart.
  • This is a book that, for one reason or another, is full of references to literature, especially to T.S. Eliot and Shakespeare—thus the butler named Prufrock, the references to the poem, and Linnet’s joke about Hamlet. If you’d like to read Eliot’s “The Love Poem of J. Alfred Prufrock,” here it is.
  • While writing Beauty, I was reading Enid Blyton to my daughter, which inspired the swimming pool carved out of rock that meshed with T.S. Eliot’s fear of drowning. The wonderful Regency author Anne Gracie sent me a photo of a women-only swimming pool at Coogee, Australia, that definitely resembles the pool I imagined.
  • The storm that catches Linnet and Piers actually happened to friends of mine on a visit to Wales. I have no idea whether weather of that nature happens frequently, but their vivid description made its way onto the pages, perhaps because one of them is a writer as well: thank you, Mark Haddon!