When Lady Ivy St. Claire learns that she has been left a bequest by one of her mother's former suitors she is surprised. When she learns that in order to get this inheritance she must deliver a portrait to the reclusive Earl of Tamberlake, she is intrigued. But when she travels to the reclusive Wales estate of the so-called "Monster Earl," she is enthralled.
Auburn Seaton, Earl of Tamberlake, has made it his business to remain secluded from London, the ton, and the gossip contained therein. After a carriage accident left one side of his face horribly scarred, he decides he would rather be left alone and not endure the cruel stares and vicious rumors resulting from his accident. He has been enjoying his solitude for years when Ivy turns up on his doorstep and turns his world upside-down.
This book was a refreshing take on the classic Beauty and The Beast story. It's been done before in historical romance (Beast by Judith Ivory and The Duchess by Jude Deveraux are the two that most readily come to mind), but never carried off with such grace and aplomb. Ivy is a delight and a much needed change from the typcial heroine who would have been appalled by Tamberlake's scarring and have had to be wooed into looking past his physical appearance to his inner beauty. I admire Gabriella Anderson for not taking the easy route and creating drama by doing something so typical and instead giving Tamberlake someone to love from the beginning of the story. Because what's not to love? Auburn Seaton portrays the archetypal flawed hero at his best. He's strong, self-aware, kind, and will do anything in his power to get the girl.
This book was wonderful--a solid love story that only took me 4 hours to finish. If you like flawed heroes and the ladies who love them, you couldn't ask for a better story.