I know I’ve gone on and on about how busy I am these days (really, people with full-time jobs: How do you do it?).

And also gone on and on about how great it is to commute by subway because I can read. So this week I read Eloisa James‘ latest book, When Beauty Tamed The Beast.

I’ve long been a fan of James’ work, and I marvel at how intricately she wraps up her great casts of people and finds small moments that become big events in the course of her books. But this book, I feel, is a game-changer for her, one that takes her talent and catapults it to the next level.

If you’ve paid attention to this new release at all, you know that the hero is modeled after the character of House, MD, played on TV by Hugh Laurie. And James gets it all right: The irascibility, pain, frustration, impatience, and despair at the thought of losing patients.

Her heroine is not normally someone with whom I would have a lot in common: She’s stunningly gorgeous and used to having men fall at her feet. But, and this is what is frustrating to her, she is also very clever, but no-one sees that because they stop assessing her after they see her beauty.

James does a few unusual things in this book, most notably not having an HEA when you would reasonably expect it to happen, and she strips away the things that each character holds most dear in order to make them vulnerable enough for love.

I appreciated, also, having the main romance be the Main Romance, not muddled by a lot of ancillary stories–speaks to the linear person in me, I suppose.

I did that delicious sigh of satisfaction as I finished the book, and I was really impressed that after writing for so long, James has improved with this release; it seems, sometimes, as though authors start to cycle downwards after a long and successful career.

Have you read this book yet? What’s the most recent book you sighed over?