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Tuesday, August 13, 2019


If you’re into this sort of very steamy and graphic romance, then The Mister might just appeal to you. If you’re not, then this isn’t the novel for you (or me!) (Review by Barry Meehan)

“Mindless sex – there’s a lot to be said for it. No commitments, no expectations, and no disappointments. I just have to remember their names. Who was it last time? Jojo? Jeanne? Jody? Whatever/ She was some nameless fuck who moaned a great deal both in and out of bed. I lie staring at the rippling reflections from the Thames on my ceiling, unable to sleep. Too restless to sleep.
Tonight it’s Caroline. She doesn’t fit the nameless-fuck category. She’ll never fit. What the hell was I thinking?”

So reads the opening of the first chapter of The Mister, the latest offering from E L James, author of the Fifty Shades Trilogy. The thoughts quoted belong to good-looking, aristocratic Maxim Trevelyan, who has never had to work a day in his life, except for the hard work he puts in as a rake or roué, whichever term you prefer. Within the first three chapters of this novel, he beds three different women, one of whom is the widow of his recently-deceased brother, killed in a motorcycle accident. Maxim has just inherited the title of Earl of Trevethick, along with all the properties and responsibilities that go with it, so his life has to change dramatically.

It changes even more dramatically than even he envisaged, when a new cleaner arrives one morning. Enter Alessia Demachi, a modern-day Barbara Cartland heroine if ever there was one, fresh in England from her native Albania, pure as the driven snow, and a musical prodigy to boot, able to play piano concertos without needing the sheet music. She accidentally sees him naked (face down on his bed, fortunately) when she arrives to clean his London flat, and is immediately smitten, her heart pounding as she takes in his “fine face, straight nose, full lips, broad shoulders, muscular arms and pale, taut backside.”

He only notices that he has a new daily when he gets up, and is immediately unsettled. “Wide eyes, the colour of a fine espresso and framed by the longest lashes I’ve ever seen, look up at me, then back at the floor.
Look at me, I will her. I want to reach forward and tilt her chin up, but as if she reads my mind, she raises her head. Her eyes meet mine, and her tongue darts out, and nervously she licks her upper lip. My whole body tightens in a hot, heavy rush as desire hits me like a demolition ball.
Fuck a duck!

All of the above takes place by page 45 of the novel (of 522) and it takes quite a while for the two of them to get it together, which they finally do in a 12-page love scene. And because it’s so hot and so good, they do it again and again …. and again and again!

You might think that this is all there is to the book, but no – there are also nasty Albanian villains aplenty from Alessia’s troubled past. Just who is she, and why is she in London, penniless? Can Maxim protect her from her past demons?

If you’re into this sort of very steamy and graphic romance, then “The Mister” might just appeal to you. If you’re not, then this isn’t the novel for you (or me!) – Barry Meehan

The Mister is published by Vintage Books. ISBN 978-1-787-46360-8