Review: The Mister by E.L. James

Title: The Mister
Author:  EL James
Publisher/Year:  Knopf Doubleday Publishing 4/16/19
Length:   512 Pages


London, 2019. Life has been easy for Maxim Trevelyan. With his good looks, aristocratic connections, and money, he’s never had to work and he’s rarely slept alone. But all that changes when tragedy strikes and Maxim inherits his family’s noble title, wealth, and estates, and all the responsibility that entails. It’s a role he’s not prepared for and one that he struggles to face.

But his biggest challenge is fighting his desire for an unexpected, enigmatic young woman who’s recently arrived in England, possessing little more than a dangerous and troublesome past.  Reticent, beautiful, and musically gifted, she’s an alluring mystery, and Maxim’s longing for her deepens into a passion that he’s never experienced and dares not name. Just who is Alessia Demachi? Can Maxim protect her from the malevolence that threatens her? And what will she do when she learns that he’s been hiding secrets of his own?

From the heart of London through wild, rural Cornwall to the bleak, forbidding beauty of the Balkans, The Mister is a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the very last page.

My Thoughts

I am a huge fan of FSOG – it’s quite possibly the first series in the genre that i not only read but truly enjoyed. So when i heard that Ms EL James was giving us something new to read, i was beyond excited. There were moments that i felt like we were getting what we paid for, but there were others that i honestly felt let down.

We have a really sweet story here about a guy who’s finding himself in a situation where his world has been turned upside down with the death of his older brother, the one who was the heir and as a result, life as he knew it is gone. He has to take over his family’s legacy, he’s trying to console his best friend who happens to also be his late-brother’s wife, and he’s in a tailspin.

Enter Alessia though – a girl who’s had her own fair share of insanity – fleeing her home in Albania where we learned that she was betrothed to an abusive man, being kidnapped and almost sold into a sex trafficking circle, and finding herself being saved by a friend of her mothers (through their mothers actually) and getting a job as Maxim’s house cleaner. Little did she know that this was just the beginning of her new life.

Where i think that the story checks the right boxes is where we get to see an interesting group of mains, who all have their own intense back stories that weave a nice web of a plot. We also get to have the modern twists and notations that show us that Ms James is able to give us a story with great reference points of the past, yet be fully anchored in the present. And then once you get over a hurdle of sorts, you get some of the steamy scenes that you have come to love from FSOG.

To be honest though, there were so many moments that i was trying to figure out what the point was – what’s next and what’s the hook. The other factor is that we have questions that are asked but not quite answered and hints that are dropped from reactions to characters that if we had answered, the story would have gone from a 6 to a 12 in my opinion. I think that a lot of those bits are the best parts of stories like these.

We spend much of this story wondering what will make Maxim fall in line for his new destiny, and what ramifications there will be to his family because he’s not Kit and not what the legacy calls for. We also want to know what Alessia can get out of life now that she’s trying to make her own way, albeit with a bit of legal confusion. then there’s the question of the relationships that are developed, broken, nurtured and destroyed throughout. You never know which character is going to become necessary and pivotal and which are throwaways – until they are in a scene.

So as you can see, i’m a bit confused with this story and i didn’t want to be. There were moments where i felt that we were getting the tried and true E.L. James and others where i didn’t know who was writing for us. Then there were the repetitive moments when i thought that we were #ad for Sonos. (sorry!). Anyway, i’d definitely say read it and let me know what you think since i’m curious if i missed something. Enjoy!

the re-reading of Fifty Shades Trilogy

now that i’ve found myself back into the romance/’erotic’ (gasp) genre, i felt the need to revisit 50 Shades of Grey. I’m proud to admit that i read it before it was even talked about to the extreme levels that it is now.  i came across it when it was first published all those months ago, and i actually told my book reading friends about it just as the hype was starting to build.  Ironically, when i was reading it the first time around, i got the heavy sex context of it, but i picked up a lot more on the actual story and found myself drawn to that more so than the graphic quality.

in my second pass at reading it, i really delved more into that, and was actually impressed with things that i remembered and little details that i didn’t.  if you take out maybe 50% of the sex, you still have that element of the story, but you have a really good plot.  there are a few things though that i think about a lot of time that i wonder if we would ever get those things answered (assuming that E.L. James decided that maybe after writing the stories from Christian’s perspective that she’ll do additional stories).

1) Mia / Ethan – what’s the deal there?  did they enjoy that first lunch?  were they just thrown together every time after that because of Christian and Kate’s tie to the relationships?  Did Ethan like Mia?  we know she liked him

2) secondary characters – i think that there could be some great plot lines developed over a few of these guys.  maybe we can get a story about Kate/Elliot going?  since they are quite major/minor characters – i think that there’s at least one book there.  what about Taylor?  What about Ros? or Elena?

3) what’s the tie from Jack Hyde and Mr. Lincoln?  why did he post bail?  was it really just jealous?  was that the motivation there and that he wanted to get revenge from Christian having the ‘affair’ with Elena?  I feel like there’s more for some reason.

Lastly, in reading about the development of the movie and how they are still in talks about how this can be made into a PG/PG-13 movie vs. an R – i definitely see how it can be done.  i think that there’s much more of a story there than people want to think about and yes there’s sex, but that’s not what it’s really about.  it’s just a piece of it.

we’ll have to wait and see – but what i DO know is that after reading those post chapters of Fifty Shades Freed – i kind of feel like the christian POV stories will be great.