Review: The Mister by E.L. James
I have to be honest here. I went into this one with fairly low expectations. That's not to say I went to the trouble of buying a book in the hope that I would hate it--because that would just be silly--but I expected it to be the kind of thing that doesn't necessarily get reviewed on here, but gets talked and giggled about (in a good way,) with friends. And I certainly didn't expect the writing to resemble Shakespeare. After all, E.L. James stumbled into the business of being a bestselling author quite accidentally. What started out as a controversial Twilight fan fiction became the Fifty Shades series, a trilogy of self-published novels, with Edward and Bella morphing in to Christian and Ana. And then the books became popular, the author scored a large publishing deal. And then the books became a whole lot more controversial and lots of people read them simply because they wanted to know what all the fuss was about. And then the author added two more novels, retelling the same story, but from Christian Grey's perspective.
From there, I don't think anyone ever reasonably expected that EL James would, or could, write a stand alone novel. And then The Mister was published and offered at the discounted price at practically every bookshop I've visited since mid-April.
The Mister tells the story of Maxim Trevelyan, the unlikely heir to an estate and a title, following the deaths of his father and older brother at relatively young ages, and before his brother was able to have children. Maxim lives the life of the idle rich, amusing himself with a few hobbies and romancing women who are only interested in short term flings. That all changes, however, when the company tasked with sending him domestic help appoints Alessia, a shy Albanian woman, as his new daily. What follows is a rags to riches style love story, with the odd tribute to Daphne du Maurier and a few gangsters thrown in for good measure. The story makes for entertaining light reading, and there are a few things for readers to giggle about (pink panties, anyone,) and that's about it. It doesn't have the kink or shock value that made Fifty Shades such a talked about series, and nor is it offensive. The writing isn't exactly comparable with highbrow literature, but then again it's not supposed to be. And, dare I say it, the whole thing is done with a bit more class than the many, many raunchy novels that were published in the wake of Fifty Shades.
An enjoyable light romance.