This latest offering from the Fifty Shades of Grey author is definitely a strong book in terms of plot – but there are still a few issues with the characters.

It has to be said that this latest book from E.L James while sticking resolutely to the same format – rich man falls for a vulnerable woman – feels like it has a much stronger plot than Fifty Shades of Grey. But it also feels more romantic than overly sexy (although there is still plenty of that involved here) and is all the more tender and believable for it.

Taking readers from London to Cornwall to Albania, The Mister follows the story of Maxim Trevelyan whose recent family tragedy sees him inherit his family’s noble title and Alessia Demachi who has been trafficked to the UK in the attempt to escape her life in Albania. As they meet and begin to fall in love – will their secrets be their undoing?

While there is nothing wrong in principle with the story itself, there does seem to be a few questions that overhang the book itself to make it not completely satisfying. For example, the idea that poor Alessia would fall quite so willingly into Maxim’s arms (particularly as it emerges exactly what she is been through before she came to the UK and the journey that she took to get here) is slightly unbelievable. Meanwhile, it would be easy to question whether Maxim would have noticed Alessia so quickly and fallen quite so hard – particularly given what the reader is told about his nocturnal habits before he meets her.

Elsewhere the initial dialogue between the pair feels stilted as if E.L. James isn’t quite sure what she wants them to convey to each other. While this of course is down in part to Alessia’s slight language barrier (which admittedly does seem to improve quite quickly) – it feels as though the author has pushed these characters together far too quickly. Meanwhile, a lot of the focus seems to be on unimportant details -references to train timetables for example – rather than keeping the story as tight as possible.

But it has to be said, The Mister is enjoyable in the way it develops Alessia’s character from observer to a real participant – even if some of the more intimate details of her and Maxim’s relationship feel slightly corny and repetitive after a while. There is a real tenderness to their relationship that is completely different to Fifty Shades of Grey, making it more comfortable to read – particularly when Maxim takes into consideration some of the violent episodes that Alessia goes through. It feels as though it is taking more into consideration this era of #MeToo and women’s rights and consent.

It is a much stronger read in terms of plot and the characters are both likeable but it is in need of slightly more editing to keep it tight and engaging.

By Emma Clarendon

The Mister is available to buy now.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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