E.L. James has given another interview, this one on AzCentral.
“But with Alessia, I had to go to Albania to get a better idea of what she is like and where she’s from and all of that, because it’s actually very difficult to find information about Albania.”
I have googled literally every single thing she has gotten horribly wrong about Albania and found the answers within seconds. Your lack of knowledge is not everyone’s lack of knowledge.
When the interviewer suggests (hilariously) that Maxim is a narcissist:
“Well, I’m not sure I would go as far as to say that he’s narcissistic. I just think he’s not had to deal with so much. And I think everybody, in a sense, is a victim of circumstances, whether they’re in privilege or not, and it forms your worldview.”
Ah, yes. The victimhood of being so rich you never have to work a day in your life. May God afflict me wish such tragedy.
The article is solid gold, from her openly admitting that she couldn’t write Alessia in first-person because she couldn’t think of a way to not give away the story, calls critics vicious and nasty, opines that hate is the “opiate of the masses” and says she was “miserable” during the filming of Fifty Shades of Grey.
You know. The movie where she terrorized the screenwriter and director off the franchise with her temper tantrums until she was given carte blanche with the sequels.
All right. Time to get to the vicious, nasty opiates. The first hit is free.
Delmessia wakes up in the car in her POV.
All she sees is a piercing light above a large steel door and a smaller wooden door to the side. The rest of the view is shrouded in darkness, though in the distance she hears a faint rumble.
That will be the sea. They need to be near the sea because Poldark. They’re gonna need to brood on a cliff.
She is here. Alone with him.
She shoots him an anxious glance. Now that she’s sitting in the dark, with this man she hardly knows, she wonders at the wisdom of her decision. The only people who saw her leave with him were Magda and the security guard.
So, let’s keep in mind that our heroine is still afraid of her rescuer.
The rumble in the distance is louder. She wonders what it is.
Is she unaware that England is an island? I feel like she could put this together.
They walk through a door into, IDK, I guess some other outside place?
Together they walk to the gray wooden door. He unlocks it and pushes it open, ushering her ahead of him. He flips a switch inside the gatepost, and small lights embeded in the side of the flagstone steps light the path down to a stone courtyard.
I cannot get a picture of this in my mind. I guess I need to spend more time on Pinterest.
An imposing contemporary house lit by uplighters in the ground stands before them. Alessia marvels at its modernity–all glass and white walls, bathed in light. Maxim unlocks the front door and guides her inside. He flips another light switch, and subtle downlighters illuminate the alabaster space with a soft glow.
If uplighters and downlighters are actual terms for lighting in the UK? You’re all criminals and I’m calling the police.
They are standing in an open hallway beside an impressive cloud-gray galley kitchen that’s part of a vast wood-floored room. To the rear there are two turquoise sofas with a coffee table between them, and beyond that shelving stacked with books.
Let me guess, they don’t have those in Albania.
There’s a lot of talk about the modernity of the house, the floating staircase, the sofas, etc.
“It looks bigger than from outside,” Alessia says, intimidated by the scale and elegance of the house.
I’m sorry, Demelssia, but it seems you’ve wandered into another classic British show. Enjoy your adventures through time and space, though.
Of course, Demelssia thinks about how long it would take to clean the house. She’s been a cleaner for how long? Was she a cleaner in Albania and that’s why she thinks in this context?
She also thinks he must be a very successful composer to own the place because he hasn’t told her what he actually does for a living (nothing) yet. He asks her if she wants anything to eat or drink before she goes to bed.
“Wine? Beer? Something stronger?” he asks, and she steps closer. Where she’s from, women generally don’t drink alcohol, though she’s sneaked a raki or two, but only in the last couple of years, on New Year’s Eve. Her father doesn’t approve of her drinking.
Her father doesn’t approve of many things…
Her grandmother had given her wine. But Alessia had not cared for it. “Beer,” she says, because she’s only ever seen men drink it–and to spite her father.
Here we have what I assume is the beginning of a pattern in which Demelssia will be Super Feminist™ because she does quiet little things in her head because fuck the patriarchy.
I’ll get real excited about her rebellion if it ever manifests outside her head.
Perhaps the most unrealistic part of this scene, however, is that she drinks beer for the first time and enjoys it.
Moss asks her if she’s hungry, she says no, and we go into his POV. For two paragraphs.
In those two paragraphs, he thinks about how he has no clue what to do next, so he offers her a tour. And we go back to Demelssia’s POV.
Now that she’s further into the room, Alessia notices the gleaming white upright piano against the wall beside her.
I call bullshit. How would she not notice the most important thing in the world to her? It would be like if I walked into a room and Patti LuPone was sitting quietly in a corner and I just kind of casually overlooked her. It would never, ever happen.
Moss points out the balcony.
“The sea is beyond.”
Did he think she was going to assume the sea was in the house? What a fucking weird way to put it.
She races to the glass. “I’ve never seen the sea!” she whipsers, squinting through the murky dark and flatting her nose against the cold glass in her desperation to catch a glimpse. To her disappointment, there is nothing but a jet-black night beyond.
We are at the point in the story where James is writing Alessia as a rube so simple that she doesn’t know you can’t see in the dark.
So, remember how she’s afraid of him and like…the victim of sex trafficking?
“You’re tired.” Maxim glances at his watch. “It’s half past midnight. Do you want to go to bed?”
Alessia stills, gazing at him as her heartbeat soars, and his question hangs between them full of possibility.
Bed? Your bed?
“I’ll show you to your room,” he murmurs, but neither of them moves. They stare at each other, and Alessia can’t decide whether she’s relieved or disappointed. Perhaps more disappointed than relieved–she doesn’t know why.
I don’t either! She was sitting in the car like, oh no, we’re alone, the subtext here is that I hope he doesn’t rape me. Now she’s like, I hope this man I’m afraid of will take me to bed.
I’m not sure there’s another living author who writes sexual tension so badly.
She is curious. She likes him. But she knows nothing about sex.
Just in case you were worried that she’d been sullied during her human trafficking days, don’t. She is, as someone mentioned in the comments on the last recap, the only virgin in the brothel.
True story time: I once went to a workshop at a conference in which the presenters asked for examples of modern romances based on fairytales. I mentioned Pretty Woman. One of the authors said, “No. That’s incorrect. She’s a prostitute. You can’t have a prostitute in a romance.” Like I was the stupidest person she’d ever met.
She went on to talk about her historical paranormal romance in which the heroine…worked in an old west whorehouse. But it was okay! She never actually had sex with anyone! And then she and all the bad whores died in a fire! So her ghost was a virgin!
Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with so many women in this fucking genre?
Anyway, Moss takes Demelssia to her room and she sees their reflection in the window.
Mirrored in the glass, he’s tall, lean, and more than handsome, and she looks wan and scruffy beside him. In every way, they are not equals, and that’s never been more apparent than at this moment.
IDK, I think it should have probably been the most apparent when you were emptying condoms out of his wastebasket and scrubbing his john, but okay.
What does he see in me? I am only his cleaner.
That’s what I’m wondering. Not because of the cleaner thing, but because you have like, zero personality, at least where your interactions with him are concerned.
She thinks about how hot Elizaline is, and how drab she is in comparison because, again, this is Poldark.
Moss tells her that he gets how weird it must be for her to be there with him, but that he couldn’t just leave her unprotected. He tells her to think of it as a vacation so she can work through all the crap that’s happened to her.
Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Mos qaj.
Yeah. I’ll still notice that use that stupid repetition of three even if you switch into Albanian.
Moss gives her a kiss on the forehead and leaves her in the bedroom, where she immediately sits on the floor and cries.
In Moss’s POV, we get a “previously on” moment:
What a day!
That first sweet kiss, I groan thinking about it–interrupted by those fucking thugs–and then her sudden disappearance and mad drive to that godforsaken corner of West London.
And her revelation. Sex-trafficked.
Fuck–that was one hell of a shock.
And now we’re here. Alone.
Thanks for that. I had a comical 1980s mishap that resulted in wacky amnesia and I couldn’t remember what happened in the last two chapters.
Oh, and sorry, BTW, that your sexy moment got interrupted by a kidnapping attempt. That must have been really hard for you.
It took every shred of self-control not to pull her into my arms and…And what? Even after all she’s told me, I can’t keep my thoughts above my waist. I’m like a fucking horny schoolboy.
I think a horny schoolboy would even realize that fantasizing about a sex trafficking victim is probably a terrible thing to be doing.
Leave the woman alone.
YES. PLEASE DO.
But the truth is, I still want her and don’t my blue balls know it.
I don’t care about your balls, sir. I care about the woman who was SEX TRAFFICKED.
He goes on and on about how he knows he shouldn’t want her, but he’s infatuated, he burns for her, etc., right down to vaginal moisture:
But I want her wet and willing–I want her to want me, too. I know I could seduce her, but right now if she were to say yes, she’d be doing so for all the wrong reasons.
Besides, I promised her that I wouldn’t touch her unless she wanted me.
That should basically be your policy toward every single person in the world, but okay.
When did I acquire a conscience?
Well, you had one in the first chapter when it had a voice that spoke to you. But previous to this incident, did you not have enough of a conscience to hold you back from touching women who didn’t want to be touched by you? If so, I would recommend going to see a doctor. Or someone in a position of authority and is some kind of mandated reporter.
He realizes that due to the differences in their circumstances, they can’t be together.
And if I take advantage of her, what would that make me? No better than those fuckers with the Eastern European accents.
Is that…I mean, is that what we find villainous about them? Their Boris and Natasha schtick? Not the whole human trafficking thing?
Moss goes off to bed and hears Demelssia crying through the door of her room.
I’ve had my fill of wailing women over the last four weeks: Maryanne, Caroline, Danny, Jessie. An image of Kit’s lifeless body comes to mind, and my own grief rises raw and unexpected.
So, you hear the kidnapped woman you basically re-kidnapped and you’re like, ugh, crying women. That sucks. How can I make this all about me?
He knocks on her door before he opens it to find her on the floor sobbing.
Her grief is a reflection of my own.
No, her grief is her grief. It has nothing to do with you. He holds her and says, “I’ve got you.” Which he says, by the way, twenty times in this book in twenty similar situations. It started at the train station.
Anyway, she falls asleep in his arms and he thinks about how great it is that he can save “this beautiful girl,” which I guess means that if she was ugly, he wouldn’t give a shit that she was sex trafficked? Like, seriously, there is no way that James wanted readers to get that impression. But she put it in the story.
I wonder once more if I haunt her dreams like she haunts mine.
I’m pretty sure she probably has like, PTSD induced nightmares, but sure.
After he tucks her into bed, Moss goes to his room.
I’ve taken Alessia away from all that she knows. She’s destitute, friendless, and totally alone. Well, she has me, and I have to behave myself. “You’re going soft in your old age,” I mutter, […]
He’s…going soft because he won’t make a move on a human trafficking victim? Jesus Christ, seriously, Erika, I beg of you: pay attention to how the words you put in your books sound, in the order in which you put them.
Moss falls asleep.
It’s the shrill sound of her scream that wakes me.
She just realized what book she’s in.
My impression so far: An entire chapter of arriving at a house and going to bed. We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need THE EDGE.