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Jealous Hater Book Club: The Mister chapter eleven or, “Beer and Crying”

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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.

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.

Two.

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.

A piano!

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.

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81 Comments

  1. Ren Benton
    Ren Benton

    “I’ve never seen the sea!”

    Albania is 95 miles wide, bordered on the western edge by… THE SEA. Gee, if only they were sophisticated enough to have cars in Albania, she could have traveled to THE SEA from anywhere in the country in 2 hours or less at some point in her life.

    How the hell did she get from Albania to England without seeing THE SEA? She didn’t know she was being sex trafficked until that rest stop, so it’s not like she came over locked in a shipping container.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • NewFan
      NewFan

      You are assuming A LOT. I mean in E.L.bania, their travel-to-England vessels might not HAVE windows. Maybe in E.L.bania all travel out of the country happens in shipping containers?

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • Coco
        Coco

        In E.L.bania, all females live in the subterranean cave system until the annual pilgrimage of the male surface dwellers to choose a suitable mate. After that, E.L.banian custom dictates that women only leave the home at night, for the harsh daylight of the sky-orb would blind them.
        It must be the civilized English blood of her grandmother that makes Demelssia immune to the effects.

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
        • ShifterCat
          ShifterCat

          Bahahaha!

          I think E.L.bania should become a regular name in these recaps, just like Demelssia.

          May 2, 2019
          |Reply
  2. Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)
    Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)

    Nothing happened in this chapter.

    What I think would be interesting is if Alessia made an attempt to have sex with Moss because she thinks she owes him something for the rescue, he’s into it for a hot second until she flinches or something, and he realizes why she’s doing it so he stops because he knows she really doesn’t want to. He has the realization that he needs to actually help her and not obsess over her granny panties.

    That would have some tension with him needing to do the right thing (instead of thinking which his balls – yuck!) and her going from panic to relief. Then later when they hook up, she can remind him that – hey you stopped when I needed you to so now I know I can trust you.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      And that is how you write a story about a victim of sex trafficking (or any sexual abuse) in a love story. The idea of her trying to repay him with sex makes too much sense for Eel to use it, but would be a brilliant lead in to, as you say, him moving from “I want to stick my dick in this hot chick (haha, that rhymed) to I want to protect this woman I am falling in love with. It would be an actual swoon worthy moment where the reader is like “wow, this is the kind of man I want to find, someone who puts my wellbeing above his sexual desires”. But I’m pretty sure Eel equates sexual desire with love, poor thing, so it would never happen.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • You guys, this is it. Exactly. I was trying to come up with the words, but _yes_. If Eel wants to write a romance about a sex trafficking survivor, she would have to be skilled and insightful enough to go WELL beyond the whole “magic of love’s first kiss” awakening, and actually grapple with the issues of women’s bodies and autonomy, consent, value, and real introspection of values on the parts of both MCs. It would have to be a progression of sexual and physical encounters and real exploration. THAT is an actual romance with tension, growth, and love.

        Something tells me, though, that what we’re in for is “He’s so hot!” *fiddle fiddle* “And I shatter.” YAY, SEX TRAFFICKING FIXED.

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
        • H. Savinien
          H. Savinien

          Courtney Milan’s got a good bit on one of the Brothers Sinister series (though I’m blanking on which one). The female lead was assaulted. The male lead borrows all her hairpins and has her give him one when she wants to be touched or kissed or w/e. It’s really nicely done.

          May 1, 2019
          |Reply
          • Jules
            Jules

            See, it can be done, and it can be romantic. That is a swoon worthy man who found a creative way to communicate consent with a traumatized women he loves. And it can become sexy and playful as she gets more comfortable with him, which would happen in that story because he is thinking about more than his needs while still acknowledging that he does want her.

            I think a huge problem with The Mister is that we are in Moss’s head so much and Moss’s head is that of a pubescent boy. Because Eel thinks all men think about is sex, all Moss thinks about is having sex with Dementia, not getting to know her, not sympathizing with her, but how to get her over her fear so he can bang her.

            Men do not only think about sex. Yes, they think about it a lot, so do women, but the normal ones also think about life, the weather, finances, sports, etc. And I don’t mean, it’s raining, I want to fuck, we’re in debt, I want to fuck, my team lost I want to fuck. Which is I think how Eel thinks men think.

            May 2, 2019
  3. Myriam
    Myriam

    Soft in his old age? Isn’t he in his like, early 30s at most? Why would-

    Know what, never mind. EL probably forgot how old he was since this is a rip-off of something else.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • I think there was a part of 50 Shades where Ana said something like, “She looks really old, like, thirty or something.”

      So there’s that. Once you turn 30, you may as well take yourself off to Dignitas.

      May 2, 2019
      |Reply
  4. NewFan
    NewFan

    You are assuming A LOT. I mean in E.L.bania, their travel-to-England vessels might not HAVE windows. Maybe in E.L.bania all travel out of the country happens in shipping containers?

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  5. JessC
    JessC

    Excuse me Demelissa but Albania has a lot of coastline! My partner’s Serbian friend hates Albania because of the beaches (which he contends were stolen from Serbia, and I don’t know enough about the last hundred years of Balkan politics to debate). But I guess that Demelissa lived in a crate until she sprang free.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      I had to look it up and Kukes is on the far side inland, but is apparently also situated on a major highway that goes to the coast. She probably lived about as far from the coast as I currently do and there isn’t a single person I have ever met in this town who hasn’t been there — even people with not a lot of resources travel with friends or family at some point.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
  6. I think the sadder possibility is that she understands the words coming out of her hero’s mouth sounds and that’s how she thinks a romantic, dreamy, super-awesome male human should sound.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      Considering she said that all men think about is sex, I do think she thinks that a man thinking about sex but then not is the most amazing feat of all mankind. I’m more of the mindset that it is basic human decency. Don’t act on your impulses unless the person you want to act upon agrees is kind of the bar that separates sociopaths from others. Though I do guess Moss is a step up from Grey, who was a sociopath, but a hot, rich one which apparently makes it sexy? I am so glad I don’t live in Eel’s world. It’s terrifying.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
  7. Penny Gotch
    Penny Gotch

    As an English person, I can confirm that uplighters and downlighters are actual terms for lamps in England. Please inform the police that I will be coming quietly as long as I can bring my cross-stitch.

    Also, can somebody please – PLEASE – get EL James to sit down and decide what perspective she wants her story to be in so she stops head-hopping like a flea on crack?

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Angie
      Angie

      I once read a james patterson novel, he wrote in THREE POV’s. Main guy 1st past, main girl 1st past, and the killer, THIRD past. In the end, the killer was the of the two main characters. I was so fkg annoyed that he wrote one character in two POV’s, that I refused to read anymore of his books.

      jenny suggested that it could have worked with his as 1st present and hers as 3rd past, but Eel sucks are writing soooooo…..

      May 2, 2019
      |Reply
  8. Jules
    Jules

    “did you not have enough of a conscience to hold you back from touching women who didn’t want to be touched by you?”

    But…but…but… (had to throw in the last one, you know “power of three” and all that) Moss has never actually met a woman who didn’t want to be touched by him so he’s never really needed a conscience.

    So, this whole chapter was Dementia discovering that nighttime is dark and the sea she had only ever heard stories of because stories are all they are allowed in E.L.bania (that name is brilliant!) where there is no such thing as bodies of water, waves, or television that might let those poor E.Lbanians here what the sea sounds like. Or maybe Dementia just never saw these things because she was raised in a root cellar because she was so feminist as to drink alcohol! Then Moss trying desperately not to jerk off to his captive’s tears? Mmkay. Can’t wait to see what comes next. Hello edge of my seat, I will perch on you until the next installment. Hope you don’t mind.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • S
      S

      “Moss has never actually met a woman who didn’t want to be touched by him so he’s never really needed a conscience.”
      Accurate, and a vile way of thinking. I guess Eel doesnt realize that just because a woman is attracted to a man doesnt mean she wants to be touched by him at all times – like when she has a sour stomach or is struggling with emphysema or is cooking over a stove with large pots that are hot to the touch or trying to sleep.

      May 6, 2019
      |Reply
  9. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    Jenny, did you catch this little gem? EEL said in your link:

    This story has been with me for a very long time. I wrote a very rough draft of it in 2009, so it’s actually been with me before “Fifty.” And I’ve been trying to silence these characters in my head for a long time.

    This confirms what we know: she only writes what she knows, so no level of research would ever change that. The Poldarkster uses the same characters as FSoG because that’s all she knows and all she wants to know as she is clearly unable to learn anything else. Her subconscious is on the page, big time. And she doesn’t even know it. She was a control freak on the FSoG set, so her character is a stalker-control freak. Gads, it fits.

    The truly sad thing is that it was made popular because the readers bought it in droves, and that was only because, in the readers’ heads, rape was a sexy fantasy because they (the readers) could control the rape In real life they can’t, so the fantasy falls apart and it becomes, well, rape (which is all about control, not sex.)

    So EEL is a bad writer who made it big on bad writing who now has no motive whatsoever to become a better writer and will continue to churn out the same old claptrap based on her subconscious.

    Thoughts?

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I think this means she wanted to rewrite Poldark first but felt intimidated.

      (More responses later. Gotta get ready for work!)

      May 2, 2019
      |Reply
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        By all means, go earn a living as that’s more important in the long run than this drivel, but what I’m saying is something even more basic and deep-rooted.

        It’s not that she’s just ripping off Poldark, I’m saying she’s using the same characters as 50SoG because she is such an amateur writer she knows nothing else. So her characters are manifestations of her own subconscious because she’s unwilling to research and learn about other people. So when she says she was trying to silence the characters that have been in her head for 10 years, it means we’re getting another variant of Grey. Because she is Grey. She is Maxim. It’s her on the page because she is unwilling to see or learn anything else. It’s a common mistake of new writers.

        Just a thought.

        May 2, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          This is why I wish I had more time.

          I definitely think Grey shows some of her worst attributes, like the need to control everything, but I don’t think he or Maxim is EEL any more than the female leads are her in the strictest sense.

          The difference between porn and romance is very slight but the key element is that a plot is actually a disservice to the former while a plot is a great boon to the latter. This isn’t meant as a criticism, mind you. It’s the same difference between a fairy tale and modern fantasy: they’re opposite ends of a sliding scale. It’s possible to have more detail or less detail but the tropes that make a fairy tale work are at their best when they don’t try to explain everything. The same is true of porn.

          That’s why this shit with the sex trafficking and her being from Albania is going down so hard. If it were pure porn, which EEL clearly wanted to write, then it wouldn’t matter how much research she did. But she classified it as romance because that’ll sell better. Her first series did well that way, yet I’d argue it’s even more porn than this Poldark fanfic. I mean, it’s basically a misogyny kink wrapped up in BDSM paper to hide the truth but I think a lot of people who’ve internalized abuse and/or misogyny, in general, may still find it sexy, whether they like to accept that or fully understand their fantasies in the first place. It’s something I’m sorting out myself (although I still hate FSoG.)

          She’s also said “men are easy; they only think of sex” and we see that she sort of tried harder with Dementia but it got too hard, especially when it came time to get to tease the audience, which is why she keeps going back to Moss. It’s the same with Moss, she did a little bit of work, but the second he had the hots for his maid, that got dropped in favor of easier writing.

          I’m not really disagreeing with you. I’m just saying she’s writing trope characters and that’s what she’s comfortable with. Ironically, she’s not good at porn scenes either. She’s just too inexperienced and FSoG going viral didn’t do her any services. I have a feeling she was just smart enough to do what Lani Sarem did, but slowly, and with the help of her fans.

          Also, I don’t actually believe these characters were knocking around her head for any length of time. That would require actual characters. Unless she’s just been fantasizing about the Poldark ones and warping them as she sees fit in her mind (which is possible.) But I think she’s heard that kind of saying before and it sounds good, it makes it seem like she’s more of a writer than she probably is because she just has those urges to write sometimes, the characters just create their own scenes in her head. I’ve had that plenty of times myself and I have some trouble imagining her sock puppets doing anything like that unless it’s in much more basic, trope-codified terms like you’d see in porn and fairy tales.

          Then again, I also know how incredibly hard it is to write your own novel when you’re most inspired to do fanfiction. It can be really hard to make your own characters and build a proper story and world for them to live in. I still struggle with it. I don’t give her any credit for her work though. I respect turning an AU into your own thing but she only barely filed the serial numbers off. She put a little more effort into this one but she also had more to work with. It helped but we can also see where she got tired of that and tried to cut corners.

          I also wonder if she did have some editors helping her but much like the ones working on Handbook for Mortals, EEL barely acknowledged their comments in the text itself, refusing to rewrite whole chapters at a time to make it flow more seamlessly and get rid of the excess verbiage.

          Sorry if this is rambling or confusing. Still a bit short on time but not as much as yesterday. XD

          May 3, 2019
          |Reply
  10. Small jar of fireflies
    Small jar of fireflies

    May I never live such a life that an interesting feature remarked on my rising from the grave is: “that ghost is a virgin.”

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Mr. Fell
      Mr. Fell

      Are you kidding? That would be a great remark. Mostly because it would scare to death everyone who reads that tombstone, it sounds like a ominous remark from a horror movie : “get out”, “don’t blink”, “the ghost is a virgin”.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • Jules
        Jules

        Thus launches a great horror story of a virgin ghost hunting down his/her mate. Sexy living folks beware, the virgin ghost wants YOU!

        May 2, 2019
        |Reply
        • Bookjunk
          Bookjunk

          You joke, but that’s basically the starting plot of the Korean drama Oh My Ghost(ess). The ghost thinks she’s lingering on earth because her virginity is unfinished business and she goes after, like, ALL the men. It’s a tad disturbing – because ghost on human sexy times don’t really go well for the men in question – but mostly hilarious.

          May 2, 2019
          |Reply
  11. Anon
    Anon

    “… 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.”

    And yet, somehow, she also got an awful lot wrong about the US in 50. I guess it’s tough to find any information about the US, as well.

    “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.”

    I wasn’t giving a dime of my money to her, but I have HBO specifically for GOT and so of course watch other things on there. When the 50 movies came on finally, out of curiosity, I watched. I got through the first two. Terrible, but train-wreck interesting, at least. The third? I got through 10 minutes and even with doing other things while it was on, I was so bored to tears I had to turn it off.

    Her being afraid of Maxim right now doesn’t bother me terribly (though his lack of empathy is shitty). It makes sense. She’s been victimized and she doesn’t know him that well and it’s a scary situation no matter his motives or how he treats her. Her fear isn’t actually because he’s done anything to fear, which is at least a step up from Ana. Christian was violent and threatening.

    “… an impressive cloud-gray galley kitchen that’s part of a vast wood-floored room.”

    She doesn’t know what a galley kitchen is.

    “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?”

    Nah. This is kind of a normal thing people say when they see a huge house and aren’t uber rich and used to servants cleaning for them. I’ve said it myself many times. Maybe it’s regional or something? I don’t know. It’s a normal thought, though.

    “‘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.”

    Alternate idea: He’s really into 1980s slang and thinks the sea is pretty neat.

    And now we live in a world where an actual romcom isn’t rom at all because prostitute …

    “In Moss’s POV, we get a “previously on” moment:”

    My book club read this awful book a while back where you’d read a scene as it was happening, then get a replay of one or both of the characters who experienced it THINKING about it and then another of the character telling another character about it and then THAT character thinking about what the other character said. So each scene in this ridiculously long book got replayed at least three and sometimes five times over. And I said it was badly-written and at least one person in my book club told me I didn’t know what I was talking about … And it’s about Korean-Americans and the obvious attempt was an Amy Tan-like story but about Koreans and people on Goodreads insist people don’t like it because they don’t understand what it’s like to be Korean-American and of course nothing to do with the horrible writing at all …

    “No better than those fuckers with the Eastern European accents.”

    Her prose are melodious.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • E.
      E.

      Same here, for the “omfg, this will take forever to clean”. 🙂

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • Bookjunk
        Bookjunk

        Same. Plus, the rather boring thought “the heating bill for this place will be enormous” tends to pop into my head in big houses.

        May 2, 2019
        |Reply
        • Anon
          Anon

          @Bookjunk —

          Yes! lol

          May 2, 2019
          |Reply
        • Nanani
          Nanani

          Big rooms with too many windows or open ceilings when the room also includes TV/video game stuff always make me think about the acoustics and glare.

          Bigger isn’t always better!

          May 2, 2019
          |Reply
  12. Jules
    Jules

    ““‘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.”

    Alternate idea: He’s really into 1980s slang and thinks the sea is pretty neat.”

    hahaha, thank you for that. Now I want him to use more 80s slang and have Dementia questioning it. “What is this…nar…lee?” “why would I want to gag you with spoon?”

    He would want you to gag him with a spoon because it will distract him from all his sexy thoughts long enough to not rape you.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      I am having so many ideas for a parody. Moss from IT Crowd as the love interest who only speaks in ’80s slang …

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • Jules
        Jules

        I would read the HELL out of that.

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
        • Wub
          Wub

          So would I!

          May 15, 2019
          |Reply
      • Ghislaine
        Ghislaine

        Please put me on the mailing list.

        May 2, 2019
        |Reply
      • Mr. Fell
        Mr. Fell

        He’d be perfect. And he is the man who invented the perfect bra after all.

        May 2, 2019
        |Reply
  13. Pre-Successful Indie (now with less misquoting)
    Pre-Successful Indie (now with less misquoting)

    >>Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with so many women in this fucking genre?>>

    Thisthisthis. I keep wanting to have this kind of conversation, and I keep coming off like an asshole because I lack the skill to express this so well. It’s a difficult needle to thread between “kinkshaming is wrong” (agreed) and “nobody ever has to reflect for one second about why -SO MANY- beloved tropes replicate and/or support the power structures that keep oppressed people oppressed.” Like romance tropes are a basilisk that you must never, ever look in the face or deconstruct lest we all turn to stone.

    I love this genre, some things about it and its fanbase make me furious, and I can’t talk about that without sounding like an asshole.

    Where were we? Oh. Yes. Everything I read about ELJ’s work makes me sad for the unspoken assumptions underlying it all. It isn’t about kink or even really about preferences. It’s more about the lack of self-awareness.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • *pulls up a couple extra chairs, puts tea kettle on, opens bottle of whisky*

      So! Who has cookies?

      OMG YES YES SO MUCH YES. And unless you write ___ with ___ and ___, you not only hate love and romance, you are judging everyone else who does and what they love, and are just a hater who-

      Tea?

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
    • Nanani
      Nanani

      In my experience, no amount care taken as you try to thread that needle will prevent a bad-faith reader from accusing you broad-brushing all romance in binary THING GOOD/THING BAD paint.

      And if you happen to be anywhere on the ace and aro spectrum then you can also be told that you just can’t possibly understand =-=

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • Laina
        Laina

        I may have slightly just choked on a muffin over how true that last line is.

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
  14. Rebecca
    Rebecca

    At this point her childlike innocence is at the level where I’m concerned that he’s a pedophile, closeted even from himself. Like, it’s one thing to want to protect someone from an external harm so they can *regain* some of their innocence about the world, and quite another to find “I don’t know what a credit card is it must be magic” sexually appealing.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Anna Claire
      Anna Claire

      Yikes. Youre not wrong. And I’m pretty sure that was something people pointed out about Chedward in Fifty Shades.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • This is something that I’m highlighting in my gender-flipped version. We’re that for a heroine to be girlish and innocent and naive and sweet and disarming is so adorable, and the hero loves it. Funny, though, when you gender-flip it, it certainly makes power dynamics and implications a lot more clear, doesn’t it?

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
        • S
          S

          I would not have the patience to deal with a man who was that “innocent”. In fact, I would probably ask his parents if they had ever had him conserved or if he had the capacity to be in a romantic or sexual relationship :/

          May 6, 2019
          |Reply
    • Fluffy
      Fluffy

      I don’t remember if I read this via a Trout recap or it just meshes with the general idea, but I read an article that called this the “sexy born yesterday” trope or something equally terrible. I only remember The Fifth Element’s Leeloo as another example bc it’s one of my faves, but there were many.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
        • Rebecca
          Rebecca

          Yes, this, but I don’t think our heroine falls under that because that’s usually for people with some sort of extra-natural background (Leeloo, Alita, etc.) who plopped fully formed but innocent into the hero’s lap, so he can have all the pleasure of molding her personality but none of the “oh, shit, she’s been SEX TRAFFICKED” guilt.

          Our heroine is just bad writing combined with a deep lack of understanding about what divides innocent/curious from ’emotionally about 10 years old to the point of being deeply unsettling.’

          May 2, 2019
          |Reply
          • Dvärghundspossen
            Dvärghundspossen

            But I was thinking the same thing! Sure, it’s not LITERALLY the born sexy yesterday trope, because she wasn’t LITERALLY brought into this world yesterday.

            Still, James really plays on some of the same things that make this trope popular. She’s technically a (hot) adult, so it’s okay for the male protagonist to bang her, but she’s so inexperienced and naive that she’s like a toddler in other respects, looks up to him completely and is super impressed by even the most mundane things that he does.

            May 2, 2019
        • Angie
          Angie

          I find this all very educational. I have written a book and what to make it better and jennys ripping apart of bad writing makes me look closer at my own while I try to rewrite/update my story. It’s even made me look at my past relationships. I know my husband once said he found my innocence sexy, but what he really means is he finds my “un jadedness” sexy. He is the jaded realist, I am the un jaded optimist. I’m light, he is dark. It’s a balance. I never *needed* him. I was self sufficient, independent minded, intelligent woman when we got together, rather than “born yesterday” That give and take is what I hope to properly put on paper when depicting relationships.

          May 2, 2019
          |Reply
  15. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    Moss is getting creepier and creepier. And Alessia might as well be braindead for all the personality she displays. Why are they into each other again? Oh, yeah, they’re both pretty. Got it.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  16. Maria
    Maria

    this chapter is basically like ambien. like, wow what a whole lotta nothing. didn’t want to write a conversation between the two where they connect as people or have alessia play the piano to find some comfort or just have anyone do anything? okay

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  17. Mr. Fell
    Mr. Fell

    >> because it’s actually very difficult to find information about Albania.

    Especially if you don’t try to find any. That also makes it extremely difficult.

    Also no one forced you to write about Albania.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Kyerin
      Kyerin

      Yeah, I mean she’s essentially saying ‘I decided to visit Albania after making my character Albanian for no reason and then realising I didn’t know even one thing about Albania’.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
  18. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    Uh, let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up:

    Rich-white-guy-who-does-nothing-for-a-living gets a hard-on for his maid and they flee when two guys from Immigration (Actually, Erica had it wrong: Immigration Enforcement is the branch in the UK that goes house-to-house, not Border Force which only works at ports-of-entry) so the two flee rather than use any legal resources available from same-said rich-white-guy to, I dunno, save her butt legally.

    Thugs are so dumb (or polite?) that they don’t even try and coerce their way in the door two chapters ago

    Love interest is sobbing, crying, melting down, plotzing, but then:

    Piano!

    I guess ‘piano’ is her “Squirrel!”

    Gaah. When does Demilissa slit someone’s throat like Arya Stark?

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  19. Kyerin
    Kyerin

    I just caught up on yesterday’s post as well as this one and I totally agree with the theory that Alessia was originally written as Polish. And then EL realised that Poland is in the EU so her protagonist would have no reason to hide from the police. Which makes me suspect that as well as ripping off Poldark she is also ripping off something from the 80s or 90s about Polish immigrants.

    Right now for me the biggest plot hole remains that Maxim has the one thing Alessia needs to make a new life in the UK. No, not his cock, access to good lawyers. She has a really strong case and it makes sense that SHE would be wary of applying for asylum, but HE should be all over that shit!

    Also, shouldn’t the guys with ‘Eastern European accents’ now be guys with Albanian accents? Use your context clues, Moss. Unless they come from a third country EL knows nothing about.

    Also also, are we ever going to get any USEFUL information from her past? If her grandmother stayed in Albania for love, was her grandfather a convert? An atheist? A Muslim? What religion if any was she raised with? We still have no context for the ‘my grandmother’s god’ comment? If we’re rolling with the inexplicable missionary story, this info is relevant. What do her family think she’s doing? Ok so it looks like her dad is the bad guy, but there was mention of her mother? Are they in contact?

    I haven’t been so infuriated by a book I haven’t read, since…. well I guess since your Grey recaps, Jenny 🙂

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  20. Stevie
    Stevie

    “A rube so simple” That hilarious. It’s exactly how E.L James is portraying Alessia.

    Good lord James is a terrible writer. It’s exactly like 50 shades, where the main characters have absolutely no chemistry or even engage in meaningful conversation. But the love is DEEP AND IMMEDIATE because James insists it must be so. It’s just another example of two barbies being smashed together.

    I am at a loss as to how anyone could believe Maxim would be instantly attracted to her. Physically, sure, I get a little “I want so sleep with my hot cleaning lady” fantasy, but he’s banging chicks left, right and center. Why would this girl strike a deeper chord with him? They barely speak. She acts super afraid and diminutive in front of him (understandable if she is a sex trafficking victim). Why is this turning him on so much? Oh that’s right, James has a hard on for white-knightism and helplessness in females. Just once I would like to see her write about a relationship where the man has to earn the trust and love rather than just, you know. Being there at the right time? And FFS, Alessia has clearly seen some shit, how about portraying her as a fighter/survivor rather than a shrinking violet? I don’t want to imply that any victims of sex crimes should all act this way, but I have yet to read a female character written by James that has a backbone or at least some type of personality. The only ones I can think of were portrayed in a negative way (Kate, being too inquisitive or blunt and Mia, who was annoying in her friendliness and hugged Ana too enthusiastically). I am expecting way too much.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  21. Anastasia
    Anastasia

    The only realistic thing about this book is the Little Englandism. All that stuff about Eastern Europeans being evil and/or primitive. Even the way Demelsia ‘speaks’ English. You US guys wouldn’t understand but this positively reeks of small town white England. I bet EL James voted for Brexit.

    By the way I am seriously concerned about Demelsia. As an undocumented migrant she would be subject to the UK’s ‘hostile environment’ ie not allowed to work, rent, claim benefits, open a bank account, or access the NHS and she would be liable to indefinite detention and deportation. She urgently needs to make an asylum and trafficking immigration claim and get housing and benefits from the Home Office. I am mainly concerned about her immigration status and all this romance stuff seems very unimportant right now.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Silly. If she marries a hot earl in a couple of months, all of that goes away. That’s the REAL path to citizenship! Just ask Melania.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      “You US guys wouldn’t understand but this positively reeks of small town white England.”

      I’m pretty sure we have a good grasp of small-town white xenophobia, but thanks.

      May 2, 2019
      |Reply
      • Anastasia
        Anastasia

        Did I say something to upset you?

        May 2, 2019
        |Reply
        • Many Americans don’t understand that the experience of racism is ‘different’ in the UK, and indeed, other countries in the world, because of the different patterns of immigration and different racial backgrounds which make up other places than the US. There’s always a hot take of ‘my suffered experience of bigotry is worse than yours’ no matter which marginalisation you happen to be from, which IMO is sad and helpful to nobody. In my experience, racism in the UK would more properly be described as xenophobia because it’s rarely about the colour of a person’s skin, so ‘white’ xenophobia as Anon said is invalid. There’s plenty of xenophobia towards ‘non-English’ from the massive populations of subcontinental Brits, for example, many of whom have been in the UK for multiple generations. Look at the polling numbers of those who identify as Indian in background but voted Leave if you don’t believe me.

          Your remark was valid and interesting. I left the UK for Australia almost 20 years ago now and racism in the UK is ‘different’ now to how it was when I grew up there because, again, of different patterns of migration. I wouldn’t really have picked Eel’s Brexitism-adjacent politics from what I’m reading here, but your comment made it clear. Thanks for that.

          May 4, 2019
          |Reply
  22. Puff
    Puff

    I was seriously unsure going into this recap if the title of this chapter referred to something in the chapter itself or if that was just your reaction to having to read it.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  23. Sushi
    Sushi

    So much about this could be- well, not fixed, nothing could fix this book, but it would work so much better if it had opened with Delmessia having been his cleaner for about a year already. They could’ve got to know each other a little, found each other attractive, but kept a polite distance from each other. Then just as she thinks she’s escaped her past and starts to relax, her guard slips, she doesn’t think to stop that Insta/FB photo (and I cannot be bothered to go back and look) and that’s when the creepy guys show up and Moss helps her flee, but it would’ve worked because she’d know she could trust him. But as it is, they’ve pretty much only met what, two days ago, and there’s no reason for her to trust him other than ‘he’s hot’.

    But I was just typing “she doesn’t even have to write that year” when I realised that’s probably the problem – Eel wants to write every single moment of this romance from meet-cute to babies ever after, but she doesn’t want to do the boring bit where they get to know each other, so we get this “I don’t know why I trust this man I barely know, I just do”, which OK, could’ve worked… if it wasn’t coming from a woman *who was kidnapped and sex-trafficked very recently.*

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • This is something that a lot of editors/publishers insist on lately: it has to be immediate. We have to be with the couple every minute and feel like they want to start fucking the second their eyes meet. Anything else is considered “not sexy/not romance.” I’ve gotten feedback when I have an “Over the next several weeks” or “By the time two months had passed” transition because “we need to see them!” during all that time.

      One of the many, many problems with the genre/tropes involved.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • Tami Marie Alexander
        Tami Marie Alexander

        I know where you’re coming from. As a ghostwriter of romances, I get told by the client how many sex scenes and who’s a virgin and what happens, and I have to make it happen while my brain is doing that commercial with the old ladies and saying, “That’s not how it works — that’s not how any of this works!” I have one client who is letting me have a bit more line to play with and the books are selling well, very popular with the readers, and they don’t seem to mind the natural progression of two strangers getting to know one another and building toward a healthy relationship. Even with the “love at first sight” trope, a la Romeo and Juliet, they don’t shag right away — there are a few obstacles in the way that they have to get around before they can give in to the passion that’s in their heaving bosoms and burning in their fiery loins. And at least those two characters TALKED to each other a little before they banged. Sheesh.

        May 2, 2019
        |Reply
  24. Fluffy
    Fluffy

    “If uplighters and downlighters are actual terms for lighting in the UK? You’re all criminals and I’m calling the police.”

    This. Not to sound like a Handbook for Lighting author, but I have 100% studied lighting and put designs in people’s homes, and this is just weird.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  25. Kat
    Kat

    There’s an episode of Cheers where Coach goes to night school for his GED. To help study geography he made up songs. He did one for Albania to the tune of When the Saints Go Marching In.

    Albania, Albania
    You border on the Adriatic…
    Your land is mostly mountains
    And your chief export is chrome.

    So yeah, the sea is right there.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  26. I’m pretty sure that E.L.James is confusing Albania with Elbonia, the fictional mud-land from Dilbert.

    May 2, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jenn H
      Jenn H

      I’m more reminded of Borat’s portrayal of Kazakhstan.

      May 2, 2019
      |Reply
  27. Izzy
    Izzy

    I was going to comment on this in the last recap but after reading that one I thought the phrase “the truth is” kept coming up a lot. Now I know it is. And it’s always about the same thing. The truth is I want to bone the tramuatised woman who works for me. Yeah, no shit Sherlock, this is not new information. It’s the little things like that which piss me off. And the big things. And the inbetween things. Fuck this book.

    And James continues to throw all the cliches at us with the appearance of the ‘what does he see in plain (cough) boring (true) poor me?’ trope. Made popular by Twilight and that Twilight rip-off series. What was that called again?

    May 2, 2019
    |Reply
  28. As a Scot, I have to say this – England is not an island; it has land borders with two other countries. The island/land mass is referred to as Great Britain.

    I know I sound pedantic, but Scots and Welsh are separate nationalities on the same island. Remember that Twitter furore a few weeks back where some trolls kept insisting Portugal was part of Spain because they were both on the Iberian peninsula? 😉

    May 2, 2019
    |Reply
  29. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon

    Can I also hate EL James because she has a ‘second home’ in Cornwall, and basically rich people from London buying ‘holiday homes’ in Cornwall is why actual Cornish people whose families have always lived there can’t afford or find housing?

    May 3, 2019
    |Reply
  30. J.
    J.

    You know what book E. L. James should write next? One that features a middle aged woman who pens a fanfiction based on a world wide pop culture phenomena with a ludicrous plot and one dimensional characters, is completely delusional about her own talent, and through some miraculous act of God (or Satan- let’s be real here) is blown up into a mega misogynistic success. All while she’s screeching about how readers (read: other women) who dare criticize her glorious master piece and gift to humanity is a JEALOUS. HATER.

    And blonde.

    It’s brilliant!

    “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.”

    This *is* coming from the woman who believed a soon to be university graduate wouldn’t know how to operate or have access to their own computer, smart phone (assuming because she never uses one to send 100 texts a day or to browse FB like a normal 20 something), email address, or, more importantly, know what Google is. And honestly, I don’t think Eel knows what Google is either.

    May 3, 2019
    |Reply
  31. S
    S

    Eel probably thinks that if Alessia was ugly, she wouldn’t have been sex trafficked in the first place, not that Moss wouldn’t care about her if she wasn’t pretty.

    “And I have to behave myself.” Gross.

    May 5, 2019
    |Reply
  32. Dove
    Dove

    I must say, I’m amused at the various 1-star reviews on Amazon that are wondering if E.L. James had ghostwriting in 50 Shades or in the Mister because the quality of writing seems so different between the two books. Personally, I feel they’re mistaken about the former’s quality but to be fair, she’s had worse editing since then and it’s pretty clear that she overreached… Her ambition was fine, even if it’s just Poldark, but then she got lazy and it’s way more evident with all the shitty details and the POV switches.

    And take as much time as you need, Jenny! I’m amazed you didn’t pause before now since your schedule is packed. I love the break-neck speed, especially considering how long H4M took (and somehow this is less boring than that other tragedy that was being recapped, the Beautiful Disaster or whatever), but don’t wear yourself out.

    Btw, I hope the show(s) went well. I’m sorry I couldn’t wish you luck at the time but I was trying to send good vibes at least. XD

    May 6, 2019
    |Reply
  33. Dinah Lord
    Dinah Lord

    How does this man have blue balls? He only slept with someone like a day ago.

    May 7, 2019
    |Reply

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