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Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister, chapter nineteen or, “Nothing Says I Love You Like A Gun”

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Hold the fucking presses. We’ve got news and it’s going to be music to your dick. Which is, incidentally, one of the more maligned phrases from this god awful book. I mean, imagine, writing “music to my dick” in your manuscript. Imagine how totally devoid of literary self-awareness one must have to confidently put that phrase into the world. Imagine it. The hubris. Imagine sitting down and typing that on purpose.

Now, imagine you did it twice.

In the interest of due diligence, I looked up the phrase “music to my dick” in Grey.

Her sharp intake of breath is music to my dick.

We should have started keeping track of the number of copy/paste phrases and incidents have meandered into The Mister from the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise. At this point, I’m assuming we’re a few pages from Maxim exclaiming, “I’m fifty Misters of fucked up, Alessia!”

We open the chapter waking up in Demelssia’s POV:

Alessia wakes listening to the low rumble of Maxim’s voice. She opens her eyes to see him sitting up next to her, on the phone.

Rude! Go somewhere else to make your fucking call. But of course, he can’t, because the call he’s making sounds very impressive and important.

“I’m glad Miss Chenoweth agreed,” he says. “I think a twenty-bore for the lady. I’ll have my Purdeys.”

Demelssia doesn’t know it, but he’s talking about clay pigeon shooting. At least, that’s what we call it in America. A 20-bore is a 20-gauge in America, and while it’s always denoted at 20-bore or 20-gauge in text, I’m legitimately stumped as to whether or not “twenty-bore” is appropriate in dialogue or if it should have stayed “20-bore.” I’m going to ask every copy editor I know because it’s going to drive me bananas.

But his “Purdeys,” I assume, refers to Purdey brand, who actually make more than one type of gun. I’m not gonna go look it up because I’m like, 90% positive they make a gun specifically for clay shooting, so I’ll assume that’s what he’s using and not like, a .410 or something.

Now that Moss has woken Alessia up with his rudeness, he tells her she’s beautiful and asks if she’s hungry. She is, but not for food; mercifully, they do not have that exchange. Then, Moss tells her to dress warm and put up her hair, and Demelssia is all pouty because she wants the sex but he’s like, no, you were too sore yesterday. She watches him walk to the bathroom naked and we pop into Moss’s POV after a break.

Before she woke this morning, I called the Hall and spoke to Michael, the estate manager. It’s a crisp, bright day, perfect for what I’ve arranged. After all our rigorous activity yesterday, we need a break and some fresh air.

Trekking across the countryside to shoot clay pigeons is a “break” from “rigorous activity”? I realize E.L. James is rich and therefore she probably has had the opportunity to shoot at some point, so she would probably know. But…it’s a physical activity. It’s not running a marathon, sure, but it’s not exactly a relaxing break.

Also, “rigorous” is the wrong word to use. It means strict, harsh, thorough, demanding, that kind of thing. Not “physically active.” She’s looking for “vigorous,” involving physical exertion, speed, or intensity of motion.

Rosperran Farm has been part of the Trevethick estate since Georgian times. The Chenoweth family has been tenant farmers there for more than a hundred years.

No, the Chenoweth family *have* been tenant farmers there for more than a hundred years. Now, some of you might argue that “family” is a singular noun and therefore “has” is correct. I will furiously disagree; “farmers,” the thing that they have been, is plural. As a result, “The Chenoweth family have been tenant farmers,” flows a lot better and reads as less clunky. Sentences that would have worked better:

The Chenoweth family has farmed there for more than a hundred years.

The Chenoweths have been tenant farmers there for more than a hundred years.

The Chenoweth family has been farming there for more than a hundred years.

Again, you can argue all day that “has” is correct due to “family” being singular but I will continue to argue that the sentence is clunky enough to stop or slow down a reader.

They meet up with someone who has a Land Rover, and Moss tells Demelssia:

“We’re going to shoot clays.”

Alessia looks bemused. “Clays?”

“Clay pigeons?”

She appears to be none the wiser.

I’m now less certain that this is a good idea.

I’m starting to notice this pattern in their interactions where Moss will say something, she won’t understand, and he repeats it back to her as if just saying it again will make the meaning clearer. Then he remarks on how she doesn’t know what the thing he just referenced is and has a moment of dismay that maybe she won’t grasp the concept at all. Like, all he really would have to say is, “We’re going to target shoot for fun,” and she would probably get it. It’s not like, oh, this was a terrible idea because there may be no way to make her understand what the activity entails. I’m having a difficult time finding the right words to explain it. I guess I have to just leave it as, “I feel like there is a pattern to their interactions that make it seem like Moss views Demelssia’s grasp on the English language as a mark of her overall level of cognition and that’s really gross.”

So, Moss notes that Demelssia looks worried. IDK why she would. She’s only spent a few days with a man who has spoiled her and carefully tried to earn her trust and now he’s driven her to a remote location where they’re meeting a strange man who has guns and big fuck-off SUV. I wonder if there’s something in her past that would make her suspicious of the situation.

But that is never a point that is made, ever. Instead, we move on to Moss’s panic when the driver calls him “my lord.”

“Hi.” I check to see if Alessia has overheard, but she’s climbing out on her side of the car. “‘Sir’ will do, Jenkins,” I mutter as she approaches us.

Remember how the back cover copy promised “a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the very last page?” Have you had enough of this thrilling roller-coaster ride yet? Demelssia might find out that Moss is an earl, which she will find out, eventually, and which isn’t a bad thing.

By the way, the same snake oil sales pitch they slapped on the dust jacket hypes up “wild, rural Cornwall” as if something happens there that’s more interesting than several meals and a shopping spree.

It also describes “the bleak, forbidding beauty of the Balkans,” so they can’t even keep the disdain out of the false advertising.

Back on the roller-coaster, we learn about Jenkins’s family history and how great a shot he is. Also, that he’s a surfer. Which we definitely needed to know about him because he’s a minor character who will appear in only this scene and there will be no surfing involved.

You probably forgot a touching memory from your childhood to store that new information. Aren’t you glad you’re here?

So, Demelssia is like, are we shooting birds and Moss finally takes the time to explain they’re shooting clay discs. Jenkins gives them an itemized list of the guns, equipment, and food he’s brought.

“Good surprise?” I ask her, feeling doubtful.

“Yes,” she says, but she doesn’t sound certain.

Again, it’s almost like there’s something in her past that might make her not want to be alone with men who have guns. She’s never shot one, either, though her father has guns.

“Well, he will go out with his gun. he will go out overnight. To shoot wolves.”

So, yeah. Meanwhile, back on Mypos, I guess. We shoot wolves and do the Dance of Joy or what the fuck ever. Seriously, though, I fully agree with the commenter who said Alessia is like a time traveler. It’s like she just sort of wandered out of 17th century Albania, where her father defends their village from the encroaching wolves with his blunderbuss.

Demelssia notes that though there are wolves in Albania, she hasn’t ever seen one and she suspects her father hasn’t, either. So, what was this passage even about? Is her dad a serial killer? Is that what she’s saying?

Anyway, she wants to learn to shoot, so Jenkins gives her a safety lesson. And you guys? You’re not going to believe this, but E.L. James actually wrote something she apparently knows. She directly references a Purdey 12-gauge over-under, which is absolutely a gun you would use for trap shooting. 12-gauge is standard for trap shooting. Now, Moss has Demelssia shooting a 20-gauge, which is also perfect. 20-gauge is a good first-time gun because they’re not gonna kick the hell out of you like a 12-gauge will. But I have a bone as fuck to pick with the world at large here:

The pair of guns were handed down to my father on my grandfather’s death, and when Kit turned eighteen, my father gave him one of the guns as a birthday gift. When my father died, Kit gave me this one–the one that belonged to my dad.

And now, wwith Kit gone, I own both of them.

I’m hit by a sudden wave of sadness. A vision of the three of us in the gun room, my father cleaning this gun, my brother cleaning his then twenty-bore, and me looking on, as an excited eight-year-old finally allowed in the gun room.

So, okay. I need to know two things:

  1. Does this gun culture still actually exist among the titled class?
  2. If so, how the fuck is this any different than when my grandpa died and we divvied up his guns?

Like, seriously, this is some white trash behavior. If earls and viscounts and shit are doing this, they better just own up to being no better than Jim Bob Jithers, Sr. in Dogfart, Nebraska. This is some flyover state inheritance shit.

I guess what I’m saying is, holy shit, these people think they’re better than me?

via GIPHY Image: Some dude from something I don’t recognize saying, “You think you’re better than me because you play by the rules? Whose rules?”

So, anyway, the interesting part about the guns is over. I know I’m super anti-gun and stuff, but I grew up in a gun house, okay? I hunt when I feel motivated. It is what it is. At least there was some point of reference or interest I could get excited about in this fucking book because lord knows I’m not interested in any of the sex.

I mean, I like sex. Just not boring sex.

After like, two pages of dancing around it, they’re ready to shoot.

And I feel like showing off. She’s a better pianist than me, she can cook better than me, and she beat me at chess…

Okay, the cook thing is really wedged in there. E.L. needed something else about Demelssia’s personality so that there would be more than two things cited in that sentence. And the ball. My god, but Erika hath dropped it. Because we already know that Moss doesn’t cook. When Demelssia cleaned his kitchen at home, she notes that the oven appears to never have been used. The dinner Moss served her was cooked by someone else and he just heated it up. We’ve never gotten any indication that cooking is really important to Moss, so it wouldn’t matter that she could do it better than him. The worst part is, James could have simply justified his wanting to show off with the piano thing. By listing two more wan comparisons, she just highlighted the fact that her hero and heroine don’t have strong connections in any area of their relationship.

Moss shoots two clay pigeons and Demelssia is suitably impressed but doubts she can hit the moving target.

“Feet apart. Your weight on your back foot. Good. Look at the trap. You’ve seen the trajectory of the clay, you’ll want to follow it up in a smooth movement.” She nods vigorously. “Mount the stock as hard against your shoulder as you can. You don’t want any recoil.”

Maybe you should stand directly in front of her to make sure she’s got the stance right.

Oh, yeah, by the way, those lines were said by Moss and tagged with Demelssia’s action because surprise, we’re in hell.

So, Demelssia tries and fails three times and on the fourth, she manages to hit the pigeon. She’s so excited that she does a little dance about it and inadvertently aims the gun at Jenkins and Moss and sadly Moss is not killed and Jenkins is not put out of his misery. Woe, this innocent side character, trapped in such a book!

After a section break, we’re in Demelssia’s POV while they sit around eating sausage rolls and talking about the shoot. Moss says she got twenty out of forty and that’s not too bad, but like…that’s fucking miraculous. Not just for a first trap shoot, but for the first time she’s ever shot a gun before? Ever? Trap shooting is fucking hard.

Anyway, she says she wants to go shooting again when it isn’t so cold, they finish their coffee and sausage rolls, everything gets packed up and put away, but Moss is going to take the gun back to the house to clean it.

“It is your gun?”

“Yes.”

She frowns.

“Jenkins keeps it for me. By law, it has to be locked up. We have a gun cabinet at the Hideout.”

“Oh,” she says, her confusion obvious.

“Ready?” I ask to distract her.

She nods.

“I’ll have to take this home.” I hold up the gun case. “And we can go for a walk on the beach, then somewhere nice for lunch.”

“Okay.”

I open the car door for her, and she gives me a fleeting smile as she climbs in.

That was close.

…how? How was that close? How the hell was she going to make the leap from “Oh, that’s your gun?” to “You must be an earl?”

Every day I don’t tell her who I am, I’m lying to her.

Fuck.

It’s as simple as that. I open the boot and place gun case inside.

Just fucking tell her.

It’s not like you’ve got to tell her you’re on the sex offender registry or you once accidentally killed a man. Jesus Christ.

He’s about to tell her the truth when God intervenes. Well, God or whoever it was who wrote the screenplay for The Queen.

Before us stands a magnificent buck deer, its coat gray and long, appropriate for the winter months,

I’m glad you approve of its fashion sense?

its usual white spots hidden in among its fur. Where the hell did it come from?

The God of your universe. She is desperately trying to get to the big reveal she has planned.

“Have you ever seen a deer?” I ask.

“No.”

There are three god damn different types of deer in Albania.

Look. Decide, ma’am. Either your heroine is from a city or the mountainous countryside where wolves must be hunted for the safety of the village. You can’t have both. If it’s the latter, your heroine has seen a fucking deer.

“I didn’t know there were wild animals in this country,” Alessia says.

Are you.

I mean.

There are like.

Birds.

In London.

Everywhere.

So many birds.

And squirrels.

But you thought.

How.

You know what? No. I’m not going to engage. My life and my time are too precious.

Moss uses the deer as an excuse not to tell Demelssia that he’s an earl, because the moment is gone. You know, those perfect moments where you just have to seize the chance and tell your girlfriend that you’re an earl, and then she’ll be all like, “What is this word, earl?” and you’ll be like, “Nothing, your tiny peasant brain couldn’t even begin to comprehend, let’s make sex some more.” But the moment has passed.

Which is a good thing, because we’ve apparently just abandoned the roller-coaster ride of the kidnapping plot for the holiday train at the mall that is Moss’s internal conflict over how to tell Demelssia something that isn’t a bad thing and hasn’t been set up to suggest in any context that it should be a source of shame or anxiety. He’s just been making it one in his mind and lying to her by omission and distraction.

Caroline calls, Moss ignores her, Demelssia and Moss have sex again, and Moss lays awake with his manufactured crisis:

Why am I so reluctant to come clean?

Because I don’t know how she feels about me.

And also, apart from my title, there’s the small matter of my wealth.

Bugger.

My mother’s suspicious nature has left its mark.

Women will only want you for your wealth, Maxim. Remember that.

Are you kidding me? Like, are you actually kidding me right now? We are 65% into this book and we’re just now introducing the internal conflict that Demelssia might, despite all appearances to the contrary, be a gold digger? Moss has flaunted his wealth, from his cars to hiring private security to taking Demelssia on a whirlwind vacation with shopping sprees and dinners out and luxury accommodations, and now he’s like, oh no, what if she finds out I’m wealthy? I don’t think you can avoid that now, Moss. I really don’t. I think the cat is out of the fucking bag on that one.

She was reluctant to let me buy her clothes, reluctant when she has nothing. She doesn’t want me to buy her a phone, and she always chooses the cheapest item on the menu. This is not the modus operandi of a gold digger.

Is it?

Moss. You have fucked 80% of the female population of London, most of whom you picked up in exclusive clubs. Have you never run into a gold digger before? For real?

I’m so mad. I’m just so mad. Moss uses his wealth to up-end this woman’s life and the lives of her friends. He forces her to let him buy her things and overrules her when she says no. And now he’s using that as evidence that she might be a gold digger?

I’m so mad. I’m just so mad because none of this has come up until 65% into the book, and it’s so obvious that it’s here just to stretch out the incredibly thin plot. If the characters ever made a single logic-based decision, this story would be over already.

You know, just like Moss’s fear that she’s a gold digger, which evaporates a paragraph later.

There’s a break and Moss gets woken up by his neighbor in London, who calls to tell him that his apartment has been robbed. And that’s the end of the chapter. A whole chapter where the characters do nothing and the storyline doesn’t advance until the last line.

My Impression So Far: This book could have been saved. Someone asked me how it could have been saved when I was doing Fitshaced Fortuneteller (if you’ve never heard of it, Fitshaced Fortuneteller is a weekly live stream on my YouTube channel every Saturday night at 10pm EST, where I get super drunk and read tarot cards and get wildly off topic and tell stupid stories). These are some of the points I came up with and probably didn’t make very clearly because I was hammered.

  • Rather than Maxim deciding that he will rescue Alessia, Alessia could have approached him for help, giving her agency in the situation and the choice of whether or not she wanted to go with Maxim to the hideout. This would have separated Maxim’s actions from the actions of the kidnappers.
  • Maxim should have alerted the authorities. The fact that he did not means that this entire time that they’re romancing it up, nothing is being done to rectify Alessia’s predicament. The traffickers are still out there and they’re still looking for her. Her problem is not being solved. They’re simply waiting for the plot to arrive in Cornwall.
  • There must be a better reason for the traffickers to expend so much energy looking for her than just, “she got away.” So did two other girls. What makes Alessia worth all this effort?
  • Both Maxim and Alessia have too much backstory and it’s too inconsistent. Connections to England and Poland aren’t necessary for Alessia’s story, but we’ve heard about them over and over. Maxim started the book out fucking his brother’s widow. Now, that plot thread is being ignored. We’re told that Maxim’s brother was well-liked and the better son, but every memory we see of him suggests he was a total a-hole. There are too many unnecessary details that will need to be wrapped up somehow but there’s just not going to be room.
  • Maxim’s evolution should have been shown on the page. This goes back to how the dynamic would have been different if Alessia had asked for Maxim’s help, rather than having it forced upon her. Imagine a moment where the Earl of Laying Down Fat Beats has to consider whether or not he’ll help this woman in this dangerous situation and wonders what it is about her that makes him want to help her? That would have set a much better foundation for his total personality 180.

Those are just a few of the ways the book could have been better. But what the fuck would I know?

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162 Comments

  1. So, yet again, Mrs. Leonard is ripping off Fifty Shades with her whole “he plans a supposed surprise FOR HER but it’s really just something he likes to do and he has no idea if she’ll like it and, furthermore, it’s a thing that lots of people have valid reasons to not like or be able to participate in.” In Ana’s case, gliding, and here, shooting.

    My brother used to do dickish “romantic” “nice” things like this for his girlfriends. He’d make a reservation at a great, expensive seafood restaurant, even though she didn’t like most seafood. But HE loves it, so… she’s just ungrateful for not appreciating the expensive nice thing he did FOR HER. She’d tell him she was terrified of heights, and he surprised her with a hot air balloon ride, like he’s always wanted to do, to “help her get over it”! Wasn’t that nice of him? Also, it was super expensive, so she should be a little more appreciative of all he went through. She wanted a quiet dinner date with him, but he got her all excited about the “big surprise” he’d planned for her: front row seats at a loud concert with HIS favorite band, because he “wanted to share it” with her. Isn’t that generous and romantic and sweet?!

    Christian takes Ana gliding without first checking to see if she’s afraid of heights, or gets airsick, or even WANTS to in the first place. And here, Poldarkasaurus just hands Demalyssiana a fucking GUN, which lots of people have moral objections to AND SOMEONE WHO WAS KIDNAPPED AND SEX TRAFFICKED MIGHT BE FREAKED OUT BY, and announces “let’s go shoot stuff!” These “sweet gestures” or “dates” or “more” or whatever are just 100% selfish asshole things that these self-centered jerks want to do. It doesn’t work in fiction because we learn nothing more about the FMCs or what they like, other than they’ll do whatever their big, bossy Alpha men want to do. It doesn’t work as a romantic gesture, either, because it’s just the Asshole Alpha doing the expensive thing HE likes to do without giving a single fuck if she’ll actually like or want to do it.

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dvärghundspossen
      Dvärghundspossen

      The whole clay shooting thing could have worked if the scene leading up to it was completely different.

      Maxim:
      – I feel like going out and doing something completely different today. I feel like shooting clays! Does that sound like fun to you?
      Alessia:
      – Clays?
      Maxim:
      – You have a gun and try to shoot down these discs of clay that come flying through the air… it’s tricky for beginners, but really fun!
      Alessia:
      – Oh that DOES sound like fun! Let’s do that!

      Cue them shooting clays. Without Maxim fretting about how he’s gotta be better than her.
      Like, it would not have been difficult to just tweak things a little and make Maxim much nicer.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • Yes! Or it could have been an opportunity to do what scenes are SUPPOSED to do in fiction: show character and plot development, show A & M growing closer and their bond deepening so this supposed epic love is believable, give us reasons to root for A rather than see her as a passive rescue fantasy insert, and reflect real tension, stakes, and consequences.

        I bound out of bed, full of energy like I haven’t been in years. For once, instead of remembering Kit’s sneering voice calling me “Spare” or my father’s constant criticisms, I remember other times, fun times. Times we spent together and it actually felt like we were a real family. My father teaching us how to shoot with the family rifles. Purdeys, beautiful machinery. Mine, now.
        I push down the heavy, sad thoughts, and remember only the sensation of boyish freedom, country life. Fresh air, sunshine, the crack of a trigger-plate, the victorious sensation of shattering clay pigeons.
        Suddenly, I want to share that with Alessia. And you can explain to her about being an earl, your responsibilities, my inner voice reminds me mercilessly.
        Okay, then. I grin at her. “I feel like going out and doing something completely different today. I feel like shooting clays! Does that sound like fun to you?”
        “Shooting… clays?” Her voice is hesitant, her huge eyes filled with concern.
        Idiot, I inwardly kick myself, and rush to explain. “You have a gun and try to shoot down these discs of clay that come flying through the air… it’s tricky for beginners, but really fun!”
        But Alessia is still frowning, eyes darkening further. “Shooting… with a gun?” she repeats, but she doesn’t sound certain
        “Yes. For sport.”
        She swallows. “I… do not think so.”
        “No? It’s just for fun-”
        “I do not… wish to… shoot.”
        “It’s perfectly safe, if-”
        She shakes her head, fear clouding her face. “I cannot,” she whispers, paling. “It is- no. I cannot!”
        Fuck. She’s really upset by this! “Alessia, what is it?” I whisper, taking her trembling hand in mine. All thoughts of Purdeys and clays have fled.
        “It is the guns,” she murmurs, shaking her head. “I do not like the guns! No!” Her beautiful eyes are filled with panic and tears.
        You bloody fool! “Oh, fuck, Alessia, of course- I didn’t think- Oh, no,” I whisper, taking her into my arms.
        She’s been held at gunpoint. She’s been kidnapped from her home and everything familiar, fled gunmen, expecting to be shot down like a hunted deer herself.
        Oh, my poor, poor, darling girl.
        “I’m sorry,” I whisper against her hair, holding her shaking body close. “No guns,” I promise her. “No shooting, not ever. You’re safe here.”
        I can tell from her breathing that she’s trying not to cry.
        “Alessia,” I finally murmur. “Would it- Can you… tell me more about it? What happened to you? Do you want to talk about it?”
        “I have never told anyone many of these things. Not even Magda.”
        “You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” I assure her. “But if you do, you’re safe here, Alessia.”
        Her sigh is shaky. She pulls back to look at me, and I’m stunned by the resolve in her eyes. She’s been through so much, survived so much. She’s strong.
        Stronger than you, I realize.
        “No, Maxim,” she says. “I must tell you all of it. All of my story. It’s time.”
        And that means it’s time for you to tell her all of your story, too, my inner voice points out.

        And then, instead of wankery about clay pigeons, Alessia and Maxim have real, revealing conversations about their past, and their fears, and their experiences, and maybe recognize some common ground. And THEN, after all of that, Alessia could say “Mister… perhaps tomorrow… I would like to shoot clays with you,” with a sense of resolve, and then he could give her all the AlphaAsshole lessons about how to use a gun, which she will put to good use at the plot’s climax when she saves her AND Maxim and Magda and whoever else from the kidnapping sex traffickers.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dvärghundspossen
          Dvärghundspossen

          SO MUCH BETTER!

          May 29, 2019
          |Reply
        • Xebi
          Xebi

          I love this. It could be such a good story, unlike – and here I use the term loosely – the “original.”

          May 29, 2019
          |Reply
  2. Was there really a Chenoweth in this book? Because isn’t that Elizabeth’s surname in the Poldark books? At least, I think it was spelled Chynoweth so well done on switching that one up, ELJ.

    ALSO YAY FIRST COMMENT.

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
      • It’s always a risk to gloat “first comment,” isn’t it? I hope that, unlike Mrs. Leonard, you’ve learned a valuable lesson from your experience, and, indeed, will grow as a human being as a result.

        Tea, darling? The kettle’s on. 🙂

        May 28, 2019
        |Reply
    • Sushi
      Sushi

      Damn, I just came down here to scream about that too.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
    • AMS
      AMS

      Yes, Elizabeth in Poldark was called Chenoweth/Chynoweth.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
  3. Avery
    Avery

    That gif happens to be of Boyd Crowder of “Justified.” He’s one of my favorite TV villains. Because he’s an actual complex villain, unlike the cartoon villains James populates her books with to pad out her word count.

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • River
      River

      Me too! Love, love, love him. I was so sad when Justified ended/greatful they did not ruin it by extending the seasons forever.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
      • Holly
        Holly

        And it ended so perfectly!

        May 31, 2019
        |Reply
    • Holly
      Holly

      And in my head Jenkins, the guy who drives a “big fuck off SUV” and takes care of all Moss’s guns, is now just Boyd Crowder…who definitely just had his men rob this dumbass earl’s house while distracting him with clay pigeon shooting.
      Hey, if she can decide Jason Statham was guarding Christian Grey that whole time, I can do this.

      May 31, 2019
      |Reply
    • Larissa
      Larissa

      Best villain ever.

      May 31, 2019
      |Reply
    • Chelsea G
      Chelsea G

      I was so excited to see a Justified gif and then so disappointed that she didn’t know where it was from. One of the most beautifully-written shows ever aired, imo. I miss it so much!

      June 1, 2019
      |Reply
  4. Ren Benton
    Ren Benton

    “There are too many unnecessary details that will need to be wrapped up somehow but there’s just not going to be room.”

    That’s what the next seven books in the series are for, silly! (I say this knowing those details sank into the abyss of ELJ’s mind, never to be seen again, the instant after she typed them, but the *belief* that surely those details are “clues” to something important will sell books to gullible souls.)

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
  5. J.
    J.

    Did you read the ridiculous claim that Eel started writing The Mister Poldark BEFORE 50 shades?

    I call complete bullshit because the Poldark drama didn’t even air until 2015… UNLESS this now helps unravel the mystery of which version she’s ripping off.

    Plus didn’t she say in numerous interviews that Master of the universe/50 shades was the first thing she ever wrote, like, ever? Wasn’t that part of the glorious train wreck that lured people in? She said she didn’t even know what fanfiction was until she started writing 50! Unless she’s lying about that but that’s a stupid thing to lie about?
    Please correct me if I’m wrong. This is just a huge mindblow.

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Maria
      Maria

      she actually did write a fic before master of the universe/50 shades. it was called safe haven, told from edward’s pov, and from the short excerpts i’ve read (courtesy of folding idea’s twitter) it is just as terrible if not worse. and i can see all of its fingerprints on this book and grey.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
    • Keaalu
      Keaalu

      2015? Since Sunday, I’m pretty convinced that ELJ’s “visit to Albania” was probably “well, OK, I watched it on TV” as a famous chef in the UK (Rick Stein) visited Albania in an episode of his show… also in 2015… and his guides (one of whom just so happened to be called Blerina) talked about their lives before the fall of communism, and not having cars (and having to walk to the beach), and the film crew go waaay off the beaten track looking for traditional shepherds, requiring a mule ride… (Nothing about shooting wolves though. Or was there?)

      I sat watching it going “oh, Jenny mentioned that in her recap… oh, and that… and that as well… oh, that bit too!”

      (I do now have the urge to cook tavë kosi though.)

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
      • amblonyxx
        amblonyxx

        I’m cooking tavë kosi for dinner tomorrow night! I’m so excited to try it!

        May 28, 2019
        |Reply
      • NP
        NP

        Wow… is this really where the bullshit about Albanians not having cars until the 90s comes from? Because during Communism, unless you were connected to the Party in some way, you had to wait, sometimes DECADES to be approved for a car. So it is no surprise that a given family in rural Albania might not have owned a car, but to infer from that that the whole country didn’t drive…

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
    • Ghislaine
      Ghislaine

      The original BBC Poldark series aired 1975 onwards, and it was massively popular at the time. The books are a lot older – I think the series started publication just after the war.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        I think Eel is my age, though, so she would have been a small child in the late 1970s. She might have some memories of her parents watching, but I think it wouldn’t have been a thing a small child would have noticed much. She IS a reader, so she may have read the books. But it’s probably more likely that she ripped off the modern version of the show.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
        • Anon
          Anon

          Oh never mind. I looked it up and she was born in 1963, so everything I said is wrong. lol

          May 29, 2019
          |Reply
          • Tree Lady
            Tree Lady

            I was born in ’63, and I adored Poldark.

            May 29, 2019
  6. Gretel
    Gretel

    “She appeared to be none the wiser.”

    You fucking…okay. Let’s try this: “We’re going to shoot plates made of clay for fun, like in a shooting range but instead with moving targets that are thrown into the air. We call these discs ‘clay pidgeon.'”
    There, done. WAS THIS SO FUCKING HARD?!

    I absolutely agree with your fixes but for me personally I think the first fix would’ve been to terminate Alessia or have her as a minor side character and the romance be between Maxim and Caroline.
    And if you insist on having Alessia then you either scratch Caroline entirely or change the plot points completely. Maker her more part of the problem because as it stands there are like…eight-ish conflicts and none of them are interwoven.

    We have:

    – Maxim’s dead brother and the result of him becoming Earl
    – Caroline as a possible romantic antagonist
    – Alessia’s trafficking story
    – Alessia’s illegal status
    – the cultural difference and Alessia’s utter stupidity and perplexity
    – him not wanting to be Earl
    – him not telling Alessia that he is in fact an Earl
    – and somehow in the background Maxim’s mother

    There are so many conflicts and none with gravitas and most of them with zero connections because the moment they appear, EL stops the action and moves away so that Maxim can stare some more at Alessia and describe her beauty and grace for the upteenth time.
    WE LITERALLY ESCAPED ALL THE CONFLICTS AND PLOTS BY DRIVING AWAY!
    And only SOMETIMES does “she can’t know about my aristocratic title” show up and it’s one of the weakest, if not the weakest, conflict in this story.
    YOU HAVE ENOUGH SHIT WAITING FOR YOU IN LONDON, DO SOMETHING WITH IT, YOU BUMBLING BAFFOON!

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      The poor neglected Thames.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
    • Liza
      Liza

      I would have loved a story about Maxim and Caroline (written by a better author, obvs.). Whether they end up together in the end or not, the whole idea of two people starting a physical and/or romantic relationship from a place of grief a) not at all uncommon in the real world; b) naturally provides for real actual conflict; and c) could provide some really interesting character development.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • Jules
        Jules

        That would have been a great story. Given their history, that they were a couple first, and his insecurity about her marrying his brother because his brother was going to be Earl. And now he is Earl and is that the only reason she’s with him? It would actually have made the “oh crap, I’m an Earl” angst make sense. It would be the rekindling of an old flame, the love build on grief, the worry that they are together for the wrong reasons. even “how would the family react” to her marrying her dead husbands brother. Bonus points if the family weren’t too keen on her in the first place. lol

        Way more story, way more conflict, way more emotion and feeling than the non-story we are getting.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
  7. Also, like… Why does Moss take the gun home to clean it himself? He doesn’t take both (to teach Alessia) or neither (let Jenkins do it and put it back in the safe). No wonder she’s shooting him weird looks?!?!?!?!

    I assume this is Chekov’s Purdey and he’ll have to shoot a trafficker with it when they finally mapquest their way out here, but… That’s a Doylist take. (And possibly not correct, since in speculating with logic and clues, and those don’t really seem to help here.) But… Wtf is the Holmsian/in-universe explaination for it???

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • New Fan
      New Fan

      Checkov’s Purdey.
      … ded

      Except, we are wandering around in the shag carpet of dropped plot theads, so don’t hold your breath.
      (Or do… so you can laugh at me when on pg 1715 or whatever we get that roller coaster – and it has a gun on it.)

      Also to Jenny’s gun-givin’-out – no it’s DIFFERENT these are more Expensiver. So you don’t understand. Peasant.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
    • Since Alyssianamelza was taught by Maximus Poldarkus to shoot, I’m sure that she will be the one to wield the gun against her captors when they show up in the third-to-last chapter of the book. Then she can thank The Mister-Master for teaching her to protect her own life or something, and everyone can talk about how “brave” and “strong” she is (and bonus points if the Earl of Plagiary is “in awe of” her). After that, the next two chapters and an afterword will be spend on plotless scenes of them buying a house, having fancy meals, shopping, fucking, and proclaiming their undying love to each other. A ROLLER COASTER RIDE, AIN’T IT?!

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
  8. shel
    shel

    Can we write an anthology of romances that all contain “Music to my dick” but like in a way that makes sense? Or at least the most sense you could ever make that sentance….

    Like a supernatural romance where the guy’s dick has it’s own thoughts and enjoys music? And he and his dick could disagree on stuff or something?

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
  9. Elektra
    Elektra

    I probably just forgot and it was explained somewhere but…why is it such a huge deal that Maxim is an earl? I don’t understand why he’s sweating through his rich-boy-pants so hard worrying that Alessia finds about his title. What could possibly happen if she does?

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Nanani
      Nanani

      Something something if she doesn’t know he’s an earl, he can throw that in his mother’s face next time she goes ~BuT GolDDigGerS~ at him?

      It’s not established clearly afaik.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
      • Surely an earl can never have a long-lasting relationship with an immigrant maid, much less marry her, right? Is that what we’re supposed to be thinking? So that when he and Analyssiamelza get married 3 months after they first meet, we can be blown away by how incredibly romantic and passionate it all is or something, right?

        May 28, 2019
        |Reply
    • Dvärghundspossen
      Dvärghundspossen

      I complained about this in a comment to an earlier chapter… it doesn’t make sense at all, because she’s already aware of the HUGE gulf between them when it comes to class – adding a title to him doesn’t make much of a difference. It would be one thing if they had met under different circumstances, and he gave the impression (somehow) that he’s working class and they’re on a more similar level, and now he feels weird about telling her that’s not the case at all. But that’s not the book we’re in.
      Weirdly, in this chapter though, it looks like James wanna say it’s not just a secret that he’s an aristocrat, but also that he’s rich? But how can that be a secret when he lives a life of luxury and throws money around everywhere??????

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • Lucy
        Lucy

        Right, it’s such a manufactured conflict. By now she ‘s obviously aware he has a ton of money, is the fact that he’s a noble really going to make such a big difference? Is this also a result of the historical romance ripoff, where an aristocrat could potentially be more influential than even a wealthy commoner?

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dvärghundspossen
          Dvärghundspossen

          Yeah might be, and maybe there were special restrictions on aristocrats marrying commoners in the UK if you go back in time? IDK, I’m just guessing.

          May 29, 2019
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            You guys, you’re all forgetting the Poldark context! An Earl simply *cannot* marry the help! (you know, back in the olden days, which is when this plot totally does NOT take place)

            May 29, 2019
      • Just think about how much better it would have been if she’d met him when he was DJing or modeling, even if she was still Lord Earl Maxim’s “daily,” and didn’t realize the scruffy dude striking poses or dropping sicc beatz was the same aristocrat she’d glimpsed a few times at her day job. Then there could be real conflict when she thinks he’s a working class Brit from Manchester, pulling some coin with DJing parties or pursuing music, and he has to tell her, hey, btw, you know that rich guy you clean for that you told me about? Yeah, that’s me.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
        • Seraphina Bellemonte
          Seraphina Bellemonte

          That would be really cool, though! Kind of like a reverse Cinderella, even. Maxim could do his DJing at a club where it’s really dark and rave-ish, which would explain why Alessia wouldn’t immediately recognize they’re the same person. And even if she noted a few similarities, those could easily be dismissed because, obviously, the polished aristocrat isn’t working at some seedy club.

          And you could tie it into Maxim’s whole frustration with being an earl. He didn’t want the title or the responsibilities. Maybe he absolutely refuses to stop DJing because if he does, that’ll be admitting that Kit is dead and he (Maxim) *has* to make some serious changes in his life. And in a way, admitting that he’s an earl to Alessia is also admitting that he’ll inevitably have to let go of the past and accept Kit’s death.

          But as Alessia starts to open up, Maxim realizes that he can help her more as an earl than as a DJ, but he’s worried Alessia will feel betrayed or lied to. You could have part of Alessia’s character be that she’s really afraid of wealthy, powerful men–including the aristocrat she works for–because those are the sort of men who trafficked her/the sort of man her parents wanted her to marry. Then, Kit would have an actual stake; he might be able to help Alessia, but at the risk of having her become very alienated from or suspicious of him once he admits what he is. She probably would’ve gone to Cornwall with her nice, DJ friend…but this powerful aristocrat is another matter entirely.

          May 30, 2019
          |Reply
          • Well, I guess I know my next parody blog series, after I get done with my gender-flipped Ever After My Handbook for Fifty Shades of Crossfire abuse manual….

            May 30, 2019
    • Coco
      Coco

      Her grandmother will probably turn out to have been the rebellious daughter of a duke, and maybe her grandfather would have been Balkan royalty if he hadn’t been stripped of his title, so Alessia will end up outranking him.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
  10. Also, besides the birds and squirrels, London is full of foxes since fox hunting was banned. I saw one while taking a walking tour of Bermondsey one night. The little bugger was just walking along the Embankment taking an evening stroll.

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      Would that be the Embankment of the Thames? The Thames of which we haven’t heard in several chapters. Might this fox you saw really be an Albanian sex trafficker in disguise? Perhaps he sent his co-sex trafficker, in a spotless deer costume to sea…the sea…THE SEA of Cornwall!

      OMG all the threads are finally coming together. This whole story finally makes sense…no, I can’t lie. None of this stupid story makes sense. Why does it matter that Moss is an Earl? Why does someone who has spoken English all her life, reads in English and taught English only speak it well sometimes? Why are Moss and Dimzelda not even remotely concerned that there are a couple of sex traffickers after her? Does she even remember she was kidnapped? Does she even realize she is with her kidnapper now? Does she know what the word kidnapped means?

      All of these questions and more will NOT be answered in the next chapter of The Daily..no, that’s not right. The Earl…nope, not that one either. Poldick? Nope, wait, I’ll get it, what is that word? Oh, the Mister. Is she still calling him that? Even after they banged it out a few hundred times in a weekend? Does she cry out “oh, Mister, OH MISTER” as he’s trying to get off on her?

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
      • Yeah, but to Eel, “Mister” = “Master” = Master of the Universe = her same fucking ridiculous Edward fanfic wankery.

        May 28, 2019
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Your story is more interesting than this one. Maybe you should write a novel about that fox. XD

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      I was thinking foxes. London is full of them. I even saw a badger trundling down a suburban street one night. And I could maybe forgive Alessia for not knowing this, but there are deer. In London. The royal parks are full of them. Anyone remember Fenton?

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • Ghislaine
        Ghislaine

        Who could forget?

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
    • Rhiannon
      Rhiannon

      And deer in Richmond Park. I mean maybe she never visited Richmond Park, but it is there. And yes foxes EVERYWHERE.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
  11. seaserpent
    seaserpent

    “How the hell was she going to make the leap from “Oh, that’s your gun?” to “You must be an earl?””

    Interestingly, under English and Welsh statutory law, guns may only be owned and fired by those in direct possession of an earldom. While a duke may make use of any ancestral cannon on his property, viscounts are restricted to rudimentary catapults (a controversial Act of Parliament was passed in 1876 to permit barons the right to point their fingers at people and go ‘POW’). Members of the royal family are, of course, granted royal assent to carry miniature nukes about their person.

    “There are like.

    Birds.

    In London.

    Everywhere.”

    I refuse to believe she’s been in Cornwall for more than fifteen minutes without encountering seagulls. I got divebombed in Perranporth TWICE last week because I was eating chips.

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • amblonyxx
      amblonyxx

      British seagulls are huge! The ones in Australia are just normal bird sized so when my Uncle told me that a seagull had stolen his pasty in the UK, I laughed.

      Then I saw one in person and understood how they can steal entire pasties!

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
        • Dinah Lord
          Dinah Lord

          The most common gulls around British seashores are the black-headed gull (relatively small and ignorable), the herring gull (which are at least twice the size and are exponentially fearless), and the lesser black-backed gull (which are even bigger again). The bigger the gull, the more audacious they are. Greater black-backed gulls aren’t particularly common, but they fear nothing and no-one.

          Though if Alessia’s never even been to the beach before, she’s unlikely to have seen a gull before now.

          May 30, 2019
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Thank you for answering my question! 😀

            Hrmm, as to the beach issue… it depends. I’ve seen gulls much further inland during winter on several occasions, hanging out in strip mall parking lots and eating fast food off the ground. I live in the US though and can’t attest to their behavior in other countries.

            May 30, 2019
    • Dove
      Dove

      I knew it was fucking stupid but that’s such a good point. How did they not find any seagulls at the beach? Fuck, how did she not hear any songbirds around the estate either? Or maybe frogs? Or foxes? Or anything? And what kind of idiot assumes other countries don’t have wild animals? Does she think pigeons only exist in Albania?

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
      • Kat L.
        Kat L.

        For some people, birds are not animals. As someone working in nature conservation, including animals reintroduction projects, I’ve heard it too many times. Birds are not animals, insects are not animals, in general, only furry mammals on 4 legs are animals. Oh, and if you eat chicken, it’s not meat, because it’s not an animal.

        So I assume ELJames and her heroine might not even consider birds animals. I wouldn’t even be surprised.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dvärghundspossen
          Dvärghundspossen

          Since Alessia is mostly supposed to be crap at English (except when her university background is brought up) it’s feasible that she ended up saying “animal” although she meant something more specific.

          But it’s STILL weird. And, as Jenny said, the narrative mostly paints her as coming from the ass-end of nowhere, in which case she WOULD have seen deer before in her life.

          May 29, 2019
          |Reply
        • ShifterCat
          ShifterCat

          I’ve heard little kids mix up “mammal” and “animal”, but adults have no excuse.

          May 30, 2019
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            For a long time, I kept thinking marsupials weren’t mammals (accidentally conflating them with monotremes, which also mostly live in Australia), but I’ve never conflated mammal with animal overall. I’ve also corrected that error, mostly (and my brain likes to fart a lot.)

            But I also agree with you. These people have no excuse for thinking insects and birds aren’t animals… just… sigh. It annoys me to know that happens but some people really don’t care about animal knowledge and I have to remind myself of that. Plus, people make lots of stupid, stupid mistakes in general… But god damn.

            I know fish isn’t considered meat for purposes of Lent but chickens aren’t meat because they’re birds? Don’t treat dinosaurs that way! (lol these people must assume they were always rocks.)

            And I know many people don’t think of humans as animals either but I can accept that mistake more easily…

            May 30, 2019
    • Dvärghundspossen
      Dvärghundspossen

      Ok so a person really knowledgeable about UK law could deduce he’s an earl from the gun stuff… but a time-traveller who thinks credit cards are magic?

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • Person
        Person

        Seaserpent was just joking about the gun stuff, it’s not actually a thing for only earls to be able to have/use guns in the UK. Then even rich people shooting parties couldn’t ever happen. (It becomes clear once you read the sentences later about a law for who can do finger guns and the royals being able to carry mini-nukes.)

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dvärghundspossen
          Dvärghundspossen

          Yeah I got that the nukes was a joke, but for some reason I interpreted the stuff before that as having some basis in reality… IDK, I guess I was pretty tired when making the above comment, because it doesn’t make sense in hindsight, haha. Fortunately I’m not E L James, so my sleepy ramblings don’t get published in NOVEL FORM all over the world without editorial interference!

          May 29, 2019
          |Reply
    • Bookjunk
      Bookjunk

      I kind of understand Demelssia’s ‘I didn’t know there were wild animals here’ after definitely seeing a shitload of birds in London and in Cornwall. Birds ARE wild animals, of course, but I wouldn’t immediately put them in that category either. When I think about wild animals, I think foxes, badgers, deer, rabbits, hares, squirrels. I guess I don’t really consider birds wild animals, because ‘wild’ to me implies that you see these animals rarely because they’re always hiding or hopping away whenever humans approach. And birds are everywhere, so they don’t qualify as ‘wild’, even though they are.

      May 31, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        I think that’s a fair point, but the real problem is her suggesting the entire country wouldn’t have them. Most wild animals at this point also know how to live in suburbia… I think it could work how you’ve explained it but not without more detail. EEL left it at that and it sounds dumb because we don’t know what she’s seen so far or how she personally defines wild.

        May 31, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Or if it was a translation error… forgot to add that.

          May 31, 2019
          |Reply
        • Bookjunk
          Bookjunk

          Yeah, true. Even throwaway lines seem dumb in this simultaneously under- and overwritten book. E.L. James is all about the details and explaining, explaining, explaining, except where it’s relevant or would be interesting, of course.

          May 31, 2019
          |Reply
  12. Anansie
    Anansie

    I’m constantly surprised by the fact that EL James is actually British, because she writes the UK the exact same way Americans with zero research do (also, there are DEER in LONDON)

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • SERIOUSLY. 90210 in Paris, or the Wakefield Twins going to London and meeting a werewolf are more accurate than this shit.

      How is she this inept?!

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
      • AB
        AB

        I live for this Sweet Valley reference. The nostalgia.

        May 28, 2019
        |Reply
  13. Satoria
    Satoria

    All I can say is, you are stronger than me to be ready this…. whatever you want to call it because it sure the hell isn’t a book. Granted, I’m not reading it nor will I but from the sounds of things, EL actually tried to do a badly done historical in modern times. Does that sound right?

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Satoria
      Satoria

      Reading* auto correct is a pain.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
  14. Emily, a newbie
    Emily, a newbie

    Everytime a dialogue isn’t tagged or punctuated correctly, or just not formatted correctly, I die a little more inside.
    Why. Why is this such a hard thing for people to do? Do they not teach this in classes anymore?

    As someone who’s done a ton of editing, using “20-bore” in dialogue *does* look a little odd to me, and “twenty-bore” would come across a little better and reads more fluid to me.
    I think it’s /technically/ fine to use both versions, but only technically. I’ve always personally preferred writing out numbers in dialogue because once again, just flows better for my eyes.
    But I’m also a pretty severe dyslexic so putting numbers with letters is my literal nightmare, so it may be a preference thing.

    Maybe I’m just really not in the know. I’m not rich or anything, and I’m not a fan of handling guns in general because I’m clumsy and I have anxiety. So maybe this is just me, and go ahead and correct me if I’m wrong, but I really don’t see how shooting clay pigeons is a romantic outting? I could see it for a couple that’s been together for a while and they both like shooting or something, but here it just reads very, very clunky and forced. Like E. L. just knows that clay pigeon shooting is something rich people do, Maxim is rich so therefore he must enjoy doing it, which is whatever I guess. But I don’t know anyone that immediately thinks, “Oh I just met this girl and we had the best sex, so for a romantic thanks-for-lettin’-me-diddle-your-titties date we’re gonna go shoot stuff,” and I know a lot of people who love their guns more than anything (it’s Eastern Idaho, people would fight to marry their guns if they could). That just seems like a very, very oddly specific date to plan out.
    Is this just a chance for Maxim to flex his shweet “Boom headshot!” skills? Like. Dude, it’s 2019, and you’re in your 20s. Play CoD or Fortnite like everyone else. You act 14 anyway, you’ll fit right in the chat lobby.

    I’m also pretty sure that this gun culture isn’t like…a thing in England. Not anymore, anyway, is it? I know a few people from England and they’ve always told me that anymore, the only people allowed to have guns are farmers and law enforcement/the army. That’s it. No one else gets guns. At least, not easily.
    Anyone can correct me on that if I’m wrong, that’s just always the assumption I’ve been given from my British friends.
    If it’s true though, this just makes it even more come off as being originally a historical romance book. I’m sure that passing around guns like that over there was a thing in the old days, but just…not in 2019. Not with all the shit happening right now with guns.

    Also, did E. L. just…completely forget the entire bar scene where Maxim was called “Mi’lord” so much that Alessia thought it was his last name? Why have a big stink now over a driver calling him “My lord?” Is there something more threatening about the ‘i’ turning into a ‘y’?
    I don’t really get it. I’m trying to, but I don’t get it.

    “I didn’t know there were wild animals in this country.”
    I just experienced…just the most full-bodied cringe I’ve ever felt in my entire life. That right there, is the dumbest line I’ve ever read. Ever.
    No one has ever said that. I guarantee you. No one is that dumb or ignorant. I don’t know if this was meant to be another, “Ahahaha she’s such a cute foreign girl and so innocent!” moment or what, but I am just.
    In awe. I cannot believe that was spoken by a character that wasn’t a 1-year-old.

    I’m sorry but Alessia talking about how her dad went out to shoot the wolves, yet she’s never seen one and she’s not sure if her dad ever really has either has just opened up my AU more.
    Alessia’s dad is now Not-John Winchester, and he goes out every night to hunt and kill werewolves who have freshly turned and threaten the outskirts of their country. It’s a family secret that he keeps from Alessia, because he doesn’t want her falling into that life.
    The arranged marriage was to get her out of the area so that she would be safe, and her “betrothed” is really a hunter too who will protect her. He’s not meant to be her husband, and even though he was paid to protect her, he still doesn’t like her so that’s why he comes off as mean. Alessia’s mother had tried and failed to just convince her husband to let Alessia just leave the country, because her dad still wants her close enough to be able to watch over her even from a distance. Still having that spunk that carried over from the grandmother, Alessia’s mother decides to go against her husband’s wishes and secretly sends Alessia to England for safety, but is in such a rush she doesn’t realize the men she’s sending her with are human traffickers; because when you live the hunter life, human threats aren’t the first thing you think of to worry about.
    (May not make the most sense, but damnit it’s a deeper and more interesting backstory than anything else we’ve gotten so I’m sticking to this AU.)

    Someone please page The Plot, because it’s running late on getting here. Been 19 chapters. Startin’ to get a little worried.
    Or is it just hangin’ back with the Lambo Girl from H4M?

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      That made way more sense than anything Eel wrote. It’s also about a thousand times more interesting.

      I, too, wonder where the plot went. Do you think it realized how terrible this book was and ran away? Maybe it is off chilling with the Thames and the Vaguely Eastern European Cliche Brothers.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
      • Emily, a newbie
        Emily, a newbie

        I hope so, honestly. I wouldn’t blame it a single bit if it looked onward to the other chapters and just noped out of here. Went off on a date with the Thames, sitting at a cafe while the Greatest Albanian Disappearing Acts of 2019 brood over their own lattes.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
    • Adam
      Adam

      Double-barrelled shotguns are still entirely legal in the UK for anyone to own who applies for a firearms licence. Everything else was banned in the 90s but you can still go shooting today, as I did once as a teenager.

      The way the characters here talk about guns does make some sense as historically shooting has always been seen as an upper-class sport in the UK. You can actually find some writings from the 1930s by British communists aghast to learn that Lenin would go out and shoot in his spare time, unaware that in turn-of-the-century Russia that was completely unremarkable.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
      • Emily, a newbie
        Emily, a newbie

        I definitely know that it was a thing in the past and everything. But I just also know that gun control in the UK as of 2019 is much, much more strict than the U.S. is (given, the list of countries with stricter gun control is pretty long and it doesn’t take much).
        I think what I’m having a hard time seeing being a thing is the “family gun trade-off” thing being as if they’re just inheriting artwork. Like I can see the idea of him, his brother, and his dad doing their scene of cleaning their guns and just handing them off to each other if this was UK way back in the day; like early-to-semi-late 1900’s. But making it seem that it happened in the very late 90’s or early 2000s feels very…not accurate? (I actually don’t know if we’ve ever learned exactly how old Maxim is, other than hints that he’s in his 20s, so I’m just going off of assumption with the timing, too).
        Even just dividing up the guns like that without any thought of “Oh, better work on getting the license” seems a bit odd to me. Once again, I could be wrong again, I just know what I’ve grown up hearing from the British friends my mom has and some kids in high school. Feel free to correct me on details (: It’s always nice learning how different countries view these types of things. I know that those of royal blood are able to basically have access to any weapon ever, but I’m not sure if the Earldom has those benefits in current times, since their title doesn’t seem to have as much weight to it as it used to decades before.

        I’ve shockingly read those accounts 😮 or at least, some of them. My mom has been obsessed with WWII throughout her entire life because of what that war did to our family. So I think in her bid to understand the “whys”, she basically hurled herself into any and all books revolving around communism, Lenin’s life and impact on the USSR, Stalin’s reign, basically everything about Germany around then, etc.
        I do know that shooting like that has always kinda been a “rich people” thing, even here in the U.S. it’s just the old people in the country club that do it; sometimes they drag their grandkids along, but it’s almost always just the older folks doing the shooting. That’s might be adding a bit to me just not connecting this with modern times.
        It’s like Maxim is written with two entirely different personas. He’s this rich, young playboy that does all this music stuff, DJs at clubs (allegedly), is a model (again, allegedly), and a photographer (/allegedly/). So having him very suddenly be into this kind of “older guy” sport just seems super out of left field and very much so feels like E. L.’s just trying to flex some extra, real-life knowledge that she has. Most people in their late 20s (again, just assuming his age, because not even Google can tell me if he’s ever been given one), rich or poor, aren’t really going out shooting clay pigeons. Especially not as a “fun, romantic” date or something. That just feels very out of touch with today’s young adults, and like it was something E. L. herself views as what ‘real, rich men’ enjoy doing. Which, she’s not wrong technically speaking, but the age is a little…/off/. That’s just how it feels to me though.
        Once again, feel free to correct any of what I said here (: I’m fascinated to learn more about this, tbh. (And sorry for the long ramble >.<.)

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
        • Xebi
          Xebi

          Being upper-class himself and clearly someone who likes shooting, Maxim would already have a licence. I’m not sure how inheriting someone else’s guns works, but he’s probably ok. Shooting is quite a common hobby among the wealthy English (and Scottish too – my husband has an uncle who shoots clays – there’s plenty of game in the Highlands).

          May 29, 2019
          |Reply
    • Mana
      Mana

      Id read the hell outta this.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
    • Pre-Successful Indie (now with less misquoting)
      Pre-Successful Indie (now with less misquoting)

      >>Everytime a dialogue isn’t tagged or punctuated correctly, or just not formatted correctly, I die a little more inside.
      Why. Why is this such a hard thing for people to do? Do they not teach this in classes anymore?>>

      First off: Same. I quit reading a book once because of bad dialogue formatting. It wasn’t a bad story, but the wild flying commas and other mishaps were too distracting.

      Speaking as an American public school graduate, I don’t think they do teach that. I got clear through college before learning that you shouldn’t mix one character’s dialogue with another character’s action (at least, not like the example did).

      Mind you, I was a STEM area major, and never got to write fiction for school beyond an elective in 10th grade. And in that elective, they taught us mostly poetry writing with a smattering of short fiction. Otherwise it was just essays, nothing with dialogue.

      So. No. Unfortunately.

      May 30, 2019
      |Reply
    • ShifterCat
      ShifterCat

      I seem to recall reading that while guns are rare in UK cities, in the English countryside almost everyone has a hunting firearm.

      From Hot Fuzz:

      DS Andy Wainwright: You do know there are more guns in the country than there are in the city. Everyone and their mums is packin’ round here!

      Nicholas Angel: Like who?

      DS Andy Wainwright: Farmers.

      Nicholas Angel: Who else?

      DS Andy Cartwright: Farmers’ mums.

      May 30, 2019
      |Reply
      • Jules
        Jules

        Bonus points for Hot Fuzz reference!!!!!

        I really would like to see Nick Angel and his team come and hunt Moss and Dimzelda down through a tiny mock village. Maybe they could team up with the Albanians who are currently punting on the Thames.

        Now I have an image of them rowing and rowing Gendry style while waiting for the idiot who is attempting to write to get back around to them. (Sorry, I just couldn’t call her an author. It taints the word too deeply)

        May 30, 2019
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      You act 14 anyway, you’ll fit right in the chat lobby.

      Maybe that’s why he was jealous of Michal… however it’s spelled.

      And I love the werewolf AU idea.

      Or is it just hangin’ back with the Lambo Girl from H4M?

      Supposedly her fiance actually shows up to take Alessia back to Albania and one Amazon reviewer said he had more chemistry with Alessia, who also grows more of a backbone then, which just… I can’t wait to see how that goes down. I don’t know if he’s Lambo, the Incredibly Rushed Awakening of Alessia’s Potential or if he’s just Chedward Two before Maxim turns up at the end for an anemic resolution.

      May 30, 2019
      |Reply
  15. Heather
    Heather

    If I understand correctly “the Chenoweth family has been tenant farmers” is extra incorrect in a British book, because in British English you’re actually *supposed* to treat group nouns as plural. Like, Americans say “the government has announced another shutdown, dammit” and the British say “the government are really asking for a vote of no-confidence this time” (append appropriate British cussing, I’m not as sure of that…)

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      Definitely we would say “Metallica have announced another tour” or “Manchester United are losing.” It always looks weird to me when Americans use singular verbs for groups like that, even though it makes logical sense given there is one band or team involved.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
  16. Alex
    Alex

    I’m so tired of those constant “fuck!”s.

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      Sounds like Alessia’s sore lady parts are too.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
  17. WuBomei
    WuBomei

    I have even less patience for James than usual right now cuz I spent my holiday weekend watching Fleabag repeatedly, the second season of which is the most perfect romance ever (I have not read any of Jenny’s books as I say that).

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • WuBomei
      WuBomei

      And now I’m wondering how this ends and was she hoping to crank out 10 more? Argh.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
    • Rhiannon
      Rhiannon

      I love Fleabag, but it’s not a great romance. I don’t want to post any spoilers for people who haven’t seen it but it really isn’t, she isn’t treated very well really.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • WuBomei
        WuBomei

        Then we shall respectfully disagree. ☺️

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
  18. Dove
    Dove

    You know, just like Moss’s fear that she’s a gold digger, which evaporates a paragraph later.

    LOL It’s so obvious that EEL didn’t think about this as a consistent potential worry up until this point (I also have a feeling she didn’t think of him as being wealthy until Kit dropped dead which is also stupid) but EEL can’t keep it in the story because it’s too deep an overall issue. Quite simply put, if Allessia’s deep in poverty and she’s happy fucking Moss, then yeah, of COURSE, she’d marry him to be comfortable unless she has some kind of internal conflict, like possibly strict and mildly misplaced personal morals or maybe PTSD from almost being sex trafficked, in which case HELP HER TO BECOME A CITIZEN AND THEN HELP HER GET A HIGH-PAYING OR OTHERWISE MOSTLY SATISFYING JOB, YOU ASSHOLE! And then he could worry that she’s just showing gratitude but she wouldn’t be relying on him and it’d be super fucking clear that she isn’t just trying to get his money to live a life of luxury.

    And yeah, this should’ve come up back when he was banging random chicks or maybe even with Caroline, whom he also banged. It’s too little too late. EEL knew it, so she gave the idea lip-service and glided onward. There’s so, so much that could’ve saved this piece of shit if EEL had paced things properly, re-organized some of these revelations to appear much earlier, examined genuine concerns at the right time and then thoroughly explored what they meant, and dropped the lazy-ass padding that bored her too. And yeah, dropped or simplified the backstories, then reduced the number of interests these people have, with a focus on common, shared interests and understanding each other’s situation. Ugh.

    There’s a break and Moss gets woken up by his neighbor in London, who calls to tell him that his apartment has been robbed. And that’s the end of the chapter. A whole chapter where the characters do nothing and the storyline doesn’t advance until the last line.

    … What? Not the London police? Not his fucking security agency? The one that keeps track of his security alarm… Not even Caroline or one of his friends? Why in all 9 godforsaken hells is Maxim’s next door goddamn neighbor calling him up at one of the Cornwall estates? How the shit did that wealthy, random bastard get his number? Did Moss give it to them saying “call here if I’m ever robbed”?

    I don’t know why but this angers me so fucking much! I guess it’s everything wrong with this book in a tiny nutshell. It’s so stupid and such a small detail but it makes no sense and it’s so incredibly hard to swallow. I don’t care how close he is with his neighbor… we’d have to be introduced to this person and know that they’re on high alert, for some reason, in order to call his cell phone before the security company does (or in spite of… which would mean the perps know how to deactivate it? I dunno.)

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Oh, I forgot to add… EEL also did this as a chapter break. The fuck? You dumb bitch… That should be the beginning of the next chapter! Ugh… I get she’s trying to build a cliff-hanger and I don’t know how it’s written but I’m assuming this was a mistake.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
    • Emily, a newbie
      Emily, a newbie

      It’s kinda sad, but the lack of police intervention in regards to anything in this book really isn’t a shock to me. Mostly because in every bad YA/NA novel I’ve read (hell, even some decent ones) the police just don’t exist. It’s amazing some of the stuff authors write about happening to their characters without even having the thought of, “Oh, the police/CPS would probably be notified to this, huh?”

      Can’t have the fuzz busting in and messing up the sexcapades. That’s just too logical.

      May 28, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Yeah, but the security company is probably some private corporation. They’d call the cops to inspect the place, so Moss doesn’t have to do that (I’d assume anyway) and then they’d call Moss himself! I think EEL shot herself in the foot like this because, in theory, he should return to talk to them, or else call his insurance agent to go investigate but with a list of any important possessions, I guess. But most of all, I’m honestly assuming EEL forgot there was a security system, even though she mentioned it multiple times. It’s just… she so clearly wanted to re-introduce the “villains” without having them show up on the doorstep yet and it’s awkward and I hate it. Especially since I bet a hundred bucks they’re in the next chapter, banging on the door or something, because the neighbor didn’t notice right away…

        May 28, 2019
        |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      Maybe his neighbor IS the security company. Maybe he’s so paranoid about being robbed that he bought the flat next door and installed his own personal flat guard there with instructions to call him if he is ever robbed. Or maybe Eel is just the worlds worst writer and put less thought into her entire book than we do into writing a single comment on a blog site.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
    • Alice
      Alice

      Maybe Caroline’s call was about that but since he ignored her we’ll never know!
      Also shows the great best friend he is…

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • Jules
        Jules

        Oh, that’s a good point. Maybe Caroline was trying to do him a favor but Moss, having a new flavor of the month just blew her off. I hope the robbers stole EVERYTHING, including his lifetime supply of condoms.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          LOL Same. Especially the condoms.

          Although… what if it was the neighbor and Caroline instead of security and the police because Maxim was stupid and forgot to turn his alarm back on when he chased after her in his car? I didn’t consider that, but that would actually be a really funny, kinda great idea if that was the case. Except this is EEL so she probably forgot that he has an alarm in the first place.

          May 30, 2019
          |Reply
  19. Emerald
    Emerald

    Serious question, are you allowed to just pass down guns like that?? Doesn’t that subvert the whole “background check” process? I’m Canadian and I know exactly one person who owned and gun and passed away and his brother-in-law had to turn it in at the police station to be destroyed. There was no passing on of his weapon. I just assumed that was the rules.

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Sourire
      Sourire

      I have no idea how it works in England, but in the US, for the most part if it is a long gun or hunting gun you do not need a permit to own it and it’s very common to inherit a deceased relative’s firearms.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      I guess Maxim would have had his own background check. In his family you probably go and get one as soon as you’re old enough.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
  20. Nancy
    Nancy

    I was hoping maybe Kristin Chenoweth would show up and sing for the poor, silly immigrant. Something. I’m not evening reading the book and I’m bored by the plot.

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Raven
      Raven

      Ooh, don’t drag Kristin Chenoweth into this! She’s far too nice to have this terrible book inflicted on her!

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • Nancy
        Nancy

        Oh, she is waaaay to good for this garbage! Just the brief thought that she could show up made me more interested, for a few seconds, before realizing of course he didn’t mean her.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
  21. Amanda
    Amanda

    I laughed WAY too hard at “Earl of Laying Down Fat Beats”

    I realize that I’m not reading the entire book, just these excerpts, but I feel like I’m missing something. Why, exactly, is it such a big deal that he’s an Earl? Like, he kind of didn’t tell her and now it’s been made out to be this huge secret, a betrayal of some sort… I’m very confused.

    Wanna bet that the kidnappers want her back more than the others because she’s super duper special and more beautiful than any other woman they’ve ever trafficked before? Obviously, she’s got to be better than all the other sex trafficked women otherwise what’s the point??

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I laughed WAY too hard at “Earl of Laying Down Fat Beats”

      And I’d totally read a book with that title, especially if it had the same plot Emily Barnard and Seraphina Bellemonte came up with. XD

      May 30, 2019
      |Reply
  22. Anon123
    Anon123

    On clay pigeons:

    “I’m starting to notice this pattern in their interactions . . . I’m having a difficult time finding the right words to explain it.”

    There’s definitely something there, and yeah, it feels like the more I try to grasp it, the more it wants to slip away. But in addition to the grossness you mentioned, this also reminds me of how narcissists expect to be understood perfectly the first time they say something. Even something obscure or flat-out wrong. If you don’t understand a topic in exactly the same way they do, with no explanation, you’re stupid and it proves their superiority. If you disagree, likewise. Basically, any failure to mind-read and then mind-meld is evidence of your inferiority.

    Also, in my experience, narcissists have no patience and no persistence. So it’s right in character for Moss to be all, “Oh, I spoke a total of three words and she doesn’t get it, so f*** it, it’ll never work.”

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Emily, a newbie
      Emily, a newbie

      On your comment on Maxim seeming like a narcissist, an interviewer actually, not-so-subtly hinted that Maxim seemed like a narcissist, and E. L. got like…kinda offended about it. She kept insisting that he’s most definitely not a narcissist and just “misunderstood”, because he’s just never been poor or had to struggle so he doesn’t know what her life’s like.

      Which, I mean, if that’s what she was going for, maybe she should have, I dunno, made him a little more…sympathetic? Or give him just, any other positive personality traits at all?

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
  23. Jenn H
    Jenn H

    She lived her whole life in rural Albania but has never seen a deer.

    She has never held a gun before, but is an amazing shot.

    Then there is literally everything else in her backstory…

    But Maxim is way too self obsessed to notice something is seriously wrong here.

    May 28, 2019
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      never holding a gun and being a good shot can actually happen. I was terrified of guns growing up and had a friend in college who owned several and would target shoot at the range. To get over my fear I had him take me and teach me. I was a remarkably good shot from the get go – to the point that after our first range outing, he began calling me “Amy Oakley”. I even surprised both of us when we went out shooting clays, despite the gun being too big for me.

      So, yeah, its probably not common, but it can happen.
      (I haven’t been to the range in like 20 years so I have no idea if it was a fluke or not)

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • It’s also a total Mary Sue quality, much like color-shifting eyes or every man being awed by her beauty.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
        • Wait, that sounded like I was suggesting you are a Mary Sue, Amy, not Demaleeziana!

          May 29, 2019
          |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          The flaw of the Mary Sue is purely one of execution. As Amy said, it could happen in real life too but it’s such a coincidental thing. To write about it and pull it off, without making the reader roll their eyes, requires proper planning and really good details.

          The problem isn’t that she’s a great shot on her first time, but that Alessia’s backstory has so much convolution and contradiction. As Jenn H (and someone else, sorry, I forget who) said, it’d make more sense if Alessia was a spy or an assassin, rather than who she says she is. It’s also completely irrelevant unless it’s set-up for some later shoot-out.

          The only reason she’s dinging the Mary Sue box (and the only reason any character does, really) is that everything is set-dressing without any real impact on the character or the plot. It’s just there to make her sound impressive or to make her seem interesting. It doesn’t seem genuine either from a lack of effort or a lack of experience (or both in EEL’s case.)

          Some writers just don’t understand that audience empathy is critical when it comes to over the top characters. They assume it’ll happen automatically, and while everyone’s threshold varies, it’s who the character is on a very personal and basic level that makes the over the top stuff more relatable. Maslow’s Pyramid is really important, as Coelasquid has pointed out.

          And Maxim could also be much more relatable, even if he stays a wealthy man, but he isn’t relatable at all because EEL doesn’t really care about him as a person either. He’s just another wish-fulfillment fetish trope thingy given form, like a sock puppet settled on top of a wagging stiffie.

          May 30, 2019
          |Reply
    • ShifterCat
      ShifterCat

      Wasn’t someone suggesting Demelssia as some kind of amnesiac sleeper agent? She’s never seen wild animals because she was raised in a military facility. Her “backstory” includes her father shooting wolves, but that’s just to explain why she’s a good shot. Her handlers failed to consider that this would be less believable if she’s unfamiliar with actual rural areas.

      May 30, 2019
      |Reply
  24. NP
    NP

    “I didn’t know there were wild animals in this country”… NO! What is this nonsense? Why would she assume there is no wildlife in Great Britain??? One of the less ludicrous things I find is that she could be from a relatively rural area and still not have seen a deer in the flesh, since, at least over here, deer generally live in the mountainous forests. But if she meant that she didn’t think there are deer in the UK why was this not communicated? Now Alessia simply looks like a complete moron.

    Why is the fact that he’s an earl such a tortured drama in this piece of garbage? No one cares! Maxim is filthy rich no matter what, a fact that she has witnessed firsthand on numerous occasions. If this was a scandalous 18th or 19th century romantic affair between an earl and a scullery maid(I hope this term is correct) this would make sense. How would revealing or not revealing his status as a peer matter in the context of his concerns regarding Alessia’s intentions regarding his wealth? He has flaunted his status in front of her with reckless abandon and if anything he should have been far more aggressive in using it to alleviate her unfortunate situation.

    In addition to all the sensible recommendations that were made at the end of the post, might I add “Don’t treat the Albanian people as backward hicks who have no conception of basic 21st century items”? Albania is negotiating for EU membership ffs! I have no possible idea WHERE James could have spent her informative holiday in the country to come away with such misconceptions. The only plausible scenario I can imagine is if she was so condescending and obnoxious that the locals trolled and bullshitted her during her stay and she had no fucking clue and took everything as gospel. I harp on Alessia pretty hard in my comments, but I consider Maxim to be a loathsome and worthless character in his own right. It’s just that as a landed Peer of the Realm, so rich he can basically live in luxury without the slightest effort, he is far too beyond my life experiences. Alessia however… again, I’m not Albanian, but the stereotypes and idiocy of the character offend me on a personal and visceral level.

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
  25. Mr. Fell
    Mr. Fell

    >I’m starting to notice this pattern in their interactions where Moss will say something, she won’t understand, and he repeats it back to her as if just saying it again will make the meaning clearer.

    Everyone knows that if you repeat something louder and slower foreigners will magically get it. It’s like, the law, man.

    SIGH.

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
    • A. Noyd
      A. Noyd

      Speaking as someone living in a foreign country, slower repetition often does the trick. Sometimes I need to hear the same thing twice to put all the parts together. But it only works with familiar topics or familiar language, not esoteric topics using unfamiliar jargon.

      That said, intonation-intensive languages like English can actually be harder to understand if you slow them down the way many people do when talking to foreigners, stripping the intonation and chopping words up into even, robotic syllables. You might as well shout, “Beep, beep, boop, boop!” at the other person for all the good that does.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • Lucy
        Lucy

        Definitely that helps, but not if you know nothing at all about the topic, I find it helps when it’s vocabulary I know but am not getting because the person was speaking too fast.

        Clay shooting is a kind of niche sport and he could have easily enough given her a more specific information

        May 30, 2019
        |Reply
  26. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    It’s becoming even more painfully clear that E.L. James is one of those writers who’s incapable of “killing her darlings”. No matter how inconsequential, tedious, stupid, contradictory etc., every little thing she wrote HAS TO STAY. Everything is essential – from one-time side-character’s surfing prowess to the sudden illogical fear of Moss that Demelssia might be a gold digger.

    I really wish someone at the publishing company would have had the balls to say that they absolutely weren’t going to publish The Mister ‘as is’ because there is so much wrong with this novel and a good editor could have improved it so fucking much.

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
  27. Anon
    Anon

    “Again, you can argue all day that “has” is correct due to “family” being singular but I will continue to argue that the sentence is clunky enough to stop or slow down a reader.”

    The sentence definitely gave me pause and I agree with you. “Has” refers to “farmers,” not “family,” and it definitely should have just been re-worded. I was back and forth in my brain about whether “has” was correct, but even if it were, it sounds too weird to leave.

    OMG. Shooting “clays” just really isn’t a thing most normal non-earl people do! Even if it’s a thing she’d known about, she’d be confused at his out-of-context statement.

    “Wild, rural Cornwall”??? Are we sure Eel is really British? Has she ever actually been to the UK? Now, I haven’t been to Cornwall, but I have plenty of friends who have, including several who actually grew up in the UK and went to Cornwall regularly and none of them have ever described Cornwall as “wild.”

    “Demelssia notes that though there are wolves in Albania, she hasn’t ever seen one and she suspects her father hasn’t, either. So, what was this passage even about? Is her dad a serial killer? Is that what she’s saying?”

    My guess is mobster and possibly hitman. Because why not?

    That whole passage about the guns could have been lovely without the tedious details. He could have just talked about being an 8-year-old with his father and brother and watching them clean the guns. The inheritance part would have been easy enough for a reader to parse. “Oh, those guns have sentimental value because his father and brother owned them first and now they’re dead.” That they belonged to the grandfather isn’t even a little relevant unless he also watched his grandfather with the guns. This need Eel has for including every little mundane detail is infuriating.

    “…how? How was that close? How the hell was she going to make the leap from ‘Oh, that’s your gun?’ to ‘You must be an earl?'”

    You mean that isn’t obvious??? Gun … gunner … gunnearl … HE’S AN EARL! I don’t even know why someone from Albania who’s only in her early 20s would care that he’s an earl. It doesn’t really mean anything. I don’t even think they care that much in the UK anymore.

    Even if she’s from a city, she’s seen a damned deer. Is this going to turn out that she isn’t Albanian at all? She’s an alien from a galaxy far, far away and just picked Albania for her cover story?

    “Both Maxim and Alessia have too much backstory and it’s too inconsistent. Connections to England and Poland aren’t necessary for Alessia’s story, but we’ve heard about them over and over. Maxim started the book out fucking his brother’s widow. Now, that plot thread is being ignored. We’re told that Maxim’s brother was well-liked and the better son, but every memory we see of him suggests he was a total a-hole. There are too many unnecessary details that will need to be wrapped up somehow but there’s just not going to be room.”

    OMG. Eel wrote that last season of Game of Thrones. That explains so much.

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      “The inheritance part would have been easy enough for a reader to parse. “Oh, those guns have sentimental value because his father and brother owned them first and now they’re dead.” That they belonged to the grandfather isn’t even a little relevant unless he also watched his grandfather with the guns. This need Eel has for including every little mundane detail is infuriating.”

      This is probably one of her worst sins. She over explains to the point of derailing the story. It feels like every time the story starts to gain any kind of momentum Eel panics and slams on the breaks. Like she’s afraid of things getting interesting so she drops a history lesson in the middle of an action scene, or some long winded story about nothing at all relevant if the characters are getting too close to actually having a connection beyond sex. It is the weirdest thing and all I can think is that the word count theory is correct. She is adding all this unnecessary padding because she thinks good books need lots of words in them.

      That could have been a very bittersweet moment, Moss reflecting on his childhood. Hell, he could have even had a very out of character moment and realized that the childhood he had was practically a fairy tale compared to how Dimzelda grew up. It could have opened up a dialog between them that would bond them further. But then I remembered what book Jenny is sparing us all from reading (thank you Jenny) and I wake from the dream of this story ever having anything resembling emotional depth.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        Exactly! A jolting moment remembering his father and brother, Dimbulbellsia noticing, a bonding moment between them. And that would have included more words than what she gave us in the first place and actually been interesting and drawn the reader in instead of putting the reader to sleep.

        It makes me furious and sad every time I see someone say Eel is a good writer — or even a passable writer. She’s a terrible, no-good, awful writer. I don’t even want to call her a writer. She’s a humanoid who put some words on a piece of paper. Those words vaguely relate to each other.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
  28. Alice
    Alice

    Maybe it’s just me but clay shooting is exactly an aristocratic british activity in my mind? So it’s like “I’m terrified of telling her I’m an earl. Let’s wait and in the mean time, how about a perfect earl cliche?”.

    How does he think not rich people live if he doesn’t get his wealth is already obvious??? What am I saying. This is Alessia from old rural Albania. She probably believes England is made of big cities with no animal and everybody is living in big flats with all the luxuries and pianos without ever being visibly working. She’s going to be shock that he is not doing ok but is actually rich.

    Not only he doesn’t ask her her opinion for the activity but he organizes everything in bed while she is still asleep! Get out you selfish idiot!

    And while I agree they had way too much boring sex last chapter, it’s also super frustrating that when she’s the one wanting it, it’s “no, I know better than you+ I happen to have other plans so wait until I want it”.

    The sex traffickers are idiots. Shouldn’t they try to stay discreet instead of entering a rich white man appartment? Something the police will actually look into? All for one woman? Plus if they had kept watching they’d know no one was home? There’s no point but for some cheap tension to remind the characters that they have a plot to deal with.

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
  29. Jules
    Jules

    “And while I agree they had way too much boring sex last chapter, it’s also super frustrating that when she’s the one wanting it, it’s “no, I know better than you+ I happen to have other plans so wait until I want it”. ”

    I forgot about that part and by forgot I mean may have permanently erased it from my memory for my own sanity. That made me so ragey!!!!!!!!!

    She’s so sore that HE declines fucking her even though that is pretty much all he thinks about all the time, but she doesn’t care how much it hurts because she wants him all the time now? WTEVERLOVINGF??!??!?!?!

    All I can think is that he is afraid of stretching it out or something and then it won’t be as tight and fun for him. IDK I got nothing. That was…I mean…does Eel really not know she’s writing about controlling, abusive asshole narcissist? Like she really doesn’t see it? I worry about her if that is true.

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      I’m sure in her mind, it was a caring, selfless act on his part.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
  30. Vely
    Vely

    Because E.L. has such a limited vocabulary there are now several words that I learned from these recaps (because English isn’t my first language) and that I’ll never be able to use without thinking of her books. In FSOG everyone murmurs all the time and here every single day is crisp. LEARN NEW WORDS E.L.!

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
  31. JessC
    JessC

    Considering that it’s Cornwall and Moss is a model/DJ/whatever rich and talentless people call themselves, wouldn’t having them go surfing be a better couple bonding moment? Lot more fun and you could get a lot of mileage out of swimsuits and flirting and stuff.

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
    • Vely
      Vely

      But surfing isn’t an earl cliché. And we can’t have them flirting because they could develop some kind of chemistry, something Eel apparently wants to avoid at all cost.

      May 29, 2019
      |Reply
      • JessC
        JessC

        No, but it does have the whole young carefree lad about town thing about it. Like, Moss had to surf because of stuff to do with Kit and rebelling against the system. Idk it just seems more Cornish than shooting.

        May 29, 2019
        |Reply
        • Anon
          Anon

          It’s the middle of winter. They’d at least have to be wearing full wetsuits.

          May 30, 2019
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            It didn’t need to be winter, though. Nothing in the plot requires that specific season… XD

            May 30, 2019
    • Dove
      Dove

      As a DJ, depending on his drive and prestige, he could make officially licensed or house remixes. It takes some talent but it definitely sounds like a “cool” job people would lie about to make themselves sound more interesting.

      May 30, 2019
      |Reply
  32. Person
    Person

    He (rightly) assumes she knows all sorts of words like trajectory, which is a concept that may or may not come up depending on the subjects you learn, in English, but is certain she’s a lost cause when she doesn’t immediately know what clays are.

    She doesn’t need to sound out a single word of his impromptu shooting lesson despite how much she’s had to sound out before.

    Also.

    She doesn’t know truck.

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
  33. Tree Lady
    Tree Lady

    I was born in ’63, and I adored Poldark.

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
  34. Budgie
    Budgie

    “Mount the stock as hard against your shoulder as you can. You don’t want any recoil.”

    I am sure these directions would not in any way be confusing for someone who is not a native English speaker. I’m sure “trajectory” is also an easy word to understand in context.

    Eel has obviously never studied a second language.

    May 29, 2019
    |Reply
    • Person
      Person

      My thoughts exactly. One second she doesn’t know basic words used in everyday interactions and has to sound everything out like a child, the next she has all sorts of specialized vocabulary for a context we know she’s never been in. The Demelssia: Sleeper Agent comment fics feel so much more plausible than the character we’ve been given

      May 30, 2019
      |Reply
  35. Brandi
    Brandi

    Why didn’t Magda tell Alessia that she was going to work for an earl? I would think basic knowledge of your new boss would be essential. I could even imagine a whole lists of things Magda might have told her: when to clean certain areas, what he absolutely didn’t want her to touch, how he likes his shirts ironed, etc. Not to mention letting the girl who escaped into the country under what she thinks is illegal means (given this story doesn’t apparently know the rules of immigration in its own setting) that she might want to watch what she says around the dude.

    Though, it could make the hand-wringing over telling her pretty funny. He finally tells her, and she’s like, “I know. Magda told me on my first day, but she said you didn’t like being earl, so to call you Mister.”

    May 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Though, it could make the hand-wringing over telling her pretty funny. He finally tells her, and she’s like, “I know. Magda told me on my first day, but she said you didn’t like being earl, so to call you Mister.”

      I love that idea. Even though I don’t think Magda was the former cleaner (I think Jenny said she was some unnamed rando who realized what book she was in and scarpered off), Magda may have had some involvement (since Maxim certainly wasn’t) and it sounded like Alessia became his “daily” shortly after Kit died. So it would make sense for the former employee to let Alessia know that being called Earl, Sir, or Milord would upset him.

      Headcanon accepted. XD

      May 30, 2019
      |Reply
  36. K R
    K R

    Hell,
    I live in the greater Los Angeles area and I’ve seen raccoons, possums, coyotes, rabbits and deer. I’ve seen 4 of the 5 species I mentioned in highly populated areas too, not out in the countryside.
    This is a fantasy land that is not on Planet Earth, because if I can see coyotes in a densely populated area like Los Angeles, you’ve seen wild animals if you’ve been anywhere rural and it seems that in the gospel according to EL James, all of Albania is just rural. Alessia would have to have seen something non-human and non-pet in her life out there.

    May 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Aye. Hell, I saw a dead deer on the road this morning. My city isn’t as big as LA but it’s not a tiny town and the gardeners in the suburbs hate the deer… My aunt actually told me the deer had been doing so well that she saw one with TRIPLETS recently… They’re kind of a problem because you can’t shoot within a certain range of the city limits.

      Btw, I’ve seen rabbits before too, as well as lizards, snakes, and a tortoise once. I’ve lived in three different cities in my state, including the capitol. There are animals everywhere if you look.

      And I mean… squirrels are pretty rampant across the US. In some places, they’re even kinda fearless. I can’t be sure Britain has any of the latter but there was mention of foxes, deer, and even a badger. I’m sure hedgehogs and maybe squirrels aren’t out of the question… and especially rats if Magda was living in a poor area with large, open dumpsters. I have trouble imagining that Alessia, who wears a 14-year old boy’s hand-me-downs, hasn’t seen a single rat in London.

      But I guess pests don’t count as wild animals. Even being generous and saying Alessia used the wrong words doesn’t excuse EEL for making certain the reader knows that was the issue.

      May 30, 2019
      |Reply
    • Tami
      Tami

      Dude. I live less than a mile from downtown Grand Rapids and last year they found a BLACK BEAR in a tree at a house two blocks from me. A freakin’ BEAR in an URBAN AREA. The other day, I saw a wild turkey standing on a busy street corner like he was either waiting for the light to change so he could cross or he was turning tricks. I get possums, raccoons, and skunks on my porch; squirrels come up and eat from my hand (and climb my leg if I’m not quick with the peanuts). I saw a hawk sitting on a neighbor’s fence. There have also been deer nearby. Today, someone warned of seeing a coyote (alive; another person saw one dead on the roadside). I’m becoming desensitized to the wildlife because I know they’re being driven into the area to search for food due to their decreasing natural habitat. But when I lived in up north on a rural, 22-acre wooded farm, it was normal to see herds of deer, the occasional moose, and to hear wolves howling. No biggee.

      Again — RESEARCH.

      June 3, 2019
      |Reply
  37. Sigyn
    Sigyn

    My sister had a commentary phrase in our show and it was circling my head while I was reading this: “Stop trying to artificially inflate the artificial peril!”

    May 31, 2019
    |Reply
    • Tez Miller
      Tez Miller

      Well said, Sigyn’s Sister!

      May 31, 2019
      |Reply
  38. Holly
    Holly

    Even if he hadn’t swept her off her feet\kidnapped her to Cornwall she would know he’s wealthy. She’s your freaking maid, dude, she knows you have money! Most people DON’T have cleaning staff, E.L! Even the Merry Maids (I use that because i worked there for two months. Hellish, and we weren’t even paid for travel time!) who come by every week or so to clean bathroom floors and dust endtables are a LUXURY, not the norm!

    May 31, 2019
    |Reply
  39. She’s just complained it’s too cold, and he suggests going to the beach!? I don’t know about the prevailing winds in Cornwall, but here in New Zealand the beach is the last place you want to go if you’re already not dressed warmly enough for the weather. He’d better buy her an expensive jacket on the way there.

    Maybe he doesn’t realise he might be giving the impression that he’s from a rich family. Maybe he assumes all his flinging money around will make her think he’s living beyond his means and is up to his eyeballs in magic card debt, rather than suspect he really has that much spare cash. If he ever did have wealth, he obviously frittered it away on fancy turntables he never uses.

    Hey, maybe he’s on a nostalgic trip to his Cornwall house because he knows it’s about to be repossessed. Or he’s hiding out there while the debt collectors ransack the Thames apartment.

    May 31, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I’d read that version of him over this. Especially since not every aristocrat has a ton of money, even if they are landed.

      May 31, 2019
      |Reply
  40. Emm
    Emm

    EARL OF LAYING DOWN FAT BEATS I’M DECEASED

    May 31, 2019
    |Reply
  41. Larissa
    Larissa

    The repeating things twice: This is something they do in anime that drives me freaking batshit banana crackers. I still haven’t figured out if it’s a means to fill air time when converting manga to anime, if it’s to emphasize an important point and show the character is making previously-unrecognized connections, or if all anime characters are partially deaf.

    Maybe the Earl and his captive are deaf from all his Fat Beats?

    May 31, 2019
    |Reply
    • Tami
      Tami

      “The repeating things twice: This is something they do in anime that drives me freaking batshit banana crackers. ”

      Trump does it all the time. Pass those crackers over this way.

      June 3, 2019
      |Reply
  42. Corbeau
    Corbeau

    Maybe Maxim is not liked by the people? I mean, I’m not from the UK (actually, I’m Eastern-European, but somehow I’m neither a criminal, nor a sex trafficking victim) so I don’t know much about what it means for someone to be an earl. What privileges they have? Does the title have any significance anymore?
    But I know Cornwall is inhabited by an ethnic group of celtic descent, kind of like Wales or Scotland and they fought (by peaceful means) for automony not so long ago. It was in the news. Maybe they don’t like having an earl on their neck who is always in London? Who (from what we have seen) shows no interest in Celtic traditions?
    I also know Cornwall had mines so they probably suffered from that whole miners union vs. Conservative Party conflict in the eighties and the closing of pits. Shouldn’t that affect the area’s economy negatively? Could they stand up from that blow? Or is Maxim actually the earl of a poor region? Then they surely do not like him, leading a luxurious life while they struggle to make ends meet. Maybe there is a good reason why Mandy or Monica or whoever at the café hated Maxim so much.
    I’m just kidding. E.L. would never write a book in which her hero isn’t loved by everyone immediately. Maybe that’s what happened to the Albanian thugs. They met him, fell under his charm, changed their ways and vowed to never harm Alessia again.

    June 1, 2019
    |Reply
  43. Perlite
    Perlite

    “If she finds out I’m an earl how will I know whether she’s only in it for the money or if she actually loves me for meeee?” Moss, honey. 1) In a better novel, she’d totally be stealing your money. It’s not as if there’s anything else she’d be here for.

    2) You have a penthouse with a view of the Thames (the Thames?? The Thames.) Have several luxury cars that you regularly switch between. Driven her to your private seaside estate. Taken her on a coerced shopping spree. Wipe your butt with gold leaf Charmin toilet paper (this is total conjecture, but he WOULD). If you don’t think ANY of this is not an indicator of how guillotine-rich you are, what would be? God, he’s like Lucille Bluth.

    “It’s one banana, Alessia,” he scoffed, “What could it cost, ten dollars?”

    June 1, 2019
    |Reply
  44. Tami
    Tami

    Just had to throw this out there:

    I’m watching an old episode of “Whose Line is it, Anyway?” and Drew Carey introduced Colin Mochrie as the former top model of Albania.

    I’ll bet that’s another fact James didn’t know about that country. 😉

    June 3, 2019
    |Reply
  45. Emily, a newbie
    Emily, a newbie

    As another note, the title of “Earl of Laying Down Fat Beats” was autocorrected in my head to “Earl of Phat Beatsies”, and now I feel like I owe forever good boy Paradigm an apology.
    Because Paradigm would never treat a woman this way.

    June 3, 2019
    |Reply
  46. Tammi
    Tammi

    “Again, you can argue all day that “has” is correct due to “family” being singular”

    Copy editor here, and I won’t argue at all. Agreement isn’t just about subject-verb, absolute agreement always. Sentences are whole things and the different parts of a sentence play on one another and affect grammar and mechanics. One thing I always find helpful is to condense or substitute to break a sentence down to only its essential components. Changing the tense to present tense helps, too.

    The Chenoweth family have been tenant farmers.
    ^———————–^ ^——–^ ^delete^ farmers.
    They ———————– is/are ———— farmers.
    They is farmers? Yeah no.
    Even if you leave the subject, The Chenoweth family is farmers? Again, yeah, no.

    June 3, 2019
    |Reply
    • Tammi
      Tammi

      I forgot it would center. Son of a bitch. I’m sure you get my point anyway.

      June 3, 2019
      |Reply
  47. D. Huston
    D. Huston

    So she can follow instructions that involve the word, “trajectory,” but she didn’t know TRUCK.

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply

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