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Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister chapter twenty-one or “I would prefer not to.”

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Since I don’t have any news about The Mister, I’m going to shamelessly hijack your eyeballs for news of my own: The Boss, which began as a serial I wrote to subvert the tropes in Fifty Shades of Grey, spawned a seven-book series, the first five of which are now becoming available in serial form on the Radish app. Since its premiere on May 20th, it’s a #1 trending title with over 100,000 views. Are you kidding me? Is this real life?

If you’ve never read the series but you’ve always been mildly curious, this is a great way to dip your toes in. A new episode unlocks for free every day, and if you want to read ahead, you can pay a few cents to unlock more chapters.

Tell your friends! Tell your neighbors! Tell your parents that you’ve found a great hardcore BDSM soap opera! They’re gonna love to hear about that!

In other news, while this is gonna translate to some extra income next quarter (which is sorely needed), my husband severely injured himself about a month ago and has missed some work and is rapidly accumulating medical bills, resulting in a big income shortfall this month which is a supergiant pain in my ass. ZERO pressure, but if you’ve been thinking, “I should send money to Jenny’s Kofi,” this is a good time. I absolutely hate mentioning it (hence the stupid thing at the bottom of all my posts, sitting there like a guilt bomb when you finish reading the damn thing, sorry about that) especially after I just mentioned it not too long ago, but man, I have been super broke lately. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another. There’s always ups and downs, right? Don’t sit there like, “OH MY GOD I FEEL BAD BECAUSE JENNY IS GOING TO DIE IN THE GUTTER! I AM STEALING FOOD FROM HER CHILDRENS’ MOUTHS BY READING THIS CONTENT WITHOUT GIVING HER A DOLLAR!” because I won’t and you aren’t. I’m Domino. I always luck out somehow (and my weed hook-up extends credit). If you can donate and want to, awesome, if you can’t or don’t want to, you’re still awesome because you’re here.

PS. Mr.Jen’s injury is some kind of spinal nerve damage thing that’s causing severe chronic pain in his shoulder and arm. At least, that’s what they’re going with for now. We don’t know how he got injured, which is complicating the diagnosis and treatment; all we know is that he woke up suddenly with 10/10 pain and a cramp in his trapezius muscle that won’t ease up with any muscle relaxers that they’ve tried. He’s on a shit ton of drugs to control pain and help him sleep (which they barely do), as well as so many OTC pain relieving patches and gels that he smells like the dirty, loose Certs at the bottom of a grandma’s purse. Cross your fingers that’s it something simple to fix and I’ll keep you guys updated if you’re interested in knowing what’s happening with him.

Now, let’s escape from the career realities of a working writer, into a magical world of a super popular novel written with as much care as one would take with a grocery list.

Moss races back to the Hideout, lamenting the fact he left her behind in the first place.

Is it them? The bastards who trafficked her? I feel sick to my stomach. How the hell did they find us? How? Maybe they were the fuckers who burgled my flat.

Right here? This should have been his first thought when he learned about the break-in. Why? Because it’s literally the most dangerous thing happening to Moss and Demelssia at the moment. Being pursued by kidnappers is a big deal, not just because it’s the plot, but because it’s perilous and unusual. They should already be on high alert. When a second perilous and unusual situation arises, they would naturally link the events in their minds. The fact that Moss didn’t make that connection right away makes him seem like a fool who hasn’t been paying attention.

But I mean, it would have ruined the last chapter hook, so…

Hurry. Hurry. Hurry.

At the three-times repetition of the word, the car transformed into Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and he flew merrily across the countryside to the rescue.

If they locate her at the Hideout…I’ll never see her again.

If only there were some kind of agency or department that one could call for help in such matters. Maybe a whole group of people whose entire job it is to protect other people from criminals and to find people who have been kidnapped. And wouldn’t it be wild if you could call them before catastrophe struck? For example,  when shady characters who have been stalking you show up at your house, regardless of whether or not they’ve kidnapped your girlfriend yet?

In Demelssia’s POV, she hides in the bathroom and looks for a weapon, but all she comes up with are Moss’s razor and her toothbrush. And I want to say, thank you, E.L. James, for finally including details that show your character’s emotions, rather than just telling us.

With shaking, clammy hands, she locks it behind her while she gasps for air.

See? Was that so difficult?

She’s dizzy with fear. Feeling powerless, she quickly scans the room for something to use to defend herself.

God damn it.

Trapped in the bathroom, which is now basically a dead end, she remembers that Moss will be back soon and Ylli and Dante could hurt him.

He is no match for them. He is one man–and they are two.

And the award for least effort expended in the production of a tense metaphor goes to E.L. James, for that sentence right there.

Tears well in her eyes, and she sinks to the floor as her legs give out under her.

This is the reaction she’s having to the thought of Moss getting hurt. She’s not even allowed to be priority #1 in her own response to danger.

Demelssia hears Dante and Ylli come into the bedroom and they yell for her and call her a fucking bitch. Before anyone mentions, “Hey, why would they speak in English?” as we continue along, James does make it clear that all Albanians in this scene are speaking Albanian. Obviously, she’s not going to write a whole scene with dialogue in Albanian, in an Albanian character’s POV, for English-reading people. I mean, it’s not like a movie, where you can put on subtitles. So, don’t ding her on that.

Alessia puts her fist in her mouth to stop from screaming, and tears trickle down her cheeks. Her body starts shaking.

See, again, James is actually making the effort to show what her characters are feeling. She knows how.

Dante tries to break down the door.

Zot. Zot. Zot.

And then Almighty God appears as if a genie from a lamp and smites everyone and the Earth is cleansed from the scourge of this book.

“When I get in there, I’m going to kill you. You fucking bitch. Do you know how much you cost me? Do you?”

It probably would have been less of a loss if you hadn’t spent so much money traveling all over the country looking for her.

Anyway, Demelssia knows she’s about to get Taken, and her only thought is that she never told Moss that she loved him.

We go to Moss’s POV:

The Jag hurtles down the lane toward the Hideout, and I spot an old BMW encrusted with at least a year’s worth of dirt, and it’s abandoned haphazardly outside the garage.

No, no, it’s just that dirty because it’s Eastern European. Trust me, I’ve been reading the book.

No. No. No.

That’s my line.

Calm down, mate. Calm the fuck down. Think. Think. Think.

He parks the car in front of the gate so they won’t be able to leave that way and sneaks into the house through a service entrance.

Calm down, mate. Calm down.

Maybe call the police?

No. No. No.

That’s what I thought you’d say.

I hope we get a chance to see Moss and Demelssia bond over their shared repetitive interior monologues. It’s wild how they both think in threes like that. I’m sure it was a totally intentional device chosen by a skilled author to illustrate how very similar the two leads are.

The good news is, the guns from their hunting day are in in the house, so he gets those.

Keep calm. You will only have a chance to save her if you keep calm.

I repeat this mantra in my head.

No shit?

In Demelssia’s POV, Dante breaks down the door and she wets herself in fear.

She’s dizzy. Dizzy with fear.

I’m super glad you mentioned what she was dizzy with because otherwise I would have assumed she’d been spinning round and round just moments before.

So, Dante grabs Demelssia and slaps her and says:

“Do you know how much you’ve cost me, you fucking whore? You’re going to pay every fucking penny back to me with your body.”

Which, again, you could have saved that money by just letting her get away and focusing on the girls you still had. I feel terrible that I’m sitting here and doing profit analysis on human trafficking but isn’t this just common sense? How much could Alessia possibly have cost him? Why is she so sought after and highly valued?

His face is inches from hers. His eyes dark and feral and full of rage. Alessia gags. His breath is rank, as if something died on his tongue, and his body odor washes over her in a haze of squalor.

Okay, “haze of squalor” is incredibly telling. Squalor is literally filth from neglect due to poverty or immorality. Now, I get it. This is the bad guy. But after spending most of the book so far talking about how provincial and dirty and violently repressed Albania is, James goes on to describe one of the few Albanian characters we see on the page as “feral” and having horrible poor-people teeth? I’m sorry, but I can’t go, “Well, it’s okay to describe him this way because he’s a villain.”

Just kill me. Just kill me. She wants to die.

We got that from “Just kill me,” thanks.

Here’s another thing that doesn’t make sense. Dante is like, beating the shit out of Demelssia, dragging her around by the hair, he kicks her in the gut while she’s laying on the floor in the fetal position…but she’s such valuable merchandise that he had to chase her everywhere? Why physically damage the product you’re relying on to recoup your expenses? I mean, I don’t have my MBA, but again, this seems like it should be obvious. If he beats Demelssia to death, he still doesn’t have her body to sell and all of the man hours he’s invested are for nothing. At this point, what’s his motive for coming after her?

Anyway, Moss comes in with the guns:

Maxim is standing on the threshold, shrouded in his dark coat like an avenging archangel, his eyes flashing a deadly green, and he’s brandishing his double-barreled shotgun.

He’s here. With his gun.

Again, thank you, we’re all very stupid and wouldn’t have been able to get that from the part where he showed up with his gun.

God, I know I said I wanted more showing, but I mean more showing and less telling, not in addition to telling.

We pop into Moss’s POV, where he describes Ylli:

He looks like a fucking rodent, drowning his oversized parka.

Wow. We’ve got “feral,” now we’ve got “rodent.” There had to be different words to use, words that don’t read like fervent anti-immigration propaganda.

Moss gets the guys away from Alessia and tells her to get out of harm’s way.

Her face is red on one side where the cunt must have hit her.

I realize that “cunt” is a much milder, less contested word in the UK, but I still find it amusing that James can barely stand to describe genitals in her sex scenes but she’ll put “cunt” in as an insult.

There’s a lot of macho posturing about how Moss will blow the balls off Dante and Ylli (with his gun) and then Moss’s cell phone rings. He has Demelssia answer it. She identifies herself as his cleaner, and Dante and Yllli have a two-line conversation in Albanian, which Google translate tells me is Dante saying that launderer must be how you say concubine and Ylli responding that it doesn’t matter because someone named Grueja is “a bellows for trouble.” I mean, I’m assuming Grueja is someone’s name because it didn’t translate. But okay.

The phone call is from Oliver, so Moss tells him to call the police and to send Danny and Jenkins over to the Hideout. Now, wait a damn minute. You want a kindly old lady to come down and help you with the violent criminals? What?

I’m skimming a lot of this part because it’s repetitive, with Moss just kind of constantly threatening to shoot them and ordering them to do this or do that or they’ll get shot, etc. Danny and Jenkins, aware that something must have been wrong when Moss bolted, already had followed behind him. Moss tells Danny to take Demelssia back to Tresyllian Hall while Jenkins gets twine to tie up the evil Eastern Europeans.

In Demelssia’s POV, she’s on the way to the house, wrapped in a blanket while Danny drives.

She would never forget how he looked when he saved her, in his long coat, brandishing a shotgun like a hero from an old American movie.

“I need to make sure everyone realizes how cinematic that description was!”

Now that the shock is wearing off, Demelssia has to vomit, so Danny pulls over and lets her barf on the side of the road. That’s when they hear police sirens, Danny tells her she’s safe, and Demelssia thinks:

He’s saved her. Again.

I hate to keep pointing this out. I really do. But she wouldn’t have needed saving. Again. If Moss had just involved law enforcement in the first place.

In Moss’s POV, Jenkins has tied up both the dudes and found that Ylli is armed. So, I’m not sure why he never tried to shoot Moss. Yes, Moss could have shot him, but it’s really all about luck, isn’t it? And if you’re facing all the charges they’ve got stacked up, you’re going to prison anyway. Might as well take a gamble, right?

Moss lightly brutalizes Dante and explains to Jenkins that they’re human traffickers. Jenkins is like, you know, we could just kill them and hide the bodies, and I’m like, right on, Jenkins, can I come to your book for a while?

In Demelssia’s POV, it’s time get impressed:

They drive through an open and rolling pasture. It looks…groomed, not wild like the countryside she’s seen since she got here. It’s dotted with well-fed sheep. As the car rattles down the road, a large gray house looms before them. It’s imposing. The biggest house Alessia has ever seen. She recognizes the chimney. It’s the one she saw from the road when she was walking with Maxim. He said it belonged to someone, but she can’t remember who. Perhaps this is where Danny lives.

No, it’s where Lady Catherine de Bourgh lives. Let me tell you about the glazing and all her fucking chimneys.

Inside the house, Alessia is impressed by the kitchen but fearful of the dogs, as indoor pets are apparently not a thing in Albania. Danny offers Demelssia a bath and urges her not to cry because “His lordship wouldn’t want that.” So, even in the wake of being beaten and terrorized, Demelssia must put Moss’s emotional needs first.

Demelssia notices the part about “His lordship” and the fact that the en suite bathroom in the bedroom Danny brings her to has Moss’s body wash in it. Kind of suspicious, right?

In Moss’s POV, he’s told the police all about what happened to Demelssia, but he’s described her to them as his fiancée. They say that they need to talk to her.

“Of course,” I respond. “Once she’s recovered. Those bastards really roughed her up. If I hadn’t arrived back here when I had…”

It must be nice to be a rich white man and be able to give orders to the police. They ask him if he’ll get Demelssia medical attention, and we learn that the sergeant who responded to the case knows Moss and has been a local cop since Moss was a child, and he was also the officer who notified the family of Kit’s death. The sergeant’s partner, however, is a young woman who is inappropriately psyched to be dealing with a violent crime. It’s so gosh darn cute when women think they can do things!

After a brief exchange about how Moss has been doing since his brother died, the police leave, wishing Moss well on his engagement:

“Thank you. I’ll pass your well wishes on to my fiancée.”

I just have to ask her to marry me first…

So like. What’s the point of lying and saying she’s his fiancée?

Jumping back to Demelssia, she’s in the bath while Danny goes to fetch her some clothes and painkillers for her head.

It’s throbbing because Dante pulled her upright by her hair.

Yeah, we just…we just read that a few pages ago. In the bathroom, when he was beating her? Remember?

Alessia thinks more about Dante and how much he stinks. Like, the filthiness of Dante is really emphasized:

The stink of him. Fetid. Stale sweat. Unwashed. And his breath.

She gags.

If you choose to make your villains members of a group that has been maligned and sensationalized by the media in your country, perhaps packing in as many stereotypes as you can isn’t a great idea? Yes, we get it, they’re villains and you’re trying to make them unsavory. But I feel like “they are human traffickers” is a high enough bar. “They are dirty, stinky foreigners who are also human traffickers” is xenophobic overkill that is really unnecessary.

Demelssia thinks about the fact that Ylli called her a concubine.

The word is apt. She doesn’t want to acknowledge it, but it’s the truth. She is Maxim’s concubine–and his cleaner. Her mood grows bleaker still. What did she expect? The moment she defied her father, her fate was sealed.

Woe, my fate, to be loved by a rich man who gives me everything I want even when I don’t want it. All is ashes.

Baba would not go back on his word. He would bring great dishonor to the family name if he did. Her mother’s solution was to unwittingly put her in the hands of those gangsters. But now that they are in police custody, they are no longer a threat to her,

And the book can be over? Yay!

and she has to accept the reality of her situation.

Which reality? The one where you’re dating a super-rich man who “gave you the sea” or some shit? You’re out of danger now.

While she’s been in Cornwall, laughing on the beach, drinking in the pub, eating in fine restaurants, having sexual intercourse and falling in love with Mister Maxim,

I’m getting so tired of seeing “Mister Maxim” written out like that. Yes, we know it’s the title of the book, dumbass. Just use Mr.

she has lost sight of that reality.

Okay, but WHICH FUCKING REALITY? She has to face the “reality” of her situation and it’s soooooo dire and soooooo dark and oh, their love is imperiled because she’s his concubine, blah blah blah. The grim reality of her life was that she was being chased down by traffickers. Now, she acknowledges that reality is over. What could possibly be worse than the trafficking thing? What is a greater danger here?

Being with him has filled her head with illusions. Just as her grandmother had done–given her crazy ideas about independence and liberation. Alessia left her homeland to escape her bethrothed but also, in good faith, expecting to find work. That’s what she needed to do. To work, to be independent–not a kept woman.

OMFG. That’s the conflict. That’s the conflict we’re supposed to get invested in now. Demelssia’s “reality” is that she doesn’t want to be a kept woman but somehow her grandmother’s “crazy ideas” about independence and liberation were…bad? But she needs to keep doing them? I don’t…

Danny comes back and finally introduces herself to Alessia. She helps her out of the bath and gives her headache pills and arnica cream and all that mom stuff.

“His lordship will be along as soon as he’s dealt with the police. Come now.”

“His lordship?”

“Yes, dear.”

Alessia frowns, and Danny’s expression echoes hers.

“Did you not know? Maxim is the Earl of Trevethick.”

So, Demelssia finally knows the truth and dun dun duhhhhhhhhn she found it out from someone other than Moss. I can’t wait for this to become an enormous source of angst and conflict that is immediately resolved the moment it’s finally addressed.

My Impression So Far: If this book has made one thing obvious to me, it’s that E.L. James has real difficulty committing to scenes that she’s not enthusiastic about. The last two chapters have been ungodly slogs through, “he feels this way, she feels this way,” with very little tactile detail to immerse us in those feelings. But in this chapter, James actually takes the initiative to include those details. She can do it. There are just scenes where she declines to do so.

She is the Bartleby of her own self-sabotage.

The result here is that it’s obvious to the reader which scenes she should was excited to write and which scenes she just endured. And that makes for an incredibly uneven book with a horribly sagging middle. I don’t remember noticing this with the Fifty Shades of Grey books, but I sure do notice it here and I’ll bet I’ll notice it when I’m forced to re-read them in hell.

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130 Comments

  1. Laina
    Laina

    “Hurry. Hurry. Hurry.”

    Now I’m just sitting here going, “Hurry, hurry, drive the firetruck, hurry, hurry, drive the firetruck”.

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
  2. NewFan
    NewFan

    So…
    Does it count as Chekov’s Purdey if it was only brandished? What are the rules for that?

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
  3. Alexa
    Alexa

    So Moss tells the pointless lie about Demelssia being his fiancee in order to create even more needless conflict (and stretch out the story further) by delaying the police from interviewing her. But…isn’t her immigration status already enough of a reason for him to not want her to talk to the police? (Assuming that Moss is at least consistent in his belief that he, as a rich white man who is literally a member of the nobility, cannot possibly exert any influence to resolve Demelssia’s situation.)

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
  4. “It’s wild how they both think in threes like that. I’m sure it was a totally intentional device chosen by a skilled author to illustrate how very similar the two leads are.”

    This was one of the things about Grey that bugged me most, after, you know, the confirmation that he’s a manipulative, raping abuser and all that: that there was no difference in Chedward’s and Anabella’s interiorities. They both used the same stupid phrases for no reason, independent of each other… “come like a train” being one I wish I could forget. Their voices/thoughts sounded identical. Eel fails on so, so many levels as a writer.

    “Being with him has filled her head with illusions. Just as her grandmother had done–given her crazy ideas about independence and liberation.”

    So… “Hooking up with this super-wealthy English guy has filled her fragile, innocent head with crazy ideas about independence and liberation, which women can only achieve through their sexual and marital relationships”? Okay. Makes sense.

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • once Amy now Ani
      once Amy now Ani

      A person’s writing style is a lot like a fingerprint: it’s unique. I heard when Jk rowling was writing her Cuckoo’s series under a persona, people picked up that it was her due to her writing style.

      It’s how miss Jenny picked up Lani Sarem pretending to be a real life las vegas performer.

      What’s James’ style? Apparently really bad similes, reusing said bad similes, all involving the penis and/or “down there”

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Jenny Trout
        Jenny Trout

        It was actually Tez, our awesome comment moderator, who caught her!

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
        • Ani
          Ani

          that’s right, I forgot! Cause she couldn’t be arsed to use an email that had no connection to her! XD

          June 6, 2019
          |Reply
      • ShifterCat
        ShifterCat

        A thing I’ve noticed: the better an author is, the more they can vary their writing style. It’s easier to notice the same BAD author, because they’ll have the same mistakes and annoying habits.

        June 6, 2019
        |Reply
  5. Mel
    Mel

    Well, that sure was a climax…I guess. Why is everyone in this book both boring and forgettable but intensely dislikable too?

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
  6. Sushi
    Sushi

    “If he beats Demelssia to death, he still doesn’t have her body to sell.”

    *Technically* he does, but I can’t imagine it’ll be easy finding customers.

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • Masha
      Masha

      I thought that since this would be a somewhat, uh, rare product on offer for a rare customer, he could actually recoup his losses in one go. So it makes financial sense for him to beat her to death, but somehow I don’t think that’s what ELJ had in mind.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • OTOH it’s probably tough to find a rich necrophile on short notice, so the risk of not recouping his loss if he can’t find one is pretty high.

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
  7. Perlite
    Perlite

    Moss. You are RICH and WHITE. And these are two CRIMINALS about murder your “true love”. You think he’d spare a few minutes to inform the police so that she doesn’t die. What? Is he afraid that the police are going to come in and be like, “Hands up! Exit the Earl Maxim of Trevethicc’s cozy Cornwall cottage at ONCE!”

    Him not calling the cops until AFTER he defeated them feels like he just wanted a chance to beat up some foreigners be an action hero. No amount growling through your teeth about them hurting Alessia is gonna hide that fact.

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • Ani
      Ani

      Exactly! A rich white guy realizing there were… *gulp* FOREIGNERS in his home and his first instinct is to NOT call the police?

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
  8. SaintSithney
    SaintSithney

    See, if I was a human trafficker, and I had tracked down a piece of property that had escaped, and I was about to render a savage beating to said property, then I would be smart enough to use one of those many old Mafia tricks for inflicting pain without leaving marks. A bag of oranges, soap-in-a-sock, a phone book over the kicking area… like, these aren’t really hard things to look up. And if these dudes are Big Bad Human Traffickers, they almost certainly have had to dole out the harshness without visibly damaging the merchandise. Hell, even the old trick of one dude holding her, and the other injecting drugs in an inconspicuous area, like between her toes, so she’s knocked out and can’t fight in any way didn’t occur to Eel?

    But I’m guessing she’s definitely one of those people who doesn’t like to think of “icky” things, and prefers to just gloss over it so she can get back to boning.

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, at this point I honestly just want to know if her mother ever met Dante before securing passage. Who did she think these people were? How did she meet them? Also, is he not making any profit or something? You’d think the stench would bother him too… and certainly anyone that he’s selling to. I just can’t imagine his clients wanting anything to do with Dante. They could find another trafficker if it’s a serious problem in Albania.

      Also, confused and disappointed that these guys don’t work for her actual fiance. When the fuck is he turning up? The reviews said she’d go back to Albania and be with him and I just… is she gonna run away or something? I can’t fathom this plot at all.

      June 4, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Forgot to add, I might be misremembering what people said about the book on Amazon…

        June 4, 2019
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Sorry, I realize my reply seemed like a nonsequiter. I meant to start off pointing out that I agreed with your assessment and these guys sound like the worst, most implausible traffickers ever… especially for this plot where the mother hired them to get her daughter out of the country. What the hell is their cover story? And why didn’t Maxim notice the stench when they were on his doorstep? Unless these really are two different guys?

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
  9. *blinks stupidly*

    *looks around*

    *takes a deep breath*

    THAT was the CLIMAX?!??!!!!

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • To be fair, it’s as thrilling and exciting as sexual climaxes provided by Eel’s Abusive Alpha Assholes, so, you know, it’s unrealistic, way too quick, doesn’t make sense, shows no real development or connection, so… as reflective of an EL James “novel,” it works.

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

    1. Demelessia doesn’t know what a truck is, but she’s going to know every nuance of “earl,” isn’t she? There’d be more conflict if Moss’s WORST FEAR came to pass and her response was “Is that your middle name? I saw a television program once about an American named Earl” instead of whatever ELJ actually came up with.

    2. Speaking from experience, after a man’s been kicking you while you’re on the ground, a sore scalp from hair pulling is the least of your concerns. Ribs are kinda flimsy and hurt like hell when they break, and you’re going to be pissing blood, at the very least. I love it when people who know nothing about violence don’t even do five minutes of research before writing about it for shits and giggles.

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      It’s interesting how “earl” in the UK is fancy nobility and in the US is probably a redneck … Your comment made me think of that.

      Ribs hurt like hell just from being bruised. I thankfully never experienced broken ribs, but I can only imagine.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
  11. Karin
    Karin

    Hey, havent read the whole recap yet, but just a thing I thought of: here in the Netherlands you are only allowed to get a certain amount of money from gifts before you have to pay taxes. Don’t know about taxes in the United States, but I’d hate to see you get into more financial trouble later on 🙁
    I mean, here’s me hoping you got everything under control. But knowing me, if one thing goes bad, I tend to lose sight of other things.

    Guess I’m also a bit star struck going omg I relate to Jenny so much and I hope I’m a bit like her. And my scumbag brain going like yeah, well, stop projecting your own damn flaws on her and also, way to go sounding like an enormous creep now.

    Anyyyyyway, I’ll stop talking now and go read the recap.

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      LOL, it’s cool, it’s just another part of keeping track of tax stuff.

      June 4, 2019
      |Reply
    • Skemono
      Skemono

      There’s also a gift tax in the US, but the person giving the gift pays taxes on it. And it starts being taxable at $15,000, so not much likelihood of that coming into play. (Though I’d be happy to be proven wrong if someone *does* want to give Jenny $15,000.)

      June 4, 2019
      |Reply
      • JennyTrout
        JennyTrout

        Right, like, I think maybe this is an experiment that would definitely be a noble and worthy cause. Just in case there are any billionaires out there who are willing to do this for science.

        June 4, 2019
        |Reply
  12. NavigatorBR
    NavigatorBR

    So, can I just point out something really dumb about this big dramatic(?) reveal where Alessia discovers Moss is the Earl of Trevethick…

    Why the FUCK would she be able to make anything of that information…
    She doesn’t know the English words for “truck” or “smart phone”.

    I’m kind of obsessed with England… and I have no idea what an Earl is.
    Why the hell would she have any clue?
    I only know it’s important (I guess?) because I’ve been told it is…
    This is also excluding the fact it’s 2019, and nobody really cares.

    (Okay, so I Googled it, an Earl is “a British nobleman ranking above a viscount and below a marquess.”
    *Throws hands up*
    WHY WOULD THIS MEAN ANYTHING TO HER!?!)

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      “(Okay, so I Googled it, an Earl is “a British nobleman ranking above a viscount and below a marquess.”
      *Throws hands up*
      WHY WOULD THIS MEAN ANYTHING TO HER!?!)”

      I have a vague idea what an Earl is, being an Anglophile, but WTF are a viscount and a marquess? hahahaha Seriously though, I’ve heard of the title Earl far more than those other two.

      Does Dimzelda have the attention span of a gnat? She’s getting the shit beat out of her by two guys who want to prostitute her against her will, and then she’s all “ooh, look, grazing cows and a pretty house”. She’s so dumb I kind of think it might be best for everyone if the Eastern European Stereotypes had just killed her.

      And WOW, could EEL possibly care any less about her female character? I mean, is it actually possible? Because I don’t think it is. “Oh, there are men who want to sell my body to the highest bidder and are calling me all kind of things that imply they wouldn’t mind terribly if they killed me, but oh, I hope they don’t hurt my new rich boyfriend! That would be so terrible.” I’m surprised EEL didn’t have her offer herself up to them if they left Moss alone.

      I still don’t get why it matters that he’s an Earl as opposed to just a filthy rich, useless playboy. I mean, this isn’t the time of Poldark, when stuff like that really mattered. One of the Princes just married an American Actress. I think some lowly Earl could get away with boinking his maid for a while.

      I’m also unclear what this book is about. Is this supposed to be a love story? I still don’t feel like the leads even know each other and we are over 20 chapters in. And nothing has really happened. And I just don’t see anything meaningful having happened in this book.

      June 4, 2019
      |Reply
      • Kat
        Kat

        The only reason I know that “viscount” and “marquess” are high-ranking nobility is because of other media. Raoul the “Vicomte de Chagny” in Phantom of the Opera (okay, yes, technically it’s his brother, but there are very few adaptations of the book that remember Raoul has a brother) nearly causes a scandal because he’s in love with a nobody from the Corps de Ballet. And in the manga and anime Black Butler, Ciel is the Earl of Phantomhive, betrothed to his cousin Elizabeth, who is “the daughter of a marquess”, according to the narration demon-butler Sebastian helpfully provides. Both of these are set in the 19th century, though.

        So, Raoul would be lower-ranked than Moss, who is lower-ranked than Elizabeth’s dad. And they’re all below the Queen. Granted, I’m American, but I’m guessing that maybe – maybe? – in the House of Lords, there might be a reason to look at rank of nobility? Maybe the higher ranked nobles in the House of Lords get to speak first?

        At least Moss isn’t a baronet. When I read The Scarlet Pimpernel, and learned Sir Percy Blakeney was a baronet, I had to do some googling on that one. I’d thought it was a fancy, older way to say baron. Nope.

        June 4, 2019
        |Reply
        • Black Knight
          Black Knight

          I know marquess because Anne Boleyn was raised to Marquess of Pembroke by Henry VIII before they married, and because in Downton Abbey the much-put-upon Lady Edith eventually marries a marquess, which results in her outranking her entire family, since her father is “only” an earl.

          Duke/Duchess are the highest ranks of non-royal nobility. Marquess follows. Earl and Countess are somewhere below that, as are Lord and Lady.

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
          • Anon
            Anon

            I know a lot about the titles of nobility because I read a TON of British history and they mattered a lot more in the Medieval and Tudor periods than they do now. A marquess is pretty high up. Duke is the highest aside from king or queen. Marquess is next, then earl. So Moss would be the third-highest rank after the monarch.

            June 5, 2019
      • This also means if Earl Poldarkus still lives on the untouched-for-centuries family estates, without them having been repurposed as heritage sites, schools, a luxury hotel, children’s home circa WWII, or, ironically, a rentable filming site, that’s yet another massive hole in Eel’s plot.

        Unless you are *actual* royalty, few of the massive landed gentry estates survive as continuously privately-held properties in England, no matter what your title. Hell, Eels should’ve cribbed a little more from Downton Abbey for this salient fact.

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dinah Lord
          Dinah Lord

          Agree wholly. I live down the road from a massive stately home that’s owned by a family trust. The current marquess lives in Canada and a cousin or niece or something is in charge of running the place. But they have huge tracts of land round here (tenant farmers), the house is open to the public almost every day during March to October, and they have all sorts of events like horse trials and races and rallies to bring in cash. And that’s one of the houses which wasn’t flogged off to the National Trust in lieu of death duties. Death duties in England immediately post war and for some years after that were enormous and a lot of posh families had to sell properties since they couldn’t raise the cash any other way.

          Also, there’d still be inheritance taxes to pay on everything Kit owned and which Maxim inherited. Even if they’re not at post-war levels, that would still be quite a lot of cash to owe the Inland Revenue, which ELJ just glosses over.

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
    • Keaalu
      Keaalu

      To me, a Viscount is a minty chocolate-covered biscuit thing like a teeny Wagon Wheel, and I have lived in the UK for my whole life.

      I have no idea on the whole “what even is an earl” thing. I get confused enough by the fact that Prince William is also a Duke. (Is being a prince not enough??)

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Black Knight
        Black Knight

        Prince William actually isn’t Prince William anymore. Same for Harry. On their wedding days they dropped their Prince titles and received Duke titles.

        That’s because after King and Queen, Duke is the highest title. So sons and grandsons go by Prince until their wedding days, at which point the monarch confers dukedoms on them.

        Prince of Wales is an exception as that is associated with the heir to the throne. So Charles is both Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, which is also associated with the heir to the throne.

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
  13. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    WHAT?!?! The antagonists politely knock on the door in chapter 8 and don’t physically appear until chapter 20 (with only evidence of their existence in chapter 19 being from the ransacked apartment) and the are caught half way through the next chapter ?!?!?! WTF?! Does EEL have any clue of the concept of “conflict?”

    AAARRGGH!!!!?

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      I’m starting to think Moss hired the “Albanians” to pretend to be baddies so he could rescue Damselindistressa, be the big hero and get laid some more without having to you know, get to know her, or talk about anything real or anything. They can’t be real. I mean, they’re just so wrong on every imaginable level.

      June 4, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        I don’t even know if they’re the same people. I can’t imagine Dante politely knocking… But more importantly, Moss didn’t get a whiff of that the first time around? Even if EEL is exaggerating because Alessia was traumatized, then that would imply they were bastards during the trip… Were they nice up until she told the other women what was really going on?

        This is why we need more details. The racist stereotypes are horrible on so many levels but that she doesn’t even try to reconcile this by explaining how people could and should give Dante the benefit of the doubt when he’s almost cartoonishly evil proves how little she cared about this book.

        I think she took the criticism of her previous villain and just went, “Oh, you want him to be different from my hero? The last one was too similar? Hah! Take that!”

        This is all just EEL taking a dump on her critics, her fans, and Albania.

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
        • Jules
          Jules

          I don’t think Dante stunk when he first arrived. See, since then the Thames has packed up it’s toys and left this shit show, so there is now a great water shortage in London, where Dante has been trapped.

          As you well know, Albanians, being the dirty pigs EEL has made them out to be, are adverse to showers and prefer to bathe in the river. No river, no baths. Therefore, Dante is now is not just the scum of the Earth by virtue of being Albanian! He is now dirty, smelly scum of the Earth because the Thames has more sense than any of us and got the hell out of this unholy nightmare!

          The River Thames, the true hero of this horror show.

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Dante just wanted to romance the Thames but it heard he was a twat and it spat all the gunk and bile of pollution hidden in its depths onto the (poor?) guy before escaping. Now he’s just so angry that he can’t get a bath or a shower and he took his anger out on Dimzelda.

            June 5, 2019
        • Hm. You have a point. Looking at this pile of trash as Eel’s spitefic to her critics makes it… well, certainly not less racist and xenophobic, that’s for sure.

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
  14. Nancy
    Nancy

    I *hate* to throw a wrench in EL’s carefully researched book, but it just occurred to me, I don’t think Albania is even considered Eastern Europe. It’s north of Greece and border the Adriatic and the Ioanian Seas., I’m fairly certain that’s Southern Europe. When I think of Eastern Europe I think of places like Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia.

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • Masha
      Masha

      I still maintain Alessia was originally written as Polish (‘cos all poor stupid semi-human menial workers in England are Polish, dontcha know), and then ELJ remembered that Poland’s actually in the EU, which would make the plot too devoid of sense even for her.

      As to your point, I’d buy someone calling Albania “Eastern Europe”, since, y’know, post-Soviet bloc and all that, these countries tend to get grouped together. But I would posit that this smacks a little of we-Brits-are-not-European, since everyone I know who is actually (continental) European would call Albania a Balkan country.

      And Russia’s just Russia 😉

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Nancy
        Nancy

        Yes! The Balkans!

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
    • Kat L.
      Kat L.

      As someone from Eastern Europe, we certainly consider Albania part of it. It is not a Slavic country (but neither is Hungary and it still counts as Eastern Europe) and geographically indeed more southern than eastern, but usually “Eastern Europe” is a term used here for the European countries from the former Soviet block.
      For instance, my own country technically is in Central Europe, but it is still considered to be Eastern European because it used to be one of the countries behind the iron curtain in the past.
      Having said that, this book is so deeply offensive for Eastern Europe that I’m not even angry anymore. From the stereotypical Eastern European villains, the heroine who OF COURSE has to be a trafficking victim (but hey! her grandmother was English so she is not a total savage and Moss can happily bang, I mean love her!), the descriptions of Albania, the clever phones and magical ATM cards, to the fact that Alessia was so amazed by “well-fed sheep” in England… just ugh. You can basically tell that no matter how much ELJ tries to hide that, her opinion about the lowly savages from Eastern Europe seems pretty clear.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Mr. Fell
        Mr. Fell

        Yep, it’s not a lot about Geography. France for instance doesn’t usually count as Southern Europe but Italy, Spain and Portugal do. It’s more historical/economical.

        That sheep bit really underlines how xenophobic this fucking book is.

        June 6, 2019
        |Reply
  15. Jenn H
    Jenn H

    Oh so now James remembers that the cops exist.

    I mean, she needed to keep the police away so that plot could happen, but Maxim executing the two criminals is just too dark and gritty. So we need the cops to mop up the loose plot ends.

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
  16. Emily, a newbie
    Emily, a newbie

    Okay, so. I am mildly (read: very) triggered by this chapter, and need to get something off of my chest. I’ve now realized why E. L.’s portrayal of Alabania and Eastern Europe in general gets so deep under my skin. It took me actually reading ahead in the book a bit, and actually taking in her descriptions of Dante and Ylli in this recap, but I understand now. I understand, and I’m mad.

    I don’t care what Eel, her “people”, or her fans say, there’s no way this is a mere case of “Rich Boomer Ignorance.”
    There is absolutely NO WAY that this is just a mix of being privileged and “not knowing any better.” Ignorance can make someone do and say some pretty ugly shit, but not typically like this. Not in a way that’s /this/ malicious. This is just outright, vitriolic, spiteful, hostile and bitter hatred. This type of gross attitude is usually spawned by something more specific. Either it’s due to one being raised in an environment where this kind of thinking is just bred into them straight from birth into adulthood. Or it’s because something bad – could vary to something small and simple to something damn near /traumatic/ – happened involving just one person of that specific group of people, and now the ‘victim’ takes out their anger on the entire race/country/culture/etc. because, “They’re all the same.” Both are horrible and problematic ways to be and absolutely unacceptable no matter what, but this just begs the question: Which one is it for E. L.?

    Because putting THIS. MUCH. into making Albanians (and other specific Europeans, such as the Polish) act and appear like this throughout her story while claiming, “Yes, I went there and this is how it is and how they are,” feels like it runs /far/ deeper than just an, “Oh, woops. Didn’t realize how problematic that was. My bad.” This…this is a different beast, entirely. This feels almost personal, like I can nearly /hear/ Eel’s voice spitting out these nasty and/or demeaning descriptors as I read them. And now knowing how the book ends and some other minor details, it doesn’t get any better. This is an ugly mess, and it’s not what we (or I’m hoping any reader) signed up for. We were told this was a suspenseful romance story, but all it is horrendous sex scenes and xenophobic propaganda targetted towards “Other Europeans”. She could have just done what everyone else does and use Russia as the “bad guy country”, but she specifically went for Albania. An argument could be made that it was to add to her human trafficking plot, but her “coverage” on the topic is so weak and barely there that it might as well be a footnote.

    Adding to this is Eel’s very blatant unapologetic stance here. One could say, “Well at least she’s not being as militant in her defense and staying quiet,” but I’d argue that silence is almost worse. Silence is the most /childish/ form of response to an argument, because while she’s not preaching the toxicity over and over again, it’s still a refusal to admit that she’s done anything wrong. Silence is still a defense, it can sting just as bad as any word can, and her complete silence on any of these issues in this book are fucking /screaming/.
    It could just be her stubbornness and inability to admit any wrongs, sure. But, this just feels like it’s coming from a much deeper place than her weak defenses of sketching out abuse, and then just slapping on “BDSM” as the title, as she did before. Because as bad and problematic as the 50 Shades era was – from the actual books and their influence to her every interview – none of that came off /nearly/ as targetted as The Mister does.

    I don’t know if E. L. James was just raised this way, or if this was birthed by some other means, but it’s not right regardless. No reason in the world could rationalize her very abhorrent sneer at an entire section of Europe.
    And if this is /somehow/ just an extreme form of ignorance, then that’s an entirely different and shitty problem. Because if it’s not a specific loathing built up from some type of outside source or influence, then the amount of detachment, inexperience, and lack of empathy this woman harbors for those of another race, religion, and/or culture is damn near terrifying on its own.

    But, to end this on a lighter note: Does Alessia /really/ know he’s an Earl? Like REALLY really know? Cause, y’know. It wasn’t said three times. Sounds like fake news to me.
    (P.S. Congrats on all the success with The Boss on the Radish app, Jenny c: you’ve more than earned it. You’re a brilliant author and deserve every bit of praise and more. And I really hope Mr. Jen gets his back issues sorted out; as someone who suffers from chronic back pain and nerve damage, I wish that upon no one. I really hope he gets better!)

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I wonder if EEL originally had Poland and Russia in the outline… then on her vacation in Albania, the restaraunt screwed up her order, wouldn’t take her credit card, and she accidentally left her Iphone there, but no one had turned it in. Because yeah, this is feeling pretty vindictive. She just keeps devaluing the country at every possible turn…

      Incidentally, did you actually see her fiance in the future chapters or did I misunderstand the reviews I read? Does Dimzelda go back to Albania?

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Emily, a newbie
        Emily, a newbie

        That or just…something. I just get the vibe that she feels very personally attacked by Albania, for SOME reason. I don’t know if it’s just a basic superiority complex issue or what, but there’s just /something/ else there. I’m glad I’m not the only one that sees it, but I’m also kinda sad too cause if other people notice it as well then…that just means it’s more true, and that’s horrible.

        And without giving away spoilers, I can say yes. And her fiance alone is a very, VERY fucking offensive portrayal of an Albanian man too. Like…there are WWII propaganda cartoons that are less racist/xenophobic. I’m sure that already came across in the very brief touches on him we’ve had, but it just gets so, SO much worse.
        Actually finishing the book is probably more of what sparked my rant in the first place, but this chapter is probably about where it starts getting really bad and offensive.

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
        • Lucy
          Lucy

          I agree it’s monstrously offensive. I’m kind of puzzled editors let in run through, and kind of relieved the book isn’t being successful, I guess xenophobia is off-putting even for the hard core fans of Fifty Shades.

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
          • Emily, a newbie
            Emily, a newbie

            I agree. It’s almost elating, honestly, just seeing her own fans even saying, “Yeah I’m even kinda disappointed with this one, thumbs down,” and things like that. Given, their complaints so far have mostly been about the lack of steamy sex scenes and /some/ gripe over character depth (which on that note, like. Were they asleep throughout 50 Shades, or?), with no mentions of the xenophobia/racism/harmful stereotypes peppered over every single page where plot should be, but so long as it’s being condemned by someone, somewhere, it gives me hope.
            Usually I’d feel a little bad for the tanking of one’s first new book in 10 years, but this book is just…beyond offensive. The genuine nausea it gifted me with has been lingering for hours now, and that’s a rare feat for a book to do to me.

            I did notice in my own local B&N, absolutely all copies of The Mister were removed from any possible shelf. I actually looked around a bit and couldn’t find a single copy of it, even in the usual romance spots. This is coming after only one week prior where I saw literal stacks of the book on the very top of the front book shelf composes of both “Summer Must Reads” and “New Releases”. So, maybe the book bombing is worse than we even thought on here.

            June 5, 2019
        • Dove
          Dove

          Woof… Just great. Especially troubling since some reviewers said Dimzelda had more chemistry with that guy than with Moss… ugh. I can’t fathom some of her fans, even when they’re critical of the book. I hate this “abuse is love” trope that has cropped up, in part because of EEL.

          To be honest, I didn’t exactly notice it until you brought it up but it’s so obvious when you really pause a moment and think. Oh, I realized it was troubling from the beginning and it’s great that Jenny has been pointing this out as we go along, just to be sure that people understand the issues, but just… EVERY SINGLE INTERACTION has painted Albania in a bad light. The comparisons are never good even when they try to edge on the side of a compliment. There is obvious intent to make it sound like an unrealistic shithole, and Dimzelda herself has been lightly removed from it by degrees… She’s a Christian college student with a British Grandma and fluent in English but even then EEL is woefully inconsistent, makes her seem stupid or pathetic, and really wants to avoid the woman’s POV as much as possible. I suspect it’s all done to make the writing easier (and that some of Dimzelda’s excerpts were an afterthought brought on by the editors) but it also lends itself to the notion that EEL is fetishizing someone who would disgust her, at least a little bit if she was Muslim instead. We really can’t prove otherwise and your hints about the fiancé sound like a confirmation to me…

          There’s no way EEL could’ve done this by accident. As you said, it could’ve been ignorance, but it’s getting to the point that I’m gonna assume malice. She always intended to make Dante disgusting… I originally assumed EEL meant the truck or the boat, where ever these women were being hidden when Dim referenced him, but the smell that freaked Dimzelda out, that gave her FUCKING PTSD NIGHTMARES, came from this guy… He is what she’s had a screaming goddamn nightmare about and that’s saying a lot. How the hell did he convince her mother and these other women to trust him? Is he the only fucking trafficker in the sticks?

          Regardless, either he has some kind of medical condition or he intentionally doesn’t bathe often enough. And EEL didn’t even bother to explain that. She just left him be as if being an Albanian trafficker was enough when it’s the opposite of an answer… it’d get in the way of his job, his religion, and his life. Albanians are normal people. We need more info before I can accept Dante at face value! Being a villain isn’t enough; most villains don’t automatically stink unless they’re undead and EVEN THEN… For fuck’s sake, she decided to make the mini-boss smelly. Wow. How long did that idea take you, James? It’s uncreative, uninteresting, unbelievable without more details, and unwanted, no thank you.

          I don’t blame you for ranting, especially since you said it gets worse after this. No wonder she pissed off the Albanian Ambassador… ;P

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
          • Lucy
            Lucy

            Good point about the head trafficker being so gross, you ‘d think he’d try to inspire a minimum of trust in his victims beforehand. And being smelly and gross isn’t going to inspire obedience in his stooges either, there’s a reason why gangsters are stereotypically well dressed (if sometimes flashily so)

            June 5, 2019
      • Jenny Trout
        Jenny Trout

        My thought is she started out with Polish and then switched to Albania to be “topical.”

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
    • Masha
      Masha

      Yeah, you’re right, it’s hatred. More likely than not self-hatred and the need to find someone, anyone, to designate as “lower” on whatever imaginary rungs you’re (general you) into, because deep down you can’t stand yourself, so if someone’s worse than you, surely that means you have *some* value? So pretty much your garden-variety xenophobia, or racism, or misogyny.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
    • Kat L.
      Kat L.

      So I am from Eastern Europe, living in “the West” (Ireland in my case) at the moment.
      Unfortunately, this is not unusual at all. The kind of hateful stereotypes she keeps spitting out is what I’ve experienced in the UK, in Sweden (I think my worst encounters were in Sweden… with random guys on the streets insulting me in a very nasty way because well, obviously I look Eastern European and that makes some people feel free to treat me like rubbish) and to lesser extent in some other parts of Western Europe. I don’t want to say that everyone in those countries is like that, on the contrary, I have met many great people there and in Ireland where I live! But there’s no denying that these hateful and dehumanizing stereotypes exist and I strongly suspect that ELJ is a Brexit supporter, since this is the group with particularly strong hate for Eastern Europeans. Reading her book is like listening to some of those people.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Jules
        Jules

        The only thing sadder than her writing this way is the fact that it is not just her who thinks this way. Unfortunately she has no problem perpetuating the negative stereotypes some people have.

        And it would be easy to fix if just one, JUST ONE male character from Albanian wasn’t some unwashed monster. He fiancé could be a really great guy, young, going to college, but both their families are very old school and put them in an arranged marriage. She could even kind of like him as a friend but that’s just not the life she wants for herself.

        Oh, you want a story with some great conflict try this. Her fiancé is the one who helped her get out of Albania because in their young minds it was the only way for her to escape her abusive father. She goes first and the fiancé is going to follow in a few months, once he settles some things and leads Dad in the wrong direction. Dimmy gets to the UK and all we see happens, and she ends up falling for Moss (I don’t know why. There is no accounting for taste). When Fiancé finally gets to England she is torn. She loves Moss but she feels an obligation to Fiancé for helping free/save her. Fiancé is hurt and lashes out, accusing her of loving Moss for his money. Moss maybe thinks this could be true. How can Dimmy prove it?

        Meanwhile, the thugs could have been sent by her evil father who found her. (Father can still be evil since fiancé is a good guy preventing the “all Albanians are evil” stereotype. If EEL really wanted her as a sex trafficking victim, dad could somehow be involved in that. It would explain why the thugs didn’t “sample the goods” themselves.

        Now we have a love triangle where no one is the “bad guy”, not all Albanians are painted as evil Neanderthals, and the reader might even be invested in Dim who is now the actual main character struggling between love and duty. Which could mirror Moss’s struggle between love and being an Earl (since he seems to think the two are mutually exclusive for some reason).

        IDK anything is better than what EEL wrote at this point.

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Yeah! That would’ve been a great conflict for her to have to deal with! And maybe Moss could’ve been struggling more with the concept of following his dreams and being an Earl. Like, let’s say he actually can’t live in London now and that’s the problem. He could visit but they kind of expect him to live in Cornwall so he can oversee the mining business or whatever, when he really, really wants to DJ at clubs and he can still do modeling on the side but he only did that for extra money and a little bit of an icebreaker since people recognize him in his ads or something. So, now he has all the money and all the responsibility, he’s recently found out most people just want him to pay for stuff and he’s overly sensitive at the thought that the first girl he fell for, in a long, while is actually a gold digger. And like you said, that’s hard for Dimmy to prove, other than her previously being reluctant and/or going for practical stuff rather than getting excited and buying up everything when he offers to spend money on her, and him remembering that but feeling anxious because surely her fiancé knows her better… Moss feels human and has actual concerns to worry about.

          But most importantly, I think maybe even having her mother and the fiancé working together could be great. Mom could’ve hatched the plan, brought it up, but been unable to implement it fully without his help? Plus, they could’ve intended to go back to college abroad, both of them, but somehow that fell through, leaving Dimzelda in the dire straights that lead her to clean (if we must go that route.) We could even try to bring in the previously mentioned idea of them meeting at the clubs and her not realizing her boss was the DJ.

          Hey, maybe we could even get a little wild and have her meet him at her local church too, which is how she gets the job or something. Like, he recognizes her but feels nervous because she doesn’t seem to recognize him and he thinks maybe he doesn’t have a chance so it couldn’t hurt to give her a job and help her out without making her feel awkward about his charity? lol I dunno, maybe it could be pure coincidence again. I just think it would be nice with more interactions as they feel each other out. Maybe she never sees her boss, because he’s never home, but she meets the cool guy at church and it’s easier to have lunch at a cafe after that.

          There is just so much EEL could’ve done if she wanted them to feel like real people instead of cardboard cut-outs for her ugly propaganda.

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
          • So, guys, when do we formalize our Writing and Rewriting Group, and start pounding out some of these mss ourselves?

            And seriously, Eel reads like bad knockoff Jackie Collins circa 1982… which is probably the last kind of novels she read, in fact.

            June 5, 2019
          • Jules
            Jules

            “So, guys, when do we formalize our Writing and Rewriting Group, and start pounding out some of these mss ourselves?”

            I feel like we could each write our own chapter independently and still come up with something more cohesive than this mess.

            June 5, 2019
        • Lucy
          Lucy

          Her grandfather is implied to have been a nice guy, maybe he could have had a bigger role? Which also begs the question as to why Alessia ‘s mother, a half-English woman whose own parents had a loving marriage and whose father was a kind man, transformed herself in this Uber traditional submissive woman who thinks girls shouldn’t ride cars with men and that you can’t expect pleasure from sex.

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
          • Ani
            Ani

            It’s like how Bella/Ana is an twenty-something, graduating English major but doesn’t have her own computer, and is so ignorant about sex she calls her own genitals “down there.”

            It would make sense if Ana and Alessia came from conservative backgrounds, but they were not written like that. These are EDUCATED women.

            June 5, 2019
          • Mr. Fell
            Mr. Fell

            Because she WENT NATIVE. I wish I was kidding but I read enough colonialism bullshit to know I am not.

            June 6, 2019
          • Tree Lady
            Tree Lady

            Her grandfather wasn’t nice, clearly her grandmother nobly sacrificed her virginity to marry an Albanian man so she could go on introducing books to the godless ignorant Albanians. Amirite?

            June 6, 2019
      • Masha
        Masha

        Just out of curiosity, what do we Eastern Europeans look like, according to bigots? Because I’m EE through and through, and I don’t think anyone’s ever guessed. I look just… general Caucasian, I’d say, and I think most of us do.

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
        • Anon
          Anon

          I have an adopted cousin from Russia and my aunt’s friends adopted a couple Ukrainian girls. Knowing they’re from those places, I can pinpoint some specific facial features even just based on photos of historic figures and athletes from those places.

          But if I didn’t *know* they were from that part of the world, I wouldn’t be able to just pass them on the street and KNOW. I have no clue what people could possibly pick out from passing a stranger on the street to pinpoint such a thing!

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
        • Maaike
          Maaike

          Yeah, I have trouble imagining what makes people look eastern european (from the netherlands myself). Like only when I’ll see someone in a full adidas tracksuit does the notion even cross my mind that they could possibly be from eastern europe. What IS the eastern european look? Just fashion, right? Like most of europe we’re all generically white, aren’t we?

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
          • Masha
            Masha

            Bwahahaha oh we deserved the tracksuit dig 😉 Though to be fair, if you took a Polish “dres” and an English “chav” and stood them next to each other, you’d probably not be able to tell the difference. I’ve always believed that at this point in history, “class” and background carry more similarities than e.g. nationality.

            June 6, 2019
        • Dvärghundspossen
          Dvärghundspossen

          I think the stereotype is: Northern – fair skin and fair hair. Southern – more pigmentation overall. Eastern – fair skin with black hair.

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
        • Emily, a newbie
          Emily, a newbie

          Well, according to the many home-grown racists in my state, it’s apparently visible in my eyes (I’ve been told both the shape /and/ color), my large nose, my lips, my cheekbones, my skin, my overall bodyshape, my hair…
          Given, many people here are either outright white supremacists, or influenced by them due to societal norms, so they may just associate all dark-haired, high-cheekboned, skin-with-barely-a-hint-of-a-tan human beings with anything other than /their/ idea of white.

          Some people are a fucking /trip/ to encounter, honestly.

          June 6, 2019
          |Reply
        • Cat
          Cat

          I’m half Japanese and half white (mostly western european/scandanavian) and get told I look Russian or Eastern European, whatever that means, lol. So… someone who has vaguely east asian features but not so much people can actually identify that they’re east asian?

          June 6, 2019
          |Reply
          • Mr. Fell
            Mr. Fell

            I am usually told there is something in the cheeks and roundness of my face, but… People from different countries are different features,so my best guess is that racist go “That person does not like from our country! White but not Mediterranean, not British, not German, not Nordic…Eastern Europe
            !”

            And that’s all.

            June 6, 2019
          • Masha
            Masha

            Russia I could understand, because the many Soviet republics (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan etc) often share transracial characteristics, and let’s face it, it’s still “Russia” to a lot of people (fun fact: so is Poland. It’s much better now, but when I was much younger and travelled the world, I used to say Poland was between Russia and Germany [sorry, Ukraine!]). So, yeah, that makes sense. Europe ends at the German border, then you have Russia with statuesque blond Ivans and/or whites with East Asian eyes, and then it’s all China up to the edge of the world. Eastern Europe is just a polite way of saying “outlying bits of Russia”.

            June 6, 2019
        • Toby Danger
          Toby Danger

          EEL’s depictions of Eastern Europeans seem to stem from the stereotypical depictions you see in bad movies or TV shows. Every man there is either a surly thug in a cheap jacket with permanent five o’clock shadow, or a fat balding guy in an ill-fitting tracksuit, and they all work in organised crime in some capacity. And the women are either all miserable housewives in dark, dour clothing, or skinny, beautiful waifs who can only find employment in a sex trade.

          But honestly, this book has the most offensive depictions I’ve seen yet.

          June 6, 2019
          |Reply
    • Agent_Z
      Agent_Z

      At the very least we can take some form of joy in that this book has been so viciously skewered that it is very likely no one will believe anything about Albania in it. I’ve learned more from Jenny’s recaps about the country than I ever could from reading the book myself.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
  17. I had a trapezius spasm a few months ago, albeit one that sounds milder than Mr Jen’s. Something that helped me a lot was a TENS machine. You might want to ask about that if it’s something he hasn’t tried yet. Good luck!

    June 4, 2019
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Sadly, that was one of my first suggestions, which the ER doctor recoiled from. He actually said, “You did all the right things, just not the right things for this injury.” We did TENS, we did massage, we did hot compresses, anything you could think to ease muscle pain and BOY HOWDY we screwed it up worse.

      June 4, 2019
      |Reply
      • Oh, that’s awful! I’m so sorry for Mr Jen. When mine was at its worst, I couldn’t find a comfortable position for sleeping, and could barely open my mouth wide enough to eat. I hope he finds relief soon.

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
  18. Black Knight
    Black Knight

    I don’t know why people are criticizing the climax of this book. I found it very exciting! It means that we are almost at the end of this freaking boring book!

    (We are…right? Right? One chapter to wrap up the nonsensical “OMG he’s an earl” crap and then one final chapter with more sex and a HEA.)

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Well, people complained it ended on a Happy For Now note so… I dunno.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Ani
        Ani

        Then they lived happily ever after… OR DO THEY?

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
    • Emily, a newbie
      Emily, a newbie

      Sadly, no. Not quite. We have some more manufactured suspense and plotholes a plenty to drive through.
      Hold on, it’s gonna be a bummpppyyyy ride.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
  19. Lucy
    Lucy

    I know E.L. James put Demelssia in a situation where there was precious little she could do to defend herself, but once again, this is a mass of contradictions rather than a character. This is the woman who managed to escape traffickers and survive several days with no food or shelter before she found her mother ‘s friend, but now she’s just a damsel in distress to be rescued by the hero.
    The traffickers ‘eagerness to find her could be justified if they thought she’d gone to the police with Moss’s help and tried to uncover the network, but no, for all her supposed goodness Demelssia has let herself be showered with gifts and fucked for days without a single thought for the other girls, some of which were actually minors apparently?

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
    • Even just having Aleesianabellazelda, say, run from Poldarkistan Cottage to save herself, surviving alone for days like she did before, but terrified as well as worrying and hurt that she’s had to leave her beloved talking penis behind without a word would’ve upped the tension, her agency, her “smart, strong heroine” tags, Maximus Poldarkus’s emotional investment, everything.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Shit, that just made me think… I don’t know why there wasn’t a window in the bathroom and why she didn’t try to climb out of it. Even if she was unsuccessful, I think that’d be better. I mean, yes, many people would curl up in a panic but if she was brave, as soon as she heard them trying to break down the door, maybe flight could’ve kicked in and got her to try and fail. Yeah, a lot of modern places might not have windows in the bathroom, most apartments don’t, but surely an old English cottage would have a small one at least?

        I’m not saying it’s wrong for her to react differently but it really would’ve been far more interesting if she fled to the village or even the bigger house instead. Then Moss could’ve called the police because she wasn’t there and just say he caught some burglars in the act or something!

        It would’ve allowed her to have the “well, I guess I’ll call the police after all” cake and eat it too without making Moss look like such an asshole. Because why in god’s name would the traffickers tell the police what they were really up to? He’d be in the clear and maybe it’d even make him rethink calling a lawyer for Zimdelda’s sake, after he finds out where she went!

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Forgot to add, if they asked why Moss managed to catch them, he could just say he was on high alert after finding out someone broke into his London apartment recently and they might ask if he needs some protection since it really is awkward as a coincidence. He could say that he’s looking into that but has no idea and just tell them to call the London police as if he has nothing to hide or say that he thinks it’s connected but doesn’t know how. The Albanians, if they’re smart, won’t talk or else say they found out about the estates from the apartment and the guy was clearly easy pickings so they got a train ticket to test their luck but it backfired.

          Literally, keeping Dimzelda on the premises and then sending her away is the worst option. Moss should’ve lied even if she was stuck in the bathroom and got beaten up, unless she said she felt brave enough to give a statement so they could be given a sentence, possibly for the trafficking too. It’s just so bizarrely artificial how EEL tries to construct these events. None of the ends match up and there are much better ways to get what she wants if she’d just spent more time wrangling this monstrosity.

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
        • Alice
          Alice

          yeah it’s a bit weird that there is no window. Part of me wanted her to take a razor blade as a weapon. Or I guess there may have been bathroom products that could have distracted her attackers if she throw it in their eyes? But I feel bad saying all his since my response would probably to freeze ^^’

          I guess we now know why she took an hour long shower, she had to be in the one room in the house with no escape route.

          Also to go back to her escape at the start of the book, I still find it quite surreal how she managed to find Magda. She’s terrified, it’s night, she has no idea how far from London she is, has never been to London, yet she finds Magda’s home?

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
          • From Chekov’s Gun to Maxim’s Razor?

            June 5, 2019
          • Lucy
            Lucy

            James is putting her in the situation where she’s going to be as helpless as possible, as opposed to being in a room with a window or some place with better options for self defense, like the living room where she could grab a fire poker or the kitchen where there would be knives:

            June 5, 2019
        • Lucy
          Lucy

          I certainly wouldn’t blame a real person for just cowering terrified the way Dimzelda did here, however she’s a fictional character who ‘s been put in a very specific situation by her author. She was able to escape traffickers but, once a MAN appears in her life she gets put in situations where she’s completely deprived of agency and just has to be rescued. Heck, even the “manages to reach for a blunt instrument while her attacker is too busy beating the crap out of her to notice “cliche would have done. And it only gets worse when the fiancé appears, she’s actually put in situations where it would have been relatively easy to escape or call for help… once again, this isn’t a character as much as a mass of contradictions.

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
  20. Masha
    Masha

    “When it rains, it pours” is one of my favourite expressions and usually very accurate when it comes to financial (and other) woes. I currently have a grand total of two dollars to my name, so all I can offer is commiseration, but I’ll do my best to help as soon as I can.

    On a lighter topic, does Alessia really describe a part of the happiest days of her life as “having sexual intercourse”? Why not “vocalising socially appropriate expressions of positive emotions on small rock particles adjacent to a large body of water”, while she’s at it?

    And yes, I’m also amused at how ELJ’s a-okay with “cunt” as an (arguably misogynistic) insult. but when it comes to an *actual* cunt, it’s all tee-hee “down there”. Wait, I just answered my own question, didn’t I?

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
  21. merry
    merry

    Jenny, you need to move your family ou of US. When we in Europe get injured, it rarely poses financial worries.

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
    • Several of us academics have been joking about chipping in and setting up Academic Island outside of the US, probably in some abandoned castle-estate. I see no reason why it couldn’t be Academic and Writers’ Island, for any number of reasons.

      And the library is still going to be AWESOME.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Cat
        Cat

        I’m in! I’m in public health so I’ll make sure no one gets dysentery.

        June 12, 2019
        |Reply
  22. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    I guess now we’re finally going to get full focus on the ‘real’ conflict of the book: will the daily still love the mister after she finds out he’s an earl? And once that’s resolved we’ll get the next heart-stopping, breathtaking conflict: will she pick the rich, handsome etc. guy she’s voluntarily and enthusiastically fucked about a million times in the last days and who “saved her” from the sex traffickers or the guy she was forced into engagement with and whom she fled her home country to escape? So. Exciting.

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
    • NewFan
      NewFan

      Gracious, you’ve really boiled things down here for me.
      I see your conundrum. Well our heroine’s anyway. Who’s feelings is she more worried about hurting?
      I mean Moss has punched lots of people for her, and bought her nice food and clothes and ?paid her her wages? (unclear on this).
      But she does have the tarnished honor of the guy she already illegally left a country and hid out from – what about his feelings?

      So many other people to think of? What’s a girl to do?
      (Oooo look at all those fat, clean sheep on the special, special grass).

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        The sheep detail would’ve been so much more awesome if they were walking through the fields, to the big house, after she had given her statement as bravely as possible, and she stopped to pet one, slowly, before sinking to her knees. Then she broke down crying and hugged it around the neck, and it let her because it’s a nice, friendly Sheepie that is used to being touched. And then Moss hugs her from the side and kisses her forehead or something until she is able to stop and then gradually they keep walking. And she asks who’s wool she just stained with her tears, half-joking and half-serious like she committed a crime, and Moss laughs a little, quietly chagrinned, before saying that was Lambert that comforted her and he doesn’t mind at all. Neither of them does. And it dawns on her that must mean something but she’s still pretty upset and exhausted, so she pushes it to the back of her mind. It was just a joke anyway, right?

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
        • Jules
          Jules

          Oh Dove, sweet Dove, that is much too good for this book. It would have been a beautiful moment, a bit heart wrenching, touching, it would have shown a deeper bond growing between them. It was sad but a bit lighthearted. It showed what she is going through rather than told us. It showed Moss caring about her rather than his dick’s needs.

          yeah, much too good for this dreck. Are you as frustrated as I at what a good book this COULD have been in the hands of a better writer…any writer?

          June 5, 2019
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Absolutely frustrated. I was mad at Sarem for all the missed opportunities in her first novel and I’m seriously furious that EEL is playing role model for this kind of thing by using her prestige to publish such a shitty, poorly written book. There’s no excuse for this crap… god maybe i should try writing a novel again…

            June 5, 2019
  23. J.
    J.

    Thank goodness that pesky kidnapper plot is out of the way. Now we can get on to the real important part: where to put the goddamn bags!

    But seriously, unless these thugs make a daring escape from police custody and someone is held at knife point I’m going to be sorely dissapointed… But that has been whole experience with this book so I’m not gonna hold my breath.

    50 shades didn’t drag this much because it was her baby. It was her ultimate fantasy that she was writing for herself. This? I doubt it. The parts she enjoyed writing and the parts she carelessly banged out are so glaringly obvious it’s clear she just wanted to get this book out and be done with it than work on the parts that were lacking. Maybe she had publishers breathing down her back hoping for another mega success? But the phenomenon around 50 shades was so bizarre (even the God aweful dialogue and asinine plot was a novelty) it can’t be done again. She has to actually write a book worth reading this time. She needs a book with 3D characters and plot that doesn’t fall on its face (which is the exact opposite of what we got). For someone who wants to be taken seriously as a writer she sure doesn’t seem to be willing to put in any of the effort to earn that title, and that’s exactly what would have saved this book. Effort!

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah. Exactly. A little effort and some honest passion would’ve gone a long way. Sadly, it still wouldn’t have gotten much better research out of her but it would’ve helped anyway.

      I think, much like Sarem, EEL bit off more than she could chew with this plot idea, which could’ve been fantastic with better execution, but her inability or unwillingness to write various things made the process boring. And at some point, she got tired of vaguely whipping it into shape. I think she knew it was a dud but wanted to get some return on her investment without any concern for her readers plus I suspect the publishers were indeed breathing down her neck but they should’ve backed off when they saw the first draft (and the malignancy towards Albania, yeesh) and told her to come up with better work. This is definitely after some editor(s) managed to talk EEL into a few more half-assed revisions when she didn’t ignore them outright.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Ani
        Ani

        I honestly think her publishers don’t care. James could’ve written I LIKE PIE a thousand times and it still would’ve sold. However, it is unlikely this will happen again. Unless there’s another YA book she can take advantage of. I say this as I sit here staring at the YA section of the library, wondering what book has broken through. There’s been plenty of phenomenal books, but nothing really stands out to me with the same staying power like the Hunger Games or Twilight.

        Considering James also wants to avoid all the hate due to her rape culture influence, I doubt she will want to try her hand again at a “sexier” book. And now I’m sure with all the hate directed towards her cause of her racism and lack of research with The Mister, I wonder if she’ll try again, but this time with an all British cast. (and yet I’m sure she’ll still find a way to fuck that up)

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
  24. Anon
    Anon

    The ridiculous description of the house would have worked so much better in Allessia’s POV. Eel really couldn’t wait ONE CHAPTER for that?

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
  25. Maria
    Maria

    aaaaaaaannnnnd the conflict is resolved in one chapter! great. excellent. see, if anyone else were writing this, the traffickers would’ve succeeded at kidnapping alessia and then maxim would’ve had to chase them down and run through an airport/train station/bus depot or something. but it’s a good thing we avoided all that or else we wouldn’t have time for the “maxim is an earl” reveal angst. /s
    also these descriptions of dante and ylli are really uncomfortable reminders that eastern and southern europeans weren’t always considered “white” and are making me wonder if it’s e.l. james who time-traveled to our era from the 1800s

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah… but even those people later added under the “white” banner are still viewed as lesser by more previously accepted “white” people. It’s all in degrees. Some Europeans will say their prejudice isn’t about skin color, it’s more about classism, but there’s still a history of that, mostly thanks to colonialism, and the two are often tied together (and really, “white” isn’t about skin color either since it’s a fabricated classification.) I’m honestly not surprised EEL’s book contains prejudice, I’d be pleasantly surprised if it didn’t, but that it’s this bold and caricaturing is definitely a bad sign. Fascism and nationalism are stirring up a deeper hatred across the world right now and we need to pay closer attention. There are definitely those who would drag down the improvements that have been made for a wide array of people.

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Maria
        Maria

        100% agree. i am bracing myself for whatever comes next in this fucking book re: albania

        June 6, 2019
        |Reply
  26. Pre-Successful Indie (now with less misquoting)
    Pre-Successful Indie (now with less misquoting)

    Not gonna lie, I kind of love the accidental rhythm of “the fuckers who burgled my flat.” It’s running through my head to the tune of “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.”

    Maybe that’s why the characters keep repeating, repeating, repeating words three times, three times, three times. That’s just the chorus.

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
    • GODDAMMIT.

      *shakes head frantically to dislodge earworms, runs around room screaming*

      DAMN YOOOOOOOOU!

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Pre-Successful Indie
        Pre-Successful Indie

        Hahaaa, sorry!

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
  27. Cat
    Cat

    The manufactured drama about the secrecy of the earl bullshit is just so fucking stupid. Daily Double knows that Mister Big Stuff is incredibly wealthy. There is zero chance that even her childlike mind DOESN’T see that. That fact that he is wealthier than she imagined shouldn’t be a big deal.

    His being an earl is so effing meaningless to the story because we’ve seen exactly dick about how it has affected his life, which maybe, possibly, could have been interesting (irresponsible playboy suddenly has to learn the ropes of earldom and, in the process, learns what truly matters in life or some shit).

    James is quite the cunt herself for how insulting she is to her reader. “His being an earl must be kept secret because … because I said so! It matters because, uh, class disparity and my completely ignorant heroine is from a real shithole of a country and doesn’t understand how things work so … hey look, a sex scene!” I also enjoy the way her heroes fall in love with her heroines based purely on looks with some sort of talent or whatever shoehorned in to try and make it seem less superficial.

    Maybe it is because I am not reading the book myself but just Jenny’s recaps but this books doesn’t even make sense to me at this point.

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
    • Person
      Person

      Being an earl doesn’t even mean that he’s any richer. There’s plenty of broke nobility nowadays.

      June 7, 2019
      |Reply
  28. Dinah Lord
    Dinah Lord

    Is it just in this chapter that Alessia’s pov sections are now in present tense like Maxim’s? James can’t even be consistent in the tense she’s using…

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
  29. Amalthea
    Amalthea

    Jenny, do you offer editorial, or sensitivity reading services? Because I really feel you missed a calling as a script doctor or something. Your changes would have made this (and pretty much anything you’ve reviewed so far) so much better.

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
  30. Alice
    Alice

    Didn’t Alessia herself said the traffickers looked nice? Weren’t they able to almost pass as immigration agents? Weren’t there women who didn’t believe her about the sex trafficking?
    And now they are terrible stereotype of villains? Yet the people working at the estate didn’t call the police or warn their boss when they came looking for him?
    You can’t have both. They can’t be walking cartoonish villains AND talented criminals.
    They were able to find her, to go in the cottage when she’s alone… Bu they don’t hurry to leave before the Earl they can’t kill without raising too much suspicion gets home? Your little revenge can wait you know… Like they have enough ressources to track her but not the sense of hiding their traces or disappearing fast. They didn’t have to go to the estate. They already tried talking to Maxim. At this point, it is clear the guy won’t just give her.

    Also, calling the police now as if it wasn’t an issue before… I mean, he should have convinced her before to contact the autorities, but you can’t suddenly act as if she never said not to call the police or like she had no reason to. This was an actual point they had to discuss, not the earl thing!

    Her whole new conflict make no sense… And of course the one woman showing women can be independant is her british grand-mother. Of course she couldn’t have learned any feminist value from an Albanian woman…. I guess the only reason she can even imagine being independant is her british blood….

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
    • Alice
      Alice

      Also, I was sure the whole shooting session meant she’d at least be the one to defend herself with the gun. But no, of course not…

      June 5, 2019
      |Reply
      • Ani
        Ani

        The first Janet Evanovich book I read was One for the Money. I absolutely hated it. Besides the fact it had multiple horrific rape/sexual assault scenes, it kept setting up Chekov’s Gun moments and never paid any of it off. The main character was given a gun, there was a lot of emphasis of having the gun, but nothing came of it. It pissed me so royally off, I never touched any of the Evanovich’s books again.

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
      • Lucy
        Lucy

        Ah wouldn’t it be awesome if she got to save Moss with her newfound markswoman skills? He’s young and fit but there’s two of them and he’s overpowered… and she comes to the rescue! So they save each other! But we can’t have that, right?

        June 5, 2019
        |Reply
    • Masha
      Masha

      They can’t be walking cartoonish villains AND talented criminals. Yes, yes they can. Because AAALL men in Albania look like that, so they look normal to the women, and AAALL men in Eastern Europe look/sound like that, so the poor Brits are used to putting up with gazillions of them.

      June 6, 2019
      |Reply
  31. Agent_Z
    Agent_Z

    In a previous recap, a said this book was the literary equivalent of Taken and now this scene with Maxim pulling a gun on Dante has only convinced me. I wonder the reason James included the human trafficking plot was because she liked that movie.

    June 5, 2019
    |Reply
    • Ani
      Ani

      But the whole point of Taken is to watch Liam Neeson’s character shoot rapists in the face. The whole point of this book is to… to…

      huh

      June 6, 2019
      |Reply
      • Jules
        Jules

        … beg Liam Neeson to come and shoot Moss in the face… and Dimmy… and the Stereotypically “Eastern Europeans”… and then EEL herself?

        I’m guessing the whole point of this book from EEL’s POV was to cash in while she still can. From the publishers POV? The darkest, and largest part of my soul believes it was to show the world that the emperor does indeed have no clothes. I mean, if they gave two shits about EEL they would have done something to edit this dreck. Right? I mean, only someone who truly hates her would let this get published under her name.

        June 6, 2019
        |Reply
  32. C
    C

    I wondered if due to her synesthesia, Demelzia could smell Dante’s evil or his horrible appearance or something, which would explain why she was the only one who could smell him. But that would be giving the Eel too much credit.

    June 6, 2019
    |Reply
    • Emily, a newbie
      Emily, a newbie

      Sadly, that would mean Eel would have to actually remember that Alessia even /has/ synesthesia, which I think she’s forgotten about since…what? Chapter 5 or so??
      It’s sad because that could have been a very interesting way for Alessia to interpret her memories and what emotions they evoke. Perhaps associate a certain color to the “bad sounds/smells”, a flavor to the bad words or harsh tones, create a whole “palette” of good things versus bad things, etc.
      I don’t even know why it was put in the story, to be honest, let alone kept in after ‘editing’.

      I’ve seen synesthesia used in only a handful of stories, but it’s always been used as an effective way to individualize that character’s inner voice, their interactions, and even build up a few personal habits (one story I read had a character with synesthesia that absolutely hated lying because, “Lies always taste bad.”)
      Could’ve been a good and simple way to really define Alessia’s character and make her stand out. But of course, that’s not allowed.
      ‘Cause then she’d be more interesting and have much more depth than Mister Maxim “I’m-really-a-legit-model-slash-DJ-and-totes-not-just-a-glorified-Tik-Tok-star” Trevelyan, and we can’t have that.
      And I totally didn’t forget that his last name wasn’t just “Trevethick” and /definitely/ didn’t have to double-check Google.

      June 6, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dinah Lord
        Dinah Lord

        From my vague remembrances of Oliver Sacks’ book about music and synaethesia, most people who associate music and other things aren’t synaesthetic about other things (it was really interesting to realise that some people have distinct feelings about musical keys, for example, associating each with different colours or tastes). I think they are very rare people who are synaesthetic across several senses. So Alessia might well not have other synaesthetic associations.

        I agree that James doesn’t seem to have thought about it much, though

        June 6, 2019
        |Reply
  33. Corbeau
    Corbeau

    I’m surprised Alessia didn’t ask what an earl was. I mean, how much more common is the word earl than the word truck?

    June 6, 2019
    |Reply
  34. Siobhannabon
    Siobhannabon

    With all the xenophobic remarks and constant put downs of Eastern Europe, I can only conclude that James voted for Brexit.

    June 6, 2019
    |Reply
  35. Expecting rain
    Expecting rain

    I just fail to understand how Alessia, who is confused by concepts such as trucks, the sea, wi-fi internet, and Starbucks, will somehow appreciate the subtle social difference between a millionaire who is NOT an earl vs. a millionaire who IS an earl and feel devastated by it.

    Signed, an Eastern European who drives a truck, is writing this post in full view of the sea, and hopefully does not stink

    June 7, 2019
    |Reply
  36. Lindsey Latiolais
    Lindsey Latiolais

    Just realized, this one didn’t post on Facebook! Just FYI!

    June 10, 2019
    |Reply

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