British author E.L. James burst onto the literary scene in 2011 with Fifty Shades of Grey, the first book in a trilogy about the very intense (to say the absolute least) relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and businessman Christian Grey.
Cut to 2019 and James (a pen name for Erika Leonard) is back with a new novel, The Mister.
Set in present-day London, The Mister is, familiarly, about two impossibly pretty people and their torrid love affair. Maxim is a handsome, wealthy aristocrat who falls for his Albanian maid, Alessia—a woman who, per Amazon, is “Reticent, beautiful, and musically gifted, she’s an alluring mystery, and Maxim’s longing for her deepens into a passion that he’s never experienced and dares not name.” The book’s main conflict? “Can Maxim protect her from the malevolence that threatens her? And what will she do when she learns that he’s been hiding secrets of his own?” Oh boy.
Fans of Fifty Shades will recognize the experienced guy-naive-girl dynamic (which isn’t super great for women, TBH), and while The Mister doesn’t feature as much BDSM as its predecessor, there are certainly scenes you might feel weird about reading on public transit.
Early reviews haven’t been the most flattering (Entertainment Weekly called it “so much worse than Fifty Shades”), but who are we to judge if you want to give it a try?