E.L. James Is at It Again

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E.L. James has written another novel. It’s called The Mister, it’s about a young aristocrat and a mysterious young woman, and a press release describes it as “a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the very last page.” Maybe, but then again I am slightly asthmatic.

Deadline reported on the new book, announced for an April 16 arrival:

“I’m so excited to finally get this passionate new romance out into the world,” said James. “It’s a Cinderella story for the twenty-first century. Maxim and Alessia have led me on a fascinating journey and I hope that my readers will be swept away by their thrilling and sensual tale, just as I was while writing, and that, like me, they fall in love with them.”

The Maxim and Alessia mentioned by James would be Maxim Trevelyan, a “privileged and aristocratic young Englishman,” and Alessia Demachi, a “mysterious, talented, and beautiful” recent arrival in London “owning little more than a dangerous and troublesome past.”

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~~~ s ~ e ~ n ~ s ~ u ~ a ~ l ~~~

The Today Show website has an excerpt, which illustrates the sensuality:

Fast asleep facedown and sprawled naked across the large bed. She stands, shocked and fascinated at once, her feet rooted to the wooden floor as she stares. He’s stretched across the length of the bed, tangled in his duvet but naked . . . very naked. His face is turned toward her but covered by unkempt brown hair. One arm is beneath the pillow that supports his head, the other extended toward her. He has broad, defined shoulders, and on his biceps is an elaborate tattoo that is partially hidden by the bedding. His back is sun-kissed with a tan that fades as his hips narrow to dimples and to a pale, taut backside.

“He stirs, the muscles in his back rippling, and his eyelids flicker open to reveal unfocused but brilliant green eyes. Alessia stops breathing, convinced he’ll be angry that she’s woken him.” No thanks! I’ll pass in favor of one of the dozens and dozens of better-written romance novels out there that have not sold 150 million copies because the publishing business is an absolute mystery that makes zero sense.

It will be interesting to see how this latest book performs, as Fifty Shades premiered in 2012 and has already passed its peak, though the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades Freed was released just last year and tipped the franchise into the billion-dollar territory. At this point, James is likely a permanent pop cultural fixture, like Danielle Steele, but the actual sales numbers likely depend in part on whether there’s some mildly racy hook. What was the Fifty Shades phenomenon if not an excuse for all of America to talk about spanking?

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Image: Penguin RandomHouse

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