E.L. James’s latest—The Mister—is selling very well, though of course not as well as her Fifty Shades books.
The Guardian reported on the numbers out of the United Kingdom: “It sold 52,674 physical copies in its first week on sale, according to sales monitor Nielsen BookScan. This places it at No 1 on the book charts, ahead of titles by authors including Lee Child, cleaning guru Mrs Hinch, and the hit cookbook Pinch of Nom.” It’s not moving quite as fast as her Fifty Shades books, though:
Darker, which retold the second book in the Fifty Shades trilogy from the perspective of Christian Grey instead of his paramour Anastasia Steele, sold 86,000 physical copies in its first week on sale, while Grey, its predecessor, sold almost 400,000 physical copies in its first week. Fifty Shades of Grey, James’s first novel, has sold more than 6m copies to date and is the bestselling novel of all time in Britain.
It’s a testament to the power of her fanbase, because the reviews certainly haven’t been positive and frankly make the book sound less appealing than Fifty Shades. The Atlantic recaps the meeting between the two main characters, Maxim Trevelyan—an earl and also a DJ—and Alessia Demachi, a young woman who has been sex-trafficked to the United Kingdom and is now working as his house cleaner. Yikes:
But then his regular maid, his “daily,” is replaced by Alessia, whose introduction jolts Maxim into an uncharacteristic pattern of celibacy and composing concertos on the piano. “I am cleaner, Mister,” Alessia whispers to him, “her eyes still downcast, and her eyelashes fanned out above her luminous cheeks.” “Yes,” Maxim thinks. “For a woman dressed in a nylon housecoat, she’s hot.”
Incredible that she actually gave the guy the same name as the man in Rebecca, a book whose strange legacy the romance genre has spent the last forty years complicating, though you wouldn’t know it to read James. Daphne du Maurier is somewhere spinning in her grave like a hydroelectric turbine.