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Literature / The Mister

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The Mister is a 2019 romance novel by E. L. James. It tells the story of a relationship between a British aristocrat, Maxim Trevelyan, and his Albanian housemaid Alessia Demachi.

Maxim is the younger son of an aristocratic family, with all the privileges but none of the responsibilities. He spends his days on leisure activities, pursuing his latest hobby until he gets bored or in bed with numerous beautiful women. This changes when his elder brother, Kit, dies suddenly in a motorcycle accident and Maxim inherits his title as Earl of Trevethick. Now playboy Maxim will have to step into his brother's shoes, although another complications arrives in the form of Alessia, his new housemaid.

Alessia has been forced to leave her homeland of Albania and settle in the UK, working as a housemaid for various members of the upper-classes. She finds herself drawn to one of her employers in particular. Sparks fly between Alessia and Maxim and they grow closer by the day. However, with Alessia's dark past threatening to catch up to her and Maxim's aristocratic peers potentially disapproving of him romancing a servant, will the pair get a happy ending?

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Tropes present in this novel include:

  • The Ace:
    • In addition to being an earl, Maxim is also a photographer, model, and DJ. He's extremely good-looking, wealthy and has women throwing themselves at him.
    • Alessia herself is a talented chess-player, a concerto-level pianist with synesthesia and a skilled clay-pigeon shooter despite never having held a gun before.
  • Damsel in Distress: Alessia, twice. First the slavers she escaped from track her to one of Maxim's houses and attempt to recapture her; luckily Maxim intervenes. Then in the third act she's kidnapped by her abusive ex who takes her back to Albania, and Maxim sets out to rescue her.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Alessia is clearly running away from one and there are many hints dropped in the first half as to what happened to her. After running away from her abusive fiance, Alessia was captured by traffickers while trying to get into the UK; she escaped but is now in the country illegally and the traffickers are hunting for her.
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  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Maxim's older brother Kit was the respectable and level-headed Earl of Trevethick, while Maxim is a hedonistic slacker who can rarely hold down a job for long before getting bored. After Kit dies and Maxim inherits his title, he has to step up and start taking responsibility.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Alessia and Maxim have known each a little under a month and have only been properly dating for about a week when Maxim decides she's the woman he wants to marry. When Maxim proposes to Alessia at the end, she instantly accepts. Alessia's father then enforces the matter by demanding they marry in four days before leaving Albania.
  • Human Traffickers: It's revealed that men stalking Alessia are this; they abducted Alessia and took away her passport when she was trying to get into the UK; she managed to escape but now they're trying to re-kidnap her so she won't threaten their schemes.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Maxim has had many lovers though he doesn't have an emotional connection to any of them. He then finds himself genuinely falling for Alessia, which initially confuses him.
  • The Malaproper: Alessia, due to her incomplete grasp of the English language, has a tendency to do this, most notably referring to smartphones as "clever phones".
  • Multiple Narrative Modes: When the novel is told from Maxim's viewpoint, it uses first-person perspective. When it switches to Alessia's viewpoint, it uses limited third-person perspective.
  • No Woman's Land: Albania comes across here as a misogynistic hellhole; women are rarely seen out on the streets because it's not proper, they're expected to wait on their husbands or fathers hand and foot, domestic violence against women is common, and Alessia's father sold her into marriage without consulting her.
  • Really Gets Around: Maxim is known for having lots and lots of casual sex with different women. He actually states that sex is one of his favorite pasttimes.
  • Runaway Fiancée: It's eventually revealed that the reason Alessia left Albania is because her father betrothed her to an abusive gangster, not knowing his true nature, and her mother helped her escape.
  • Sex Slave: Alessia was kidnapped by human traffickers to be sold into sex slavery. She was able to escape though we don't know if the other women she was with were as fortunate.
  • Skewed Priorities: In the climax, Maxim realizes that Alessia has been abducted by her evil ex fiance and he's likely taking her back to Albania. Maxim, naturally, declares he will rescue her forthwith. But despite time being of the absolute essence, Maxim still thinks it's a good idea to shop for an engagement ring for Alessia. One would think he'd worry about all that after he gets her back safely. He and his buddy also pause their desperate race to save Alessia to drink at bars, both in England and Albania.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: The novel revolves around a playboy earl falling for his housemaid, who is hiding a Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Uptown Girl: Maxim is a gender-flipped example to Alessia; he's an immensely wealthy earl while Alessia is his housemaid (and an undocumented immigrant). She's actually briefly scared off when she learns about his title, thinking they could never be together.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A really horrific example. We never find out what happened to the other women Alessia was trafficked with. She at one point hopes they were able to escape too, but we never know for sure.

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