After squeezing every last drop out of her wildly successful Fifty Shades franchise, author E.L James has moved on from Ana and Christian with her latest novel.

The Mister, which hit Australian bookstores yesterday, tells the story of British aristocrat Maxim Trevelyan and Alessia Demachi, a recent immigrant to the UK from Albania who “possesses little more than a dangerous and troublesome past,” according to the blurb.

“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?”

Despite her commercial success – James, real name Erika Leonard, is one of the world’s richest authors after selling more than 150 million copies of her Fifty Shades books – critics have never taken kindly to her. And it seems nothing has changed as the first reviews of The Mister come in.

Entertainment Weekly said The Mister is “so much worse” than Fifty Shades.

“The Mister is unoriginal and dull from the syntax up,” EW says. “It lacks even the vicarious, silly fun of the Fifty Shades world.

Not only does the writing lack originality, but the publication claims the author’s treatment of sex trafficking, which forms part of the plot, is extremely problematic.

“The Mister deals with the trauma of sex trafficking with the delicacy of a freight train.”


In Leonard’s home country of Britain, The Mister isn’t faring much better.

Critic Kat Brown of i News said of the author’s latest effort:

“Filled with the same tropes and terrible lines – the first page alone features so much word repetition it reminds you of Little Britain’s Dame Sally Markham trying to up her word count”, she said.

“You will laugh a lot during this book, and not in a good way.”

Leonard may want to stay off the internet as the reviews roll in, but let’s face it: she knows she’ll never be able to replicate the freak success of Fifty Shades, or write a book where the characters don’t blush an abnormal amount.

And while a Pulitzer Prize would be nice, Leonard’s many millions must bring her some comfort at least.