This Man (This Man #1) by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Review Copy from Netgalley
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Young interior designer Ava O’Shea has an appointment for a first consultation at The Manor with the owner, Mr Jesse Ward. She is expecting nothing more than an overweight, cravat wearing, well-to-do countryman, and on arrival, nothing would suggest otherwise. How wrong could she be? This Man is devastatingly handsome, charming and confident. He is also a conceited, hedonistic playboy, who knows no boundaries. Ava desperately does not want to be attracted to him, but she can’t control the overwhelming affect he has on her. Every instinct is telling her to run, so she does, but Jesse Ward is not so willing to let her go. He wants her and is determined to have her. She knows she is heading for heartbreak, but how can she run when he won’t let her?
*DNF at 31%*
I understand the appeal of alpha males. I really do. In fact, I've read (and enjoyed) lots of books with really dominant male characters. It's definitely not a concept that offends me outright in any way - it can work really well in the context of certain stories and falls into the "you do you" category of interaction between characters.
So, to be clear, for me there're two ends to the alpha male story spectrum: sexy escapist romance and OH MY GOD RUN FROM THE CRAZY. Obviously, there are stories that exist in the mid-ground but as far as I'm concerned This Man... it defined the crazy end of the spectrum. I seriously couldn't do it. I ended up giving up on the book before even making it a third of the way through, which is rare for me. These are just a few of the reasons that stuck out:
1. Jesse refuses to tell Ava how old he actually is. That is just... so weird. And it made me super uncomfortable. I can't even exactly define why, but there just seems to be something inherently wrong with the whole scenario. I mean, she's already having sex with you. Just tell her, for goodness sake. I don't know why I'm fixating on this one aspect, but it really bothered me.
2. Continuing to touch someone until it feels good and they give in is not adequate consent. Jesse seems to be under the impression that it is. I take quite a bit of issue with that. While what he's doing is not actually rape, it walks much too close to assault for my liking. Also, if someone needs to go to the bathroom, the correct way to deal with it is not to hold them down and have sex. I'm rather appalled that it needs to be stated at all.
3. Ava is completely useless at making up her mind. One minute she acknowledges how crazy and controlling Jesse is, she knows she shouldn't be with him. Then the next, she thinks he's perfect and swoons over him. Listen to your crazy-meter, Ava. It's serving you well.
I really wouldn't recommend this book. There are much better examples of what This Man attempted to be out there, so go with those for your own sanity.
First time British author Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands town of Northampton, where she lives with her family. Working for her father’s construction business full-time, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of This Man until it became impossible. She made time and found the courage to release her creative streak, unleashing the character Mr Jesse Ward, Lord of The Manor.