Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Review: The Master's Mistress [2010]

I first became aware of The Master's Mistress by Carole Mortimer while I was reviewing (and tweeting) series romance titles, as I do every month when I work on my paperback order. What caught my eye was the description:
Hired to catalog the Sullivan House library, Elizabeth Brown is in her element. Books she can handle. Men—well, she's a little less experienced in that department. She's certainly not at all prepared for the unexpected arrival of the master of the house, Rogan Sullivan!Rogan is dark, dangerous and wickedly sexy—exactly the kind of man Elizabeth has read she should stay away from. But it's not long before Rogan is showing his virgin librarian reasons she should let herself be seduced by a masterful rogue….[emphasis mine]
There's nothing that amuses me more than a good "sexy librarian" stereotype, and I went into this expecting the book to be bad. It's a series romance, after all, and I've read some truly terrible books in that genre. I was prepared to forgive a certain amount of awful dialogue, inept description, one-dimensional characterization, transparent plot "twists," and a sudden final lurch toward marital bliss. I was even prepared to deal with the painful "virgin heroine" trope. I wasn't hoping for any creative subversion of the stereotype (such as my own alternate version, where she runs off with the hero's sister, who appreciates her love of rare books), but the flaws would have been bearable if the character had actually been a librarian!
This spiky woman--a lecturer in History who catalogued libraries in her spare time, for heaven's sake!--simply wasn't his type. Absolutely not. [66]
That's right, the largest crime that The Master's Mistress is guilty of committing (and there are many, not least of which is its inane title) is that its heroine is not, in fact, a librarian, but a college professor who catalogs books in order to escape from the trauma of her parents' relationship. FALSE ADVERTISING, I SAY! Needless to say, this revelation did not make me more disposed to overlook the book's other flaws.

Given my understandable outrage upon my discovery of the horrendous and traumatizing fraud perpetrated by the book's description, I will try to summarize the plot as best I can:

FakeLibrarian: I love sexy vampire novels! OMG the son of my dead employer looks just like the hero in my book.
Rogan "Rogue" Sullivan: I am mysterious and hate my dead father and I used to be in the military and am an American, even though this book is set in England. I like instability. I will never be tied down.
FakeLibrarian: I like stability and routine. And everything about your hot body, even though I am a virgin and also hate you, for some reason.
[sexytimes on the beach]
Rogue: My mother died and it was my father's fault.
FakeLibrarian: My mother died and it was my father's fault.
[sex in the kitchen]
Rogue: Holy shit, you're a virgin!
FakeLibrarian: Don't stop! It will never work out between us, but you're right, I should mend fences with my father before he dies, too.
Rogue: I want to go with you! And you're right, we are too different.
Both: Let's get married! And have multiple kids!

Grade: D

Random Quotes, or Rogan's Amazing Throbbing Thighs:

"Rogan gave a low groan in his throat as he felt his body respond to her, his thighs stirring, hardening, pulsing. Aching!" [61]

"As the hard throb of his thighs now testified!" [122]

"...he rasped stupidly, his thighs throbbing anew just at the thought of having Elizabeth offering herself to him like that." [129]

Seriously, he should get that thigh condition looked at; it sounds painful. And, the lines of the book I most related to . . . books don't kill people, bad romance novel-inspired rage kills people!

"'Books don't harm people. They're here to provide knowledge. Entertainment. They're my life.' Her voice wobbled emotionally. 'My friends,' she added shakily as the tears once again fell softly down her cheeks." [107]

Book Review Index
Dead Mother: Yes (x2)


Ruth said...

She's not even a real librarian? FAUGH, I say! FAUGH!

Victoria Janssen said...

Can we just read your summary instead?

Anonymous said...

Wow, I seem to remember something other than thighs doing the throbbing, but perhaps there have been new developments in this field...

But yay for an almost-reference to Shakespeare's sonnet 20 in the title? One of the gayer sonnets, though, so the fake librarian should also have turned out to be a fake woman.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, he needs to get those thighs looked at.

Also, I like the implication that being a librarian is something professors do in their spare time. Why isn't she grading? Or prepping class? Or (more likely) fielding complaints by students who didn't care to do the work on time but now are desperate and will do *anything* (except, you know, turn the work in when assigned) to get a good grade?

I guess librarians, even faux ones, sell more books as heroines than professors. *sighs*

Helgagrace said...

I did tweet about an astrophysicist heroine earlier today, but I think that yes, the sexy librarian stereotype is much more prevalent than the sexy professor stereotype, probably because my profession is dominated by women. However, there was this book:


Someone should volunteer to read it and see what exactly she does with that PhD.

Anonymous said...


um. It looks like it might exist at a local bookstore.

I will consider this, but only because I love you and apparently also love pain.

But if I buy it, you know who is getting it next. It could be the next H.A.N.