Dana and Melissa review The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee (Published June 13, 2017, 203 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this:
Dana – I love the musical My Fair Lady and hearing that this was based off the same idea, I knew I just had to read it.
Melissa – I was immediately captured by the cover and the blurb.
Built from the bottom up: one perfect gentleman.
Man about town Arthur Lawton spends his days pursuing entertainment while shoeshine Joe Sprat labors to better his family’s lives. When an argument about nature versus nurture sparks a wager, Arthur swears to a friend he can turn this working man into a gentleman who will pass at a society function.
Joe is happy to participate in the experiment for a fee but receives more than he bargained for after moving into Lawton’s house. Arthur is determined Joe won’t merely wear a veneer of sophistication but educates him in every way. As he creates his new and improved man, Arthur grows more deeply infatuated with him, while Joe falls equally hard for his charismatic mentor.
Underneath a growing friendship, desire simmers and one day explodes. After their relationship escalates, the pair exists in a dream bubble until the threat of exposure sharply reminds them they belong in different worlds. When the ball is over, each must resume his own life, changed by their encounter but destined for different courses.
Find out if love is strong enough to bridge the gap between peer and pauper in this twist on the tale of My Fair Lady.
Dana – When I first started reading romance of any kind, I started with historical romance. I love being swept back to a different time period. Early 1900’s London society is going back full circle for me. During such a time where everyone watched everyone else and gossip was laid out in the newspapers, it seems very difficult for two men to conduct a romance. We still have some ways to go before the present day accepts lgbt rights, but back then everything needed to remain hidden.
It’s disappointing to the romance lover in me that the two men couldn’t dance at a ball together or declare their feelings in public but at the same time I kind of like a forbidden relationship. I like seeing two people fight against whatever constraints there might be in order to love the person they do.
There are quite a few My Fair Lady references in this book. The word loverly was used and immediately I started singing, “wouldn’t it be loverly?” When Joe asks someone “How do you do?” I heard it in Eliza’s over accentuated tone. So much of the book made me smile as I read it.
There are also enough differences that I think the story shines on it’s own. Joe shines shoes instead of selling flowers, and he is much better at mimicking a posh accent. There is a little focus on how Arthur trains Joe to speak but it’s not nearly as intense as the musical. Joe is also more eager to better himself, to learn to speak properly, to read books, and to learn more about the world around him. He has higher goals for himself before he even meets Arthur. Arthur isn’t as stuffy as Henry Higgins. He is a confirmed bachelor because of his attractions. He doesn’t seem to look down on Arthur but he is curious. He lives an idle life “hanging out” with his friend Granville and making silly wagers.
It isn’t a really deep story. Joe knows he is the subject of a bet but takes to the new lifestyle better than Eliza ever did. It is a sweet romance though. There is good chemistry between the two men, much more than I thought Eliza and Henry had. As the date of the reveal got closer, I was trying to figure out how these two would make it past the expiration of the bet. Family business calls Arthur’s attention, making their getting together seem even more impossible. However, it is a romance novel and you can usually expect a happy ending. It’s a cute story with a sweet romance that I think any fan of My Fair Lady and m/m romance would love.
9/10 pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Melissa – This was a very enjoyable story with very realistic characters. I was immediately captured by the cover and the blurb, and just adored Joe and Arthur. Yes, this is an MM version of My Fair Lady, and it’s been a while since I’ve watched the movie so I can’t say how closely these parallel each other. Regardless, I thought this whole story was very original and well thought out. I kept wondering how this would end considering it is the start of the 1900’s and being in a relationship with another man was not exactly accepted. Don’t worry, there is a happy ending, and it was perfect for these men. Of course they would like to be together completely, but that’s not possible. But they seemed extremely happy and content. I was just giddy seeing them both get what they wished for.
This is a very well written story (despite the editing errors) and I wish I could get another installment of them, maybe 20 years down the road, see how they are. It would be so thrilling and I would feel more closure if I could just get a small glimpse of them being happy still. Never say never. 😉
3.75 stars rounded to 4 because I liked the historical accuracy. Not a scholar, just a fan. (*I don’t know if anything written is actually accurate, but it fell that way to me; never once did I doubt anything said or done.)
8/10 pots of Gold (80% recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller guaranteed to frighten and thrill with macabre tales. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.
As an adult, I enjoy reading stories about people damaged by life who find healing with a like-minded soul. When I couldn’t find enough such books, I began to write them. Whether you’re a fan of contemporary historical or fantasy romance, you’ll find something to enjoy among my books.