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.
What an entertaining take on My Fair Lady! In this early 1900's historical, Bonnie Dee gives us two eminently likable MC's and a wager sure to turn society on its ear, if found out. I loved the writing, the chemistry, the story and the shenanigans!
Arthur Lawton is the second son of a Baronet. Not much is expected of second sons and so he has the freedom to explore whatever he wishes. Well, Arthur has always dreamed of travel, but he gets horribly sea sick. So, he and his oldest friend entertain themselves however they can. A wager, perhaps. Arthur tends to see people as people and just because a person is born into the lower classes does not mean that they have to be forever stuck there. He posits that any man can be taught to move about in society if only given the chance.
Joe Sprat is a shoeshine. Born in the lower classes in East London, Joe has dreams. He really wants to open his own shoe shop, one day. He saves what he can from his sidewalk business, but he's got a long way to go. This wager between Mr. Lawton and his friend could really speed things up quite a lot, so he accepts. And it isn't just for the money, either, but also because Joe wants the education.
I absolutely adored both Arthur and Joe. Joe goes through quite the outward transformation in the story, but his core honesty and integrity are there, throughout. But Arthur is really who shined in The Masterpiece. He wasn't like his peers, at all. He really saw the capability and the humanity of everyone, regardless of their station. But I also think he learned as much from Joe as Joe learned from him. Arthur really learned the value of honesty, hard work, and integrity. Yeah, Arthur saw people as people before, but after being around Joe for several weeks, he really saw what it meant to work for what you got.
And their romance was superb, as well. I loved how Arthur and Joe interacted from the most mundane activity to their adventurous outings. You see them bond as friends before they do as lovers and it was spot on. And the ending -- yes, that was gloriously delicious! Bonnie Dee works magic, again!
If you like the My Fair Lady premise, you're sure to love The Masterpiece.
ARC of The Masterpiece was generously provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.
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