Tuesday, June 13, 2017

ARC Review: The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee


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. 

Dani's rating:

If you've seen My Fair Lady, the 1964 film based on Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn, you probably remember the scene at the horse races where Eliza Doolittle, in a moment of pure, unbridled excitement, yells, "C'mon, Dovah. Move yer bloomin' arse!"

The Masterpiece is a historical (set in London, 1909) M/M take on this charming story, with two upper-crust friends, Mr. Arthur Lawton and Lord Granville, making a bet that Arthur cannot turn a lower-class shoeshine with a harsh accent, Joe Sprat, into a well-spoken man who can fool others into believing he's a member of the upper class.

Granville is an arrogant snob, believing that you are born into your lot in life for a reason. Arthur disagrees; he thinks it's just a matter of luck, not fate.

Arthur and Joe connect immediately, and watching their friendship turn to something more tender and intimate is a beautiful thing.

Arthur, used to "staving off the boredom of an inconsequential life," is so patient with Joe, and Joe is a very eager pupil. Joe soon begins to look the part of a gentleman, but he's still the same man inside: loyal, honest, caring.

The sexual tension is palpable, the culmination of days and weeks spent talking (about books, current news, the philosophy of life), laughing, and giving each other meaningful looks (do you want me as much as I want you?).

This book is not super steamy (although the scene in Arthur's bedroom was damn hot), but the depth of the relationship and character development more than make up for that.

I adored both MCs; they really were so right for each other, despite Granville interfering every step of the way.

Toward the end of the story, Joe realizes that by passing as Mr. Joseph Newman he's deceiving those around him, including Granville's lovely mother and Arthur's kind family (Arthur's brother is a hoot).

Angst is inevitable, but can love trump class conventions?

I can assure you that the ending is very happy indeed. You might even say the men sail off into the sunset, or sunrise as the case may be.

Get the book:


Read. Read anything. Read the things they say are good for you, and the things they claim are junk. You’ll find what you need to find. Just read.
~Neil Gaiman

An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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