Title and Author: The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee
Genre: Historical M/M Romance
Reviewed by: Anya
Why you need this book: Slow-build, adorable romance which is perfect to chill with on hot summer days.
Plot: 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.
Review: The Masterpiece is a charming, engaging retelling of My Fair Lady, the musical film based on Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion. Mr. Arthur Lawton is a bored second son of a Baronet and is happily spending his days doing nothing of import and leaving the family affairs to his older brother. Joe Sprat is a shoeshine with quick wit and ambition who is working hard towards his own dream of owning a shoe store. Their chance meeting takes a surprising turn when Arthur’s closest friend, Lord Frederick Granville, proposes a wager that Arthur would not be able to turn Joe Sprat into a proper gentleman. The ultimate test would have him successfully masquerade as one of the peers to the noble guests at Granville’s family ball.
Sparks fly between Arthur and Joe almost immediately even though they have to be vigilant about acting on their attraction. Their relationship is a perfect mixture of longing, sexual tension and genuine affection that grows stronger every day while they live together in Arthur’s home as part of the wager. Joe is honest, caring and unjaded despite being through the rough patches of life and Arthur is open-minded and eager to learn about the life outside of his comfort zone. Joe’s main goal in their bet is education (and with that a future ability to reach a higher clientele) yet I think Arthur is the one who learns the most valuable lessons on integrity and personal responsibility. I adored both MCs from the beginning and was rooting so hard for them to overcome the hurdles of their stations in the end. I dare you not to fall in love with the two of them.
What you might not like/doesn’t work for you: This book is more sweet than steamy, although there was that scene in Arthur’s bedroom that was very, very satisfying.
What you will love: Bonnie Dee’s superb writing that allows the reader to easily envision the time period of the story. Joe and Arthur being silly boys (ahem, I mean gentlemen) in love. Arthur’s brother, Joe’s mom, and other great secondary characters. Freddie was an interesting character, even though he’s a major pain in the kaboose most of the time.
When not reading for pleasure, Anya is proofreading so it’s ALL THE BOOKS ALL THE TIME for her. She absolutely loves introducing people to new books and share the moment of “SQUEEE that book is amazing!” with them. Read all of her reviews here.
Connect with her: @shiny_luv