Description: ‘Quintessential girl next door…blonde hair…every part of her sweetly rounded and curved…'(p.7).
Hero: Max Hart
Age: late thirties
Occupation: Television Producer (a billionaire Australian producer?)
Description:’…black hair, strongly chiselled face, deeply set brown eyes, tanned skin, perfectly sculptured mouth-added to his air of distinction…'(p13).
Perhaps being Emma Darcy’s 100th Mills and Boon novel expectations were slightly elevated for The Master Player. Such expectations were quickly dashed by repetitive use of ‘white knight fighting all her dragons’ (p18, p32, p36, p42, p142 etc etc etc) Yawn, we got the picture first time around. Instead of Max perhaps Darcy should have named her hero George.
After ninety-nine novels, who needs a plot when you just need a contrivance where our hero can isolate the heroine to have his wicked way with and then promise long term commitment. Chloe learns of her husband’s infidelity with her PA at the season launch of her new show. Her hurt is compounded by learning her mother had prior knowledge of the affair. Of course, the hero is the only one who can heal her pain by whisking her away to his Vaucluse residence and severing all ties with the people in her life.
Like any good hero with the de rigueur emotionally f**ked childhood, Max organises her relocation, provides accommodation with a bookshelf populated with jigsaws (really, a 27 year old relishing the thought of doing a jigsaw puzzle??) and best sellers (now is that the Nielsen BookScan list?), the name of a brilliant divorce lawyer, a body guard and emancipation from her pushy stage mother. Where oh where have we seen this checklist before?
Emma Darcy writes principally for an American audience. This is particularly irritating when purportedly Australian characters have an American frame of reference. Chloe names her dog Luther in honour of Martin Luther King as “He’s (the miniature fox terrier) black and white and Martin Luther King fought for desegregation, wanting to bring blacks and whites together.”(p.86). WTF?? Is this suppose to be indicative of Chloe’s morality. Let’s not mention the M*A*S*H reference. The greatest hint that this is intended for an American audience is the diabetic coma inducing saccharine epilogue. Virtue is rewarded and sinners are punished. It is almost as bad as the epilogue that ruined the Harry Potter series. Perhaps we should be grateful that the characters have mobile phones and know that the emergency number is triple zero.
The heroine is insipid and the hero is an aggressive control freak. He takes control one step further by renaming the heroine Mary Hart. Yep, that’s right the name of the long serving host of Entertainment Tonight: the most watched entertainment news program in the world. ‘Mary and Max’ is what? Endearing? It conjures up images of Adam Elliot’s stopmotion claymation.
Darcy obviously shifts a set amount of units on her name alone. Unless you are a dedicated fan this you can skip this one.