Reviewed by Tori
You think you know Luna Gregory?
Maybe you see what her boss, the Marchioness of Lionsbridge, sees: the best PA she’s ever had, a 26-year-old fixer who makes problems disappear with four quiet words—‘Leave it with me.’ Or you see a remote, untouchable Ice Princess who the 500-year-old Arborage Estate’s heir presumptive longs to crush under his heel. Possibly, if you’re looking carefully, you see Luna as her friends see her: the quiet one, touched by childhood tragedy, who laughs at their jokes and has their backs no matter what.
But ultimately it takes charismatic, devastatingly attractive Swedish entrepreneur Stefan Lundgren, third in line to inherit the estate, to glimpse the intelligent, fiercely independent woman under Luna’s calm exterior. And what he sees he wants, this woman in ten thousand who is meant for him, body writhing beneath his in the dark of night, her inner self slowly revealing itself to him. Or so he believes.
But Luna has built an entire life predicated on concealment, on maintaining control and hiding dark things in drawers. It will take the entirety of the Lord and Master trilogy, from the manicured gardens of Arborage, to the wilds of Shetland, to the streets of Stockholm, for her to step out of the shadows in the face of a new threat to Arborage.
You think you know Luna? You don’t. (Goodreads)
Lord and Master is an erotic romantic suspense trilogy whose tone and setting remind me a little of a Danielle Steele or Sidney Sheldon novel. It has the makings of a dramatic family saga with all the necessary over the top emotionally fueled energy bursting from the pages. Family, secrets, deception, betrayal and eventual redemption are all facets of this multidirectional story that centers around one young woman-Luna Gregory. Told in three parts; Lord and Master, Her Master’s Servant, and The Marchioness, each part taking us deeper into world of Luna Gregory.
Part one-Lord and Master-was enjoyable and the strongest in the trilogy. Straight forward with a robust beginning, Jagger introduces us to the key players while setting up the plotlines and romance. Luna Gregory is a 26-year-old personal assistant of the Marchioness of Lionbridge and lives permanently on the Arborage Estate. Calm, cool, and collected, I enjoyed discovering the different faces Jagger imbibes Luna with. She’s naturally intelligent and witty but Jagger makes her more approachable with her sarcasm, earthy speech, strong will, and love of speed. There are undercurrents of classism and misogyny that foreshadow the events that are coming.
Various secondary characters dot the scenery, adding to the intrigue as the reader tries to figure out their agenda. The Marchioness, who maintains a firm steady role, stays in the background though her machinations are far reaching. The romance builds fast and burns bright. Luna and Stefan’s introduction is amusing with a decidedly Mills and Boon feel to it. All burning loins and scornful looks. Stefan comes off as a privileged playboy who believes his looks and wealth give him certain rights. Luna isn’t a virginal school girl who’s easily impressed and Stefan must work to catch her attention…and keep it. While the sex scenes are certainly racy, calling them erotic is pushing it. The ending events rip Luna’s world apart and readers are left wondering what happens now?
Part Two-The Master’s Servant-opens on a thrilling note with Luna horrified by the sheer audacity of the Marchioness’ plans. Unable to handle the betrayal of her lover and her mentor, Luna appeals to a friend and heads to Scotland (Shetland) to work and heal. Stefan searches far and wide, eventually finding Luna, and their reunion is anything but forgiving. Angry, Luna and Stefan attempt to work past their issues but instead continue to punish each other. The horse is strong out of the gate but falters quickly. I am disappointed by the lack of action as we spend a large portion watching Luna and Stefan play power games as she forgives Stefan for his duplicity and lack of attention though I’m not sure why. He does nothing to truly earn it. The writing becomes choppy, the narrative repetitive, and the dialogue flashes between formal and incoherent. The underutilized characters and lack of development are frustrating. It’s a very awkward read. Stefan and Luna both act like children, striking out and trying to make each other jealous as they struggle to reconnect. The sex is angry and violent and though Jagger tries to persuade us it’s spicy kink, I don’t buy it. One aspect I really disliked was how ugly the women were to one another. Eventually, all roads lead back to England and we are left with the knowledge that trouble has come to Arborage.
Part Three-The Marchioness-is the final last installment and while a little better than part two, it’s not by much. Luna and Stefan are back at Arborage. Stefan has put on the mantle of Marquess of Lionbridge while Luna helps to manage the estate, this time by his side. It is rather similar to book one with Jagger slowly building back up the suspense and intrigue though the villain(s) are ridiculous and the feeling of falling down the rabbit hole is strong. Stefan’s family and Luna’s friends are all on hand for the finale and Luna goes behind Stefan’s back multiple times to thwart their enemies. She becomes the one thing she despises-a manipulator. Dramatic scenes and seemingly coded dialogue help to amp up the anticipation until you realize Jagger is doing nothing more than adding filler to plump up the thin storyline. The romance and sex are tetchy between Stefan and Luna though the erotic elements are strongest in here. Any connection between them is now forever lost to me and the chemistry feels forced and ill-fitting. The ending is an overly dramatic fait accompli that read like a scene from the Godfather.
Lord and Master proved to be a disappointment as I got further into the story with its general lack of cohesion and the slow deterioration of the main characters and plotlines. Jagger’s attempts to manipulate and force her story where it clearly did not want to go only served to alienate the most enjoyable aspects of it.