"Ava, you should know that once I've had you, you're mine." - Jodi Ellen Malpas, This Man
Let me start this review off by saying, if 50 Shades of Grey made you uncomfortable, you don't need to read anymore of this review. If you, like me, couldn't get enough of 50 Shades and all the wonderfulness that comes with it, read along ;)
We start this book being introduced to Ava. She's currently living with her best friend, Kate, after ending a long-term relationship. Ava and Kate are enjoying being two single girls living in London and Ava doesn't want to get involved again anytime soon because she hasn't been single in over 7 years (she's 24, so I guess that means she's been in a relationship on and off since 17!).
Ava gets sent to The Manor to do a design consultation, as she's one of London's most up and coming interior designers. Ava expects to find an old, crotchety rich man. What she doesn't expect, is Jesse.
Jesse Ward is an enigma. He's young (we guess around mid-thirties), beautiful, and intimidating. Ava is immediately taken with him and Jesse feels the same with Ava. After a stressful, intense first meeting, Jesse insists Ava will see him again soon. One of my favorite lines out of the book happens after this first meeting...
""You have a lovely hotel," I say genuinely, wishing that my handbag contents consisted of spare knickers, a blindfold, earplugs, and some armor. I might have been more prepared." I just love this line because, after reading the book, you'll really see how appropriate it is for the whole novel!
Jesse continues to pursue Ava, while Ava tries to keep him at arms length. Ava thinks there's something dangerous about him and is nervous to fall too hard for him. There's no denying the attraction between the two, but could it be more than physical attraction?
Ava eventually gives in to all of Jesse's advances and they start their relationship. Their relationship is easy by no means. Jesse is controlling, demanding, and quite hard to figure out. Ava pushes his buttons as a way to rebel against his controlling tendencies. Through all the push, pull, up, and down fighting between the two, they always make friends. Sex always seems to find a way to bring the two back together, or many times, bring Ava back under Jesse's control. Ava allows it most of the time because she is head over heels for Jesse and just wants to be with him.
"The sex is just sex. I can't get close enough to you. The control is because I'm frightened to death that something will happen to you...that you'll be taken away from me. I've waited too long for you, Ava. I'll do anything to keep you safe. I've lived a life with little control or care. Believe me, I need you..please..please, don't leave me." -Jesse
Have I mentioned what Jesse does for a living? Let's get back to that. So, towards the end of this book, Jesse and Ava have had a fight. This is not unusual, but what happens next is. Jesse left the penthouse to go work at The Manor, so Ava and Kate had a little chat. Kate convinced Ava to risk it and tell Jesse how she really feels so Ava gets the courage to tell Jesse she loves him. She drives to The Manor, unexpectedly and Sarah (Jesse's "friend"/coworker/Ava's worst enemy) opens the gates to let Ava in. While at The Manor, Ava and Kate stumble upon the Communal Room...which is basically a Communal Bedroom. Ava discovers a major secret Jesse has been keeping from her all this time and can't get over it. She leaves Jesse, crushing her own heart as well as Jesse's. Jesse warns that she can't leave him, that she promised she wouldn't. Jesse tells her things are going to be a lot worse if she leaves him. Ava just can't deal and needs some time alone. A few days later, she goes to talk to Jesse to see if she can get past knowing what The Manor really is. She finds a stumbling, hateful drunk Jesse who scares her and hurts her even more. Ava leaves in tears afraid of the man she's seeing, knowing she doesn't love that man, and heart broken even more.
TALK ABOUT A CLIFF HANGER! Will Ava forgive Jesse? How will they get past this? What's going to happen to Jesse and his obvious alcoholism? Can Ava get over The Manor? Oh, and one more question... WHERE ARE AVA'S BIRTH CONTROL PILLS?! I've got my suspicions...
Overall, I love this book. Jesse is infuriating, intimidating, but also so enticing and loving. He's controlling, but only because he loves Ava so much and wants to protect her. Ava is a SPITFIRE! I've read this book a few times and never really realized how much of a little spitfire she is, but I love it! She's sassy and she sticks up for herself and I think she holds her own against Jesse about as well as could be expected. I love their chemistry, I love their love, and I can't wait to read the next book to see what happens!
This Man Playlist (all songs pulled directly from This Man)
Country House by Blur
Teardrop by Massive Attack
Creep by Radiohead
Black and Gold by Sam Sparro
This is The One by The Stone Roses
Running Up That Hill by Placebo
Angel by Massive Attack