Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Book Review: YOU ARE MINE

Title: You Are Mine
Author: Miranda Rijks
Publisher: Inkubator Books
Pages: 270
My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐

Artist Charlotte Aldridge is depressed and broke, having lost her yen for her art after the death of her fiancé, Matt. Her sister, Jodi, and her mother try hard to cheer her up and support her.

When Sir Rupert Baskerville offers her twenty thousand pounds to come over to his mansion and paint his portrait, she agrees even though she finds him creepy. The money will come in handy, particularly as her landlord is threatening to evict her, and she has bills to pay. What she doesn’t know is that Rupert is obsessed with her.

Slowly he begins to come on strong, entering her room when she is asleep or away and going through her possessions. Charlotte tries not to let this bother her. All she wants to do is to finish the portrait and leave, but Rupert has other ideas.

A week after moving into his mansion, Rupert shocks Charlotte by proposing to her. When his proposal is rudely declined, Rupert decides to hold her hostage to force her into accepting his proposal. His father has taught him ways to make an obstinate person submissive.

How far will Rupert go to persuade Charlotte to accept him? Will Charlotte ever be free?

All the chapters are in the first person present tense point of view of the character, except for the first chapter which is a prologue of sorts, and is in third person. This prologue shows us the cruel and slow poisoning to death of an unnamed woman by an unnamed man.

Alternate chapters are from the point of view of Charlotte, Rupert and a young French girl, Simone Durand who, in June 1994, was hired to be a resident French teacher to a 15-year-old Rupert by his wealthy, enigmatic father, Sir Oswald Baskerville. Simone’s account begins in July 1994, then moves to August, and then to August 1995. There is one chapter from Rupert in 1997 and a few from Jodi.

There is a sense of foreshadowing, giving us a foretaste of what Charlotte’s future might be.

The name, Baskerville, reminded me of the Arthur Conan Doyle story, featuring Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

I found the expression, needs must, indicating that something that had to be done, a little awkward. I had never heard of this phrase before. At first it showed twice in Rupert’s first-person chapters, and I dismissed it as his particular pet phrase. Then the same phrase popped up in Jodi’s viewpoint in one chapter, and it was the oddest thing to have two completely different characters with the same pet phrase.

There were very few characters in this book, but they managed to make their presence felt. Apart from Charlotte, Rupert, Jodi, Oswald and Simone, we have Charlotte’s mother, who is mostly absent, and her fiancé, Matt, who dies when the events of the book begin.

I liked the character of Jodi. She’s plucky and determined. She’s the one you want in your corner when you are in trouble. She refuses to give up on her sister, and is willing to endanger her own life to save her sister. It was good to see the bond between the two sisters. How they stood up for each other.

Rupert was the kind of antagonist I haven’t seen in a long time. Creepy and delusional, he even has a first name, Percy, for his member. He reads books on cheap psychology and on the Stockholm Syndrome. His entire body is unreal, every external physical body part enhanced through surgery, even might I add, Percy.

Charlotte found him creepy; I thought he was worse than that. I applaud the author’s success in creating a truly demented character.

Rupert was sleazy, but I couldn’t understand Charlotte’s motivations either. When her room becomes too hot (because Rupert has fiddled with the heater settings), she takes off her clothes and sits on the bed in her bra and panties, even though she has seen cameras about the place, and the door is unlocked, and Rupert has just left a few minutes ago, promising to return with soup. Who does something so foolish? It was for this reason that I didn’t really take to Charlotte. I thought she was rather stupid for having agreed to go and stay in a complete stranger’s house in the first place.

It was only when she got into trouble that I felt sympathetic towards her.

It was nice to see the inclusion of three Indian names, all Indian doctors. Jodi’s love interest is an Indian doctor, Rohan, no surname, and the two doctors, Dr Talpade and Dr Amrita Hathimare, who have wreaked Rupert’s unbelievable physical transformation through plastic surgery are also Indian. I found that to be quite a coincidence.

All in all, not bad. Those three stars are just for Rupert.

 (I received an ARC from NetGalley).

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