Summary: Luna Gregory has everything she needs. A dream job as personal assistant to the Marchioness of Lionsbridge, and a home on the 500-year-old Arborage Estate. But her encounter with Swedish entrepreneur Stefan Lundgren, charismatic, devastatingly attractive-and third in line to inherit the estate-leaves her irresistibly captivated. What Stefan doesn’t know is that he and Luna have met before, that he is drawn by more than just her English reserve and quiet beauty. Luna has her reasons for concealing the truth from him-she’s built an entire life for herself based on keeping the past in the past.
Stefan initiates Luna into a world of sexual exploration where they push the boundaries of pleasure and control, the ties that bind them,literally, in desire. Not content with possessing Luna physically, Stefan wants all of her. But he is keeping his own secrets, secrets that could drive them apart.
Every once and awhile a book comes along that completely knocks you on your ass. Based on a summary, you turn to page one with preconceived notions of what you’re getting ready to read. With Lord and Master, by Kait Jagger, I knew almost immediately that I had something more in my hands; something special, a novel of love and intrigue between two equals, a book that weaves a compelling story with moments of scorching lovemaking and tender touches. That this is Jagger’s debut novel simultaneously blows my mind and makes me giddy knowing that she’s just getting started.
Told completely from Luna Gregory’s perspective, Lord and Master is first and foremost her story. Orphaned as a young girl, Luna, by necessity, grew into an independent woman who is successful, yet keeps her emotions carefully compartmentalized in what she refers to as her “apothecary box”. For two years she has worked as a personal assistant to the Marchioness of Arborage, a 500-year old English estate outside of London, that is both a family home and a prosperous tourist destination. Third in line to inherit Arborage, Stefan Lundgren currently runs a thriving consulting firm. He’s called in to appraise the estate, with the Marchioness hoping his counsel will bring the business side of Arborage into the 21st century, confirming its place as an ideal holiday destination. When Luna is chosen to be Stefan’s guide as he makes his way through the estate’s holdings, they find themselves more than happy with the turn of events.
From the beginning, Jagger makes it obvious that Arborage is a main character of her book. The title, Lord and Master, stems from the first Marquess’s request to be referred to as such. Jagger’s descriptions of Arborage, shown to us through Luna’s eyes, are detailed in a warm, inviting way that gives each scene substance and leaves the reader desperate to visit. She uses the lands and house to move the story forward in almost every scene, showing the reader the importance of the estate both as the catalyst to bring Luna and Stefan together and to make sure the reader understands how important Arborage is to Luna.
At times, the building romance between Luna and Stefan appears to take a back seat to the plot, which takes root in the plans for Arborage. Yet, it’s never forgotten, and just as with Arborage, their love affair moves the story forward. Their romance is a gradual thing, filled with flirting, humor, and conversation. As the couple find themselves becoming intimate, the book’s title once again comes into play. Stefan gradually demands Luna relinquish to him the control that she holds dear in all aspects of her life. Yet he’s not looking for her submissiveness, but instead her trust and respect. This makes their love scenes (and Stefan) incredibly sexy.
A book like this with be empty without a strong secondary cast. From the Marchioness, a strong-willed woman who has successfully run the estate her husband abandoned after a family tragedy, to Paul Walker, the creepy older man who manages the hunting expeditions at Arborage, Lord and Master’s pages are filled with characters important to the story. Jagger doesn’t waste a single person in her narrative, whether we’re reading about the spoiled daughters of the Lord and Lady, the estate’s many employees, or Luna’s friends.
There’s an overwhelming gothic feel to Lord and Master that we rarely see these days. Modern romances are just that, modern. Lord and Master, however, brings the reader back to books such as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights complete with its secrets and intrigue, but with a contemporary British style that reminds one of popular movies like Love, Actually or About a Boy. It’s bringing these two styles together that make Lord and Master such a delightful book to read. That Jagger weaves these two styles together so seamlessly is what makes this book come to life.
*Warning: this book is book one of a trilogy and ends in a cliffhanger!*
*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for honest feedback*