Madame X by Jasinda Wilder
Published by Berkley
Published on October 6, 2015
Genres: Adult, Adult Contemporary, Dark Romance, Erotic Romance
Format: ARC, Paperback
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Madame X invites you to test the limits of control in this provocative new novel from New York Times bestselling author Jasinda Wilder.
My name is Madame X.
I’m the best at what I do.
And you’d do well to follow my rules...
Hired to transform the uncultured, inept sons of the wealthy and powerful into decisive, confident men, Madame X is a master of the art of control. With a single glance she can cut you down to nothing, or make you feel like a king.
But there is only one man who can claim her body—and her soul.
Undone time and again by his exquisite dominance, X craves and fears his desire in equal measure. And while she longs for a different path, X has never known anything or anyone else—until now...
***This book contains material that may be considered triggers regarding domestic violence.
Madame X is my first experience with Jasinda Wilder and I had high hopes given the consistent praise I hear from reviewers I respect. I was unfortunately left disappointed and I am sure I am in the minority, especially since I forgot to put on my fangirl goggles.
I would like to start with the most obvious inconsistency. Before the story even begins there is a blurb where Madame X mentions that no one dares to speak “his” name, not even her. This idea is drawn out and sounds very dramatic. But mystery is created and then BOOM! Everyone calls this guy by his name, including Madame X. We know his first name, his last name; not one person is hesitant to say his name. In fact, it’s casually thrown about like he’s Donald Trump. I’m hoping this is just something that showed up in the ARC but this was not the way to start a novel.
Then we get into the first chapter and I was like:
The book starts off in second-person narrative where the “you” is someone we know nothing about and who can’t hear Madame X’s inner monologue.
This creates a very awkward introduction to the story and characters, leaving so many questions left unanswered right out of the gates but none of them are the fun, anticipation-building variety. In particular, we have no clue who Madame X is in regards to how to read her. All we know is she generally speaks with a more sophisticated speech pattern. I like to have at least a generalized idea of how to read main characters and we really don’t get anything for quite some time. I blame this on my love of audiobooks. I found myself, at the end of chapter one, hoping that things improved quickly.
Things did not improve quickly. In fact, everything became very dramatic and stretched out. The dialogue became the most dramatic and I rolled my eyes too many times to keep track. Everything was intense and important and over-embellished. The primary cause for this was the abundance of words. There are far too many words used to describe a situation or to express what should be a simple thought. The wording is often awkward and feels like the author is trying too hard to sound…regal? Sophisticated? Who knows? Whatever it is there are far more words on the page than needed to get a point across and it gets old. Pontification does not equal sophistication. I’m sure Madame X would agree.
And while I’m on the subject of speaking in a sophisticated manner, Madame X’s persona is inconsistent. She, for the most part, maintains her regal disposition but unexpectedly switches into a more “normal, every-day, not part of the elite class” character and back again depending on who she is with and where she is. I don’t see this as something done on purpose. A person who only knows high-sophistication and high expectations does not suddenly speak like a casual girl on campus. Madame X doesn’t even have a frame of reference for that personality. Her character is begging for consistency and it just isn’t delivered. One thing that does remain consistent? Every man and woman we see Madame X encounter immediately falls in love or lust with her and tries to get into her pants. A few people is one thing but virtually every one? Nope. Not buying it.
This book walks a fine line between questionable consent and force. Technically speaking, we know that Madame X is “okay with not being okay” in regards to the sexual situations she finds herself in. However, the main man in her life does not know this. He comes barging into her home, takes her roughly, and the leaves. The guy even chokes her out of anger. This does not make a love story for me and I feel like this behavior, at times, was meant to be attractive.
The only reason I am giving this book two and a half stars and not two or below is because, by golly, I need some questions answered. I had sneaking suspicions from the get-go and I want to know if I am right or wrong. I doubt I’ll read the next book in the series but, for the time being, I have that itch to read more. You got me this time, Wilder.
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