Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Marginally Better

I just wrapped up Enchanted: Erotic Bedtime Stories for Women by Nancy Madore. Yet another Harlequin Spice novel. This is the third one I've read and so far they've ranked in at "Readable But Erotic-Lite" (Tease by Suzanne Forster), "Dreadful And Horrifying Beyond Words" (The Blonde Geisha by Jina Bacarr) and "Wildly Uneven But Finally Some Kink!" (Enchanted).

The main issue with Enchanted is that the stories are written like fairy tales. That means all tell and no show. The reader is completely detached from any of the "characters" and in fact there is no character development to speak of in the entire anthology. Personally, for erotica to work (for me at least) the author has to give some marginal character development. Sure the sex is great - but if the "characters" are faceless entities it just becomes Insert Tab A Into Slot B territory and what's erotic about that?

That said, I admire the academic slant Madore took with this anthology. She provides some commentary that appealed to the feminist in me. She states in the foreword:

"When a popular female icon starves herself, alters herself, misrepresents herself, sells herself, exploits herself etc., she is contributing to the overall standards that influence how women are viewed by men and how they view themselves."

I swear the college girl in me got a giddy thrill reading that.

That said, I was pretty bored with the first several stories. Not terribly erotic, nothing pushing any boundaries, and given the lack of character development I was bored. Then we get to the Goldilocks story and BOY HOWDY! Finally a Harlequin Spice offering with a little kink. Nothing terribly icky here if you're erotica fan - but it's a welcome breath of fresh air after slogging through the boring stuff.

Since my profession is books - and I love reader's advisory - I will now for your reading pleasure list the stories that have The Kink. Naturally this is subjective territory, so I'll try to elaborate without making this an X-rated blog post:

"Goldilocks And The Three Barons" - Goldilocks is too nosy for her own good and the result is a great time with three guys. Ahem - and not one at a time either.

"Mrs. Fox" - Mrs. Fox and Mrs. Wolfe decide to do a little husband swapping. No further explanation necessary me thinks.

"Snow White In The Woods" - The Seven Dwarfs are all really handsome princes placed under a spell and that lucky Snow White has a whole lot of fun with them. All of them.

"The Empress' New Clothes" - The Empress is an exhibitionist who takes to parading around naked so her husband indulges her in voyeuristic delights.

"The Goose Girl" - A princess and her maid discover they can have fun together and with the handsome prince. Ahem, all at the same time.

"The Sheep In Wolves' Clothing" - A wife decides it's time for a little role playing with hubby.

The other seven stories just aren't worth mentioning in my humble opinion. Enchanted is the kind of book you might keep on your bedside table in case you were desperate for inspiration. It's nothing particularly mind-altering - and truly, there's a lot better inspirational fare out there (She-it, anything by Emma Holly for example). Sure the naughty bits are nice, but character development is sexy too.

Final Grade = C

1 comment:

shayera said...

I may have to go hunt this one down. I haven't checked out any of the Kimani imprint yet. But, as you know, it's their new favorite line. So I'll see if I can find it around here.