16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Explicit, erotic and fun,
This review is from: Fanny Hill (Including 12 Illustrations by Paul Avril) (Kindle Edition)
Frances `Fanny' Hill is an orphan country lass aged 15. She goes to London to seek her fortune and is soon introduced to a brothel. Her naivety and virginity is a premium value and after a lesbian introduction to intimacy meets some possible clients but ultimately gives in to her first true love, Charles a young man of 19. He is taken away against his will and Fanny must progress her career as a middle class courtesan (she is no street walking strumpet) meeting various fellow girls, masochistic men, well endowed guys, pretending to lose her virginity again, madames etc. She relates her bawdy story in the form of a letter to its conclusion when she is still only 19. This famous story was written in 1749 and Cleland was prosecuted for it. The BBC recently made this into a mini series.
The language is surprising readable given it is 250 years old - indeed I'd even say the olde style is actually the most entertaining aspect of the book. Cleland's turn of phrase is interesting, colourful and flowing. It is quite remarkable how completely explicit the text is using only innuendo; I gave up counting the number of substitute words for `penis' were used in the story. The sex is quite real, one would have no doubts about what our forebears got up to. There is even, much to my surprise, a detailed gay sex scene.
One must accept this is basically not intended to be a naturalism depiction of the real life of a prostitute (though I suppose it does refer to pregnancy and STIs) but rather a fun and diverting erotic story. It is ultimately a moral tale with a happy romantic ending, making it all the better - really fun and recommended.
The 12 illustrations in the kindle edition are apt and explicit (as can be seen on the cover) showing scenes throughout the book; though annoyingly they all occur at the end. Reading on the kindle obviously may offer the reader the reduction in potential (unjustified) teasing in being caught reading the book.