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Enchanted: Erotic Fairy Tales (Black Lace) Paperback – 7 Aug 2008
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Black Lace: the leading erotic imprint for women
From the Back Cover
Three writers from Black Lace show you theres nothing childish about fairy tales. In Bear Skin Hazel is whisked away from her tedious job and humdrum life by the mysterious Arailt, to be his lover. The only problem is there is more to Arailt than meets the eye - much more. In The Three Riddles, the elves, they say, know the secrets of events - but the queen has no time for superstitions. As her kingdom crumbles, she longs for her lost love, but can she risk her country on a whim? Finally in The People in the Garden, strange things are happening in the grounds of Count and Countess Malinovskys Gothic manor house. Local people tell of fairies, goblins and unnameable creatures, and there are stories about a ghostly girl with an uncanny resemblence to the decadent couples beautiful servant Katia.
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But then I read Bear Skin, and remembered why Janine Ashbless is so awesome. Few erotic images from the many naughty books I've read ever stick with me, but the bear skin, sliding away...the gruff Mr Rochester-type hero...the delicious fairytale-ness...the honey...the complete oddness of the scenario at the beginning and yet it works in this weird, literary sort of way...
The other novellas in this collection are good. But not quite as good as Bear Skin.
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Bear Skin by Janine Ashbless--
This story hooked me in straight away. It's got everything in it: passion, hot sex, love, desire, evil beings and a moral. Hazel is just your average girl who gets a chance at true love but blows it by getting too wrapped up in superficial things and not keeping her word. When she realizes what she has done and that her actions have also hurt Arailt, to rectify it, she pays dearly to prove her love is true. Even then she's not guaranteed her heart's desire but goes for it anyway.
Bear Skin is a very creative and unique story, which I felt veered off the beaten trail of the usual in the paranormal/fantasy and offered an interesting take on the "true love is worth every sacrifice" theme.
Hazel is a woman that many of us can relate to as a character and Arailt is that honorable, hunky man that we want to sweep us away. Both are interesting well written characters.
I do have to warn readers that some of the "sexual" situations are a bit on the base side in this story. I think it was written that way to show really how far Hazel is willing to debase herself to prove her love and fortunately it didn't go the way of Breaking the Waves; it has a happier outcome and was easier to take because of it.
The Three Riddles by Olivia Knight--
I have to be honest here in saying that I'm a fan girl of Olivia Knight. I really get off on not only the creative stories she comes up with but the way she writes. There are some authors whose prose does more for me sometimes than the story itself and Olivia Knight is one of those authors for me. And she is one of the very few authors I've read who can really tap into and express the intensity and depth of what passion is. That said:
Once again, Olivia Knight has come up with an impassioned story of love written in a beautiful, transplendent way, which really drew me into the story and the characters' hearts and minds. Pearl is a very sensual and powerful being. The same ardor she feels for Thomas gets translated into a lust for power and a need to satisfy her body's sexual desires at all costs. She's so passionate that she's easily led astray by it. However, she's inherently an honorable person and when she wakes up to the fact that she's gone astray, it's that very fiery part of her that gives her the tenacity to go through the challenging personal trials she needs to to find Thomas and make things right.
The Three Riddles is a true fairy tale with all the magic, darkness and eroticism and as in the first story, Bear Skin, it has a moral, making it more than just a love story. The characters come to grow and learn something through what happens to them and justice is served against evil.
The People in the Garden by Leonie Martel--
The People in the Garden has a dark, uniquely Gothic feel to it that I really liked. There is also a running thread of BDSM in this story, which I'm kind of skittish about in general, but felt that in this story it worked really well and was nicely written.
The characters in this story are all very unique and vividly strange, which was a nice touch. Katia is a young, innocent woman who comes of age sexually in this story. Her first sexual experience is when she accidentally sees Irina whipping Nikolai. Irina brings her in and makes her whip Nikolai as well and Katia finds herself very turned on. Really turned on. She then spends the rest of the story trying to get laid, her desire to experience sex to its fullest coloring her thoughts and feelings every moment.
Irina is kind of like a witch. She's all dark and moody, acts very strange and people are afraid of her. She's possessed by something but people leave her be as she more and more stays up in her secret tower that no one can ever enter, including Nikolai. And Nikolai is kind of your average guy who loves his wife and is happy with the status quo of their sex life and marriage, but finds himself enjoying Katia's company, wishing to do things with her that Irina won't, like travel and such. He fears for Irina's sanity and does play a huge role in the turn out of Irina's plans, which gave him more cache for me in this story than I though he'd have.
The only thing negative that I can say about this story is that it went right over my head. I didn't "get" it, whatever I was supposed to get. According to the blurb, the glowing girl from the forest was supposed to resemble Katia and so I guess there's supposed to be some connection, but either I missed it or the Leonie Martel failed to connect the dots for me.
In fact I didn't read the blurb first, so I only got that there should be a connection after the fact. I'd have to say that I really didn't get much of the whole fairy tale/ moral part of this story and why Irina's introducing Katia into sex was needed to begin with since Katia needed to be a virgin when offered to Irina's master. Even though much of that part went over my head, yes I do admit I'm a bit dense, the ride was still worth it. The flow of the writing, the sexual situations and the dark, occult-like atmosphere kept me turning the pages to this story anyway. And overall it was very entertaining for me.