Anyone that knows me knows that I love Anne Rice; like really, really love Anne Rice. I can still remember the moment I discovered her, all the way back in Junior High, 7th grade to be exact. I was going through this scary book phase but authors like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike just weren't cutting it anymore, what scared me in 5th grade was no longer so and I decided I was ready for more "adult" authors. I remember spending many afternoons in our public library, scouring the shelves in search of some spooking tales. Some were great, others...... not so much! One afternoon I randomly came across this little (ha, ya right!) book called The Witching Hour, from the moment I pulled it off the shelf I knew I was entering new territory. The cover, with it's little peep hole opening that showed a hauntingly beautiful plantation underneath was the most intoxicating cover I'd ever seen (still one of my all time favs). One look at that cover and I just knew I'd struck gold, naturally I rushed right home and devoured all 1,000 pages. That was the moment I fell in love with Anne Rice, New Orleans and her beautiful witches and vampires (although they came a tad latter) and I've read nearly all of her books since, most of them several times. I actually don't re-read many books, I don't have the time too when there's always new books and authors to be found. So for me to re-read a book or a series by a specific author means it's a serious love fest! I've re-read only three author's books in my life; Anne Rice, Stephen King, and Suzanne Collins ( I re-read the Hunger Games trilogy with my kids before the movie came out).
The point of me telling you all this is that although I do love all things Anne Rice, I haven't actually read all of her books. When I was in my early 20's I learned there was this WHOLE other side to the fabulous Anne Rice, one in which she wrote erotica under the pen name, A.N. Roquelaure, to say I was shocked was an understatement. I honestly don't know why it seemed so shocking, maybe because I'd never read any erotica so it might have been hard for me to wrap my brain around the idea that one of my favorite authors wrote under this genre. To top it all off, her most popular books in this genre weren't your ordinary erotica, they were fantasy erotica in which she puts a spin on the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! As the years went by I continued to read and re-read anything she published (well, almost anything). I have to say that I've always remained curious about these "other" books, but even with all this curiosity I still stayed in my safe little corner.
Fast forward to 2011 and we have the explosion that was all things Fifty Shades of Grey. Well of course I read those, come on, who didn't? My book club devoured those books, none of us moms had read anything quiet like THAT before ;) Thus started my love for erotica, I couldn't get enough of it after that, it was all I would read for months. But even with this new enlightenment, I still didn't search out the books I knew Anne Rice had written all those years ago. Funny how sometimes you get stuck on silly little things! I don't read as much erotica these days, as with any new book or genre fad, the extreme need to read it obsessively has died down and it's now just cycled into the list of genres I read.
A few days ago I came across this wonderful little article on Amazon titled, "Anne Rice Exclusive: How Times Have Changed" She discusses in this article how erotica was an underground phenomenon back in the 80's when she wrote her Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, crazy to think it's been that long! She goes on to talk about how feminists at the time were very suspicious of anything labeled as erotica because it might "appear demeaning to women if they involved dominance and surrender. So I went against the grain somewhat in offering a medieval fairytale world in which my princes and princesses were captives in an erotic kingdom where service to the reigning queen meant total sexual surrender." Ok, now I'm totally intrigued!!! She even discusses how the launch of Fifty Shades really changed everything for the genre, "Overnight we learned that women weren’t one bit shy about buying Fifty Shades, standing in long lines to get their autographed copies and talking about the books with their friends." The new-found popularity of the erotica genre brought her Sleeping Beauty Trilogy into the mainstream and thus inspired her to write a new story, turning her trilogy into a quartet. Beauty's Kingdom was just released yesterday, 04-21-15 and I will say that it sounds amazing!!
Book Description from Amazon:
Mega-bestselling author Anne Rice, writing as A. N. Roquelaure, returns to the mysterious kingdom of Queen Eleanor in this new chapter of her Sleeping Beauty series. When the great queen is reported dead, Beauty and Laurent return to the kingdom they left twenty years before. Beauty agrees to take the throne, but she insists that all erotic servitude be voluntary. Countless eager princes, princesses, lords, ladies, and commoners journey to Beauty’s realm, where she and her husband usher in a new era of desire, longing, and ecstasy. Provocative and stirring, Rice’s imaginative retelling of the Sleeping Beauty myth will be adored by her longtime fans and new readers of erotica just discovering the novels.
Now of course I'm dying to read this book! But since it's the last in a quartet I can't exactly start here now can I? So yes, after all these years, I am going to read the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy and I'm super excited! Since my TBR list is extremely long at the moment I'm giving myself till June 30th to have all four books read and reviewed. How about you, have you read this series already? If so, are you planning on reading Beauty's Kingdom? If you haven't then how about it, are you willing to challenge yourself and read these along with me??