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Lustfully Ever After: Fairy Tale Erotic Romance by Kristina Wright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My introduction to fairy tales written specifically for adults was Barbara G. Walker's Feminist Fairy Tales, which I read while in college and still adore 10+ years later. From that foundation, when I discovered Mitzi Szereto's In Sleeping Beauty's Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales in September 2009 - my introduction to Cleis Press titles - I was very pleasantly surprised. Szereto is the mistress of combining the cleverness of the classic fairy tale with fun, naughty adult sensibilities. Since then, I've continually been impressed with the quality of erotic short stories in Cleis Press' anthologies.
An especially talented editor of these anthologies is Kristina Wright. See, for example, Steamlust: Steampunk Erotic Romance and Dream Lover: Paranormal Tales of Erotic Romance. Since I really enjoyed 2010's Fairy Tale Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women, I was sure I would find something enjoyable about 'Lustfully Ever After.' I was not disappointed.
The simple fact is, there is no bad story in this anthology. I have some favorites. Anna Meadows never writes an erotic short story in which I DON'T wish I were the heroine(s), so naturally, I loved "Matches." Emerald's "The Beast Within" was a magnificent beauty-and-beast tale, one sure to be a favorite of those who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey. Charlotte Stein's "You" is sublime and speaks directly to the witch in me. Evan Mora's "Real Boy," a transgender take on Pinocchio, has wonderful heart and soul, hot sex and a great message. Wright's contribution, "A Sea Change," is exactly the way The Awakening should have ended - less sink, more swim. Less shame, more joy.
I could go on and on, but if I were forced to choose a favorite under pain of torture, I would have to say "Steadfast" by Andrea Dale. Maybe it's just because I've got a little bit of a military fetish thing going on right now (me and Mr. James Jones - we got a thing going on), but DAMN. WOW. When I write in all caps like that, that means it was a hella powerful story, emotionally, sexually and psychologically. I tip my hat to you, Ms. Andrea Dale.
I just can't think of anything I didn't like about this book, which is why I have to give it five stars.
Disclosure: I received an uncorrected proof of this book from the publisher, unsolicited, at no cost. I was under no obligation to write this review, which represents my own honest opinion.
View all my reviews on Goodreads
Previous Cleis Press titles (fiction), reviewed on Pagan Spirits book blog:
Fairy Tale Lust
Women in Lust
Steamlust: Steampunk Erotic Romance
Carnal Machines: Steampunk Erotica
Non-fiction Cleis Press titles:
Seal It With a Kiss
The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio
The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus