Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review: Enchanted: Erotic Bedtime Stories for Women by Nancy Madore

Enchanted: Erotic Bedtime Stories For WomenEnchanted: Erotic Bedtime Stories For Women by Nancy Madore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a collection of fairy tales with an erotic spin. The author states in the foreword that she deliberately framed them as common female fantasies, which sets it apart somewhat from other such collections. Overall, it has hits and misses, and is ultimately repetitive and forgettable.

"Beauty and the Beast" posits that Beauty prefers the Beast to his human form, because the Beast is more enthusiastic and well-hung. (It also contains the cringe-worthy, "It's not going to fit!" nonsense.)

"Bluebeard" has a room full of S&M delights, and the wife is punished for her curiosity, but not with her life. The BDSM is actually rather tame.

"Cat and Mouse" has the two protagonists competing in a series of contests, with the final stakes being that Mouse has to marry Cat if she begs him to have sex with her. Many other readers have singled this out as their favorite, but I was rolling my eyes too hard to enjoy it.

"Cinderella" catches up with the princess after she's married, and the fairy godmother has given her magical sneakers that motivate her to pursue what she wants instead of sitting passively by.

"East of the Sun and West of the Moon" seemed the most seamless of the tales; I couldn't remember why the hero of the story had to work so hard to hide himself, if he wasn't sleeping with the heroine. The premise of her working her way through a room of 100 suitors to find her true love was an intriguing one, too.

I was glad "Goldilocks and the Three Barons" changed the species of the homeowners Goldilocks breaks in on, and the story just begged for another too hard/too soft/just right line. It was a creative take.

"Mirror on the Wall" is the first of two Snow White adaptations, this one with the premise there's a spell on the land that makes only artificial beauty seem attractive. Unfortunately, there's a level of detachment in the story that made it difficult to connect to the characters.

"Mrs. Fox" is about a pair of wives who plot to trick their husbands and swap for one night, and they wind up valuing their own husbands all the more for it (though they also have fun).

"Snow White in the Woods" is the second Snow White tale, and this one has the seven dwarfs transformed into princes with a kiss. Snow White can't choose between them, so they don't make her choose.

"The Empress's New Clothes" involves an exhibitionist empress and her clever husband, who commissions a device to allow her to show off all she likes without risking her political career.

"The Goose Girl" changes the relationship between the princess and the maid so that they're in love with one another, and the maid repents for her betrayal by the end of the story. It's a very different kind of happily ever after, and I think it was an improvement over the original tale.

"The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing" has a woman dressing up as a prostitute for her husband, and being treated accordingly. This is the weakest story in the collection, both for the wife's musings about the role of women in society, and the impassive narration.

"The Ugly Duckling" is the least erotic of the stories in the collection, but one of the most enjoyable. Instead of growing into a beautiful swan, the ugly duckling finds a husband who loves her, and winds up happier than the sisters who set out to exploit their beauty.

While the collection does have its high points, I found it overall repetitive, with little variations in the sex scenes. It's entertaining enough, but I can't see myself rereading it.

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