When I was young, I read every fairy tale and folk tale I could find in the library. I loved the Chinese version of "Beauty and the Beast" where the “beast” was a stove. Is it the stories or the Russian folk art in the illustrated versions that make Russian folk tales so wonderful? My favorite movement from Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky is "Hut on Fowl’s Legs" ("The Hut of Baba Yaga"). "Fox Spirits," "The Snow Queen," even "Nag and Nagina" from Rikki Tiki Tavi were favorite companions to curl up with. So you’d think I’m a natural audience for erotica fairy tales. I’m not. “Ye Old Tymey” language makes me cringe, and it’s rare that someone produces a story that strikes the right feel of a folk tale and is able to balance it with the erotic element. Right now, you’re probably expecting a negative review, but there’s a lot to like in Fairy Tale Lust. If you have the same reservations I did, you might also be pleasantly surprised.
Craig Sorenson is on his way to becoming a recognized name in erotica, with good reason. His Ugly Duckling tale, "Duckling," is a wonderful tale of a woman “of a certain age” who might not have become a swan, but she finally sees that she’s a hot duck.
I’ll admit that I have a tiny bit of a boot fetish, so Louisa Harte’s "Ellie and the Shoemaker" was bound to appeal to me. I loved how horny Elle was, and how comfortable she was with that. If you dislike the traditional wilting princess who does nothing, here’s a heroine who goes out and gets what she wants.
You’ll recognize "Sleep Tight" by Janine Ashbless as a Sleeping Beauty tale, but you won’t expect the ending. I sure didn’t see it coming. That’s all I’ll say. Nicely executed.
Shanna Germain delves into the traditional, dark side of Celtic fairy mythology in "Her Hair is a Net, Woven." Allison Wonderland’s "Mind Your Peas and Qs" was deftly funny. We all need a fairy godmother like Saskia Walker’s in "All in a Day's Work." I'm not sure that Charlotte Stein’s "The Return" is truly a fairy tale, but it’s nicely told, and has a happily ever after ending that even I liked.
So the verdict is Thumbs Up. I wasn’t prepared to like this anthology as much as I did, but I’m glad I read it. With contributions from Delilah Devlin, Andrea Dale, Justine Elyot, Alegra Verde, Kristina Wright, Jeremy Edwards, Aurelia T Evans, Carol Hassler, Alana Noel Voth, Michelle Augello-Page, and A.D.R. Forte, you’re bound to find a gem or two, and no trolls. I promise.