Anne Rice wrote a trilogy of books under the pen name A. N. Roquelaure, based on the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. These books were titled The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment (Sleeping Beauty), and Beauty's Release: The Conclusion of the Classic Erotic Trilogy of Sleeping Beauty. Yep, you read it right - erotica. The set is the only thing I have ever read by Anne Rice, and the only erotica books I have ever read. I have told maybe one or two other people that I have read the series, because it just does not match up with my "good girl" persona, and it resulted in the shocked expression I was expecting. Why would I read such an abomination? One part boredom, one part fairy tale superfan, and three parts secret naughty indulgence/curiousity (one for each book) - I found the books at a slow point while working at a bookstore, and sneakily read them at the customer service desk when I had nothing else to do.
In the first book, Beauty is awakened from her hundred-year sleep with a deflowering by the Prince. He takes her to his kingdom, where she is trained as a sexual slave and plaything, but she fails to be obedient, so is sent to brutal slavery in the neighboring village. In the second book, she is sold at auction and a power struggle ensues as she refuses to be completely broken by her various punishments. Actual plotline wanes in this one until towards the end some of the psychological aspects of sexual slavery are explored before Beauty is kidnapped for a Sultan. In the third book, the various characters all reach closure in varying forms as the sexual aspects of the plot take on a more religious and philosophical tone, as opposed to the crudity of the European castle and village. By the end of the series, it felt more like I was reading a study of a lifestyle for the education and not so much for the indulgence.
The sexual scenes are extremely explicit and graphic with the theme of sado-masochism replete throughout the text, but amazingly, there is still a plotline and decent character development. The first book was my favorite of the three, simply because that is the only book of the three that actually uses the fairy tale in its plotline, and by the third book much of the sex seemed vaguely repetitive and did not affect me as intensely as it did in the beginning. I would even dare to recommend it to those who are of the appropriate age.
I likely have A. N. Roquelaure's influence to thank for my unquestioning devotion to the Kushiel's Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey, now that I think about it...
So out with it - do you have a literary confession to make?