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Beauty's Kingdom - Anne Rice, written as A.N. Roquelaure
It had been a while since I had read an Anne Rice novel, so I was quite excited when I picked up this beautifully gilded covered book, and boy, was I surprised. Being a Rice fan of many years, I've come to expect and appreciate the sumptuous and rich writing that is part of the artistry and mastery that is Mrs. Rice, however this, this I was not expecting. The first novel of the Sleeping Beauty series that I have read, this book is apparently written twenty years after the trilogy was introduced to humankind, before darker, ahem, pleasures became as commercial as it is today. Yes, flashbacks of you know what movie I'm talking about, however this would on another -ahem, ahem - licentious and dissolute level, making you know what seem almost chaste. Now I supposed one wholly expects this level lasciviousness from a cover that promises 'provocative and stirring', and by all means does it deliver with strong and unabashedly lewd versions of fairy tale characters such as Sleeping Beauty & King Laurent. Perhaps the pseudonym that this book is written under provides the reader with more than a literal indication of the change in the writers mind-frame. As with all Rice's books, the plot unfolds on a rich tapestry of dramatic characters and scene descriptions with a writing style that creates a special realism for a reader in the scenes - feeling the warmth of flickering candlelight and stroking crimson velvet curtains. While the book theme is not what I'd call my cup of tea, I do as always, appreciate the richness of her writing and the complexity she invests into each character.