Fifty Shades of Private

I have many vices, but one of the vices you may not know about, is my love of historical romance novels. They are not literature, they will never win a Pulitzer, but they make millions of women, like me, happy. My favorite authors have taken me all over the world and through several eras in history. More importantly, I’ve been a voyeur in hundreds of bedrooms. How could I write this knowing that my mother and daughters may be reading this? Very simple. I used to steal my mother’s Harold Robbins books when I was a teenager, and I have loaned my Bertrice Small books to my daughters. If you’ve ever read either of these authors, you know where I’m going with this.

I was late to the party with the Fifty Shades trilogy, but I must admit that once I started reading the trilogy, I also jumped on the bandwagon. It was a romance novel, without the romance, at first. A young virgin is coerced into interviewing an elusive multi-millionaire, CEO with a deep, dark secret. The first book, “Fifty Shades of Grey” introduces us to Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in an office building constructed with glass, steel, and white sandstone. Very cold and impersonal. Because the book is written from Anastasia’s point of view, the reader knows that she finds Christian very attractive and a bit of a control freak; what we don’t know, at first, is how much Christian is drawn to her.

Christian follows Anastasia home, and eventually the proposition is made. Turns out that Christian is a Dominant and would very much like to make Anastasia his new Submissive. Hmmm, words that aren’t exactly part of my daily vocabulary. Sex toys, an intriguing notion.

The book tempts us with intrigue, jealousy, murder plots, and lots of sex, but as we move through the three books we find a real love story, as twisted as that may be. We find two characters immensely drawn to each other and we, the readers, start to cheer their relationship on. Is Christian really emotionally stunted? Can Anastasia tame him, does she really want to? (Stop rolling your eyes until you read the books.)

What has made this trilogy of books a phenomenon? The simple answer is technology. As many of us have switched to reading on Ebooks, we’ve all found a bit of privacy. Our reading habits are no longer on public display. We have the freedom to read whatever we want, wherever we want. The trilogy appeared at the top three spots on the download list for months. Recommendations went from word of mouth to talk show hosts making parody videos.  A whole new world has opened up for those of us who try to hide the covers of whatever we’re currently reading.

Now if I could only find that list of books to read after 50 Shades!

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