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Beauty's Release [Paperback]

A. N. Roquelaure , Anne Rice
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 6 1999 Sleeping Beauty Trilogy (Book 3)
The final book in Anne Rice's erotic Sleeping Beauty series

Before E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey and Sylvia Day's Bared to You,, there was Anne Rice’s provocative take on the timeless fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty. “ In the final volume of Anne Rice's deliciously tantalizing erotic trilogy, Beauty's adventures on the dark side of sexuality make her the bound captive of an Eastern Sultan and a prisoner in the exotic confines of the harem. As this voluptuous adult fairy tale moves toward conclusion, all Beauty's encounters with the myriad variations of sexual fantasy are presented in a sensuous, rich prose that intensifies this exquisite rendition of Love's secret world, and makes the Beauty series and incomparable study of erotica. In it, Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquelaure, makes the forbidden side of passion a doorway into the hidden regions of the psyche and the heart.

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Review

* "One of the most wonderful, erotic, sensual books ever written" - Sting on INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. *"a literary odyssey into a world of forbidden lust...the same kind of skillful writing that brought respectability into the works of Henry Miller, Anais Nin and D.H. Lawrence" - UPI * "One of the most wonderful, erotic, sensual books ever written" - Sting on INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. *"a literary odyssey into a world of forbidden lust...the same kind of skillful writing that brought respectability into the works of Henry Miller, Anais Nin and D.H. Lawrence" - UPI --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Author

PREFACE

I’ve always loved the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, and found something erotic at its core. The Prince awakens Beauty with a kiss. And I thought, all right, what if he brought a kind of liberation, an induction into a world of bizarre yet irresistible delights? It has to be remembered that within the frame of a sadomasochistic fantasy like the Beauty trilogy, the readers are invited to identify with and enjoy the predicament of the slaves. The books aren’t about literal cruelty; they’re about surrender, the fun of imagining you have no choice but to enjoy sex. Beauty’s slavery is delicious, sensuous, abandoned, and ultimately liberating. This is all part of the framework. And it seemed to work exquisitely with the old fairy tale. And of course the fairy tale removes us from everyday life; it removes us from the intrusion of garish headlines, literal violence, and all the ugliness of crime. We go into a gilded dream here, luscious and engulfing, in which we’re free to imagine all sorts of things—a fairy-tale world indeed.

As Anne Rice, I’m known for certain kinds of novels; the Roquelaure books retain the name Roquelaure (even with my name added) to indicate that this is something “different.” If Anne Rice is one kind of savory dish, well this is another entirely. And some might find it far too spicy for their taste. I don’t like the idea of confusing or disappointing readers, so the pen name helps with that. Of course, there are many people who have read all my work, including the Roquelaure novels, and they see me as a multifaceted writer. But the Roquelaure material is erotica, without reservation, and it needs that pen name on the label, so to speak. The pen name says: Anne Rice is doing something very different here.

I felt I needed the anonymity of the pen name to write freely, to pursue an authentic erotica without being inhibited or self-conscious. And it worked wonders to imagine myself “cloaked” by the name Roquelaure, which is a kind of French cloak—named after the Frenchman who popularized it. My father was still living then and I didn’t want him to know about the books either. In fact, there were lots of friends and relatives whom I didn’t want to worry about as I developed the writing. There was quite a bit of exposure involved in writing such graphic sexual fantasies. It was frightening now and then, and it was thrilling. Eventually, I told my father about the books, asking him not to read them, and I did put my name on them. I adjusted completely to people knowing I’d written them. But only after I’d finished with the trilogy—as I recall.

A pen name enables you not only to cloak what you are doing from friends and family; it gives you a new freedom to do something you would not do as yourself. I have thought of writing some new erotica, and I must confess I imagined using a new pen name for it. I don’t know whether I’ll pursue it, but I do find the freedom of the pen name attractive.

When the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy books were first published, they were underground books. They had the backing of a major mainstream publisher, yes, but the publication, though dignified and beautiful, was relatively quiet. But different readers embraced the books almost at once. They clearly appealed to young people, and older married people, to gays and straights. And they’ve sold steadily ever since they first appeared. Women come up to me at signings with babies in strollers and giggle and laugh and say, “We love your dirty books.” People of all ages, actually, present the books to be signed.

Why do I think these particular books have been popular? Two reasons. First, I think it is because they involve no harsh, garish violence at all. They involve game playing, really. No one is burned or cut or hurt. Certainly no one is killed. Indeed the whole sadomasochistic predicament is presented as a glorified game played out in luxurious rooms and with very attractive people, and involving very attractive slaves. There are endless motifs offered for dominance and submission, for surrender and love. It’s like a theme park of dominance and submission, a place to go to enjoy the fantasy of being overpowered by a beautiful man or woman and delightfully compelled to surrender and feel keening pleasure, without the slightest serious harm. I think it’s authentic to the way many who share this kind of fantasy really feel. I think what makes it work for people is the combination of the very graphic and unsparing sexual details mixed with the elegant fairy-tale world.

Unfortunately a lot of hackwork pornography is written by those who don’t share the fantasy, and they slip into hideous violence and ugliness, thinking the market wants all that, when the market never really did. Second, this is shamelessly erotic. It pulls no punches at being what it is. It’s excessive and it is erotica. Before these books, a lot of women read what were called “women’s romances” where they had to mark the few “hot pages” in the book. I said, well, look, try this. Maybe this is what you really want, and you don’t have to mark the hot pages because every page is hot. Every page is about sexual fulfillment. Every page is meant to give you pleasure. There are no boring parts. Yet it’s very “romantic.” And well, I think this worked.

Lots of people enjoy imagining themselves passive, in the hands of a beautiful lover, male or female, who will force them to enjoy themselves. It’s a common idea, and it cuts across gender and class. Men love these sorts of fantasies as much as women. And these books offer all kinds of gender combinations; women dominating men and women; men dominating men and women. The books offer ornate and seductive variations on the themes; and all of it is interwoven in stories with real characters, and again, the emphasis is on a lush, sensuous realm in which all this happens. There are very detailed descriptions of physical interaction and response; but the fairy-tale spell is sustained.

I also went all the way with exploring the mind-set of sadomasochism as I saw it, letting the fantasy characters talk in depth about what they felt and what they enjoyed and what thrilled them as they were humiliated and overwhelmed. I suspect that for some readers, this kind of deep exploration of the mentality of the participants was entirely new.

Is this why they appealed to so many, because people want this very combination of elements? Perhaps.

I certainly never found the combination of elements I wanted in anyone else’s erotica. So I offered what I could not find; a light touch; elegance; preciseness; a dreamlike kingdom; a dream in which people explore their need to be passive and to “pretend” that someone gorgeous and irresistible is “making” them do it.

Psychiatrists have written volumes on the nature of the sadomasochistic fantasy, but when I wrote the trilogy I didn’t know of any fiction that really enabled you to slide in it and “play” the way I wanted to play. So I wrote the books I couldn’t find.

I never thought a book as eccentric as Interview with the Vampire would have mass appeal. I only knew that I wanted to “be with the vampire” in the story, tell it from his point of view. I wanted to be inside his head and heart and reveal his voice and his pain. Now as it turned out, other people were exploring this same kind of thing—the backstory of the villain, the monster, or the comic book hero and heroine who’d always been described from a distance or in brittle form. People wanted to explore all kinds of super characters and hear their intimate musings. And I began to see more and more of this—movies made in which Superman could bear his soul, and Lois Lane could really talk about what it meant to love him. The demand for such romantic fantasies grew and grew. But did I have any idea that would happen? No. I wrote what I wanted to read. Well, the same thing is true with the Beauty books.

I didn’t know whether that many other people had the fantasies. After all, we didn’t talk much about them. Only a small elite knew about the mysterious Story of O. But I knew I had these fantasies, and I wanted to share them, and I felt an overwhelming desire to do them “right.” I didn’t want to compromise, water them down, or shrink from the most humiliating detail. I wanted to really delve into intense sensuous pleasure but put a gilded frame around a safe place for the reader from which he or she could go and come with ease.

Of course these books have from time to time been banned. I never expected a library to stock the Beauty trilogy. I know that many libraries respond to community standards, and I just never thought about it much at all. I did notice and I couldn’t help notice that the books sold well and steadily, and that at every signing I gave, people brought them to be signed. Recently, I’ve signed as many copies of the Beauty books as I have of any other book I’ve written. So I don’t worry too much about being banned. I’ve always shocked people. Years ago, I published a novel about the eighteenth-century castrati opera singers, titled Cry to Heaven. Someone brought a copy back to a bookstore in Stockton, California, and demanded his money back. “This is pornography,” he said. There are always some people objecting to what I do. I’m grateful the Beauty books have been embraced and sustained over the years.

As a feminist, I’m very much supportive of equal rights for women in all walks of life. And that includes for me the right of every woman to write out her sexual fantasies and to read books filled with sexual fantasies that she enjoys. Men have always enjoyed all kinds of pornography. How can it be wrong for women to have the same right? We’re sexual beings! And fantasy is where we can do the things we can’t do in ordinary life. A woman has a right to imagine herself carried away by a handsome prince, and to choose for herself as she writes, the color of his hair and eyes, and imagine his silky voice. She has a right to make him as tall as she wants and as strong as he wants. Why not? Men have always allowed themselves such fantasies.

Famous madams have told us for decades that powerful men love to be dominated and come to them for role playing that allows the male client to be passive. In fact, some madams have said that men who enjoy playing the passive role are often men who are very powerful in real life. Well, women today are more powerful than ever. They’re Supreme Court judges, senators, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, executives, soldiers, cops. They can excel in all walks of life. And why shouldn’t they be able to go home from the courtroom, the university, or the office and kick back and “pretend” they’re being swept away to the Queen’s sadomasochistic kingdom where all the fairy-tale court will watch them being ravaged by the handsome Prince?

The literary world today is wide open for all kinds of creative endeavors. We are in a new golden age in which fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction, historical drama, horror, gothic, and supernatural romance are all mainstream. Well, the same holds true now obviously for erotica. People in general are “out of the closet” as enjoyers of erotic books. The novel 50 Shades of Grey has proved this. And I am discovering that the Beauty books in spite of all their playful excess—are for the first time going mainstream.

But I wouldn’t continue Beauty’s story. I felt that ended just the way I wanted. But I might write some more. I don’t think I did all I could do in these books, within the fantasy itself, in admitting how much the slaves enjoyed it—how they loved it. I’d deepen that aspect, and still keep the tension, if I did them today.

People are much more comfortable today admitting and talking about what they enjoy in fiction and film. Much more. People are “out of the closet” about sexuality, period. The whole world knows women are sensual human beings as well as men. It’s no secret anymore that women want to read sexy fiction just as men do, and there’s a new frankness about the varieties of fantasies one might enjoy. So many clichés have been broken and abandoned. And this is a wonderful thing.

—ANNE RICE

JUNE 2012


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars If you are into S&M Jan. 28 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked 50 Shades of Grey, but Beauty's Release is all about being a sex slave and submission, and being whipped and obeying. It's not what I call an erotic novel. I call that an Sado/Masochism novel. Not my thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty's release Nov. 10 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved this book. If you are in to erotic novels then this book is perfect. It was well written, like all of Anne's books, and I felt for the characters. I couldn't put this book down. It goes past what you would think or imagine in this type of genre. Loved it and will be reading it again!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Resilience and slavery June 24 2004
Format:Paperback
The first moment of their sultanic experience is to be degraded even more. Their being transformed into sexual toys is considered by their captors as destroying their intellect. They thus become mute animals that have no other level of existence than this very sexual drive and desire to satisfy all sexual and also cruel pulses in the sultan and his court. But this third volume shows the metaphoric or even allegorical dimension of the trilogy. Beyond the erotic speculation in the book, Anne Rice shows how degrading a human being leads to the « discovery » she says, the building of a new consciousness that will have a lasting existence. Human beings are emerging in their humanity or even humaneness through the difficulties and the challenges they encounter, and first of all the degrading and enslaving situations. The more overpowered one is, the greater his psychological strength. This is kind of optimistic because many human beings are destroyed through these experiences and experiments. But it is based on the concept of « resilience » in human beings : their capacity to resist degredation, not by rebelling, but by reinforcing their psyche. The world today shows many situations in which human beings are thus abased and tortured and downtrodden, and it also shows how many of them can emerge from these experiences with a reinforced psyche. Yet it is not that simple, and this resilience does not allow any human being to do such things to other human beings. Anne Rice is an optimist when she deals with humanity. But be sure that the erotic matter of this trilogy will become banal very fast. It will become a decor, a backdrop and nothing else. You will only see, after a while, the degredation and the psychological resilience of the characters. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars BDSM is its own reward. March 1 2004
Format:Paperback
Punishment is its own reward. The third book of the series declines a little as Rice tries to find new erotic adventures for our heroine, Beauty. She and Tristan are captured by Arabs and taken to some far off land where their torments continue. However, that isn't part of the bargain that the Kingdom of torment makes with their parents, so they are rescued back and returned to their village slavery. Tristan is just returning to his life as a carriage horse when he receives word that his father has died and he is now King. He is immediately released from bondage and sent home. Beauty eventually also goes home as a properly trained young princess, but finds life in her parent's castle boring. She's beginning to find interesting things to do with candles when Prince Tristan, now King Tristan comes to ask for her hand in marriage. She agrees, but only if he holds her in erotic bondage, a life of torment and eroticism. They ride off into the sunset together with her being forced to endure a deliberatly painful ride just because.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Submission is never released it's Dominated! Jan. 23 2004
Format:Paperback
This is the third and final installment of Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty Series of Erotic Fantasy.
Beauty has been kidnapped by enemy soldiers; along with Tristian, Laurent, and a handful of others. They are taken across the sea to a Sultan of great power and his palace of numerous slaves.
I found this final book to be rather tame but then again perhaps I was sufficiently shocked in the two previous books that all the sexual escapades seemed boring.
I am glad I read this series, it definitely opens your mind to a different mind set of acceptance and desire. Through out the book its characters decide what is their desire to be a slave and submit or to rise above submission as a dominator.
The bottom line is to be a true dominant you have to have submitted to everything to understand the dynamics of Submission.
I enjoyed the conclusion to Beauty's Journey of Submission but I do think it could have been better. Better character development and perhaps a different style of writing.
girldiver:)
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3.0 out of 5 stars my humble opinion (brooklyn buddhist bi bookworm) Jan. 12 2004
By chelle
Format:Paperback
Take a glimpse into the sexual imagination of Anne Rice by picking up this series. But i must warn you that this is not for the sexually un-adventurous, nor those not inclined towards S&M. I have read most of Rice's books and this Sleeping Beauty series is my least favorite. Only beacuse in terms of quality erotic writing with "believable" characters, Rice has written much better books than this. But keep in mind that this is an adult fairy tale (get it? Sleeping Beauty), so there's no motivation for any of the characters to come across to the reader like a true human, but that's just my preference. this series is a great example of applying the rules and fantasies of Sexual Master/Slave relationships to the fairy tale world. have fun!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Beauty's Release Dec 9 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A disappointing end to a trilogy of books. I would recommend it for a person who has read the previous two because you will want closure. But, I expected more pazzaz for an ending. It also does not go as fast as the first two. Has some parts that seem to be just thrown in to make the book longer.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Conclusion to Exquisite Erotic Fairy Tale
This is the last of the beauty series, though definitely not any less in excitement or erotic thrills. Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2003 by B Eaton
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the trilogy...
Anne Rice has always been able to dazzle her readers with incredibly descriptive settings, characters and emotions. This book is no exception. Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2003 by Leigh Jonker
4.0 out of 5 stars Erotica Plus
The third of the trilogy, these are really interchangeable novels with different settings. The story does have a lot of variations with reference to masters but how many times can... Read more
Published on July 31 2003 by Avid Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Tantalizing conclusion to a memorable erotic trilogy!
Having just finished Beauty's Release, the final volume of Anne Rice's exquisite erotic trilogy, a feeling of loss has descended upon me. Read more
Published on April 16 2003 by CoffeeGurl
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh my!
Well, Sleeping Beauty was never told like this before! If you go for this kind of thing, I guess you'll like it, but it's way too much spanking and kind of silly groveling around... Read more
Published on March 3 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment, Release
These books are expertly written and are a pleasure to read by myself and with my partner. It is gripping and keeps you wanting and begging for more. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2003 by Steph
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