I’m a sucker for fairy tales, especially “re-told” versions, so I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of Cathy Yardley’s erotic version of Snow White. Her decision to set a classic fairy tale in modern times-in a cult, no less-really sets it apart from all the other romantic erotica choices on the bookstore table.
Goodmaid Beth has lived quietly among the Penitents for 10 years, since faking her own death and running away from the kingdom of Cordova at 17. After several assassination attempts by her stepmother, the Queen, she chose to give up her birthright in exchange for her safety and that of her loyal followers. There was a worldwide media frenzy, searching for the missing princess, and she needed a place to go where no one would look for her. So she found her way to the Compound, where a group of extremists live in isolation and eschew temptations while glorifying work. Men and women, living separately. No talking, no touching-absolutely no sex!
As investigative reporter Stephan Trent sees it, the Compound is sort of like a Quaker theme park. Under cover as “Goodman Stephan”, he’s there to find out what secrets the oddball society hides. But as soon as he and Beth make eye contact, he knows who he wants his source of information to be. She looks strangely familiar, though.
Ms. Yardley has a lot of fun with the Snow White fairy tale, and uses it to good effect. This is definitely an adult fairy tale, make no mistake. The story begins with Beth waking from a bad dream and taking a midnight walk, only to come upon two of her fellow Penitents breaking a few of the Ten Commandments in a moonlit meadow. The same couple later meet another Goodmaid in the same meadow for a (what seems like obligatory nowadays) ménage.
Beth and Stephan are also an amorous and adventurous couple-pretty darn energetic, too. The love scenes in Crave are very frank, and plentiful. This was not a book of deeply drawn characters, but I read Beth as naive, not stupid; and Stephan’s halo had a nice little tarnish to it. The evil Founders were actually pretty menacing, and I was not expecting the Queen to show up when she did. I loved all the little details from Snow White that were worked into the story, some of them to pretty creepy effect!
What I didn’t like? The epilogue. It just didn’t feel in sync with the rest of the book. All in all, Crave is a very fun erotic romance. Avon=vanilla sex, so the menage, and Beth’s voyeurism, is as kinky as it gets. The plot gives a classic fairy tale a very unique twist, and if you’re in the mood for a naughty fairy tale with a little intrigue to boot, grab a copy of Crave.
When a woman is ripe for the picking . . . Beth Cordova’s life is no fairy tale. Having barely escaped the evil grasp of her wicked stepmother, this “missing princess” seeks refuge in a strict commune where carnal pleasures are forbidden.
Sometimes just one bite of the apple . . . Her world is lonely and void of intimacy, until the charming Stephen Trent arrives at the commune. Suddenly Beth yearns for a man’s touch, the feel of his lips on hers . . . and Stephen is eager to show this pure-as-snow princess that she can still be the sensual woman she was once upon a time.
Is all it takes to unleash her desires… But all is not what it seems, and the stunning beauty finds herself again in danger, her stepmother hot on her trail. The commune’s founders will not tolerate the pair, yet fleeing its walls could prove fatal. Trapped in a world where passion is outlawed, can Beth live happily ever after?
Read an excerpt.