Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, Fifty Shades of Grey is a novel that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you for ever.
When literature student Anastasia Steele interviews successful entrepreneur Christian Grey, she finds him very attractive and deeply intimidating. Convinced that their meeting went badly, she tries to put him out of her mind – until he turns up at the store where she works part-time, and invites her out.
Unworldly and innocent, Ana is shocked to find she wants this man. And, when he warns her to keep her distance, it only makes her want him more.
But Grey is tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control. As they embark on a passionate love affair, Ana discovers more about her own desires, as well as the dark secrets Grey keeps hidden away from public view …
You might not have read this one, but I'm sure you'll have heard all about it - it's worth looking the book up on Amazon just to read the reviews, some of them are really hilarious. This is a very explicit book - Christian's "dark secret" is that he's into BDSM - Wikipedia defines it as "an erotic preference and a form of personal relationship involving the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role play". And there isn't half a lot of it... described to the nth degree. But there's nothing particularly new about that - I remember reading some of the Black Lace paperbacks when they first came out, and this book isn't much stronger really, but don't go anywhere near it if erotica isn't your thing. What is different about this one is the naivety of the writing - it's quite unsettling, incredibly like Twilight in its style (and I understand it was originally written as fan fiction). And the writing itself really isn't particularly good - Ana's always talking about her inner goddess, and the sexual episodes are always prefaced by her biting her lip and rolling her eyes to a point that it gets quite funny. There's great swathes of e-mails between the couple when they're apart - lots of readers didn't like that, but I must say I thought it was some of the better writing. That all said, I find it quite difficult to say I didn't enjoy it. The basic "love story" between the billionaire businessman and the young virgin isn't badly drawn, and the characters are remarkably well-rounded. And I learned an awful lot about drawing up a dom-sub contract. And an awful lot about... ah well, never mind my sexual education! Other reviewers also make a big thing about the fact it's not very erotic - despite the patchy writing, I beg to differ, but I guess that's down to your personal take anyway. It won't change my life, as some US fans have attested - but I must say I found it an interesting experience! (And no, I won't be reading books 2 and 3... enough is enough...)