If the mixed crowd at E.L. James’s Florida book signing was any indication, the author’s “mommy porn” is catching on among daddies and even granddaddies. To wit: my 72-year-old uncle has snatched his wife’s copies of the books. I’ll admit after finishing the first installment I was ready for a break from Anastasia’s “inner goddess” and Christian’s tortured, tortured soul. But apparently I was in the minority, as 50 Shades Darker is currently No. 2 on USA Today’s bestseller list, just behind 50 Shades of Grey.
The Cinderella storyline and spanking continues in 50 Shades Darker, but Christian Grey the sadist has softened considerably in the five days since Anastasia ran away from his “Red Room of Pain” at the end of the first book. It’s not long before she’s back in his clutches and, Holy cow!—her “inner goddess” is acting out in all sorts of psychologically and physically implausible ways. Desire runs through her veins, pools in her groin, and races through her bloodstream during foreplay, but it’s clear that what she’s really getting off on is their increasingly lovey-dovey relationship. Christian doesn’t even attempt to spank her—let alone pull out the nipple clamps and ball gags—until almost halfway through the book.
Spoiler alert: the Twilight-y love story escalates in 50 Shades Darker, but the author hasn’t lost her touch when it comes to writing about sex in gory detail. Below, the most “Jamesian” passages from the second book in her Grey series.
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