Bechdel Test: PASS
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL
Another fantastic collection from Vanessa De Sade. This is not your ordinary smut. The writing stands on it's own with interesting, well developed characters, a strong command of the language and interesting plots and settings. On top of all that, the action is hot - explicit without getting bogged down in porny details, and thankfully missing any unbelievable gymnastics. Vanessa's stories feature real people, too. Her stories include things virtually unheard of in smut (or porn) like "body hair", "curves", "meaningful dialogue" and "thoughtfulness".
There are two stories in this collection, both of them "period pieces" in the sense they take part on grand estates in the UK back when bluebloods ran the world and the working class knew their place. They're both excellent, but I liked "First Blood" a little better. It wanders gently and ever so slightly into the horror genre with a twist at the end that involves supernatural elements, but the story is purely erotic without being gory. It's so well written I didn't squick on the deflowering scene, like I usually do. "The Hush" is more straightforward erotica, involving some class disparity, some m/m action and a sense of nostalgia. Both of the stories contain elements considered "taboo", so if you're more familiar with vanilla erotica there might be some surprises in here for you.
I'm not a connoisseur of erotica as much as someone with a distinct taste for the kinky and taboo who's experienced and well read enough to be unimpressed by Penthouse Forum style fap fantasies. Vanessa De Sade's stories are a godsend in a genre noted for it's mediocrity and glut of unoriginality.
Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.