Sultry Fiction To Savor
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a tawdry paperback to make us forget all about reality. Reading a saucy novel by a crackling fire with a glass of wine is a perfect example of relaxation and self-care. Whether you’re into the classics or something a bit more contemporary, we’ve got you covered with lots of sensational fiction that’ll have you hooked.
When it comes to salacious fiction, no one surpasses D.H. Lawrence. Known for his novels and short stories filled with unrequited love, lustful trysts, and women who must step outside the confines of marriage to find satisfactory romance (as in Lady Chatterley’s Lover), Lawrence was censored quite often.
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928) was banned in countries all over the world (including the UK, America, and Australia) upon publication due to “obscenity,” although there were censored versions available. After a British Obscenity trial in 1959, the original novel—in all its glory—became available to readers due to its astonishing literary merit. Today it seems almost absurd that such a novel would be censored as it is, in fact, a masterwork of fiction. Not only does it deal with marriage and a wife having to leave the limitations of that union (due to her husband’s war injuries) to find physical love, it also deals with class because she is an upper-class lady and her new lover is a groundsman.
- D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love (1920) and The Rainbow (1915) explore the lives of two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun, and their journeys to womanhood, along with the trials and tribulations of love.
- Jane Austen is synonymous with romantic literature. Whether it’s Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, or Persuasion, there is always a headstrong woman in the mix who demands more out of life and love than her circumstances may suggest. While Pride and Prejudice (1813) is a romance, it is also satirical and quite feminist for its time, mainly due to the novel’s protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet.
“I’ve got a library copy of Gone with the Wind, a quart of milk and all these cookies. Wow! What an orgy!”
― Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with lighter fare when reading for leisure. Sometimes something a bit bawdy (and even cheesy) is exactly what we need to unwind at the end of the day. Jacqueline Susann’s novels—although tame by today’s standards—were sensational page-turners that dealt with love, sex, fame, and pills (or “dolls”). Valley of the Dolls (1966) is one of the best-selling books ever written and is, to this day, a campy favorite.
- The Love Machine and Once is not Enough (1975) were also best-sellers making Susann the first female author to have three consecutive number 1 book on the NY Times Best Seller list. Susann’s work is mainly about New York City in the ’60s and ‘70s, young actresses, socialites, and models trying to make it big, drugs, glamour, sex, booze, fame, and plenty of scandals, so it doesn’t take a genius to understand why it’s entertaining.
- Don’t forget the queen of salacious romance fiction, Jackie Collins! She published dozens of novels over the course of six decades (all of which were featured on the NY Times Bestseller list). From her first novel, The World is Full of Married Men (1968), to her last, The Santangelos (2015), Collins never failed to disappoint her fans and sold over 500 million copies of books!