First up is Beauty’s Kingdom. Written by A.N. Roqlaure (alias for Anne Rice), it follows the story of Sleeping Beauty, taking off from where her trilogy of the same name ended. Queen Eleanor is missing, and presumed dead. A letter from the kingdom’s caretakers brings Beauty and Laurent to assume the crown.
Rice paints this one with erotic detail, and her usual flair for description. No character’s weakness is left unexplored, no relationship untouched. But it strays from Beauty, and lacks the intrigue of what makes her tick. Why is she struggling to assume the role of Queen? What impact does it have on her marriage?
Led Astray: Kelly Armstrong
Ghosts, vampires, and murders. It’s a collection of short stories by one of Canada’s queens of fantasy literature. She lets readers pop in on the world of Cainsville, and visit with werewolves of Stonehaven. Readers find out what happens when a medical experiment on a young woman goes fatefully wrong, and are taken on a murder mystery in a seaside town.
This collection definitely proves why Armstrong is one of Canada’s best contemporary authors.
The Marriage Artist: Andrew Winer
When artist Benjamin Wind commits suicide it leads Art Critic Daniel Lichtmann on a quest to find out what was behind the man’s last show. It’s a journey that takes him to the heart of Wind’s family, where he uncovers the answers and learns lessons about himself.
It’s a novel of faith, and symbolism. The Marriage Artist refers to a character named Josef Pick who paints ketubahs or Jewish marriage contracts. He decides what symbolizes each couple; their history, and what their futures may be like.
I didn’t like the ending very well. It indicates the characters after all of those revelations just simply go on. But maybe that’s the point; they go on. They live despite all the heartache, and all the complications.