TITLE: EXIT TO EDEN
AUTHOR: ANNE RICE
Writing as Anne Rampling
Eden, a secret, mysterious and elegant island in the Caribbean is a play-ground for the rich. It is the place where those with enough money can come to fulfil their fantasies about dominance and submission. A paradise where willing slaves are available for those who would be masters, where pain and pleasure intermingle and nothing is forbidden or impossible.
Lisa is the perfectionist mastermind behind Eden. She has set the rules, invented the games and oversees the smooth running of the whole operation. Eden is what Lisa has been yearning for all her life, the answer to all her sexual and spiritual needs and yet, when she returns to Eden after a vacation away, Lisa finds herself restless and, for the first time ever, unsure of what she really wants.
Elliot is a client. Suffering from severe burnout he has been trained to be a slave in Eden and has recently signed a contract to stay there for two years while he flees the life that no longer satisfies him.
When Elliot and Lisa meet sparks fly. Neither of them expected to find real attraction in Eden and neither of them, but least of all Lisa, is prepared for the conflict and confusion these new feelings bring with them.
When Lisa flees Eden, taking Elliot with her, she’s not only breaking all the rules she so carefully set herself, she is also opening herself up to the sort of turmoil she’s ill equipped to deal with.
This is very much a book in two parts. While the first half of the story is very much about sex, submission and dominance, the second half is more of a psychological study, with sex firmly in the background.
In the first half the reader learns, in rather graphic detail, about the training slaves go through before they get to Eden and about the pain, pleasure, humiliation and power they experience from that training and life in Eden.
During the second half though, all of that fades away. The story now takes us into the minds of Elliot and Lisa. And while Elliot has a pretty good idea what he feels, what he wants and how to deal with his emotions, Lisa is lost. When Lisa finds herself in a neverland between no longer feeling at home in Eden and deep fear of what a future away from the world she created might mean, she is in real danger of ending up with nothing.
I found this to be a fascinating book because it goes beyond what could so easily have been a purely erotic story. It is obvious that Rice is a talented and experienced author. Her sentences and the story flow with ease and she captures the reader as much with her erotic descriptions as she does with the non-sexual scenes.
Both Lisa and Elliot are wonderful characters to read about; flawed and struggling to find their way they are made for each other yet unprepared for that discovery.
I would have loved to have the opportunity to read more about the two of them, would have enjoyed seeing them return to Eden together and what they might get up to as a team. Since that particular book hasn’t actually been written I will have to be satisfied with what I found in this story and that which my own fantasy can come up with.
Yes, it would appear that I have developed a taste for Erotica in my “old age”.