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Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers edited by Mitzi Szereto

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Wicked, edited by Mitzi Szereto, is a collection of erotic short stories. Subtitled as being “sexy tales of legendary lovers,” I was expecting Casanova. I was expecting “legendary lovers” in the sense that I think of the figure and sex almost simultaneously, as if it were their one claim to fame. This book is so much better than that.

The introduction begins, “History is dull, dry, a real yawn. Or is it?” From there it tumbles into twenty tales of speculative erotic fiction. More specifically, speculative erotic historical fiction. Like the What if? books that line the shelves of history enthusiasts, the tales in this book pose the question, “So, what would have happened?” But, instead of asking something time-altering like, “what would have happened if Hitler had won the war,” it asks, “what would have happened in the bunker between Eva and Adolf?” And once it’s asked the question, it provides an answer. Seriously, Eva and Adolf in the bunker.

Among the people speculated about are Zora Neale Hurston, Picasso, Abraham Lincoln, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and (this one’s a little obvious) the Marquis de Sade. But, whether it’s the exhibitionism in “By the People, For the People” or the voyeurism in “The Great Masturbator,” you’ll be impressed with the writing. Each story is a finely crafted, tight bit of fiction offering a look into the part of the past that was never in the classroom. This book is a serious bit of erotica, taking more than a passing glance into the private moments of some of history’s public figures. To this book, I say yes.

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About Katharine Donelson