Return to the Chateau - book by Ballantine Books - review by Aetherist

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Return to the Chateau

Book by Ballantine Books

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A Sequel That Stands on Its Own

This book is a must-read for anyone who loved The Story of O. It takes O's character down paths that couldn't be predicted by where we last left her, and it gives the reader an in-depth and compellingly sexy look into a world that was only really glimpsed previously.
Published:
Pros:
As beautiful & atmospheric as [italic|The Story of O]
Fascinating look into the workings of Roissy
Cons:
Differences in style and characters may be jarring for fans
Rating by reviewer:
4
extremely useful review
I did not learn of this book's existence until years after I had read The Story of O. I think what I felt upon seeing it the first time could only be described as helpless joy. At last, I would be able to see how O's story really ended, instead of trying to be satisfied with the rather rushed annotation at the end of The Story of O. I'm happy to say I was not disappointed.

While The Story of O can easily be read and enjoyed without reading the introductory essays it's usually published with, I definitely recommend not skipping Reage's introduction to this. Anonymous still, she gifts the reader with an essay titled "A Girl in Love." Here, for the first time, she gives us context for her story - as a fantasy, as the secret language of lovers - and speaks of it as a series of symbols for the deeper mysteries of love, desire, and devotion. At the same time, Reage warns us that Return to the Chateau is not a true sequel: the tone and the story have changed.

However, fans of The Story of O will not be disappointed. Reage's writing, especially in d'Estree's superb translation, retains all of its beauty, subtlety, and power. The greatest difference is within O herself. Whereas the first book was about her surrender and, perhaps, annihilation, this one seems to be about her being forced to reclaim who she has become.

I must stress again that this is story that exists outside of The Story of O in many ways: familiar characters behave strangely, or are swept away. It reminds me of the old tradition of telling many, often conflicting, tales about the same hero character. The most important change, I think, is that O is confronted by other women who are happy about their lot, and who are self-aware enough not to see it as a burden. It is frustrating, then, that the ambiguous ending comes just a moment before we get to see if O will finally accept the strength and power of her own sexuality, or if she will keep it as a sort of alien force that rules her life. I suppose, though, that this tease is only in keeping with the mysterious nature of its predecessor.

Return to the Chateau is a short book, but it will linger in your mind long after you finish it. I cannot recommend it enough to readers who loved The Story of O.
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Comments
  • curious kitten
    curious kitten  
    great review, I love a good erotic story.
  • TransMarc
    TransMarc  
    Will see if I can find it in french! Thanks for that review, it got me interested.
  • tortilla
    tortilla  
    might have to read the first one too! Thanks
  • RomanticGoth
    RomanticGoth  
    I'll have to read this one. Thanks!
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