Another year’s gone by, and another collection of hot stories about willing, eager partners is released in this year’s edition of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5.
This year’s anthology is a little weaker in the quality department while also being stronger in that there are a wider variety of characters for readers to relate to with stories featuring queer couples, nonbinary and trans leads.
The highlights this time out stem from some unique settings and interesting emotional connections between the characters, from a fun assignation between the Vice President and President of the US, to two business rivals who develop a contract for pleasure, to a woman having an assignation with a mermaid, and two women who agree to become two of many of the Filles du Roi for Louis XIV and find themselves tangled in a passionate affair. I had no idea that the Filles du Roi were a real thing, that orphans and young women of character who were named honorary daughters of Louis XIV and sent via ship to French territories such as Quebec to help populate the country even existed. This was my favorite one, because it introduced me something I’d had no idea about before.
The collection – which is usually nominally filled with fiction – closes out with an essay from porn mogul and actress Joanna Angel, who tells the reader about an on-camera gangbang she orchestrated for her thirty-seventh birthday. This is an interesting change of pace; Angel is one of my favorite porn actresses, if only for her wicked sense of humor and her love of life, and the essay absolutely reflects her personality and what makes her charming on-camera.
But the book itself doesn’t quite have the erotic punch or the breadth of the previous volumes. Themes repeat instead of originating. There are two stories featuring sexual blackmail, four featuring exhibitionism. Perhaps some newer, more daring thoughts or bits of kink would have been welcome in the place of these repeated themes or rote plots.
Nonetheless, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year continues to fulfill the promise of its title.
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