Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Debutante

How fitting that, on the US release date of her superb collection The Things That Make Me Give In (available here), Charlotte Stein is here to reminisce about Black Lace and what it meant to her. Fitting, too, that she namechecks the marvellous Portia Da Costa, who also has a book, Shadowplay, out in the US today (available here). I call that synchronicity in action!

So, enough of my rambling - here's Charlotte:

"The first Black Lace book I ever bought was, I think, Conquered. It had a ridiculous cover and the person who wrote it - Fleur Reynolds - had a pretty ridiculous name and the name of the publisher was pretty ridiculous, too. A stupid novelty band from the eighties!

But it was about 16th Century Peru! It had pervy goings on, going on in weird outlandish settings! The girl on the cover had a bird on her head! It was marvellous.

And for a while Black Lace, for me, was a sort of silly, fun sort of thing. But I think it changed, somewhat, when I read Portia Da Costa's The Stranger.

They weren't just kind-of-daft books anymore. I could actually see some of this stuff happening. They became, more and more, about real women, who often did outlandish things but all the while remained recognisable.

This was when I began to love Black Lace. I loved Black Lace more for Menage, Dreamers In Time, The Houseshare, Crash Course, The Top Of Her Game and Sin.Net. Because all my favourite books have that in common- a heroine I recognise. A real heroine, who could just be going about her ordinary little life. Who could be no-one at all...

...until you peek beneath the covers.

The last Black Lace book I ever bought was and ever will be On Demand, by Justine Elyot. It is a book that continues this tradition. That although many outrageous things happen during the course of its fantastic contents, her female characters are real, they are real women, and I believe in them.

And although Black Lace is no more, I am forever grateful that its authors- Portia Da Costa, Janine Ashbless, Madelynne Ellis, Justine Elyot and many, many more of my faves, continue to write about those wonderful, wonderful heroines."

Amen! And I certainly hope people want to keep reading about them too. Thanks, Charlotte!


  1. Nice one Charlotte. I quite agree. You've inspired me to have a think about what I'd like to say :) xx

  2. Great tribute, CMVS!

    The bird on my head thinks so, too.