BELINDA by Anne Rampling


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How curious that Anne Rice chose to associate this wry and richly textured diary of ""forbidden love"" with her well-publicized, porno-peddling pseudonym, Anne Rampling (Exit to Eden). Though emphatically erotic--it chronicles the sexual obsession of a 44-year-old artist with a 16-year-old runaway--the novel races along with the same compelling blend of romance and mystery that has made Rice's ""straight"" books best-sellers. Jeremy Walker, renowned children's author and illustrator, first encounters blond nymphet Belinda as he stands autographing his latest opus, ""Looking for Bettina,"" in a San Francisco bookstore. From there, she stalks and seduces him, becoming not only lover but artistic inspiration. Well aware of how devastating the liaison could be to his reputation, Walker nonetheless plunges ahead with a bizarre series of paintings depicting Belinda in various child-woman and sadomasochistic guises. What really troubles Walker, in fact, is not the affair's morality, but Belinda's identity: She has forbidden him even to ask about her parents. So Belinda quickly becomes a Rebecca-style mystery, with the reader as eager as Walker to trace its heroine's origins. When the trail leads to Hollywood--and to a once-celebrated sex kitten whose career has been resurrected by a sleazy prime-time soap opera--the love story gives way to an exotic parade of show-biz predators, and to a witty parody of contemporary, media-manipulated morality. Here, Rice-Rampling enters the seductively lurid terrain of Krantz and Collins--without sacrificing her uniquely sensual, eloquent style. Lusty, provocative, and--despite its kiddie-porn core--more entertaining than shocking, Belinda is Lolita with a refreshing 80's twist.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1986
Publisher: Arbor House