Movies had delved into tales as inspiration as well. From the retelling of Cinderella in the movie Ever After to the darker and more action oriented Grimm Brothers. Originally, fairy tales were darker and at times in history, the purpose of the story was to impart a moral. Little Red Riding Hood has versions where the wolf eats everyone, versions where Red escapes, versions where the Huntsman rescues Red and sometimes Grandma. Morals have spanned from sexual awakening to the natural cycles of life.
One tale in particular captured my imagination, Bluebeard. This is a lesser known tale, and in all honesty, if you say the name "Bluebeard", most people will think you're referring to a pirate, so similar the name to Blackbeard, the notorious historical figure and well-known pirate. The tale isn't commonly told to kids because it's full of murder and the moral isn't exactly what you want to teach your up-and-coming liberated girl.
Bluebeard was a wealthy older man, usually not-attractive, who married young virgins. He gave each successive wife a key to a door in the house and ordered them not to open it before he left to go off on a trip. Sometimes they were given an egg and told not to get it dirty. Of course the women failed in this, because their curiosity absolutely forced them to open the door. Things got bloody after that. His last wife, the focus of the tale, usually managed to not get killed and got rescued. Sometimes she even escaped by using her wits. Sometimes Bluebeard got beheaded. The moral? Wives should'nt be curious and should listen to their husbands. Through all the versions of this tale, though, I wondered. What if a young girl married the man known to have killed his wives? And what if he really did kill them? What if she fell in love with him?
The Forbidden Chamber is the result, a complete twist of Bluebeard, a twist of the Gothic Romance, with an alpha-male shifter thrown in to make sure the heroine couldn't resist the hero. What would you do, if you were stuck in the mansion, with a delicious, cursed, wife-murdering husband?
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Ella Drake is a Dark Paranormal and Science Fiction Romance author published with Cobblestone Press, Liquid Silver Books, and Samhain Publishing. Sometimes she dabbles in Weird SF stories and is a regular contributor to the Raven Happy Hour in a monthly column on SciFi and Future Technology. To learn more about Ella, visit her on her webpage at www.elladrake.com. Ella can also be found on facebook and twitter.
Out now from Samhain Publishing: The Forbidden Chamber
“Your life is forfeit if you open that door.”
All her life, Lady Isabel Colven has followed the path laid out for her, content to look neither left nor right for excitement. Her future holds a dutiful, passionless marriage to some nice young man, and she’s content…until the exotic and compelling Lord Rukh Hayle threatens her maidenly reserve. Rumor paints him as a wife-murderer; desire tempts her to look past his aura of danger.
Rukh refuses to let his family’s curse kill a third bride, but Isabel awakens the Raven within him, compels him to take her to wife—and to bed—despite the secrets that live under his skin. That lie is locked in the darkest corners of the manor, waiting to be unleashed. Their lusty union arouses the curse, entangling Isabel in an erotic tug of war that can only end in her destruction. There is no escape for either of them. Not from his family’s shadowy history. Not from demons imagined and real. And not from the choice Rukh faces to save his bride from a fate worse than death…
Warning: This gothic contains heady kisses that lead to ruin, passionate sex on a desk chair, a mysterious husband who may be a murderer, a cursed family of raven shifters, and an unspeakable evil hidden in the closet.