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  • Valerie

Beautiful, Orphaned, Gothic Estella

Did you read Charles Dickens' Great Expectations in ninth grade? Me too. I think I kind of liked it; but I can't say I was riveted by it, except for the character of Estella.

Estella was the first female character I'd encountered who was honest about being beautiful, what it meant for her and to her, and how she used it. It was unsettling and exciting. Every other book (or film or television show) I'd consumed till then positioned beautiful women as either victims or saints. Estella was, of course, something of a victim herself but not in the way I was already jaded by at 14.

Apparently she stuck in my consciousness for years, eventually breeding one of the weirdest stories I've ever written. In "Pip and Estella," a Southern Gothic tale of witchcraft, lust, and murder, Estella lives in a decaying mansion with her insane ex-supermodel mother and her mummified father. Coached by her mother, she practices her wiles on the local men so she can one day land a rich husband to support them - but alas, she falls for the hot but broke female gardener who comes by. Love takes a dark turn, as you might imagine.

Dark Rainbow is an anthology of queer erotic horror, not for the faint of heart - but a wild ride that's a lot of fun for those who like that kind of thing.

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