I’m all over blogs at the minute – discovering other peoples, trying to improve my own. In my research I came across the blog of one of my favourite authors, Freya North  (incidentally, she has got some great advice about writing and getting published here ). Freya writes awesome chic-lit – it’s like sharing gossip with your best friend over a glass of wine…

In one post on her blog, Freya has a fair bit to say about 50 shades of grey. “I worry about the knock-on effect of the Fifty Shades phenomenon.  Will the market be flooded with a hasty bandwagon of new books trying to out-smut each other?  Will publishers be churning out porn even if it’s depraved and poorly written?” she asks. And more worryingly,” Do we want teenagers aspiring not just to this kind of sex, but this kind of sadistic-masochistic relationship?”.

I’ve read the first book myself…well, it was only £2.99 to buy on my Android phone, so I thought what the heck? Let’s see what all the fuss is about. After all, the sales amongst women of ALL ages (from teens to older, mature women – my husbands aunts are even reading it) have gone insane. I didn’t think it was fantastically well written (though some of the sex scenes that are NOT especially S&M, such as when he makes love to her for the first time, or the scene in the shower, are rather delicious). I found the heroine,  Anastasia REALLY annoying. I didn’t really like the whole ‘submissive’ thing – doesn’t really do it for me. But I know lots and lots of women who really loved these books.

What really struck me about this book was the main character – here is a fabulously rich, powerful, extremely handsome young man. He could take his pick of women, he could have anyone he wanted, BUT he chooses a lowly, ordinary girl. Is this not ringing literary bells with anyone?? Darcy, Mr Rochester (ok, not exactly handsome, but very charismatic and attractive in his own way), Twilight’s Edward (who I believe the character of Mr Grey was originally based on). All rich powerful men, all tarnished with a secret, all BESOTTED with the lowly heroine. They cannot live without her, they will do ANYTHING to keep her safe, they must declare how ardently they admire her.

And really I think THIS is the hook for Mr Grey. The curiosity regarding the risqué sex draws us all in, but many of those who stayed  until the end are now dreaming of their own Mr Grey –  someone who will love them THAT passionately, THAT powerfully. A fabulously wealthy, notoriously powerful, heart-meltingly gorgeous guy who will sweep them off their feet, because they cannot live without them.

The tragedy, I think, is that all these desirable characters – Darcy, Mr Rochester, Edward, Christian Grey – were created by women. They do not exist in the real world. Or at least they are very few and far between.