Fifty Shades Freed, by E.L. James
After all the trials and tribulations in the previous two books Ana and Christian, her Fifty Shades, are married. The honeymoon to Europe is wonderful, but all too soon it is back to the real world and the realisation that getting married doesn’t mean that existing issues suddenly disappear. For starters, Christian is still as controlling as he ever was, not sharing information with Ana while expecting her to more or less do as he tells her to do. Somebody is still threatening the two Greys, and as it soon turns out, the rest of Christian’s family too, but because Christian keeps most information about this threat to himself, Ana makes some decisions which put her in potential danger. This in turn angers Christian, which leads to friction in the relationship and frustration for Ana.
Christian’s past hasn’t suddenly disappeared either and while Ana tries to be understanding and make allowances, his unwillingness to talk about it and his inability to believe that she really loves him or that he is in fact loveable put a limit on how close they can get. It will take an unplanned development, a huge fight and a very risky undertaking by Ana for the two of them to at last really talk and come to some understanding about each other. It is only when Christian has nearly really lost Ana that he comes to realise how much she does love him and what he needs to do to equal her commitment.
As with the previous two books I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ana and Christian. I’ve come to like these two characters, exasperating as they may be most of the time, and took great pleasure in the time I spent with them while reading. What I particularly liked was that this book took us beyond the point in the story when two people agree to marry. Too often in romances the story stops as soon as the words “yes I do” have been muttered, regardless of the issues the couple may have had up to that point. In stories, like this one, where the issues the couple are dealing with are huge I find that very frustrating. We all know that getting married in and of itself doesn’t solve anything, and it angers me a bit when I’m meant to believe that this is different for fictional characters.
James takes the reader beyond the wedding and the honeymoon into the reality of making a marriage work despite the fact that the issues are still there. This third book managed to make a very fantastical romance story a little bit more realistic. And I appreciate that.
Yes, the same issues I had with the previous two books are still there. The writing is still rather clumsy and Ana’s inner dialogue still got on my nerves at times but once again this didn’t stop me racing from page to page to find out what would happen next; it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story as a nice romance at all.
And yes, there is still sex in abundance in this third book, it is still described in graphic detail and at times it is still of the kinky variety. But, I enjoyed all of that.
I also liked that, as in the second book, the author introduced some suspenseful moments into the story without dragging them out in an attempt to turn the book into a thriller. This book (and this series) is basically about a very tricky relationship, and that is what the story concentrates on. The suspense helps to move the story along and to provide opportunities for breakthroughs in the relationship, but doesn’t ever take over. For me, James got this balance exactly right.
Overall I have to say that I enjoyed this book, and the two prequels, more than I expected to and that I’m glad I decided I wanted to read them. And you never know, I may even indulge in more erotica in the future, now that I’ve discovered the genre.