1. Book of the Month - The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea According to the Readers

    The Devil and the Deep Blue SeaThe now defunct New Woman magazine originally gave this month's Book of the Month, The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, away as a freebie back in 1995.

    As one of the first magazines to give away a full erotic novel completely free, the book and the magazine quickly gained notoriety, especially due to the raunchy sex scenes and dirty details of the novel!

    The author is the talented Cheryl Mildenhall who was part of the original wave of Black Lace writers.

    In The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea and her other books, Cheryl successfully combined gritty realism, the romance of Jilly Cooper's novels and the graphic sex one expects from Black Lace.

    Lovehoney has done some investigative work and discovered more about the book from the people who've read it. From erotica authors to Lovehoney staff, here are some insights into this brilliant book:

    Jen Charles, Freelance Erotica Writer

    I read The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea when I was 19, at university. A friend bought New Woman and didn't want the free book so gave it to me; little did she know that it would still be sat in my collection now!

    It's naughty, it's teasing and has two gorgeous men in it! What more could a girl ask for?

    Carly, Lovehoney Staff Writer

    When the book was originally released, I was a mere 9 years old! However, I've swiftly caught up on what I've missed out on and borrowed a copy from Ruth and I must say - wow! From what everyone had said about it, I was expecting a lot and that's exactly what I got!

    The plot line is driven and fast-paced and the writing is beautiful. It's so easy to just make erotica 5 sex scenes with nothing in-between, but this has a brilliant combination of story and sex.

    I think it was a brave move for New Woman to give it away as a free gift with the magazine and I suspect that with as much praise as they got, they also received criticism too. It's very unusual for whole books to be given away with magazines, let alone one's as raunchy as this, so I expect there were a few raised eyebrows at Emap when it was released!

    The only way I could tell that the book was published 13 years ago was the rather dated front cover! Luckily, for the re-release, it's been redesigned and looks amazing!

    Bonny, Lovehoney Head Buyer

    I had never read anything like The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea and didn't have anything to compare it to at the time. I picked it up in a charity store when I was on holiday with a friend and her parents. I thought it was going to be a normal romance and started reading it in the car. I soon had to put it away as I had never blushed so much in my life (I was only 15!)!

    I had read a lot of Mills and Boon books and also the classic 'Forever' by Judy Blume when I was 11 (it went around my primary school) but I had never read an erotic story before. It really opened up my eyes as to what people got up to!

    I think it being given away with New Woman was a great idea, it meant more women were exposed to erotica and realised how much fun it could be. I'm sure a lot of readers even experimented a bit more in the bed room because of it!

    Beth Smith, Receptionist and Avid Erotica Reader!

    As a story, it's well written and quite gripping. You're left wondering what's going to happen and want to keep turning the pages to find out more! As a piece of erotica it's very sexy and despite being published in 1995 it feels like it could be set in 2008, making it a true contemporary piece of fiction!

    I originally got hold of my copy through New Woman magazine and since then it's been passed around every girl I know who's ever shown an interest in erotica! It's a brilliant book to get people into naughty stories and the characters are easy to identify with.

    Ruth, Lovehoney Personal Relations Manager

    The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea was my introduction to Black Lace and I was thrilled that erotica – written by women for women – had well and truly arrived!

    I was a student at the time of the book's release and to save money a group of us ran a magazine swapping scheme. Sadly I wasn't responsible for buying New Woman, but my best friend was! I remember her telling me about the book, and how it soon went round the grapevine that New Woman was giving away pornography! I was about the fourth member of the group to get my hands on it, and by that time the spine was well and truly creased!

    Although Black Lace books had been about for two years prior to the release of The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, partnering with New Woman was what really thrust them in to the spotlight. It was the perfect partnership really: New Woman was aimed at young, carefree and liberated woman – and so is Black Lace.

    Even 13 years later it's still fresh, still hot as hell, and it's certainly one of my favourite Black Lace titles! I think it's appeal lies in the fact that the male characters are all so wicked and wanton, and that everyone loves a holiday romance (with lashings of sex thrown in.) All I can say is bring me a sailor, and make sure he has a stone in his pocket!

    If you want to find out more about this amazing book and give us your opinion, then pick up your copy here with free waterproof vibrator and join in the conversation over at the Lovehoney Forums!