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Love etc

We’re finally free of Fifty Shades

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in 50 Shades of Grey

Finally, says Jan Moir in the Daily Mail, Fifty Shades of Grey is finished. After selling 165 million copies, the erotic novelist EL James has “put down her throbbing pen” and published the series’s final instalment. “Yes, yes, YES! Ignore my panting exultations, please excuse my clammy hands, but this is such exciting news from the world of words.”

Freed is a 755-page sex slog that continues the story of bondage-mad billionaire Christian Grey and his demure wife, Anastasia. I questioned the authenticity of our sadomasochistic hero in this novel, says Moir. Not least because Grey has gone woke. Don’t forget, this is the most toxic lover since Casanova. In the first book he made Anastasia sign a contract before they slept together. Now he spends pages complimenting her post-baby body. “She has lost weight since Ted’s birth and I know she wants to lose more, but to me she is as lovely as ever,” he says… before ripping her clothes off and “giving her a good old thrashing”.

Still, it’s sweet that after six books the Greys still really fancy each other. In the final chapter, Anastasia tells Christian: “You are the three wishes from Aladdin’s lamp, the state lottery and the cure for cancer rolled into one.” No, he replies, you are. “And they lived happily ever after. We hope.”

We were born for each other

I found love in the maternity ward, says author Kadine Christie in The New York Times’s Modern Love podcast. It was almost 40 years ago, in a small Jamaican mountain town called Spalding, and my mother, Lorna, had gone into labour. In those days women gave birth without their husbands present. So my mother’s only company was a stranger called Lurline, who was giving birth in the same open ward. “While curtains separated them, they were connected by their fear of childbirth.”

Christie was born on April 13, and two days later Lurline gave birth to a 13lb baby boy named Ontonio. For years the mothers stayed in touch, dragging their children along to lunches and playdates. And “that baby boy would become my occasional childhood playmate, then teenage lover, and now husband of 15 years”. So thank God for open wards. “Together Ontonio and I entered this world. And together, four decades later and with three children of our own, we continue to revel in its mysteries and miracles.”

Listen to the episode here.