Young Widows Gone Wild — Thirst for Love (David Challon) and Wayward Widow (Loren Beauchamp)
These two Robert Silverberg books are the same text. Thirst for Love (as David Challon) was published in 1959 by Bedtime Books and Wayward Widow (as Loren Beauchamp) by Midwood Books in 1963 (later, in 1968, again as Free Sample: Wayward Widow, a promotional editions).
The story is fitting for those 1950s alcohoic yarns like The Days of Wine and Roses and Lost Weekend, when boozing too much became a social stigma to find “shame” and “sin” within.
Kay Brighton is 22 and married 3 months when she loses hr husband; he dies in a car accident. Drunk and in grief, she seduces a maried neighbor when he comes by to pay condolences. She goes on a drinking binge from there. She takes the insurace money and checks into a cheap SRO and drinks the day away.
She meets a guy down the hall, Gordon Ryan, a hack paperback writer. This is when the story gets fun as we meet some of Silverberg’s hack alter-egos — his pe names Gordon Mitchell and Mark Ryan mixed (various Elliotts appear in other books). Rayn is an overweight, unshaven slob, but he charms her — he goes from paychecks to paycheck, writing books and stoiries in all genres, collecting money frm his powerful literary agent, Lou Michaels (a sorta Scott Meredfith( with a sexy busty recpetionist. He’s womanzier but she falls in love with him and they sublet a Hollywood writer’s Manhattan digs for six months. He has a knack for ghoing on benders and vanihsing for days. He comes up with a book that a publisher pays a big advance on and Hollywood wants, and all seems like days of wine and roses until his estranged wife shows up and he winds up killing her.
Alone again, Kay goes on a huge drinking binge. Worried about oney, she becomes a prostitute, has a fling with a beatnik lesbian, has a beatnik orgy, and so on. She winds up in the hospital to detox and finds her true love — the married man she seduced the night her husband died, who is now a widow himself, as a car ran over his wife.
Sappy at times, it is a dark story, hardly erotic, as Kay only has drunk sex with most people and is barely aware of it; but the book does wor as interesting commentary on alcoholism.