Summer Romance (Midwood #16, 1959)

One of Hitt’s handful of Midwood titles tackling several pet themes: a summer resort hotel in the Catskills, a May/December marriage between a twenty-four-year-old woman, Ruth, and the fifty-eight-year-old hotel owner, Sam.  Makes no mistakes about this marriage — it’s all about money. Ruth grew up poor and has no desire to be poor for the rest of her life.

She worked as a waitress for Sam and Sam is known for trying to bed every femle employee he can.  She traps him by pretedning to be pregnant and then denying him her body — driving him so crazy that he proposes.  Now, two years later, she cannot stand him, he wants a son, and she has her lovers — their is Eddie, the desk manager, and the new hire, Ted, and assistant manager, whose girlfriend, Peggy, works for the Wildwood Hotel.

Peggy, however, walks the twilight world of secret sex and one night when she and Ruth get drunk and friendly, Peggy seduces Ruth. Now Ruth is confused because she liked having sex with Peggy but does not believe she is a lesbian because she also loves sex with men. She’s bi-sexual but at that time in the 1950s, such a label was unheard of.  You were either straight or queer.

While Peggy has designs on a serious relationship with Ruth, Ruth falls in love with Ted and Sam finds out about Ruth’s trysts with Eddie, threatening to divorce her and leave her penniless. This puts a huge dent in Ruth’s plans. But her luck, Sam gets so pissed off he drinks himself to death — literally, dying in a booth in is own hotel bar.

Now Ruth has everything but Peggy and Eddie blackmail her for pieces of the new pie…

I was surprised by this one by Hitt, it was well written but also did not have the cliches plot twists and events that are in his other resort hotel novels. Maybe because this was a Midwood title.

It also doesn’t have a ppatent happy ending — the ending is rather tragic and sad, in fact, despite all of Ruth’s bad traits, we feel for her plight.  She’s just a poor girl trying to get ahead in what she feels in an unfair world that treats simple, uneducated gals like herself like dirt — you are either a whore or a wife in her world, and she wants to be neither, yet in many ways is both.

This gets a 9.5 on the Hitt Scale.

2 Responses to “Summer Romance (Midwood #16, 1959)”

  1. The poor girl struggling in an unfair world seems to have been a common theme, from what I remember. Midwood books were often masquerading as morality tales, rather than what they were, fun entertainment. If they weren’t well written as this one seems to be, they were written by excellent writers. ‘Playgirl’ by ‘Michael Burgess’ is an example of the latter. You have to be a good writer to write that bad. It was also an example of a poor girl struggling and coming to a bad end. I am also convinced that ‘Mike’ was also really a woman, because I think only a woman would make a conniving female sympathetic. Thank you for publishing this site.

    • vintagesleazepaperbacks Says:

      Gary,

      From what I am told, Mike Burgess was a real person and real name. Another Michael Burgess, publisher of Borgo Press, in fact started to use a pen name “Robert Reginold” because of this Burgess, and didn’t want people to think his science-fiction and academic work was the same as this Midwood writer. I have PLAYGIRL but have not gotten to it yet.

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