Of Shame and Joy – Shedon Lord aka Lawrence Block (Midwood #29, 1960)
Set in Provincetown, Rhode Island, instead of the usual Greenwich Village Block/Lord gay novel, Of Shame and Joy is about three people looking for an answer to their lustful longings and need to for love and connection.
First there is Sheila, a tall blonde nymphomaniac who loves sex but cannot reach orgasm, so has more sex to try to. She is tormented by her own desires.
There is Maddy, a young dark haired lesbian disowned by her family who falls in love with Sheila on first sight, but when she approaches Sheila, Sheila is appalled by the advances of “a dirty queer.”
There is Hank, who rescues Sheila after a crazy drunken night of a gang bang, having sex with over a dozen men. He’s a 21 year old virgin and loses his cherry to Sheila and falls in love with her.
Seems everyone falls in love with Sheila, except Sheila can love no one
It is a little soap opera-esque, the broken hearts of lovelorn men and women in P-town, and while not as good as some of Block’s other Sheldon Lords, a fairly good read. I’d give it a B-minus.
One ting I did like was it did not have that slease-era patent “lesbians are evil” ending; instead, it has a romantic, happy lesbian ending with plenty of alluded to oral sex.