Strange Are the Ways of Love – Lesley Evans aka Lawrence Block (Crest Book #s336, 1959)
Lawrence Block talks about this book in one of his writing tomes, how at age 19 he studied the numerous paperback lesbian novels on the market and wrote this one for experience and a paycheck. (The same year he published his first Midwood, Carla, coming up next.)
Strange Are the Ways of Love opens, and is almost similar to, 69 Barrow Street. Jan, a graduate of Indiana University, comes to Greenwich Village for a summer stay at he aunt’s apartment on 54 Barrow Street. She has secret lesbian yearnings, and has had some experiences, but feels tormented about it in mid–West America…she figures if she goes to the Village where gays are accepted, she might meet the woman of her dreams.
Instead she meets Mike, a singer/songwriter who sweeps her off her feet, confusing her with bi-sexual feelings, and through Mike she meets Laura, a gay woman who sweeps her off her feet, and thus we have the drama we see on the cover art.
This one is better than many of the very early Andrew Shaws that Block did for Nightstand, maybe because there was a solid market he wanted to crack rather than producing manuscripts fast. It’s not an amazing story, and has a patent happy ending with Jan eschewing her gay feelings and running into Mike’s arms forever, as the market needs necessitated.
He only used the Lesley Evans pen name once — “Lesley” being a pun on lesbian. His main female pen name would later be Jill Emerson.