Twilight Girls by Paula Christian
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Two lesbian pulp novels from the vaults. The first one, "Edge Of Twilight", is surprisingly good; the best such novel I have read, having gotten started with Ann Bannon's "Odd Girl Out" which I found by accident in a used book store. In the 1950s and early 60's, there were no lesbian presses turning out books for gay women to enjoy; these paperback novels with their lurid covers were it. In "Edge", airline stewardess (they weren't "flight attendants" yet!) Val McGregor has a cool job, her own apartment, and male pilots wanting to paw her luggage. But Val feels like something is missing, and that something turns out to be another stewardess, the very fetching Toni Molina. The first story bucks the norm of the time, which was that the women in these novels could get a taste of honey, but then had to commit suicide, go mad, or end up in ruins. In fact, it has a sweet happy ending, much to my overjoyed astonishment when I read it.
But then it's as if the powers that be must have insisted the author atone for that by writing a sequel in which everything goes to hell in a handbasket. In "The Other Side Of Love", Toni inexplicably has morphed into a psycho stalker, Val moves back home where she can get terrible advice, and just to make the destruction of the first story complete, she goes to a (male) headshrinker and receives the most unintentionally hilarious bad advice ever. Val even mulls this stuff over and decides he may be right! The ridiculousness of all of this is tempered by the knowledge that this scenario actually played out far too many times back in the bad old days. Skip the second story, unless you just want to read it as historical dark comedy.
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