While this was a library book, you’ll all be glad to know it was obtained in the legal way and not the ‘shoving it in my bag and looking innocent’ way, as in times past. I’m pretty sure the Head Librarian at Sheffield Library must be a descendant of D.H. Lawrence as they have multiple copies of all of his books, positioned in prominent places throughout. I enjoyed Lady Chatterley’s Lover (my review is here) and this one sounded vaguely similar, so I picked it up the other day.
In post-war East Midlands, in a home dominated by their difficult grandmother and aunt, Yvette and Lucille are two sisters struggling to bring joy into their lives. Their mother, having run off in scandal, leaves the two to suffer a dysfunctional family life and oppressive domesticity. But one day, Yvette meets a free-spirited gypsy and his family, awakening her sexual desires and compounding her disenchantment.
It confuses me that Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned when this one wasn’t. In my opinion, The Virgin and the Gypsy is far more explicit. It’s true that nobody physically has sex in this book, but the sex scenes in LCL were so vague and undetailed (I almost sound disappointed there…) that they may as well not have bothered. Apparently though, the gypsy in this book has Super Virgin Sense as he can’t seem to look at Yvette without pointing out once more, that she is, in fact, a virgin. Not only that, Yvette acts in a way that would have been decidedly scandalous for a girl of her age in those times (hell, even in our times!) but apparently that was considered fine for the viewing public…
I did like the book, although it’s a little strange. The general concept is that Yvette feels constricted by her privileged yet mundane life, and wishes to be a free spirit like a group of gypsies she happens across one day. Her father was above and beyond weird though – he’s scared that she has the flamboyant tendancies that made his wife leave her and turns into a snarling monster when she mentions a couple of her acquantaince who live together unmarried.