Author: Tereska Torres
About: Before Spring Fire, before Odd Girl Out, the bar for success in lesbian pulp fiction was set damn high by Tereska Torres. Mrs. Torres, the wife of Meyer Levin, and the woman who brought Anne Frank's diary to the U.S., was encouraged to write an account of her days serving in the UK with the Free French during World II.
One version of this book has a great blurb:
Ursula, innocent and doomed, a powerless victim of those who exploited her.
Claude, a handsome woman of forty who preyed on men and women equally in her quest for novelty.
Jacqueline, the sullen precious-looking aristocrat who paid a price for her pride.
Ann, who never let any man touch her except for the brother of the woman she loved.
Mickey, who liked to hear what a beautiful body she had and couldn't bear to waste it.
There are other characters as well. The book, of course, sold millions.
Additional: Ira Levin, Mrs. Torres' husband, is the author of Rosemary's Baby and the Stepford Wives. We just thought we'd mention that. 'Cause it seems odd.
We all began to dress, emitting little cries, laughing. We tried to
knot our ties, to button skirts that were too large and jackets that
were too small.
The only one who seemed to know how to knot her tie properly was a
strapping large girl with a boyish haircut, who looked immediately
natural and in her place in uniform. When she had finished dressing she
glanced around the room and called out to the corporal, “Do you want me
to help you?” She had a heavy, almost masculine voice, reassuring and
cheerful, and the confidence in her voice contrasted with her
expression, which was a little oppressive, and predominantly sad. The
oppressiveness was in her heavy chin, and there was a sadness in her
very beautiful eyes, violently blue, and in her mouth with its large
lips, sunken at the corners.
The corporal accepted her help, and I think that several of us noted,
mentally, that the large calm girl with her air of self-possession and
an ability to command would make good officer material.
“What's your name?” the corporal asked. “Ann,” the other replied in
her deep voice, and the light feminine name seemed unsuited to her.
Ursula was among the girls before the counter. Ann handed her a
uniform, and then helped her to dress and to knot her tie. She had a
friendly, easy way of being helpful—like a big brother.
We studied each other in our uniforms. It was dainty Jacqueline who
immediately drew every eye. She was instantly classified as
ravishing—so ravishing that one could scarcely feel jealous.
Jacqueline had the sort of impersonal beauty in which every other woman
feels she is somehow represented. Jacqueline's complexion was the
freshest, purest, rosiest imaginable. Her face was positively luminous,
irradiated by her glamorous hazel eyes; her beautiful white teeth,
bright and gleaming, were framed by a mouth with rather large sensual
lips, as soft to the eye as they would be to kiss.
Jacqueline twisted her reddish-brown hair into an amusing little bun,
and smiled at Ursula with a well-bred graciousness precisely suited to
Mickey was laughing over the way we looked; she laughed over
everything and over nothing, eager to find fun. Her pale blue eyes were
perpetually wide-open, and her nose puckered out of sight when she
laughed. Because of her mixed Anglo-French parentage, she spoke French
always with that quaint little British accent which added another droll
quality to her fun-loving air. “Are you English?” Jacqueline asked her.
“No, I'm French,” Mickey insisted, repeating her history. “My mother is
English and my father is French, but I'm French! I just came from
France. I adore France!” With her impulsive warmth, she seemed to be
establishing herself as a firm friend of Jacqueline's. And indeed,
Jacqueline responded to her as to someone who was also, obviously, from
a family with good breeding.
The silken, precious-looking Jacqueline came from the world of the
aristocracy. Her story, too, came out soon enough. She was among us
almost as a runaway, to escape a depressing family life, mangled as it
can sometimes become only in high society. Jacqueline's father had died
when she was a child of seven, and her mother had remarried only a year
later. Jacqueline had never liked her stepfather, and as soon as she
reached adolescence the child had discovered that her beauty carried
with it something of disaster and doom. Her stepfather's too pressing
attentions had aroused a frightened loathing in Jacqueline, and as soon
as she was old enough she had seized the first opportunity to escape
from her family on an exchange visit with some of their friends in
England. But there too her beauty had won her too much attention, and
one night she had tried to escape by dropping from the roof, and had
injured herself quite seriously. As soon as she felt well enough, she
had come to London to enlist.