OK, first up full disclosure, I'm a straight man. Was I reading for prurient reasons, well, if I was I was looking in the wrong place. The "sex" scenes are hardly erotic by modern standards.
What I did find was a beautifully written story about the tensions between love and the demands of a restrictive society, when one's heart simply wont follow the rules that have been laid down by others. It is hard today to understand the pressures to conform when the love you feel is not just deemed immoral but illegal as well but, after reading this I have a clearer view. Ironically the example of a woman who "falls" is a straight woman who, inadvertently, bares her breasts at a dance and then gets caught in bed with her boyfriend. For these transgressions her life is destroyed and she is condemned to eternal disgrace. It is against this background that one of the two main characters, Beth tells the other, her lover Laura, not to be all high and mighty, that what they are doing, their love, however pure in their hearts, would be seen as far, far worse.
As soon as I started the book I was engrossed and ended up reading it cover to cover in one sitting. As a story of the pleasures and heartaches of a love that "dare not tell its name" it transcends its time and medium. As Ms Bannon explains in the forward it could only be published at the time because "pulp" fiction passed under the radar and no one noticed. Fifty odd years later in these post Stonewall days we should be grateful that she found a way.
Whatever your gender or sexual orientation I cannot recommend this book enough.