Naked Came the Stranger: It’s not pretty.

Let’s get right to the point.

Cover shows naked woman tally marks in lipstick
The cover tells the tale.

Penelope Ashe’s novel Naked Came the Stranger is trash.

As story opens Gillian Blake, co-host of radio show Billy & Gilly, has just learned via the services of Ace-High Private Investigators, Inc., that Billy is having an affair with the show’s recently hired assistant producer.

Gilly is incensed.

It was not simply that William Blake had made a mockery of her marriage. Even worse he had made a mockery of her radio show.

Divorce is unthinkable: According to the polls, what attracts the listeners is their belief that the Blakes have the ideal marriage.

Her fans believe, as Gilly observes, “The family that stays together, stays together.”

Gilly decides to get back at William by having affairs with other women’s husbands and breaking up their marriages.

The next 230 pages describe psychologically, anatomically, and physiologically how Gilly goes about it.

The novel has only one good but not redeeming feature: It was set in Baskerville type, which is better than the book deserves.

It deserves Comic Sans.

Naked Came the Stranger by Penelope Ashe
Lyle Stuart, 1969. 255 p. 1969 bestseller #7. My Grade: D.

© 2017 Linda Gorton Aragoni


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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

3 thoughts on “Naked Came the Stranger: It’s not pretty.”

  1. Lydia, you do know the story behind this book, right? It was a hoax, written by a bunch of journalists to basically show that the public would by anything, even something extremely crappy, if there was enough sex.


  2. The book is a hoax written by twenty-four journalists at Newsday to illustrate the point that popular American culture had become “mindlessly vulgar.” The truth about “Penelope Asche” wasn’t revealed until after book was on the bestseller list for several months. Even though it was a clever stunt, the book is still virtually unreadable.


    1. John and Rich, thanks for the comments.

      When I review books, I don’t research the book or the author before I review. I want to approach the novels with as close to no outside information as possible, which, I think, is how most readers approach novels. After I finish my review, I sometimes go dig out some information about the author.

      That was the case here. I learned about “Penelope Ashe” after I couldn’t read “her” novel.

      I’m considering, after I finish posting my reviews of the bestsellers 1900-1969, revising some of the bestsellers and digging up some information about the authors to post here. Some of the authors’ biographies are more interesting than their novels!

      Again, thanks for posting your responses to my review.



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