Almost a Lady by Thomas Stone. Phoenix Press (1947), 255 pp.
Thelma Davis, a designer of small furnishings in San Francisco, is tired of waiting for her long-time fiancé, architect Chet Edwards, to set a date for the wedding. Despite her sexy appearance, Thelma has remained faithful for the last five years. Chet, however, is not the same pure, sweet guy he was when he went off to war. He still loves Thelma, but his exciting sexual experiences while in the army have made him reluctant to settle down with one woman. Thelma sees no satisfying future with Chet and is ready to call it quits.
Stonebraker offers a few variations on the standard romance. She spends a surprisingly large amount of time in the head of the leading male character. As a result, his confusion is convincing. The author also crafts an unusually long (40-page) argument between her principals, one that features sharp dialogue and a startling ending. The remaining two-thirds of the book, however, are a let-down. Thelma’s personality undergoes no serious change. The minor characters (Chet’s nymphomaniac girlfriend, Thelma’s skirt-chasing business associate, a young woman wronged by her boyfriend) seem like filler. Once again, Stonebraker is trapped by the genre.