While working on the next entry for this blog, I came across this quote: "he forced upon me what should only be given in love." This line regards Julian raping Cathy in the upcoming section and is--I thought--a classic example of Andrews' strangely coy descriptions of all things sexual.
Except I took a closer look, and it isn't.
In fact, this line is a direct quote from a 1930 novel, The Madonna of Seven Moons,
by Margery Lawrence. The only difference between Madonna and Petals is that the Madonna quote is in third person, while Petals is of course in first person. Criterion describes the film adaptation of Madonna of Seven Moons as a "lurid tale of sex and psychosis" about a woman who was raped
The little I found on a quick research of Margery Lawrence is that she was a writer of occult mysteries in the 1940s. She was very much into spiritualism and published a couple of books on the subject; she prefaced some of her (obviously fictional) Gothic works with a disclaimer stating that they were true stories with the names changed for privacy. Cambridge University's Orlando index, which catalogs the works of female British authors, describes her work thusly: Female sexuality looms large in her work and she often places female
characters in impossible predicaments, often involving social
convention, money, or class.
It's too little info to make a connection to Andrews, but I did find it interesting that the most outstanding conventions of this woman's work sound like things that could be said of Our Gal Ginny. It sounds as if Lawrence could have very well be an influence on Andrews, and the direct quote strongly implies that Andrews read The Madonna of Seven Moons.
I feel it necessary to point out that I do not imply Andrews may have plagiarized this other author. One lifted line does not a plagiarist make. Writers brains are like flypaper for unique phrases, which tend to get regurgitated without our realizing it. Recently in my own fiction, I had to go back and edit the opening of a scene when I realized it too closely resembled the opening of a similar scene in a published novel. I'm sure that if I had to bear down to catch a whole three paragraphs, a line or two here and there has probably slipped under my radar. That's how we writers roll.
Margery Lawrence's works are sadly out-of-print, and the few copies available are antiques far out of my price range. She seems to be well-known enough to have a Wikipedia article, but obscure enough that I can't find any scholarly papers on her work--and believe me, us desperate English majors will dig up writers you've never heard of in order to stand out in our field. I do not have quite enough time to do any in-depth research investigating other potential links between the two authors. But if there's a thesis anywhere in this, I call dibs.