Described as a "scorcher" by one of my contacts at Virago, with the cover tagline "The notorious banned bestseller", I was extremely keen to read Peyton Place which has somehow previously passed me by.
What a great read! Peyton Place is the story of a small town in Mississipi in the 1950s, revealing the private lives and stories of its inhabitants, and particularly the hypocrisy and scandal behind the front doors. It is easy to see why the book was so shocking when it was first published - events include incest, abortion, heavy alcoholism and unmarried pregnancies, although to those reading in the 21st century this might seem less contentious. I suppose the issue was that such things did occur in the 1950s, but they were not talked about, and everyone was keen to cover them up with respectability. I think this book is a really great read; it might seem tame by today's standards, but gives such a good insight into the mindset of the 1950s.
There is a sequel, not published by Virago, which I am now keen to seek out. As far as I can tell, Virago have only published this twice, and it was quite a late addition to their list. I own the more recent edition which is the second of the two shown below.