Shy and plain, Leona writes books on seventeenth century love poetry, but her own experience of love is meager. Her last affair, if you can call it that, was nine years ago. Into her barren world of manuscripts walks Bliss. He is one step from illiterate, a gap-toothed bumpkin, a hillbilly. And married. He is also physically beautiful, and he does not seem to know that Leona is not."His lips searched hers; her answer was urgent. She reveled in her need. Nine years . . . How could I have gone so long? It is a wonder I didn't rape the janitor . . . But I am raping the janitor. Soft kisses were pressed to her breast, and in the rush of her pleasure, she felt his tenderness. She had not waited nine years, she realized. She had waited all her life."Originally compared to Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome and D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterly's Lover, Bliss was adapted into a movie starring Lynn Redgrave.