Book Appreciation with KJ Charles

Todays episode of The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast features Book Appreciation with KJ Charles.

Episode 36c with Heather Rose Jones

In the Book Appreciation segments, our featured authors (or your host) will talk about one or more favorite books with queer female characters in a historic setting.

Books mentioned:

Spring Flowering by Farah Mendlesohn

Synopsis

Everything changes for Ann Gray when her father dies and her closest friend Jane marries and moves away. Ann must give up the independence and purpose she found as mistress of her father’s parsonage in the country, and move to her uncle and aunt’s new-style house in the growing city of Birmingham. The friendship of Ann’s cousins – especially the mathematically inclined Louisa – is some compensation for freedoms curtailed. But soon Ann must consider two very different proposals, either of which will bring yet more change. Should she return to her village home as wife of the new parson Mr. Morden? Or become companion to the rather deliciously unsettling widow Mrs. King…?

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Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

Synopsis

Inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy, Passing Strange is a story as unusual and complex as San Francisco itself from World Fantasy Award winning author Ellen Klages, and a finalist for the 2017 Nebula Award for Best Novella

San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.

Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan

Synopsis

Mrs. Bertrice Martin—a widow, some seventy-three years young—has kept her youthful-ish appearance with the most powerful of home remedies: daily doses of spite, regular baths in man-tears, and refusing to give so much as a single damn about her Terrible Nephew.

Then proper, correct Miss Violetta Beauchamps, a sprightly young thing of nine and sixty, crashes into her life. The Terrible Nephew is living in her rooming house, and Violetta wants him gone.

Mrs. Martin isn’t about to start giving damns, not even for someone as intriguing as Miss Violetta. But she hatches another plan—to make her nephew sorry, to make Miss Violetta smile, and to have the finest adventure of all time.

If she makes Terrible Men angry and wins the hand of a lovely lady in the process? Those are just added bonuses.

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A Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

Synopsis

As Lucy Muchelney watches her ex-lover’s sham of a wedding, she wishes herself anywhere else. It isn’t until she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth, looking for someone to translate a groundbreaking French astronomy text, that she knows where to go. Showing up at the Countess’ London home, she hoped to find a challenge, not a woman who takes her breath away.

Catherine St Day looks forward to a quiet widowhood once her late husband’s scientific legacy is fulfilled. She expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the young woman who turns up at her door, begging to be allowed to do the work, and she agrees to let Lucy stay. But as Catherine finds herself longing for Lucy, everything she believes about herself and her life is tested.

While Lucy spends her days interpreting the complicated French text, she spends her nights falling in love with the alluring Catherine. But sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them. Can Lucy and Catherine find the strength to stay together or are they doomed to be star-crossed lovers?

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Alpennia Series

Daughter Of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones (book 1 of the series)

Synopsis

Margerit Sovitre did not expect to inherit Baron Saveze’s fortunes—even less his bodyguard, a ruthlessly efficient swordswoman known only as Barbara. Wealth suddenly makes Margerit a highly eligible heiress and buys her the enmity of the new Baron. He had expected to inherit all, and now eyes her fortune with open envy.

Barbara proudly served as the old Baron’s duelist but she had expected his death to make her a free woman. Bitterness turns to determination when she finds herself the only force that stands between Margerit and the new Baron’s greed.

At first Margerit protests the need for Barbara’s services, but soon she cannot imagine sending Barbara away. And Barbara’s duty has become something far more hazardous to her heart than the point of a sword. But greater dangers loom than one man’s hatred—the Prince of Alpennia is ill. Deadly intrigue surrounds the succession and the rituals of divine power known as The Mysteries of the Saints.

Heather Rose Jones debuts with a sweeping story rich in intrigue and the clash of loyalties and love.

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Links to the Lesbian Historic Motif Project Online

Links to KJ Charles Online

Transcript of Book Appreciation with KJ Charles

please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect

 

Music] this is Heather Rose Jones with the lesbian historic motif podcast this weekly podcast looks at lesbian themes in history and literature and historic research into gender and sexuality we talk about current historical fiction with queer female characters including fantastic versions of the past and have interviews with authors who write those stories and in months when we have a fifth show we’re proud to present new original lesbian historical fiction for your enjoyment last week we had KJ Charles on the show to talk about her own writing this week she’s back to share some historically based works with queer women that she’s particularly enjoyed so let’s talk books excellent well one I’ve been recommending a lot of it’s I think it’s delightful is spring flowering by Farah Mendelssohn which is a book set in Birmingham in the early 1800s and it’s got the daughter of a vicar who absolutely disgusting last week who finds herself without an occupation without anything without a knife left for her when their father dies and her somebody else takes over the vicars post so she has to go and live with cousins and her discovery of an entirely new world a city rather than the village and meeting an entirely new group of people is also parallel to her discovery of her own sexuality and herself it’s a marvelous book and I would call it more of a bildungsroman like yeah like story then aroma per se but then there are two romances in it and I found the ending very positive but also from a historical point of view then historical detail is just pinpoint is so vivid oh yeah so I really enjoyed that one one of the things I really enjoyed about it was the the picture she gives of women’s sexuality and the normalization of certain types of relationships so there isn’t this like oh dear what am I feeling I am the only one it’s like no if the same-sex sexuality is normalized within its context without being anachronistic yes yes exactly and I think it’s it gives just you can touch it you can touch the real reality of that bit can’t you yeah yeah so I think it’s a really smashing range slightly oddly paste if your romance free yeah if you go into it more as a what Sam did was an vignette yeah it makes a marvelous story and it still has a happy ending yeah playing about that and then I also liked a bit called passing strange here at that’s oh yeah yeah so far you’re hitting all authors that I get yeah on the show yeah this is local to me yes now I enjoyed that one very much I thought that was mostly set in 1904 San Francisco and it had grateful I didn’t really feel the fantasy element integrated terribly well with the rest of the story that’s the historical element and the characterization was marvelous and it was really nice to see in early San Francisco I’ve get slightly depressed at how many authors and particularly American authors just assume that all historical romance has to be set in England I don’t really understand why why this is done and I would you know I’m fully in support of American authors right the American say yeah and and since I had sort of jumped in while you were introducing the book this is passing strange by Ellen Klages yes yes yes so that I think is writing was it’s a yes yes it’s actually been collecting a bunch of the wards yes obviously the big book but the small book but nevertheless people have been talking about is of course cotton England’s mrs. Martin’s incomparable adventure which just for the fact that she’s got these two heroines in their sixties and seventies is I think so radical and I love it and we need a great deal more a bit I just haven’t seen a 70 year old heroine any whereabouts of any kind before and I can’t can’t applaud it enough it’s absolutely a marvelous thing it’s you know it’s not the most historically accurate but it’s a strange but you know we all feel like a massive shaft of rate at the moment I’m saying and I find it intensely cathartic to read as well as having these older women and my favorite thing about getting older you know my turn 55 more that and 40 it’s terrible no no it’s brilliant because the older I get the less I care and the more I am prepared to just go you know what you’re wrong and that’s stupid and you really get the impression that the seventh year old heroine is prepared to say that to InfoWorld and it is just such a it’s it’s very much a wish fulfillment that one’s definitely the wish fulfillment burn it all down as it were well they say that romance is woman’s wish fulfillment and I’m also very much I haven’t yet read Olivia awaits me ladies guide celestial mechanics but I have got an a RC copy so I will be reporting back on that but it looks incredibly exciting and I’m not saying very very happy that major big six publisher is actually now investing in full-length FF romance it’s a real yeah step forward I think so yes I think it works yeah so I pray that’s all I’ve got for you in historical terms so I might recommend you listen you’re ready for anything you’re mixing this already know about you yeah I usually actually were born people that advance that I prefer that they not mentioned my books because then it looks like you’re doing it just to suck up but you are always allowed to accidentally because you didn’t know that mention the to love my books then I would say that obviously they’re fantastic they’re my go-to recommendation when people want historical FF because even though our pena doesn’t exist either what to say and the stories are just well placed and involving I enjoyed them inordinately so if you are able to put that in well thank you very much so I will be putting links to all of the books you mentioned in the show notes and thank you so much for sharing some of your favorite books with us I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the lesbian historic motif podcast if you want to follow up on anything we’ve covered see the show notes for links and to contact me with questions book announcements or topic suggestions if you enjoyed this podcast please read it and subscribe on itunes stitcher or pod bean and consider supporting our patreon and if you’re on facebook check out the lesbian talk show chat group [Music]