The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast: Interview with Genevieve Fortin

Episode 14b – Interview with Genevieve Fortin 

A series of interviews with authors of historically-based fiction featuring queer women.

In this episode we talk about

  • How interviewing Franco-American families in New England inspired Water’s Edge 
  • Her love for literature from ca. 1900 and the decadent movement’s exploration of sexuality
  • Researching the social and economic circumstances of immigrant communities in late 19th century New England
  • Cluing your historic characters in on their sexual possibilities
  • Plans for a sequel and to center lesbian characters in the history of Quebec

Publications mentioned:

Water’s Edge by Genevieve Fortin. Bella Books, 2017

In 1888, the impoverished Levesque family becomes one of thousands of French Canadians forced to leave their beloved country and seek employment in the booming textile mills of Fall River, Massachusetts. Young Emilie Levesque’s initial culture shock is eased by her intelligence and adventurous nature—and by her budding friendship with Angeline Fournier, the US-born daughter of a fellow immigrant family. As they grow into young women, their close relationship is a welcome respite from the stifling heat, dust-filled air, deafening noise, and mind-numbing work at the mill.

Emilie knows she is different but has no words for what she is or what she feels. All she knows is that she wants Angeline with her always. Despite her own hidden attraction to Emilie, Angeline cannot conceive of life beyond what all 19th-century girls are taught to aspire to: a husband, a home and a houseful of children.

A life-altering kiss and painful parting will lead the women on very different paths—until an unthinkable tragedy brings Emilie back to Angeline’s side. But can these loving friends ever cross the forbidden boundary between the warmth of affection and the heat of desire?

Water’s Edge is a deeply moving historical romance by the bestselling author of First Fall and Two Kinds of Elizabeth.

Get it on | | 

The Franco-Americans by Yves Roby. 2004

Between 1840 and 1930, approximately 900,000 people left Quebec for the United States and settled in French-Canadian colonies in New England’s industrial cities. Yves Roby draws from first-person accounts to explore the conversion of these immigrants and their descendants from French-Canadian to Franco-American. The first generation of immigrants saw themselves as French Canadians who had relocated to the United States. They were not involved with American society and instead sought to recreate their lost homeland.

Get it on | | 

More info 

The Lesbian Historic Motif Project lives here 

You can find Genevieve Fortin here 



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