On the Shelf March 2019

This episode of The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast by Heather Rose Jones is On the Shelf March 2019, your monthly update on what the Lesbian Historic Motif Project has been doing.

This is episode 32a

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Transcript

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[Music] this is Heather Rose Jones with a 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 welcome to on the shelf for March 2019 I’m getting a bunch of really great interviews lined up for the next several months I love how this podcast gives me both an excuse and the courage to reach out and talk to authors who are doing work that I love I’m always looking for people who want to join us on the show whether you’re an author who writes queer women in historic settings or a reader who has enthusiastic opinions about historical fiction or a publisher who wants to talk about the field or a historian who wants to talk about researching queer history I’ve opened almost anyone whose work intersects the themes of this podcast last month you may remember that I was feeling a bit pessimistic about the submissions for the 2019 fiction series on the podcast I did have a bunch of submissions come in on the very last day of the month and I’ve selected a lineups that I think you’re really going to enjoy but I’m still thinking about whether to continue the series in 2020 it’ll make a difference if people let me know that they’re enjoying the fiction series and consider it valuable whether you’re a listener or as an author looking for new venues for your work promote the heck out of the podcast and let all your friends know what we’re doing here the blog has been looking at some articles about the rise of the study of sexology in the late 19th and early 20th century and especially the ways in which women’s experiences were marginalized in the construction of modern theories of sexuality but moving forward I’ll be turning back to the earlier material that’s my first love with yet another article from the growing academic industry of anne Lister studies another of Suharto mares excellent looks at studying lesbian like themes and medieval Arabic sources and the hazards of expecting them to align with the European experience and then a couple of articles that touch on medieval transgender concepts and how they intersect with historic sexuality that last topic is also relevant to this month’s essay which is part of my current series on interpreting the interrelationship between models of gender and sexuality in historic sources last month I played without approaches to breaking down our accepted notions of how gender and sexuality features get bundled into complex category and how those categories can very enormous Lee across cultures in terms of how gender and sexuality are understood this month I’m jumping from the general and theoretical to the very specific I’ve been looking at a handful of case studies of individuals whose existence challenged their cultures gender and sexuality categories and how the outcome of those challenges give us information not only about the structure of the cultural categories that people had available to them but how people found ways to articulate identities that failed to match those categories and tried to negotiate a modus vivendi even when their culture had no place for them this month’s author guests will be Catherine Duquette whose debut novella Miranda in Milan tells a possible story of what happened to Miranda from Shakespeare’s supernatural drama The Tempest after her father returns with her to 16th century Milan within the mysteries and dangers she encounters she finds an unexpected connection with a woman with roots in the suppressed Moorish community in Spain the new and forthcoming book lists this month he has some interesting coincidental categories as usual I’ve collected up some books I missed from the last couple of months so starting with the January releases we have several books set during the world wars of the 20th century how to talk to nice English girls by Gretchen Evans from carnation books looks like a nice traditional romance in the aftermath of the Great War everything is changing but not for Marian Fielding Marian’s life is quiet and predictable in the solitude of the English countryside where he plans to remain and care for her parents but Marian’s world is turned upside down when she meets brash confident Catherine fuller Catherine arrives at the Fielding’s estate for the wedding of Marian’s sister and immediately shakes things up instead of keeping an eye on the ill-mannered American girl and keeping her out of trouble Marian finds herself magnetically drawn to Catherine’s vivacious nature and they are swept into a whirlwind romance that will change both of their lives but will Catherine’s unconventional behavior ruined their chance at happiness can Marian leave her old life behind will two women from different worlds find a way to be together against all odds and expectations as war goes bye-bye Amy from Amazon Digital picks up on this recent surge of interest in the women code breakers of Bletchley Park 1940 England war has a way of engineering the most unlikely encounters when Penelope lows sits next to Clarissa Kerr true in the practice of train she has no idea they are both going to the same place about which they’ve both been sworn to secrecy nor that her journey will take her much farther than her original destination Bletchley Park as World War 2 wreaks havoc in the world it also makes people grow up faster Penelope’s initiation to love during her stint as a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force has not been the most auspicious and if anything has made her even Shire and more gauche than before meanwhile Clarissa enjoys the social scene and does not lack admirers she has decided to make the most of her opportunities away from the constraints of her aristocratic background when Penelope penny is recruited by the Special Operations Executive to become a special agent she doesn’t hesitate long before agreeing only the thought that she may not see her friends ever again could make her waver between heart and duty a young driver has recently shown her the power of a simple kiss and her friendship with Clarissa is blossoming duty wins and life and war go on no one knows what the future entails will they get a second chance this next book looks like an oddball alternate history it’s quite short I guess maybe a novelette or short novella in length and currently only available from Amazon but it sounds like my sort of catnip so maybe if it’s ever released more widely I’ll check it out by Royal lottery buy my leaf from Amazon Digital it’s the late Victorian era and by a tradition of the country of Brittany and Greater Cornwall a lottery has been run to find a common man of good education and standing to Wed the widowed Princess Louise only a young woman named Alice is chosen while Alice does her best to act her part in all this she is soon troubled by Louise raising the mystery of what exactly happened to her late husband as well as troubled by her own feelings as she spends more time with somewhat mischievous princess all along Alice thought this would be a pretend marriage only to begin to wonder how far Louise wishes to take this game of pretend it will be a long month for her and until the ceremony the February releases start out with what looked like some complicated relationships sofas trees of summer days by Jenny laughters from Amazon Digital two women fortune extraordinary friendship during a time of instability deception treachery and loss even the British West Indies are no refuge from the rising political tensions of the 1930s but 14 year old Islander chair Amina is much more interested in Dove a pretty red haired American who has mysteriously appeared in her remote hometown dove takes up residence in an abandoned mansion and as a devastating hurricane blows in she commits a crime once seen only by chair Amina an unlikely friendship forms between the two young women but when the storm finally abates dove disappears from Sarah Mina’s life then world war two breaks out and during those terrible years cherami no witnesses uprisings homelessness and betrayal choosing to escape the nightmare that her home has become chair Amina flees to New York where she is reunited with Dov but her friend is not the woman Jeremy now remembers as dove and chair Amina struggle to reconnect they must determine whether friendship and love can weather the storms of life memoirs of a triangle by Christine twig from nine star press is somewhat vague about how the titular triangle will end so read at your own risk when Edith instigates a new game with her two best friends Mae and Peter on a warm spring day in 1869 she ignites sexual awakenings that will influence and shape the rest of their lives although Edith lusts for Peter she is aware that may his desires are directed toward her and when their triangular involvement begins to splinter she leaves her two best friends to begin a career in Boston however even after choosing what they thought was the more stable path they learned that the past is not so easily left behind on their separate yet connected paths they find themselves drawn together experiencing eroticism love confusion trust and grief throughout the course of their lives the high women by Eleanor Musgrove from Amazon Digital follows familiar pathways in taking its inspiration from Alfred Noyes poem of the same title this is another very short work somewhere in the novel at range and leans heavily on its source material but with a queer twist best lives a simple existence as the daughter of an innkeeper or so it seems but she had her forbidden lover the notorious highwayman plaguing the area have more secrets to keep than just their clandestine meetings even one overheard conversation could change both of their lives forever inspired by Alfred Noyes tragic poem of the same name this adaptation reimagines the story of the ill-fated lovers with an lgbtq+ twist and a touch of hope the March releases are dominated by novels from mainstream presses and especially by historic fantasy though this is in part a side effect of the difficulty of hearing about small press and self-published books in advance of release remember that if you have or know about an upcoming book that falls in the scope of this podcast drop us a note with the information especially if you’d like to have it included before it gets released the first step is by this month’s author guest Miranda in Milan by Katherine Duckett from tour comm with Miranda in Milan debut author Katherine Duckett reimagines the consequences of shakespeare’s the tempest casting Miranda into a Milanese pit of vipers and building a queer love story lifts off the page in whirl winds of feeling after the tempest after the reunion after her father drowned his books Miranda was meant to enter a brave new world Naples awaited her and Ferdinand and a throne instead she finds herself in Milan in her father’s castle surrounded by hostile servants who treat her like a ghost whispers cling to her like spiderwebs whispers that carry her dead mother’s name and though he promised to give away his power Milan is once again contorting around burro’s Dark Arts with only Dorothea her sole companion and confidant to aid her Miranda must cut through with mystery and find the truth about her father her mother and herself the parting glass by ginamarie okay I’m really sorry I’m gonna totally screw up this surname ginamarie guada Nino from touchstone looks like a complex mix of history adventure and forbidden romance by de Mary Ballard as lady’s maid to Charlotte walden wealthy and accomplished belle of New York City high society Mary loves Charlotte with an obsessive passion that goes beyond a servant’s dedication but Charlotte would never trust Mary again if she knew the truth about her devoted servants past because Mary’s fate is linked to that of her mistress one of the most sought-after debutantes in New York Mary’s future seemed secure if she can keep her own secrets but on her nights off Mary sheds her persona as prim and proper lady’s maid to reveal her true self Irish exile Myra affarin and finds release from her frustration in New York too gritty underworld in the arms of a prostitute and as drinking companion to a decidedly motley crew consisting of a barkeeper and members of a dangerous secret society meanwhile Charlotte has a secret of her own she’s having an affair with a stable groom unaware that her lover is actually Mary’s own brother when the truth of both woman’s double lives begins to unravel marius left to face the consequences forced to choose between loyalty to her brother and loyalty to charlotte between society’s respect and true freedom Mary finally learns that her fate lies in her hands alone a captivating historical fiction of 19th century Upstairs Downstairs New York City the parting glass examines sexuality race and social class in ways that feel startlingly familiar and timely a perfectly paced romantically charged story of overlapping love triangles that build to a white-knuckle climax this is an irresistible debut that’s impossible to put down I still haven’t gotten to reading the first novella in the following series but it gets the nod from reviewer Liz Burke and that’s usually good enough for me the queer content isn’t obvious from this blurb which is a repeating theme in some of the following descriptions but take it as given Alice pain rides by Kate Hartfield from tour calm after abducting Arthur Brittany from his own time in 1203 thereby creating the mystery that partly prompted the visit in the first place Alice and her team discover that they have inadvertently brought the smallpox virus back to 1780 with them searching for a future vaccine prudence finds that the various factions in the future time more intend to use this crisis of their own advantage can the team prevent an international pandemic across time and put history back on its tracks at least until the next battle in time war the true queen buys encho from ace is another historic fantasy where the queer content has to be taken on trust from the rumor mill although in this case the rumor mill includes direct from the author so Shh don’t tell anybody but I have a recording date to interview her this is a sequel to Zen Cho’s acclaimed Regency fantasy sorcerer to the crown and like that book it examines themes of colonialism and the place of people of color in Regency England when sisters Munna and Shakti wake up on the peaceful beach of the island of jante bike they can’t remember anything except that they are bound as only sisters can be they have been cursed by an unknown enchanter and slowly Saki starts to fade away the only hope of saving her is to go to distant Britain where the sorceress Royale has established an academy to train women in magic if Mona is to save her sister she must learn to navigate high society and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy as she’s drawn into their intrigues she must uncover the secrets of her past and journey into a world with more magic than she had ever dreamed levitate a spy novel by John cannon from supposed crimes takes us back to the mid 20th century with its spies and international intrigues many of John Kennish books include supernatural elements I can’t tell from the blurb whether this one does as well to casseon Urich there is nothing the world is important as the mission as a covert agent for Greek intelligence she disappears into whatever role she’s given her latest mission ends in failure and nearly cost Cassie on her life but she is rescued and nursed back to health by her handler Timothy er it ik adrift between assignments and still recuperating from her injuries Cassie Ann begins a physical relationship with Timothy their relationship is put on hold by the arrival of another agent Constance Grimaldi who brings them a new mission a Soviet chemist has arrived in Berlin with a new strain of anthrax which they believe he plans to sell to one of their enemies as Cassie on disappears into her latest identity timothy a’ finds herself drawn to constance from a ghost station in the shadow of the berlin wall to hidden strongholds hidden deep inside dark german forests the three agents must learn to trust one another because this missions failure would mean certain death and that’s it for the new crop of books check them out and let us know what you thought the lesbian talk show relies on support the support of you our listeners the support of those who like and review our show one their favorite podcast app the support of our patrons on patreon and the support of our sponsors we hope you’ll continue to enjoy and support the lesbian talk show this month’s ask Safa question is from a Stephens on lesbian talk show Facebook group who asks with a new release of hick I was wondering if you’ve ever talked about the relationship she had with Eleanor Roosevelt truth to the rumors or just wishful thinking in our part that Eleanor found some happiness in her life there have been a number of works in recent years covering the relationship between journalist Lorena Hickok and First Lady and prominent diplomat and activist Eleanor Roosevelt given the very close and warm relationship between the two women there’s been a lot of speculation whether the friendship was also romantic and possibly even erotic in nature the long supportive marriage between Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt is not in itself an argument against this possibility as the daughter of a socially and politically prominent family in the early 20th century opting out of marriage would have been tricky the belts and eleanor was a roosevelt by birth not just by marriage were american aristocracy eleanor was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt and he gave her away at her marriage and as with Europe’s hereditary aristocracy marriage was not considered a bar to romantic and sexual relationships outside the marriage at least for the men in the family Eleanor and Franklin married against his mother’s wishes after a secret correspondence but Eleanor had few options other than marriage in terms of a career she is on record as having disliked the sexual side of marriage and when she discovered that Franklin was sexually involved with her secretary Lucy Mercer the only thing that kept their marriage together was Franklin’s political prospects which divorce would have destroyed but the failure for all intents and purposes of her heterosexual marriage isn’t the same as concluding that Eleanor was inclined for the ladies so what is the positive evidence on that side one of the things to keep in mind here is that Eleanor Roosevelt was born in 1884 she lived at the tail end of the era that considered romantic friendships and schoolgirl pressing on each other to be utterly normal and even expected so even if the evidence never went any farther than writing long daily personal letters to a woman with sentiments like I want to put my arms around you and kiss you at the corner of your mouth I think it would be perfectly reasonable to conclude that this constitutes a romantic relationship with a woman me I’m not particularly hung up on defining the nature of people’s relationships based on the precise catalogue of which of each other’s body parts they’ve touched but the evidence does go further than that Lorena Hickok was widely known to be a lesbian she had an eight-year relationship with a fellow female journalist in the 1920s her orientation is not the slightest in dispute and she was not the only known lesbian in Ella’s life when can’t exactly say out lesbian given the times but known is sufficient for this purpose Eleanor was greatly influenced in her teen years and later by the headmistress of the finishing school she attended Maurice Ave strid a known lesbian Elinor was close friends with two female couples active in women’s suffrage and political activism Nancy cook and Marion Dickerman and Esther lepape and Elizabeth Fisher read so she had solid models for women sharing marriage like partnerships based on mutual romantic love this makes it highly unlikely that when eleanor wrote to Hickok expressing a desire to kiss her and hold her close but she was naive about how such sentiments might be understood and responded to the intense scrutiny that eleanor came under his first lady contributed to their eventual separation but even the nature of their conflicts and correspondence around that era have far more of the shape of a romantic breakup than friends drifting apart Eleanor had closer emotional relationships with other people in addition to hick both men and women it’s common for people of a certain mindset to fasten on any attachment by a woman to a man as a basis for negating even overwhelming evidence for attachments to women hopefully were past the era of bisexual erasure and a concept that one person’s life can encompass love for both men and women most historians who are not blinded by willful denial have concluded that Eleanor and hixx relationship was clearly romantic and erotic at this point for me it really isn’t even a question 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 rate 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 chatroom [Music] you [Music] English (auto-generated)