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Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast Episode 198 - On the Shelf for April 2021

Saturday, April 3, 2021 - 07:00

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 1998 - On the Shelf for April 2021 – Transcript

(Originally aired 2021/04/03 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for April 2021.

How’s everyone doing? I’m finally back working on my next Alpennia novel and feeling like most of my work routines are back in the groove. Spring is going sproing and my demographic group is finally eligible for the Covid vaccine. My garden is straining at the leash waiting for the contractor to finish getting the new irrigation system set up and I’m looking forward to the day when I can invite all my local friends over for a garden party again.

But in the mean time, I’m inviting all of you to a party celebrating some big milestones for the Lesbian Historic Motif Project. We’re celebrating 7 years of the history blog—7 years and over 300 publications, who would have thought? But more importantly, we’re celebrating 200 podcast episodes! 200 episodes in almost 5 years. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty amazing. I wanted to do something to mark the occasion, and after talking to folks about various options, I decided the best choice was an all-day open house on our Discord server.

Um…you did know we have a Discord server, right? You don’t even have to be a Patreon supporter or anything to join, all you have to do is ask for an invitation. The Discord has been gradually accumulating members during our “soft-launch” period…well, ok, that’s a fancy way of saying that I’ve been busy with other things and haven’t promoted it as much as I should. But the podcast anniversary party seemed like a good excuse to ratchet up the promo.

So on Saturday May 8th, the week after episode 200 comes out, plan to drop by, chat about lesbian history, about books, about whatever else strikes your fancy. There will be both text and audio/video channels available, and I just might be doing some surprise give-aways. Put it on your calendar and ask for an invite link if you aren’t already a member.

News of the Field

From light-hearted celebration, I’d like to turn to a somewhat more serious subject for a moment. This was inspired by a topic that came up in my social media about lesbian fiction that exoticizes or objectifies characters from non-white or non-Western cultures. Now, I’m a middle-class white American, so I’m not going to try to speak for marginalized readers. But at the same time, I’m a middle-class white American so if this subject gets people’s noses out of joint, I’m not going to be personally hurt by their reactions. And maybe that gives me a responsibility to speak up.

I’d like to frame this issue as questions that we can ask ourselves—whether as readers or writers—about the books we love. I’m not going to tell anyone how to think about any particular book, but I’m going to urge you to be mindful and consider the following.

Does this story treat the characters as full, individual human beings? All the characters, and not only the viewpoint ones? Does this story show an understanding of the history and cultural context that the characters exist in? Does the story recognize and engage with differences in status and power between the characters? Are all the characters given equal agency within their relationships? Or, if not, are the consequences of that inequality acknowledged? Does this story assign attributes or reactions to characters that reflect cultural stereotypes? Does the story fetishize certain characters or cultural attributes? How would a reader who shares a cultural background or identity with one of the book’s characters feel about how that character is portrayed? How are language or speech patterns used to represent a character’s identity? Which characters get to be depicted in a neutral manner and which are set apart in how they’re depicted? How are characters described? What types of physical traits are described positively, and which ones negatively? Whose appearance is treated as the default and who gets described in contrast to that?

When I’m putting together the lists of new books, it sometimes happens that the cover copy for a book makes me uncomfortable about how certain characters or cultures are portrayed in objectifying ways. I don’t want to set myself up as a gatekeeper of which books get included or not, but at the same time I feel a responsibility to my listeners. All of them. Sometimes I’ll feel uncomfortable enough that I’ll include a cautionary comment. Very very rarely, I’ll quietly leave a title off the list. But we’re all responsible for the publishing landscape of lesbian fiction: not only as authors in what we write, but as readers in what we accept in the books we read. We have not always lived up to that responsibility. And the absolute minimal bottom line is that if someone stands up and says, “This book depicting someone with my background hurts me in the way that character is written,” we have the responsibility to listen, and believe, and think about the consequences of that.

Publications on the Blog

The Lesbian Historic Motif Project blog has finally finished covering all the journal articles I downloaded back in July of 2019! I mixed a number of other books and articles in among them, but that store of material has kept me going for almost 2 years. It’ll be a little while yet before I’m ready to brave social mixing enough to access the JSTOR terminals at the UC Berkeley library again, so maybe I should work on books for a while. Maybe even some of my recent acquisitions!

In March I covered a rather eclectic selection of topics: Katherine Binhammer’s comparative study of how female same-sex sexuality and eroticized pain were treated in later 18th century England. Marylynne Diggs’ exploration of relatively early depictions of female same-sex desire as psychological pathology in 19th century American sources. Deborah Nord’s exploration of a loose network of middle class singlewomen in Victorian London who stood outside the supportive communities of feminists, as well as refusing conventional married life. And Mary McLaughlin’s detailed history of a very different community of unmarried women in 16th century Ferrara, which gives another triangulation on the options women could have available. Then, just for fun, I tossed in an examination of a Regency-era satirical cartoon showing two women making out on a park bench.

For April, I’ve lined up several relatively recent books that examine histories of people who were assigned female but lived male lives through a transgender lens. For me, it’s not possible to study lesbian history without studying it in parallel with transmasculine history, because of the shifting ways in which gender and sexuality interacted in past societies. In the literature of the later 20th century and early 21st century, there has been a tendency to default to treating these people as “women in male disguise” in all cases. And while I think it’s equally mistaken to treat them all universally as trans men, that framework can guide us to a different set of historic understandings that we’d see otherwise.

Book Shopping!

My book shopping has picked up a bit this month. There’s a new biography of my favorite 19th century American actress, Charlotte Cushman, and it’s a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. Lady Romeo: The Radical and Revolutionary Life of Charlotte Cushman, America’s First Celebrity by Tana Wojszuk looks like a more popularly-oriented biography than the one I leaned heavily on for my podcast on Cushman. I’ll keep hoping that someone in the movie or tv business latches onto her story and decides to make a lavish costume drama.

The second book I picked up this month is Debating Sex and Gender in Eighteenth-Century Spain by Marta V. Vicente. I’ve covered a number of publications that look at the 18th century seismic shifts in cultural understandings of gender from English and French sources, so it will be interesting to see how Spanish texts cover the same topics.


When I get to the part of the On the Shelf script where I’m supposed to tell you what his month’s podcast essay will be, about half the time I realize in a panic that I haven’t picked a topic yet. So…um…that would be the case this month. I have an idea, but it depends on whether I can brainstorm enough content for it. So I’ll leave it a mystery for now, in case I end up doing something different.

Recent Lesbian Historical Fiction

We have a bumper crop of new and recent books this month, most of them from February and March. The February books come from some unusual angles.

The most intriguing is Adeline Lim’s self-published memoir In the Footsteps of Anne Lister (Volume 1): Travels of a remarkable English gentlewoman in France, Germany and Denmark in 1833. Lim is retracing some of the journeys that Anne Lister documented in her diaries and combining her own experiences and thoughts with excerpts from the diaries. For those of you who can’t get enough of Anne Lister, this looks like an interesting adventure to tag along on.

Whether you try this next one depends on how you feel about real-people fiction that introduces a queer element not present in real life. Vivian Dunn’s self-published For the Love of Many takes on a fictitious romantic encounter in 1920s Broadway between the future star Joan Crawford and a fellow chorus dancer. A story of secrets and show business, but it’s unclear to me why the author chose to associate her character with this specific historic person.
Nathan Long’s The Woman in the Coffin published by Oolong Books is another unusual cross-over, this time with a different author’s fictional universe. With the knowledge and permission of the original author, Long has written a different viewpoint of characters from Elizabeth Watasin’s “Dark Victorian” universe, following Nellie O’Day, a theatrical male impersonator, and her obsession with an acrobat who performs as part of a mesmerism act. Magic and murder follow.

I turned up five March books that weren’t on my radar yet last month. First up is another story in Stein Willard’s self-published Regency series, The Reserved Doctor. Gender disguise on the part of the title character leads to some romantic confusion for emperiled Catherine Poole, who isn’t accustomed to being attracted to men. I’m not familiar with this author, so I can’t advise on how well the story handles the gender issues.

Have you ever looked at the shelves full of het Scottish highlander romances and wondered what a sapphic one might look like? Sarah Swan has you covered with her self-published Like the Down of a Thistle. In 18th century Scotland, a young widow and her neighbor, whose husband is off at the battles, lean on each other to manage the grueling farm labor. An unexpected love grows, but what will happen with the battles are over and the soldier returns? The author promises us a happy ending, just in case you’re worried.

In contrast, readers might want to take a look at some of the content notes for Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore from Square Fish. Following parallel stories in 16th century France and the modern day, this reinterpretation of the Hans Christian Anderson story of the red shoes includes motifs of persecution of trans people and Romani. In 1518, a strange “dancing sickness” in Strasbourg is blamed on witchcraft and Lavinia must make a desperate choice. Five hundred years later a descendent of Lavinia’s family confronts a new curse, bound to a pair of red shoes, to save his friend Rosella. Notes on Goodreads confirm that the book includes lesbian characters, but the details aren’t clear.

Vesper St. Clair’s “Gilded Lily” series, set in the upper crust of 1920s New York has previously focused on male couples. But a new novella in the series, Diamonds & Pearls, from Eventide Press, follows an heiress and a female jewel thief through both speakeasies and Upper East Side parlors. There’s a content note for violence, but also a promise of a happy ending.

German author Helmi Schausberg seems to specialize in stories set in Ireland. The German-language novel Für ihr Land (For Her Land), from Querverlag, follows Irish nationalist Eileen and unionist Josie as they are caught up in the Easter Rising and swing between extremes of friendship and conflict against the setting of the struggle for Ireland’s freedom.

I’ll conclude with three April releases, though I’m sure I’ll find more next month. In Poison Priestess from Amulet Books, Lana Popović takes on the “affair of the poisons” in Louis XIV’s glittering and dangerous court of Versailles. There’s a fantastic element in the story as Catherine Monvoisin turns to prophetic visions and sorcery to fight off the threat of poverty, only to find herself facing greater dangers than mere debt.

Magic is an even more integral part of the worldbuilding in Ester Manzini’s The Other Side of Magic from The Parliament House, in which a fantasy world based on 16th century Italy finds two young women from opposite sides of a magical conflict thrown together in a common struggle for their freedom.

And the final April book is Riley LaShea’s romantic steampunk adventure, Dr. Todson's Home for Incorrigible Women from Midnight Jasmine Books. When Caroline Ajax’s husband finds her inconvenient, he thinks to disappear her into an asylum. But Dr. Eirinn Todson’s Home for Women is not at all what Caroline expected. And neither is Dr. Todson, who has her own mysterious and tragic past.

What Am I Reading?

I’ve made a lot of progress on getting caught up with book reviews, and while it hasn’t entirely evaporated my reading block, I can feel things loosening up. I did read one queer historical romance novella this past month, though the pairing involved a trans man, not a female couple. The book was Meg Mardell’s The Christmas Chevalier, which is a lovely Victorian-era holiday-themed story involving masquerades, printing presses, and the delicate negotiation of meeting someone anew whom you’ve known all your life. It has mild peril and a happy ending, with a historic grounding that feels solid and effortless.

Author Guest

This month our author guest is Rose Lerner.

Heather Rose Jones: Today the Lesbian Historic Motif Project is talking to Rose Lerner, whose story, The Wife in the Attic, has just come out as an Audible Original audiobook. Welcome, Rose.

Rose Lerner: Thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited to be here.

H: Well, thank you. Why don’t you start with a quick synopsis for The Wife in the Attic? I understand it’s a new angle on Jane Eyre?

R: Yeah, so it’s about a governess who gets offered a job at a remote—an isolated manor by the sea. And she gets there, and the little girl’s mother is sick. She’s told the little girl’s mother is sick and cannot leave her room. So she’s there for a while, and like, she’s kind of vibing with her boss, but then, she kind of starts to suspect that something is, like, not quite right in the house. And, of course, it ends up with her and the wife—you know, the first Mrs. Rochester character—falling in love.

H: A lot of people like playing around with the woman-to-woman relationships in the classic novels because there is sometimes that tension there. It was an era when same-sex emotional relationships were very much to the fore. So, you have some interesting thoughts on the intersection of gothic literature and queerness—would you like to expand on that?

R: Well, I mean, I hope they’re interesting, certainly. But I guess historically—I mean, I think there’s just a lot of queer people that have been drawn into writing gothic novels. I think Charlotte Bronte was almost certainly queer; Byron, obviously. And so I think there’s just sort of—the whole idea of, like, dark, unspeakable secrets is sort of a natural fit for older stories about queerness. I think The Picture of Dorian Gray would also fall in this mold. The whole idea of, like, unspeakability is so central to the gothic—of, like, something is wrong, but I cannot—or there’s something going on here that cannot be talked about.

H: And that’s, of course, a trope from very early on, where the unspeakability of queer love, when it is being viewed negatively, shows up a lot, you know, in medieval texts, for example.

R: Really! I didn’t know that. I definitely tend to think of it as something that queer people do—like, in the Vict[orian]—you know, the nineteenth century, I think that—and even maybe the eighteenth century, although I’m not—but like I think that idea of using the word “unspeakable” to refer, as a code word—

H: Yes.

R: —is something I see a lot. Even before the whole Oscar Wilde “the love that dare not speak its name.” Like, if you ever see somebody say, “an unspeakable tenderness,” it’s like, okay, that’s a gay thing, right.

H: Yes, absolutely. And you look for the code word, “an unspeakable crime” or “an unspeakable act” in medieval literature, and it pretty much is saying, you know, same-sex activity here.

R: That’s interesting because—you know, sometimes I think I go a little too far with assuming everything is queer-coding because, like, if you think about it, [in] the Victorian era, there were actually a lot of other things that were also unspeakable, right? Like, you couldn’t talk about kink, or adultery, or—you know what I mean, like, there were so many things. But when I read, for example, Tennyson’s, like, Idylls of the King {uses American pronunciation: /ˈaɪdəl/}, or is it “idylls” {uses British pronunciation: /ˈɪdəl/}of the king, I’m not actually sure. In “Lancelot and Elaine,” like, everything in that story— It seems very queer-coded to me because there’s like, Elaine, who represents the sort of pure, innocent longing for someone that can never return their love, and it feels very like pining for your straight best friend, kind of in this way. Then there’s Lancelot, who’s the confirmed bachelor, right, who—everyone keeps asking him why he can’t get married, and he doesn’t have an answer for them. And of course, in-story it’s that he’s sleeping with the queen, but it really is easy to read it as that he’s gay. He keeps trying to explain, like, I don’t want to get married, and everyone’s like, I don’t understand, everyone wants to get married. He’s like, but I don’t. You know, and like--and because, of course, I know that Tennyson—or at least, I feel very confident that Tennyson and the guy that he wrote “In Memoriam” about, that he was in love with him, and that—I don’t know whether they were boyfriends. I would kind of assume so based on the poem, but like, I don’t know. But he certainly, I feel, was in love with that guy. I think he’s pretty clear about it in the poem. He uses a lot of those code words—he references Socrates and Michelangelo and Shakespeare, and all of those things that were, like—when you see them clustering in a Victorian thing, you’re like, okay, that’s—they’re trying to tell me something.

H: Yeah.

R: And so—because I know that about Tennyson, I trust that reading, more than I maybe would otherwise, because if you think about it, it’s like, okay, in the Victorian era, also, there were people who were having adulterous affairs and couldn’t tell—you know what I mean? Because, like, the whole structure of marriage and sex and the family were very different, and the ideas about divorce were different, and the ideas about pre-marital sex were different, and so it’s like, there were a lot more things that were taboo and unspeakable—but at the same time….

H: So, your historical romances also focus a lot on class issues and representations of marginalized characters. Do you have a specific purpose in doing that, or do you just find those characters more interesting to write about?

R: I mean, I guess neither. I don’t necessarily agree with the framing—I mean, not that you’re doing this. But like, you see this sometimes, where people sort of frame it as like, why did this character have to have this marginalization?

H: Yes, it was something of a deliberately provocative framing.

R: Yeah—you see this idea, like, why did this character need to have this marginalization, it wasn’t serving any function, they could’ve just been white, queer—white, straight, whatever it is, right? Christian. Well yeah, but what purpose would their white straight Christianity be serving, either? You know what I mean? It’s like— So I think, like—I just want to move away from the idea of not having any marginalizations is the default, and then you have to justify doing anything different, you know? With this story, I specifically just—I’ve been kind of wanting to write, like, an F/F story for a while. I just had the idea of—I was reading Castle Rackrent, or part of Castle Rackrent, by Maria Edgeworth, and there’s a story in there about a guy who keeps his Jewish wife locked in her room. I was just thinking, like, what if you introduced a governess into this, wouldn’t that be amazing, because I love governess stories. And so, you know, the story was a queer story, like, that’s—what’s the story otherwise, right? So.

H: Yeah, yeah.

R: And when I wrote my first story with a Jewish character, I mentally cast an actress and I was looking up what her background was, and it seemed like that—I mean, I don’t think that her background specifically is Jewish, although—but I was looking up her last name and stuff, and I saw that her name is a common name among Jews that fled the Inquisition, or Marrano Jews, anusim Jews. And so I was like—I was at the time, I mean I still am, but at the time I’d just—there’d been something with casting non-Jewish actors for Jewish roles, and casting, like—Jewish actors never play Jewish roles, right, like—and I was like, I refuse to do that! Now I have to research Jews. I mean, it was—I don’t necessarily feel that—I don’t know. I just feel like I write what I write, and if that ends up having various elements in it, for various reasons—and then now I have to research that and figure out how to do it. But like, I’m not going to not do it because I don’t want to research it, you know? I mean, not that I’ve never—but that seems like chickening out or something to me, so.

H: So, changing tack a little bit—so, this is an Audible Original that is coming out from you, which means it’s just the audio book to begin with. I understand that there may be a text version eventually?

R: Yeah, probably in the fall.

H: So, how does that change the whole process? Did you write a different style because it was primarily going to be audio?

R: I had actually written most of it before Audible bought it, and so I wouldn’t say that I changed the style particularly. I do think that it was unusually suited among my work to being an audiobook already because it is first person and single POV, which I’ve never done before but is very common in gothics and is obviously the point of view that Jane Eyre is in. And so—and I think it’s very suited to gothics because I think part of the gothic is that all that the main character has is their own perceptions, to go on. And they are not confident that they can trust literally anything else, and maybe not even their own perceptions. And so having multiple POVs kind of defeats that, like—if you know what the other character’s thinking, there’s no mystery of whether they can be trusted or not. So, I was already writing in that way, and that is very suited, obviously, to an audiobook. And so that, I think, worked out really well. The main thing that I did is just—I went through and tried to get rid of things that wouldn’t need to be said if they were being performed. So if it was like, “She said tiredly,” or something like that. The person is obviously going to do a tired line reading, so I would put that as the stage direction instead of—

H: Oh! So you actually included stage directions in the text that you provided?

R: Yes.

H: So that is definitely a different way of writing, to some extent.

R: Well, I—yeah. I mean, I didn’t do a ton of them, and I didn’t do it as I was going. I did it, like, when—at the revision stage. But I definitely, for the most part, like, I wanted to give the narrator a lot of creative freedom. If there was a joke, or something that needed to be delivered in a particular way to be understood, but that was slightly ambiguous in being read, you know, like—if I thought that maybe the narrator wouldn’t understand what I was doing, then I would put a stage direction to explain it, like, you know. Where[as] if a reader reads it and they don’t understand it, or they have to go back and look at it again to check that they understood it correctly—it’s not a big deal if a hundred people read it and two of them don’t get it, it’s fine, you know what I mean? It’s—whatever, it’s a throwaway joke, it’s fine. But if the narrator misses it and reads it in a way that makes it not make sense, then nobody that’s listening is going to be able to understand it, and so I tried to think about that kind of thing and make sure that things were clear. It’s so funny—you know, I wrote this book about solitary confinement, and I started writing it before the pandemic, and now it’s, like, I have a new understanding. I mean, obviously not that it’s the same at all to be in my home because it’s a pandemic, as to be, like, locked in my home by somebody else, but—still. It ended up being timely in a way that I was not—

H: Yeah, I’ve been thinking of—not necessarily gothic, but supernatural takes on the way we live now. There was a minor thread on Twitter the other day about, you know, what if you have a haunted Zoom meeting? What if there’s a ghost that can manifest as a Zoom presence? And how would you know the difference?

R: Well, you wouldn’t know until you tried to return their sweater!

H: Yeah! That’s free for the taking if you like. But, just—I was thinking about, you know, tangibility and physicality, and the way we live now.

R: I love that. Oh my gosh, you’re right. You can’t tell whether someone’s corporeal over Zoom. I guess they have to be able to use the computer, but they could have someone that does it for them.

H: Well no, what I’m saying is—

R: Or they could exist on the internet, is that—

H: Exactly, exactly.

R: So is it a Zoom background that they would have, or—

H: Well, there’s many possibilities there. I’m just thinking of, you know, what if it is a ghost that, you know—because ghosts can manifest in a number of sensory ways, but what if it can manifest as, you know, electronic motion sufficient to produce a signal, and it doesn’t have to have any physicality.

R: Right, but I mean—how would it use Zoom, I guess is my question.

H: Oh, it exists in the intertubes, you know?

R: Right, so what’s the background?

H: Well, I think that could be up for grabs, you know? It could have whatever background it likes because the background is part of its manifestation.

R: Okay. Oh, so it’s specifically a Zoom ghost. It’s not like a ghost that exists independently but now is using Zoom.

H: Oh, no, no, no. It is a ghost that exists purely within the context of Zoom.

R: Got it. I was imagining it was a ghost, and it was now having a social life because it didn’t have to be corporeal and it could just hang out with people or something.

H: Ah, that could happen too, I suppose.

R: But it would have to, like, start the Zoom call. But I guess if it had a friend, or a roommate or whatever, that could start the Zoom call for it, that would—

H: Has your electronics never done something on its own mysteriously?

R: Well, I would assume that meant I was hacked.

H: Exactly.

R: A Zoom call opening on my computer.

H: There’s, you know, an angle on it. My keyboard keeps mysteriously, you know, coming awake and Zoom shows up on it, and it’s like, I’m not touching anything, and you know— Is Siri doing things while I’m talking in my sleep? I mean, I’ve got lots of possibilities coming out.

R: Right. I mean—if a ghost was living in my apartment and wanted to use my laptop for Zoom, it’d have a really hard time. It’d have to do it while I was asleep because otherwise, I’m using the laptop.

H: And then someone tracks it back to your account, and they’re saying, it’s like, what were you doing at 3 a.m.? It’s like, I think I was asleep….

R: Oh no, am I sleep-Zooming or is there a ghost? The only two options.

H: Or have I been hacked, you know? It’s like, there, it’s a mystery as well.

R: I guess also it could also be a Zoom ghost that’s only a voice, and it didn’t have to worry about, like, you know, a no-video ghost.

H: You might have to coax it to appear visually. So this always feels strange to ask an author right after her new book comes out, but do you have any future projects you want to talk about that our listeners might be interested in?

R: Well, right now I’m working on two new projects. One is the sequel to The Wife in the Attic about the narrator’s best friend, who now got a job as a lady’s companion.

H: Is that a lady’s companion as in lady’s companion?

R: Well no, she’s a chaperone or whatever, but she will be a lady’s companion later, you know.

H: That’s a very useful trope that people do not use enough.

R: I agree. If you see an old personals ad, where it’s like, “Lady seeking companion,” a lot of the time that’s code for, like, a lesbian personals ad. Not that lady’s companions in general were like—I’m sure some of them were, but like—in general I’m not saying—but if you see like a late nineteenth-century personals ad in the newspaper that’s, like, lady seeking companionship or whatever, it’s like, hm, probably, probably it’s a lesbian thing, not, like, just a job posting.

H: Uh huh.

R: At least in what I’ve read.

H: So that was one project.

R: And then I’m also just—this is like a very baby project, but I am very excited about it. I’m doing a co-writing project, my first co-writing project ever, with Katie Welsh, and it’s a mystery project. Does that mean it’s a mystery, or mysterious? Both.

H: Uh huh. That’s great. I’m looking forward especially to the sequel.

R: Thank you.

H: So, I’m always interested to hear what my interviewees have been enjoying that they’ve been reading and consuming recently. Anything you’d particularly like to recommend?

R: Well, The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley is out today as well. Well, the day that we’re recording—I don’t know when this will air. And it is so delightful. It’s obviously a slightly different genre. I mean, it’s also Regency and a romance, but it’s like a much more rompy, frothy, like, fun—and if you like Leverage, it’s sort of like Leverage meets the bat family in the sense of, like, you know, Batman and his adorable band of ragtag orphans, and meets, like, Regency romcom delightfulness. So, highly recommend that. I am now—I mean, I don’t pretend this is a recommendation because everyone’s seen it but me, but I’ve just started watching The Mandalorian. I have mixed feelings, but I am enjoying it, and I do think Baby Yoda is very, very cute.

H: Uh huh.

R: So, I too would adopt Baby Yoda. What else. I am currently reading a book about English coroners’ inquests—

H: Oh.

R: —for the mysterious project, which I am also enjoying, which is called Bodies of Evidence. If anyone wants to learn very detailed information about the history of the political discourse surrounding the coroners’ inquests, that’s fun.

H:  If listeners wanted to follow you on social media, where should they look?

R: I—primarily I’m on Twitter, @roselerner. I’m also on Instagram, @rose.lerner, and I’m on Facebook at Rose Lerner Romance, but I don’t use those nearly as much. I also have a Patreon, if anyone wants to hear from me every week, or you want to know more about what I’m working—you want to keep updated on what I’m working on—I also share a lot of little cute, like, historical tidbits and fun weird stuff that I learn there. And that is also Rose Lerner. And I also do have a freelance editing, book-doctoring, research-assistance business, which is at And of course, everything to do with me is on my website, which is

H: Well, I will include links to all of those in the show notes. So, thank you so much for sharing your time with the Lesbian Historic Motif Project.

R: Oh, my pleasure.

Show Notes

Your monthly roundup of history, news, and the field of sapphic historical fiction.

In this episode we talk about:

Links to the Lesbian Historic Motif Project Online

Links to Heather Online

Links to Rose Lerner Online

Major category: