Tag: Anne

The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley – The Lesbrary

Susan reviews The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia

The Heiress by Molly Greeley

I’m not a big Pride and Prejudice fan, but for some reason, I’m drawn to P&P retellings–especially queer ones. The Heiress is a Pride and Prejudice novel: not exactly a retelling, a prequel, or a sequel, it fills in the story from one of the minor characters of the book: Anne de Bourgh. In case you forgot, Anne is Mr. Darcy’s original fiancee, and Catherine de Bourgh’s sickly daughter. In the original book, Anne doesn’t leave a strong impression. This novel gives her centre stage, and makes her a compelling and empathetic character.

Anne was a fussy baby, and she was prescribed laudanum drops to quiet her. She continued to be lethargic and delicate, and when she missed her drops, she had horrible reactions (shaking, sweating, sensory hallucinations, etc), so she stayed on these drops her whole childhood. Essentially, Anne has been drugged on opium her entire life. Any time they try to stop, she goes into withdrawal, which they interpret as her sickness getting worse. This leaves her, understandably. listless and easily overwhelmed. She’s never known anything other than this, though: at no point in her life has she been able to be clear-headed and sober for more than an hour or so at a time.

You might remember the character of her mother better. She is controlling and has very strong opinions, not allowing Anne to do anything that might strain her, like learning to play an instrument or reading novels. She is more like an object in her own life: she is often ignored or pitied by guests, and even in her twenties, her mother treats her like a small child. She mostly just watches the people around her. Although she has no agency in her day-to-day life, she is the heiress of their estate, which is extremely rare: she doesn’t have to marry to keep the land.

She loves the house and grounds–and she feels like it loves her back. She can hear it whisper to her after she’s had her drops. But she also lives under the shadow of the estate that will one day be hers. She feels incapable of managing it: she can’t even manage a conversation.

One of the only people who treats her like a human being is her governess, who tries to tell her that she is capable of more. She attempts to warn Anne about the medicine, but Anne doesn’t want to hear it, and her governess knows that pushing too hard will leave her without a job. Anne gets a crush on her, naturally, but the governess leaves and is replaced by a bland woman who acts as a puppet of her mother.

Eventually, Anne begins to internalize what the governess told her, and she realizes that the drops that she has been depending on may be the cause, not the cure, for how she feels. Impulsively, aware that her life is in danger, she dumps her medicine and flees to her cousin’s house in London, one of the few people who has ever treated her like a person. There, Anne tries to learn how to be independent, and how to fit in.

This is also where the book turns into a lesbian historical romance! It’s exactly the kind of excruciating historical lesbian slow burn you love to see. As Anne tries to fit into London society, she becomes fast friends with a woman who is a little too loud and boisterous for Victorians, but Anne can’t pull herself away from her. Eliza introduces her to novels and takes her shopping for fashionable clothing. Soon, they are spending almost all of their time together.

This is a book that fits together with Pride and Prejudice, but could also completely stand on its own. Without the references, it would still be a fascinating look at a woman who lived most of her life in a haze and the struggles of coming out of it. The last half of this book is also a beautiful, absorbing F/F romance. It manages to be both a Victorian historical novel and feature a drug addict lesbian main character with no apparent clash between those ideas!

I highly recommend this for fans of historical fiction, whether or not you are a Pride and Prejudice fan.

Audible Original tells story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read

Anne Bonny and Mary Read as Michelle Fox and Erin Doherty

Hell Cats is a new Audible Original about two queer pirates. (Audible)

Hell Cats tells the amazing true story of notorious female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and their queer romance that has been buried by history.

As young women in the 18th century, Bonny and Read defied every expectation placed on them.

Both were born out of wedlock and into poverty, and were raised as boys to give them a better chance in life.

But despite pressure from their families to become respectable members of society, the two women broke free, as the new Audible Original podcast Hell Cats reveals.

While Anne burned down her father’s slave plantation and, at just 18 years old, ran off to the Bahamas with her male lover, Mary continued to dress as a man to escape to sea and work on a ship.

Through dramatic twists of fate, Anne and Mary found their way to piracy and to each other.

Close-up of two women holding hands
Hell Cats is a thrilling tale of love, defiance and adventure. (Audible)

Embarking on an incredible adventure together, while also finding revenge on the men who had wronged them, the two pirates became possibly the most impressive power couple – and the most well-known female pirates – of all time.

Hell Cats, written by Carina Rodney and directed by Kate Saxon, captures the whirlwind drama of the pirates’ lives in a gripping tour de force of audio drama. The series immerses the listener in high-seas drama with a diverse cast of 52 voice actors.

Michelle Fox (Overshadowed, A Very English Scandal) plays Bonny, with Erin Doherty (The Crown, Les Miserables) as Read and Fisayo Akinade (Russel T Davies’ Cucumber and Banana) as Pierre Bouspeut.

 Anne Bonny and Mary Read as Michelle Fox and Erin Doherty
Anne Bonny and Mary Read are voiced by Michelle Fox and Erin Doherty. (Audible)

While the podcast series has healthy doses of treasure, duelling and swashbuckling, it also artfully explores themes of queer love, gender expression, equality and freedom.

It’s a poignant tale for queer listeners and an exciting piece of LGBT-storytelling, refreshingly different from the norm.

You can feel the action swirling around you as Bonny and Read subvert expectations, outsmarting law enforcement and leaving a line of scorned ex-lovers in their wake.

At its core Hell Cats is a story of two fearless queer women, bringing to life erased and forgotten LGBT+ history, and giving Bonny and Read the recognition they deserve.

Hell Cats is available exclusively on Audible, and an exclusive limited run of Hell Cats merch is available through Audible’s Instagram.

 

I aspire to be like Anne Lister : actuallesbians

I aspire to be like Anne Lister : actuallesbians

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!