Following from The Secret Diaries of Anne Lister (published by Virago) this volume continues her story. Anne Lister arrives in post-revolutionary Paris in 1824, attempting to recover from a doomed love affair with a married woman. There she becomes emotionally entangled with a young widow. Anne's efforts, firstly to extricate herself from this new 'scrape' and then to make a choice between the two women in her life, provides an absorbing sexual and social drama.
We follow Anne Lister to Buxton, Derbyshire, where a husband appears in hot pursuit of his straying wife who has, in turn, followed Anne there; in Halifax, the Yorkshire town of Anne's birth; to London; and, lastly, to post-revolutionary Paris, a city alive with political intrigue. Anne's descriptive powers bring each scene vividly to life, providing a brilliant, kaleidoscopic background to her story.
[Anne Lister's] sense of self, and self-awareness, is what makes her modern to us. She was a woman exercising conscious choice. She controlled her cash and her body. At a time when women had to marry, or be looked after by a male relative, and when all their property on marriage passed to their husband, Anne Lister not only dodged the traps of being female, she set up a liaison with another woman that enhanced her own wealth and left both of them free to live as they wished . . . The diaries gave me courage