Love’s Portrait is a vibrant contemporary lesbian romance with a historical twist. Sparks fly between Molly, an art curator, and Georgina, her museum’s aloof benefactor, as they research the portrait of a 19th-century lesbian social activist and try to convince the museum’s board to display it.
“My intention?” Molly instantly thought again of Edith’s gravestone. The absence of her achievements or mention of who she might have loved or been loved by. Molly took a deep breath. “I want visitors to know that love between women exists throughout history. I want to correct the omission of this truth in the museum and in our public consciousness. What’s more, I want Edith to be able to recognize herself in her display. For her to say that’s me—that is my work, that is my passion, that is my love. You have captured me as I see myself.”
Love’s Portrait, April 2019
Museums are more than just places where objects are preserved and displayed. They are the interpreters of our past, and the mediators of our understanding. They are the tellers of our stories and the architects of our narratives. They tell us what we have achieved, what we are achieving, and what by inference we can achieve. They reflect our identity back to us, like a mirror; this is us, this is you.
But what happens if you don’t recognise the you on display? What happens if you is somewhere lost in the silence, in the gap between what is said and what has been omitted, what is preserved and what has been forgotten?
These are the questions Love’s Portrait explores.
Love’s Portrait’s heroines, Molly Goode and Georgina Wright, with passion and conviction, replace the silence with questions that challenge the status quo. Where are the minority voices they ask, the untold stories, those hidden histories? And vitally how do we stop these omissions from persisting into the future?
For fiction offers a space to ask questions and to envisage change. It provides us with a vision for where the boundaries between the imagined and real can be crossed and where and how progress beyond the page can be made.
Ultimately Love’s Portrait reminds us that museums, like history, belong to us all. So let’s replace the silence with our stories, and share them proudly far and wide.
Love’s Portrait is available right now from the Bold Strokes Books website, and from all other retailers.
To celebrate the publication of Love’s Portrait, Anna is giving away a signed paperback copy (UK only) or an e-book (worldwide). To enter: just leave a comment on this post to be entered into the draw. Closing date: 23rd April 2019. Good luck!
About Anna Larner
Anna is an English Literature graduate with a passion for LGBT heritage. She has master’s degrees in museum studies and the word and the visual imagination and has written and curated a permanent exhibition of LGBT voices and memorabilia, based at Leicester’s LGBT Centre.
Anna’s debut novel Highland Fling was a finalist in the 2018 Golden Crown Literary Society Awards and was recommended as one of the Top Ten Summer Reads of 2017 by AfterEllen. Her short story “Hooper Street” can be found in the BSB anthology Girls Next Door. Her poems have been published with Paradise Press and the University of Leicester’s Centre for New Writing.
Facebook & Instagram: @anna.larner.writer Twitter: @annalarnerbooks