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Fiction Lesbian

Patience and Sarah

Patience and SarahAlma Routsong
(Isabel Miller)
Ballantine Books1969

From Wikipedia: Patience and Sarah is a 1969 historical fiction novel with strong lesbian themes by Alma Routsong, using the pen name Isabel Miller. It was originally self-published under the title A Place For Us and eventually found a publisher as Patience and Sarah in 1971.

Routsong’s novel is based on a real-life painter named Mary Ann Willson who lived with her companion Miss Brundage as a “farmerette” in the early 19th century in Greene County, New York. Routsong said she came upon Willson’s work in a folk art museum in Cooperstown and was inspired to write the story after reading the description of Willson and Brundage. It tells the story of two women in Connecticut in 1816 who fall in love and decide to leave their homes to buy a farm in another state or territory and live in a Boston marriage. The story addresses the limited opportunities and roles of women in early America, gender expression, and the interpretation of religion in everyday life.

So when I let my head fall back under Sarah’s kiss, the frenzy I trembled at just wasn’t there. Instead, comfort and joy and simplicity and order and answers to questions I’d always supposed unanswerable, such as, why was I born? why a woman? why here? why now?
A wonderful glowing spacious peacefulness came to us. There was so much time.

Alma Routsong, Patience and Sarah