From the QFest website:
Considered by many to be the first modern lesbian, Anne Lister—born in the same era as Jane Austen—was an inspiring 19th-century landowner, industrialist and traveler. A prolific diarist, she detailed her observations on life, and her passionate affairs with other women in over four million words, one-sixth written in secret code!
John Lister, the last in the line of the Lister family, wisely stashed the diaries of his relative Anne behind the paneling of the ancestral home in Shibden Hall, Halifax, Yorkshire, over 150 years ago. Discovered in the 1980s, this Sapphic treasure-trove which took 6-years to decode is the rich source material for this sumptuously produced, BBC period-drama. The story starts with Anne, (Maxine Peake, "Criminal Justice") looking through her monocular at a woman, Mariana (Anna Madeley), her secret lover and soul-mate. United, they savor illicit kisses pressed against an ancient tree. When Mariana succumbs to societal pressure and marries a wealthy landowner, Charles Lawton, Anne is bereft. Finding solace in scholarly pursuits—journal-writing, pistol-shooting and remodeling the vast estate—her libido is soon re-energized when she spies a young pretty parishioner, Miss Browne. When an heiress, Ann Walker, agrees to back a business proposal, Miss Lister has to make some difficult choices to carve out a lesbian life for herself. Writer Jane English (“Sugar Rush”) and director James Kent deserve a standing ovation for resuscitating the true story of this remarkable woman, who only loved “the fairer-sex,” and bringing her vividly back to life, 170 years after her death! -- Carol Coombes
A Jane Austen-era lesbian romance? Yes, please.