BOOK REVIEW: Tell Me I’m Forgiven: The Story of Forgotten Stars Gwen Farrar & Norah Blaney – Alison Child

December 21, 2019

Tell Me I’m Forgiven: The Story of Forgotten Stars Gwen Farrar & Norah Blaney

Alison Child

I loved this book, such a thrilling piece of unknown queer British history, and a fascinating addition to the fields of lesbian biography and theatre history.

Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney were drawn together by mutual desire and astonishing talent and versatility. They became England’s first great female musical comedy double act, singing the popular love songs of the 1920s to each other onstage and making dozens of recordings.

They barely disguised the secret of their enduring 30 yearlong lesbian partnership. In this vivid biography, their lives are documented in full for the first time by local  Author Alison child who introduces us to both women, shows us their tender, beautiful and bold  life and also examines from a lesbian perspective how they managed their love, lives and being clearly lesbian in the full public gaze.  Every page made me smile, the stories and adventures captured are heart-warming and connect the reader up into a world of huge change,  one our grandparents would have known and loved.  Gwen and Norah’s life together is explored from an LGBTQ perspective and this gives us readers an authentic experience of seeing how it was for them. For many years they were fearless in their refusal to conform to social expectations, from the clothes they wore, to their careers to how they chose to live.

The book is full of illustrations and pictures where they look back at us, a twinkle in their eyes.  The anecdotes bring them to rich life and it’s clear from Child’s familiarly with the material that these were electric women. Their act was original, quirky and musically accomplished. With as much attention to their domestic lives as to their long stage presence we get to see this charming couple as they were, and as they wished to be seen.  Uncompromising and authentically themselves, in love, in partnership and in control.

A superb read and the perfect festive gift for that special woman in your life.

Hardcover £11.99

For more info or to buy this book see the publishers website here: