I didn't know about this book until recently. I had read and loved I Know My Own Heart: The Diaries of Anne Lister, 1791-1840 (Cutting Edge: Lesbian Life & Literature) (republished in 2010 as The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister) in 1989. This, Helena Whitbread's second book, first published in 1992, is the lesser-known follow-up, covering the period Sept 1824 to Oct 1826.
In this second book almost every diary entry is preceded by a heading, which serves as a summary of that day for easy reference; and photographs, drawings, and paintings depict Anne's world.
The book begins with Anne's stay in Paris, where she courts a widow whose social standing and financial worth do not meet Anne's aspirations. Whilst continuing her affair with the love of her life, Marianna Lawton (married to Charles Lawton), Anne seeks a suitable life partner who will allow her to climb the social ranks.
About one sixth of Anne Lister's diaries (the encoded parts) reveal her desire for women and her forthright approach to satisfying that desire. Where this second book really wins out for me is that Helena Whitbread now seems less shy about sharing with her readers the finer details of Anne's lesbianism.
Author of Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder