If you have read ‘Desert of the Heart’ or saw the movie with a slight change of title – “Dessert Hearts’ then you owe the wonderful story to deceased author, Jane Rule.
paula here. I had the privilege of receiving a signed copy of the book from Jane. She was speaking to an audience in Toronto, Canada and she was an excellent speaker.
Jane was born in New Jersey but lived most of her life in California until towards the end of her life, she settled on Galiano Island off British Columbia, Canada. She attended private schools with dancing lessons and the obligatory trip to England and Europe. Jane grew up with live-in domestic help. She stood 6 feet tall and felt her height prevented her from being a good dancer. She died at age 76.
Jane was the first Canadian writer (she became a Canadian citizen) to write about being gay and she did it as if it were the most natural thing in the world. She differed from other lesbian authors in that being gay in her novels was no different from being straight. They had basically the same life problems and situations. The characters were real. There was a good plot.
My Personal Lesbian Love Book and Movie
Rule’s first novel, Desert of the Heart, a love story involving two women in Reno, Nevada was published in 1964, and made into a movie, Desert Hearts, in 1986. This is one movie that I can reach for every six months or so and enjoy it as if it was brand new. I asked Jane in an audience setting if there was another in the making and she had said, ‘hopefully.’
Her debut novel was followed by This Is Not For You (1970), Against the Season (1971) and perhaps her best-known work, The Young in One Another’s Arms (1977), a tale of residents in a Vancouver boarding house who recreate family bonds while living and working together on Galiano Island. In all, she authored a dozen books, including three short story collections.
In later years, Rule was famous for the swimming pool she built on her Galiano Island property, which open to neighbourhood children under her watchful eye. Jane lived with Helen, the love of her life for 45 years. Helen proceeded Jane and it left a void in her life. Do read Desert of the Heart and watch the movie, that is, if you have not done so before. Jane’s work gave me inspiration and courage.