Thursday, May 20, 2021

#RomBkLove 2021: Inclusive Historical Romance

Image of #RombkLove2021 themes for the month
I uh-dore historical romance. Historical fiction is probably my favorite genre, and I love historicals that offer a point-of-view that isn't cisgendered and white.

Historical romance is rich with diversity that reminds us that many people want love and partnerships that affirm them. I'm so excited to read stories with romantic protagonists who aren't cisgendered, or white in Regency England, or straight in 19th-century United States. 

So when Ana Coqui of Immersed in Books put out the call for people to help with this year's #RomBkLove, I jumped at the chance to participate.

Assembling this list was fun and I'm thrilled many of the books I'm recommending have already been recommended (sometimes, more than once!) during #RomBkLove 2021. And of course, other bloggers have been writing longer about diversity in romance for years and years and I owe all of them a debt for cluing me into many of the reads here.

Inclusive Historical Romances

 An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Alyssa Cole is an astounding romance novelist who could convince me that anything can be turned into a compelling romance. Example: this book, which is set during the US Civil War and features an interracial couple in the US South. Cole manages to write an evocative thriller and sexy romance without ignoring the realities of setting and era and is also hopeful and warm. Fluffy this is not; deeply satisfying it is.

Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins

One can't assemble a list on this topic without starting with a nod to Beverly Jenkins who has long been writing historical romances featuring people of color. I had a chance to read her newest release, Wild Rain, earlier this year. Among the many things going for this book is the cover (heroine in pants!), the main characters (sunshine-and-grump), best confession of love I've ever read, and a strong sense of place and family that reminds me of 'classic' romance.

The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan

It's hard not to fangirl madly over Milan and her books. This book is the first in a series, featuring two main characters of Chinese descent in Regency England, with all the trappings of a romance of that ilk: titled families, misunderstandings, manners, and mischief. I haven't read it yet and I can't wait to do so.

The Longest Night by E.E. Ottoman

This brief novella is a set in the early 1900s featuring two transmen, penned by a trans author. Longtime correspondents, the two main characters finally have an opportunity to be together in person. This is another book I haven't yet read but plan to this year; I'm absolutely here for 'cozy', 'sweet', 'warm'.

A Delicate Deception by Cat Sebastian

A historical romance in which both leads are bisexual, and the secondary couple of the story is aromantic/asexual (it's not named). There is Queer found family in abundance. This read is a delight.

And I am definitely pushing the definition of historical with this next one, but whatever, it's my list and more people need to read...

 Letters for Lucardo, Vol. 1 by Otava Heikkil├Ą

This is a m/m erotic romantic fantasy graphic novel penned by a trans artist/author featuring a 61-year-old lead who falls in love with a 400 year old vampire. I'm handwaving it into this list by the fact it's not a contemporary setting. I fell hard for this book (as well as its sequel) and I can't forget the two romantic leads. It's a graphic novel that focuses on the sex in addition to the romantic relationship, so there are graphic sexual illustrations.

And that is my brief and biased list of recommendations! For more, be sure to check out the other themed posts in #RomBkLove!

Do you have a favorite historical romance era or setting you can't get enough of? What era should start getting the historical romance treatment? And of course, what inclusive historical romance should be added to this list?

1 comment :

  1. What a great list! For no specific reason I've kind of wandered away from historical romance but I really want to get back to reading it. I checked out an older book by one of my earliest histrom faves (Meredith Duran), and I'm hoping it kickstarts my remembering to read in the genre.