Genevieve and I are putting the finishing touches on Star Crossed. We’ll have an official release date and preorder links soon (and ARCs in the next two weeks), but before we get to that, I wanted to recommend some of the many, many female/female romances I’ve read.
About two years ago, I asked myself, “Why aren’t there any female/female romances?” This was after I’d previously asked, “Why aren’t there any political romances?” and “Why aren’t there any Muslim romances?”
The problem was all of these questions began with me assuming such romances didn’t exist simply because I hadn’t read them and/or I wasn’t seeing reviewed on the (primarily straight) romance blogs. And in each case, I was deeply wrong. It was the worst kind of “if I don’t know about it, it must not exist” fallacy. But luckily the moment I scratched the surface with my queries, dozens (if not hundreds) of books poured out.
It’s clear that romance suffers from a discoverability problem. For reasons I won’t speculate about in this post, female/female romance hasn’t had as much cross-over with f/m romance as m/m has, but as soon as I went looking for it, I found tons. Here are some of my favorites; let me know in the comments if I missed one of yours.
Literary Fiction/Historical Romance
One of the biggest names in female/female romance is Sarah Waters. I would most especially recommend Fingersmith, but Tipping the Velvet and The Paying Guest were also wonderful. Waters’ prose is extraordinary. Her characters feel distinctive, three dimensional, and absolutely real. While the self-consciousness of the writing might put some genre fans off, I devoured these books.
Science Fiction Romance
Here, I have two titles by Cathy Pegau: Deep Deception and Rulebreaker. Pegau does a top-notch job with world-building: well observed, economical, and imaginative. These might be more futuristic than SFR (I’m squidgy on the distinction), but they are excellent.
New Adult Romance
While I read very little NA romance these days, the first f/f I read was actually Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon–and it was an excellent place to start. It’s such a different take on college life than most NA and it’s delightful–as are The Belle and the BDOC by AJ Cousins, which features an epic game of Assassin (which I totally played at summer camp!), and Tamsen Parker’s Looking for a Complication. The latter is short, romantic, and lovely.
I’d be remiss if I left out Dahlia Adler, who has written loads of f/f, including Out on Good Behavior. I really appreciated the friend network in Adler’s books and how she’s writing crossover series with f/m and f/f entries.
One of the biggest names in female/female romance is Radclyffe. If you’ve never read her, my favorite (so far) is Fated Love, a super well done, hospital-set romance. I get that one of the impediments to trying f/f is that much of it is published by niche houses like Bold Strokes Books and Ylva Publishing who tend to charge more for e-books than romance readers are used to paying. But it’s worth waiting for these to go on sale or saving your pennies for Fated Love.
Vanessa North is also a name to put on your radar, and last year’s Roller Girl was a favorite of mine. There’s an excellent cast of characters, and I loved the roller derby scenes (LOVED). It was the book I wanted the movie Whip It to be…if that makes sense (which it probably doesn’t).
Women’s Fiction/Strong Romantic Elements
Clare Lydon’s London Calling (and the books that follow in the series of the same name) and the stand alone The Long Weekend are British rom-coms, but they read a bit more like women’s fiction to me: really developed friend networks, people with actual jobs and problems, and dry, British wit.
Mystery/PNR/Strong Romantic Elements
For a PNR mystery, I would recommend Alexis Hall’s Kate Kane series and for contemporary, Kris Ripper’s The Butch and the Beautiful. Kate Kane has a phenomenal, take-no-crap voice, and if Hall wrote twenty more books with her, I would read them all. Iron & Velvet and Shadows & Dreams are moody, atmospheric, and smart. Ripper’s Queers of La Vista series I read with the biggest grin on my face. There’s a murder mystery that runs through the series, but I liked them all for the friendships, humor, and heat (and they are very hot).
Young Adult/Strong Romantic Elements
I forgot two of the titles I meant to include: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and by If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan. Without getting too spoilery, neither is a genre romance. Additionally, Farizan’s book is a bit clunky at times, but both are fascinating, and Wein’s book is un-put-down-able.