You can’t have a romance without a happily ever after – and we all deserve our own HEA.
The romance genre has long been dominated by white authors and white characters. It’s time to change it up. Focus on amplifying the spotlight on diverse voices – especially since some of these authors aren’t really all that new.
We read romance for the same reason we read any books – to escape. Romance novels are fun! They are filled with interesting characters, sexual tension, ridiculous plot twists, and, of course, steamy relationships. The best part, no matter your taste, there is a romance novel just for you.
Harlequin romances and bodice-rippers all bring to mind the classic historical romance novel. While some might laugh what is more romantic than going back to a bygone era? The elegant clothes, the dashing men, the sense of danger around every corner. This genre is classic for a reason.
Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
Hester Wyatt is a determined, intelligent, and feisty conductor on the underground railroad. Once a slave herself, she is now a member of the Michigan Underground railroad dedicated to helping other runaway slaves get the freedom she loves. This is why she doesn’t ask any questions when a fellow conductor brings her an injured man.
The injured man, Daniel, is a member of a wealthy freed Black family from New Orleans named Galen Vachon. He is not only injured but has a bounty on his head. When he comes to, he finds Hester; gorgeous, intriguing. and innocent, while she finds him rude and arrogant. But, if the two are to find love, they must first avoid traitors, slave catchers, and the lure of a bounty. What should they choose? Add this li bookself pick to your TBR list to find out.
The Hidden Blade, Sherry Thomas
What was once a quiet life in the imperial city of Peking, a young girl’s life changes when she finds out that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. She knows there is no future for her until a mysterious man comes along to teach her martial arts.
Across the world, a young boy in Sussex finds his life changed by a single bullet. Now he is forced to live with his sadistic uncle. All he wants is to search for his long lost friend.
The young girl trains to be deadly and the young boy flees his home, bound for China. When the two collide one fateful night, their lives change forever. Little did they know their fates were always intertwined.
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Espionage. Romance. War. When Elle Burns gave up her freedom in Massachusetts to spy for the Union Army, she had no idea where she would end up. Now, back in slavery in the south, she is willing to risk her life to discover secrets to help the north win the war.
Malcolm McCall, a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service, is about to embark on his deadliest mission yet, infiltrating a Rebel enclave in Virginia. There, he meets Elle and the two spies realize that they are on the same deadly mission. Now, they find themselves caught between wartime intrigue and completing their mission, and the forbidden love they have for each other.
When you want a fun movie night, you watch a romantic comedy. When you want an entertaining read that’s full of hilarious antics, hidden secrets, and a cute love story, you grab a rom-com. While these might not always be the steamiest of romance novels, they are the perfect little taste of love you need during the week. These casually romantic reads are sure to satisfy your rom-com reading dreams.
The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
Rhiannon Hunter knows a thing or two about dating apps – she created one after all. But when it comes to her own love life, she is more likely to swipe right on her career than her heart. Well, unless you count the occasional hookup. She is a businesswoman who doesn’t have time for frivolous relationships.
So, she has three important rules of dating: Nudes are by invitation only. If you are stood up, block with extreme prejudice. Protect your heart.
Then Rhi met Samson, a big, beautiful former pro football player. He is sexy – and he ghosted her. Steeling her broken heart, Rhi finds out that Samson is working for a business rival. Now she has to figure out if she can have a working relationship, or if she needs more.
The Chai Factor by Farah Heron
With her thesis almost complete, Amira Khan wants nothing more than a quiet space where she can write. As soon as she finishes, her life can move forward, and she’ll finally get that new promotion. So, imagine her surprise when arrives at her grandmother’s home to find that there is a barbershop quartet living in the basement.
The house soon becomes a rehearsal space for the quartet, which is the opposite of an ideal study space. To make matters worse, Duncan, the small-town baritone, has started to drive her crazy.
However, intolerance rears its ugly head. Next thing she knows, Amira’s family gets hurt. Now she needs to decide what she is willing to fight for, and, surprisingly, Duncan is ready to fight alongside her. Did she judge him too soon?
You Had Me at Hola, by Alexis Daria
Soap opera star Jasmine Lin Rodriguez follows three rules for leading ladies. Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers. They don’t need a man to be happy. Finally, they do not rebound with their costars. Well, like any telenovela, things don’t go according to plan.
After returning to New York star in a bilingual romantic comedy – think Jane the Virgin – she finds her face plastered across the tabloids. So, step one of her Leading Lady plan has already fallen apart, but that’s what happens after a messy public breakup.
But, after Jasmine meets her new co-star, telenovela actor Ashton Suarez, things start to get messy. Each of them needs to make this new show work, so they agree to private rehearsals where building on-screen chemistry starts to bleed over into reality. With secrets and drama, this romance might be better than a soap opera.
When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon
The last thing Dimple Shah wants is for her parents to find her the “perfect Indian husband.” But, when her parents agree to let her attend a summer program for web developers, she starts to question their motives a little.
Rishi Patel, on the other hand, admits he is a hopeless romantic and would like nothing more than to have his parents find him the perfect wife. However, instead of just arranging a marriage, Rishi’s parents say that he will meet his future wife at his summer program, he just has to figure out how to woo her himself.
While the Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to set their children up, fate worked in their favor when Dimple and Rishi both decided on the same summer program. But when the two finally meet, unaware of their parent’s secret plan, will they clash or fall head over heels in love?
If you want the perfect combination of rom-com and historical fiction, then modern romance is just right. They have all the sizzling romance of the HF novels, without taking place a hundred years ago. Sometimes they even come with a few steamy covers.
The Seaside Cafe by Rochelle Alers
Off the coast of North Carolina, Coates Island is a place of new opportunity, at least Kayana Johnson hopes so. Recently suffering from a deep betrayal, Kayana just wants to begin anew. She moved to the beach to work with her brother at the Seaside Cafe. Bringing her delicious New Orleans cooking to the cafe, Kayana starts to make friends.
After speaking with a couple of customers, Kayana starts a summer book club. What started as a way for the group to discuss their favorite novels, soon touches too close to home. Teacher Leah starts to get a taste of freedom from her unhappy marriage. Cherie discovers a new passion. While Kayna finds a kindred spirit in a reclusive visitor who opens her summer up for new possibilities.
Acting on Impulse, by Mia Sosa
Tori Alvarez heads to Aruba for rest, relaxation, and plenty of cocktails. Her high-profile relationship with a media-hungry politician just had a very public breakup and she is over it. So, it’s time to have a little fun, which is why she can’t help but flirt with the hottie who sits next to her on the plane.
Hollywood star Carter Stone looks a lot different than he usually does, and it seems that the good looking woman he finds himself sitting next to doesn’t recognize him. After a bit of small talk, it turns out that she is a personal trainer, which is exactly what he needs to get back to his old self. It doesn’t hurt that she gets his heart rate up without doing anything.
After a bit of flirting and fun, Tori agrees to train Carter. But it is very clear they both are interested in more than just training. However, what happens when the paparazzo let Carter’s secret out of the bag, and Tori finds herself in another high-profile relationship?
These are but a few of the romance novels out there by authors of color. What’s more, theses are only a few of the different subgenres within romance. If you’re into Scifi and fantasy, LGBTQ romance, or YA novels, there are plenty of romance novels by BIPOC in those genres too.
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