In the vast sea of heterosexual romance novels, finding a queer themed book that’s of good quality isn’t always an easy task. Whenever I go into bookstores, it’s always apparent that the LGBTQIA section is usually the smallest one. Even then, some of the books that get lumped into the “queer-themed” section barely pass as such. Instead of exploring narratives about actual LGBTQIA people, they focus on straight romances with the occasional queer sidekick, who usually has a tragic, self-deprecating backstory and an unhappy or underdeveloped resolution.
When it comes to queer women however, the frequency of well-written romance novels gets even lower. Queer women are one of the most underrepresented demographics in mainstream media, like film, television, and especially books. While there are a wide variety of authors who actually write an abundance of well-developed lesbian romance novels, popular marketplaces often ignore their work. Luckily, thanks to the Internet, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best lesbian themed books available, so you never have to leave a bookstore feeling unsatisfied again.
1. Dare, Truth, or Promise by Paula Bocook
This young adult novel by Bocook is a classic teenage love story, complete with first loves, first kisses, and a familiar theme of opposites attract. The two main characters, Willa and Louie, possess a sense of wit and confidence that makes them the ultimate feminist sheroes for any young girl (or young adult) seeking a badass role model.
Bocook also provides a realistic but moving portrayal of a budding relationship, which includes the trials that are often faced with coming out, but not sacrificing the rest of the story in interest of it.
2. When Women Were Warriors by Catherine M. Wilson
In this epic trilogy, author Catherine Wilson focuses not only on a complex and complicated romance, but one woman’s quest to become a warrior, despite the fact that she’s been born into a society that tries to prevent it. Set in the British Isles during the Bronze Age, When Women Were Warriors follows the journey of one woman named Tamras as she struggles with discrimination, love, and the price of trying to play the hero. Romance, lesbians, people of color, and lady warriors — what more could you want?
3. Once More With Feeling by Peggy J Herring
This novel leans on the more emotional side of the romance novel spectrum, with an intimate look into both relationships that are breaking down, and ones that are just getting started. Herring paints the narrative of a woman named Laura, who has left her long time partner in favor of beginning a new life in a way she never expected with a woman named Robin.
This novel explores the ways in which queer relationships can be just as deep and complicated as the heterosexual ones we are already well versed in, and proves that lesbian authors like Herring can survive the test of time.
Whether it’s sci-fi, adventure, romance, fantasy, or even a western, queer characters can and should exist on all platforms of literature. The stories of queer women may have been pushed to the back burner by popular culture, but rest assured, there will always be upcoming LGBTQIA authors who are providing us with badass characters for the ages.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.