This week’s theme is “Ten Books Every X Should Read”… and I’m having a hard time picking what “X” is. I’m going to go a little off-script for me and talk about romances, I think! Unfortunately, I have just a few authors I tend to come back to, rather than reading a lot of romance, so you might want to take it with a pinch of salt… Oh, and I am using the modern version of romance, not the fantasy-romance of medieval times! So I guess “X” is “people reluctant to read pure romance”, since some of these books nudged me into trying it.
- Camelot’s Shadow, Sarah Zettel. This is an interesting take on the Arthurian world, and features Gawain being decidedly-not-perfect but not being the murderous asshole from Malory or even Mary Stewart’s The Wicked Day. This is proooobably one of the books that really got me interested in Gawain, and especially his relationship with Dame Ragnelle.
- A Dangerous Thing, Josh Lanyon. Technically, this is the second book of the series, and I think you should read the first book in order. I just think the second book is objectively better. This will not be your thing if you don’t like gay relationships, though, and I’m told that’s a thing that one is supposed to make clear about romance? So yes, gay romance!
- Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan. Super cute and 90% positive. More YA-ish, and also gay.
- The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern. Also fantasy. If it doesn’t stir your heart, it’s probably made of stone. Your heart, not the book.
- Attachments, Rainbow Rowell. This completely won me over so I was willing to try everything of Rowell’s. Sweetly nostalgic, and not too bad about the “communicate, damn it!” issue.
- The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer. Lots and lots of fun, and features two couples to root for.
- Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers. Okay, the romance between Peter and Harriet is more of a slow burn thing and probably needs the build-up, but any book with the line “if I should once give way to [him], I would go up like straw” has to count.
- The Second Mango, Shira Glassman. Want sweet and silly in a lesbian fantasy love story? Tahdah!
- The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart. I was torn over which of Stewart’s novels to include here, but this is the one that’s probably stuck with me the most. Heavy on the mystery, too!
- Season of Storms, Susanna Kearsley. The side characters in this are actually pretty much the amazing thing that gets it onto this list. They feel real too, and feature a gay couple basically having raised a daughter (but It’s Complicated). The main romance is straight, though.
I am a little irritated by the fact that I could only find one lesbian romance I wanted to include, but Sarah Diemer/Elora Bishop has some good ones, too!