. . . With Romance Novels.
This was a recent topic on The 1A on NPR. The topic was romance novels in general and the lack of diversity in romance novels specifically.
The guests were Alisha Rai, romance author of the “Forbidden Hearts” series; Alexandra Alter, publishing reporter for The New York Times; Sarah Wendell, Co-founder of “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books”; Leah Koch, Co-owner and founder of The Ripped Bodice.
I really liked this quote that was in the write up on the website from Cailey Hall, a PhD student at UCLA, writing in the The LA Review Of Books:
“I have found that almost all of the romance novels I have read achieve something that sounds mundane, but remains quite radical: they model a form of female happiness and fulfillment still lacking in most canonical works of literature. Imagining stories for women (too often, but not always, heterosexual, cis-gendered, and monogamous) that end optimistically, these novels not only depict relationships that involve negotiation and growth, but also allow female protagonists to experience a kind of personal, sexual, and professional fulfillment that does not feel like an unattainable fantasy.”
Have a listen here. There are several suggestions given at the end of the write up (I emailed two of them to the program during the live show). I believe these have more diverse characters than one typically finds in romance novels:
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
A Princess In Theory by Alyssa Cole
Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Trade Me by Courtney Milan
Act Like It by Lucy Parker
Wrong To Need You by Alisha Rai
Bring Down the Stars by Emma Scott
Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
Enjoy the show and try some new novels.