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March 15, 2017 BOOKLIST
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In the real world, same-sex love has been brutally opposed, forbidden, and criminalized, making romance fiction’s implicit promise of a happily-ever-after conclusion seem like pure fantasy for gays and lesbians. But as the fight for LGBT rights continues to make progress, and as same-sex marriage is being legalized in many states, same-sex love is prevailing over obstructions in life as well as in fiction. Consequently, gay and lesbian romance novels are flourishing.
As in the romance genre as a whole, same-sex romances are found in many subgenres, from romantic suspense to comedies, and from tales featuring young lovers to tales about older adults and precious second (or third) chances. Below is a list of must-have gay and lesbian romance novels—including debuts, such as Steve Kluger’s, and titles by such reader favorites as Lee Lynch—each with a happily-ever-after denouement everyone can celebrate.
Gay Romance Novels
Almost like Being in Love. By Steve Kluger. 2004. Morrow, paper, $14.99 (9780060595838); e-book (9780060595833).
Joie de vivre infuses Kluger’s story of two high-school seniors who fall in love, part ways, but never forget each other, until, 20 years later, college history professor Travis finally searches for Craig, his lost love.
Bliss. By Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau. 2014. Riptide, $16.99 (9781626491397); e-book, $8.99 (9781626491380).
In Henry and Belleau’s unusual utopian gay romance of love and justice, Rory is thrilled to work as assistant to the chief justice in the allegedly perfect city-state of Beulah, until he’s put in charge of prisoner Tate, an illegal alien who attacked him.
Encore. By Shira Anthony. 2013. Dreamspinner, paper, $14.99 (9781627982481).
As Anthony tells the stories of two musicians, she illuminates the larger world of gays, including such tragic milestones as the AIDS epidemic and “don’t ask, don’t tell,” all the while celebrating the beauty and solace of classical music.
Junk. By Josephine Myles. 2014. Samhain, paper, $16 (9781619219557).
Jasper, a British university librarian all but trapped in his book-filled house, calls in a clutter expert, Lewis, setting the scene for mutual attraction and a slow excavation of the long-buried source of Jasper’s hoarding problem.
Noble Metals. By L. A. Witt. 2014. Riptide, paper, $15.99 (9781626491441); e-book, $5.99 (9781626491434).
Professor and inventor John Faust becomes smitten with impoverished Robert and takes him along to Alaska, where his search for gold and platinum draws malevolent attention.
The Nothingness of Ben. By Brad Boney. 2012. Dreamspinner, paper, $14.99 (9781623801380).
When his parents are suddenly killed in an accident, Ben, a very successful gay New York attorney, returns to Texas to find his three younger brothers dreading what will happen to them when their homophobic relatives try to remove them from his custody, so Ben battles to keep the family together.
Right Side of the Wrong Bed. By Frederick Smith. 2007. Kensington, paper, $16 (9780758219268); e-book, $16 (9780758219261).
Smith tells a pleasurable tale of star-crossed lovers defying social, age, and racial barriers, namely Kenny, who is African American, 33, and director of campus activities at a Los Angeles university, and Jeremy, a 21-year-old Latino.
Lesbian Romance Novels
Appointment with a Smile. By Kieran York. Blue Feather, paper, $15.95 (9781935627869).
Coloradan Danielle has accepted that art is her passion and her life, until, in her late fifties, she travels to London and runs into Molly, her long-lost love, and meets alluring Bethany, encounters that make Danielle question everything.
Beggar of Love. By Lee Lynch. 2009. Bold Strokes, paper, $16.95 (9781602821224).
Beloved lesbian novelist Lynch tells a gritty and satisfyingly forthright coming-of-age tale about a natural-born athlete and already rueful and regretful young Doña Juana.
Crossroads. By Radclyffe. Bold Strokes, paper, $16.95 (9781602827561).
Obstetrician Hollis is adept at overseeing high-risk pregnancies and at keeping her distance when it comes to romance, but then she meets Annie, alone in the world as she faces motherhood.
Different Dress. By Lori L. Lake. 2003. Regal Crest, paper, $19.95 (9781932300086).
Lake makes the joys and aggravations of a glitzy music tour come alive in this tale of casual flings and serious love among three women: the tempestuous star, Lacey Leigh Jaxson; her tour manager, Jaime; and Kip, the new opening act.
Love Match. By Ali Vali. 2012. Bold Strokes, paper, $16.95 (9781602827493).
Tennis star and serial seducer Parker is in retreat in Alabama, where commercial pilot Sydney is on vacation, tending to her battered heart. Will these two strong, accomplished women transform chance proximity into romance?
Maxie Mainwaring, Lesbian Dilettante. By Monica Nolan. 2013. Kensington, paper, $15 (9780758288295).
Nolan pays homage to pulp fiction in this campy, very funny, early 1960s lesbian romance about Maxie, a plucky debutante turned penniless working girl, and butch Lon, who has connections to underworld crime.
Month of Sundays. By Yolanda Wallace. 2012. Bold Strokes, paper, $16.95 (9781602827394).
Sexy celebrity chef Griffin is surprised to find that her practiced charms don’t work on downhearted accountant Rachel. Might food be the answer?
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