Romance: one genre, many different tastes. What’s yours?
The term “romance” calls to mind a few stereotypical images of hearts, lit candles, flowers, candy, and couples hand-in-hand. But romance readers are actually a pretty diverse bunch of people with diverse reading tastes. And romance has many flavors to suit.
With Valentine’s Day putting us in the mood for some romantic reading, we thought we’d talk today about some of the different types of lesbian romance out there, with some examples, natch. While we were at it, we also couldn’t help recommending a few of our books that fit each type.
The Romantic Comedy
Whether it’s books, movies or TV, the romantic comedy reigns as queen. It’s the most popular genre in lesbian fiction. Romantic comedies, the whole girl-meets-girl scenario is never straightforward at first. Of course they’re attracted to each other, but maybe they don’t know it, or they’re distracted by something else. There are misunderstandings, lack of confidence, or a barrier they don’t want to cross.
These books have plenty of romantic comedy tropes: Hazel Yeats’s recently-released Bunny Finds a Friend features a meet-cute in a Santa Claus display, while Cara’s sisters are like a romcom Greek chorus, determined to get our heroines together. Jae‘s Under a Falling Star has great fun combining romcom’s classic tropes of the awkward coworker attraction and of deep denial of mutual attraction.
Bitter Fruit uses the classic betting-on-love trope, in which protagonist Jac takes a bet that she can seduce a woman into bed with her, only to have the tables turned on her emotionally. And in our 2015 top seller Popcorn Love, fashion executive Elena and her college student babysitter Allison are also victims of the deep-denial trope. Luckily, Elena’s best friend Vivian is willing to go to comedic lengths to make sure they end up together in the end.
Cops and Docs
What is it about women in police uniforms and white lab jackets that get our hearts racing? Who knows, but lesbian romance readers can’t get enough of medical romance—doctors falling in love, cops falling in love, or even better, cops and doctors falling in love with each other. Maybe it’s the drama. Maybe it’s watching highly competent women falling prey to the chaos of love. Maybe it’s just that saving lives is sexy. We say, why ask why? Just enjoy these great reads we have to offer in this genre.
Blurred Lines by KD Williamson, a medical romance featuring both a cop and a doc, just came out Tuesday and it’s already getting rave reader reviews. RJ Nolan‘s LA Metro, a bestseller from 2013, follows the dramatic lives and loves of emergency room physicians at a busy Los Angeles hospital.
Conflict of Interest, Jae‘s first installment in the Portland Police Bureau series, follows the tumultuous attraction between Detective Aiden Carlisle and psychologist Dawn Kinsley, thrown together by the circumstances of a brutal crime. All the Little Moments by G. Benson captivated readers worldwide with its story of Anna, an anesthetist whom tragedy turns into a sudden parent to her newly orphaned niece and nephew. Luckily, funny sexy pediatrician Lane is there to help.
Sure, Valentine’s Day is all about romance, but it’s also about sexytimes. If you’re looking for a good erotic romance, break out the massage oil and the candles, because we’ve got hot bedroom scenes that’ll leave you fanning yoursef.
Award-winning Heart’s Surrender by Emma Weimann is a great opposites-attract novel about a handywoman and a pampered housewife who just can’t quit each other, and we see why, in lovingly detailed sex scenes. Alison Grey‘s Hot Line begins with the erotic premise of a lonely psychologist calling a sex-chat line and finding the voice on the other end so compelling that she calls back night after night.
If you’re looking for something shorter, Cori Kane‘s bestselling novella, The Affair, features two co-workers who keep falling into bed together despite both being married (unhappily). Or you could go even shorter. Don’t Be Shy is our short story anthology with your quick hits of red-hot erotica in every flavor, written by some of Ylva’s most acclaimed authors.
First Love/Coming of Age
We all remember that first girl, that first woman in our lives that made our stomach flutter. The one. First-love novels help us remember that exciting, passionate, and yes, frustrating feelings first love bring.
These novels are not a quick-hit. There are usually serious barriers to being together at first—their own confusion about what they want or the spectre of disapproving relatives, for example. But these romances are perhaps more satisfying for the time they take to earn their happy ending.
For some lovely examples of this genre, try out Blythe Rippon‘s recent release, Stowe Away. It captures perfectly that ache for that person who was the be-all, end-all of your life, who you’d have followed across the universe if they asked. A Story of Now, Emily O’Beirne‘s story of friendship and coming of age, conveys how your first love can make your world seem to double in size and take a courageous stand for the life you want.
Cast Me Gently by Caren J. Werlinger looks at first love and awakening sexuality from a uniquely middle-aged perspective, telling the story of two women who have lived their whole lives for the sake of their families. They stumble into attraction to each other, making them question everything they have been told about love and happiness.
Glamor, celebrity, exotic locales. These are the mainstays of the glamorous/escapist romance, where our heroines are either glamorous people or celebrities or else average people who end up in new or unusual (for them) places or situations. The “meet-cute” may involve musicians or movie stars with a problem only a non-celebrity can solve, a glamorous person falling for an “average” person, or traveling to an unfamiliar place and finding love.
Jae is an expert at this sort of romance. Her Hollywood series is about the glamorous lives and loves of women in the movie biz—actors, agents, stuntwomen, etc. Damage Control, the first installment in that series, transports you into the glitzy world of Grace Durand, a movie star who turns to a high-powered Hollywood PR agent to make sure a photo of her in a compromising situation with another woman never sees the light of day. Romance is the unexpected result. Never-Tied Nora by Cheyenne Blue brings us the bustle of London life and a glamorous lesbian Romeo with only two loves: her raucous Irish family and her never-ending seductions of different women each night. That is, until she falls for the one woman her family is guaranteed to hate.
Across the Pond by Cheri Crystal is a novella about the trials and tribulations of New Yorker Janalyn Jacobs, whose Bridget Jones-esque combination of angst and plucky optimism carries her through heartbreak, recovery, and eventually a long-overdue romance with a sexy Brit she meets in Devon, England during a work conference. Catherine Lane‘s The Set Piece takes us into the star-studded world of professional soccer, where a young lesbian woman being paid to date a closeted gay soccer star has to choose between glamour and truth when she falls for one of her fake boyfriend’s assistants.
We’re sure there are many more types we didn’t think of. Let us know in the comments about the ones we’ve forgotten.
Enjoy Valentine’s Day, if you celebrate, and no matter what, happy reading!