BIPOC representation in contemporary romance novels is absolutely vital. Not only does it bring long-needed diversity to the genre, but it allows us readers to encounter new heartfelt stories rather than the same old tropes and characters.
Here at Bookstr, we’re all about promoting diverse voices in the literary world. Therefore, as part of our Valentine’s Day celebration, we’ve compiled some lively new romance reads from eight remarkable BIPOC authors. Keep reading to see which one catches your eye!
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
After completing her Ph.D. in astronomy, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter looks to celebrate her achievement with a girl’s trip to Vegas. Things take a wild turn when she drunkenly weds a woman she hardly knows. Now contending with the disapproval of a stern ex-military father, Grace seeks to carve out a path of her own by fleeing to New York with her known half-stranger of a spouse. After which, unfolds a candid and compelling journey about love and healing while dealing with mental health, family upset, and the messiness of adulthood.
Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud
Set in Trinidad and Tobago, Love After Love introduces us to single mom, Betty Ramdin, her son, Solo, and the reticent Mr.Chetan, who has taken up residence as a lodger. The trio seems to have a solid, though somewhat unconventional agreement. However, their unique, strong bond begins to fray as a long-held secret rises to the surface, and a widowed Mrs. Ramdin looks to start dating once again. With an immersive setting and complex characters, this story touches readers’ hearts without being overly reliant on the romantic love trope.
Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu
Tina Das is at a crossroads in both her personal and professional life and hopes that her cousin’s lavish wedding in Delhi may be the escape she needs to sort things out. That is until the complication of brewing family drama and a former fling unexpectedly making the guest list sullies her easy-going plan. Between all the gossip and mayhem, Das’ narrative deftly balances humor with poignant insights into class, culture, identity, and more. In short, Destination Wedding is a multi-layered read that is sure to keep a smile on your face.
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
Marva Sheridan, a young political activist, marches down to the voting booth ready to vote in her very first election. When she sees Duke Crenshaw being turned away from the polling place, she stops to inquire into his situation in hope that his vote can be counted. Such is what sets forth a whirlwind of a day together, where sparks begin to fly in their shared fight against social injustice. Catapulted from strangers to allies with undeniable chemistry, Marva and Duke’s romance is wholesome, impactful, and all about making a difference.
By the Book by Jasmine Guillory
Izzy began her career in publishing fresh out of college. Though it hasn’t been everything she hoped, she anticipates that tracking down a reclusive high-profile author client for her boss will bring her that long-awaited promotion. All she has to do is go to the mansion of the infamous writer and get a manuscript out of him. Easy peasy. However, Beau Towers is not what she expected, and the two begin an unexpected romance arc under the shadow of a looming deadline in this modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
High school senior, Louise Wolfe is so over her first real boyfriend, who she promptly dumped by email after his disrespectful talk about Native peoples. Now, she plans to be very content focusing on her school newspaper until graduation. There’s even a major story to cover in her small Kansas town: the school production of the Wizard of Oz and the closed-minded parental backlash over its inclusive casting. Paired up with photojournalist Joey Kairouz, Lou has a new budding romance to navigate as tensions mount at school in this coming-of-age YA read.
First Love, Take Two by Sajni Patel
Preeti Patel leads a busy life between her family, friends, and career as a doctor. Thus, when her ex-boyfriend turns up unexpectedly as her new roommate, she’s bent on remaining unfazed by his presence. However, the apartment is unforgivably small, and staying out of each other’s eye line is increasingly difficult. Stuck in close quarters, Preeti begins to grapple with their past connection, a disapproving family, and mental health in this second-chance romance story.
D’Vaughn & Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins
Kris Zavala is on the cusp of a big break as an influencer, looking for one final push to elevate her brand. D’Vaughn Miller is just trying to break out of her shell. Together, in a reality TV show stint, with $100,000 on the line, the pair have to convince their friends and family that they are getting married in six short weeks. However, their faux wedding scheme comes with its fair share of obstacles and unforeseen emotions in this lively strangers-to-lovers romance.
Read more about the growth of BIPOC publishing in the romance genre here.
For more Valentine’s Day reading recommendations, click here.