For decades, romance novels have been a guilty pleasure for many. But what about those who didn’t see themselves represented in those books? That’s where the world of LGBTQAI+ romance novels comes in. With diverse characters and thought-provoking storylines, these books prove that love knows no gender or sexual orientation.
“Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston
This novel tells the story of Alex Claremont-Diaz, the First Son of the United States, and Henry, the Prince of Wales. After a PR disaster forces them to fake a friendship, they start to see each other in a new light. With political intrigue and swoon-worthy romance, this book has become an instant classic.
“Orlando” by Virginia Woolf
First published in 1928, “Orlando” follows the life of a nobleman who lives for centuries and changes gender midway through their life. While not strictly a romance novel, it explores themes of identity and fluidity that will resonate with many LGBTQAI+ readers.
“The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith
Set in 1950s New York City, “The Price of Salt” tells the story of department store clerk Therese Belivet and glamorous housewife Carol Aird. As they fall in love, they must navigate societal pressure and the threat of losing custody of Carol’s daughter. This novel, which was later adapted into the film “Carol,” is a true classic of the genre.
“Call Me By Your Name” by André Aciman
In this coming-of-age story set in Italy in the 1980s, 17-year-old Elio develops a passionate relationship with his father’s research assistant, Oliver. The novel explores themes of desire and obsession, and the pain of first love. The book was later adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer.
“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In this novel, set in the glamorous world of Old Hollywood, aging movie star Evelyn Hugo decides to reveal the secrets of her life to an unknown journalist. Along the way, she falls in love with a woman named Celia. This book explores themes of ambition, passion, and the sacrifices we make for those we love.
“The Queer Principles of Kit Webb” by Cat Sebastian
Set in 18th-century England, this novel tells the story of struggling ex-army captain Christopher Webb and his new employer, the charming and enigmatic Lord Samuel Brass. As they team up to right wrongs and seek justice for the oppressed, they begin to fall in love. This book explores themes of class, power, and the sometimes-violent struggle for equality.
“All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson
This memoir tells the story of journalist and LGBTQAI+ activist George M. Johnson as he navigates adolescence and young adulthood as a black gay man. The book explores themes of self-discovery, family, and the ways in which we are shaped by the world around us. It is a powerful and necessary read for anyone who wants to better understand the experiences of LGBTQAI+ people of color.
From star-crossed lovers in the White House to Old Hollywood secrets, from gender-bending nobles to 18th-century adventurers, these LGBTQAI+ romance novels offer something for everyone. So if you’re looking for a book that will transport you to a world of passion, romance, and acceptance, look no further than these must-reads.
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