It’s summertime, ladies. This means lounging on the beach, by the pool or just on the front porch with a good romance novel. Yes, I was one of those teenagers who loved romance novels – especially the historical kind that would sweep you off your feet into another era. The drama and licentious language made me swoon. The intensity took my mind off my troubles. And, yes, the sex scenes were my favorite. So taboo. Then I got busy with life and forgot about my love for romance novels.
But this summer, as the days get hotter, I’ve started to think about going through my book stash and finding a shameless sexy story to reread. Then I stumbled across Black historical romance novels. I’ve read a Black romance novel or two but I didn’t know about the historical ones. And, then I heard the Obamas are launching their own romance series on Netflix. Although the Obama’s “Blackout” isn’t historical, it’s still about finding love. So, I think this is the summer to dive into a few Black romances.
Below are two well-known authors I’m considering. Let me know some of your favorites.
Beverly Jenkins’ is one of the grandmothers of African-American historical romances. She wrote her first novel, Night Song, over 40 years ago. The book is rich in historical detail and politics. This romance is about a Buffalo solider and school teacher on the plains of the midwest. An independent school teacher finds the Buffalo soldier’s advances difficult to resist. Oohh…
Called Queen of the Black Historical Romance, Jenkins has written over 40 novels including Rebel, Tempest and Destiny’s Embrace.
Book riot labels Unconditional Freedom a “must read.” So, I guess I better read this one. The novel confronts the psychological ravages of slavery while revealing the privilege mix-raced women had in selecting their partners. The male protagonist was born free and then kidnapped and sold into slavery. Although he is rescued by the Loyal League, a covert organization of Black spies, he can’t shake damage caused by the experience of being enslaved. After joining the Loyal League to seek vengeance against the Confederacy, he meets Janeta Sanchez, the daughter of an enslaved woman and the plantation owner who married her, who infiltrates the group, as a double agent.
The characters are flawed but find comfort and love in each others’ arms in the midst of the Civil War.
Unconditional Freedom is a part of award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series. The first Loyal League book, Extraordinary Union is billed as an epic love story and A Hope Divided is Loyal League book number 2. These books deal with race and love in the era of the War Between the States A critic calls Cole’s prose “flawless” and her historical research “absorbing.”
So, where did I find these novels? Book Riot’s list of the top 15 Black historical romance novels over the last 25 years. Take a look. I’m sure you’ll find something good.