I hope you all had a chance to read my NPR piece last week on Diversity in Romance. I honestly believe our lives are blessed by differences and our minds are broadened when we explore other cultures.
As is often the case with pieces like this one, I gathered much more material than I could ever include, so I thought I’d share some here.
I mentioned Charity Pineiro’s South Beach Sizzles collection, however I would have also liked to say that Charity Pineiro is a pen name of the prolific author Caridad Pineiro, who writes a number of popular paranormal and contemporary series under both names. Caridad had this to offer:
“Try Latina author Julia Amante. Her stories always resonate with me and I loved Evenings at the Argentine Club. Regardless of your ethnicity, you will connect with the two families in this novel and their struggles to embrace the American dream.” And if you’d like to learn more about what kind of work other Latina authors are doing, check out www.latinabookclub.com.
As mentioned, I highly recommend the debut A Bollywood Affair, which is getting tons of buzz this fall. Author Sonali Dev also had some suggestions:
“I love Shobhan Bantwal. Unexpected Son is a vibrant view into Indian culture where seemingly modern lives clash with archaic social customs and belief systems that make it impossible for women to make choices they can live with, and a journey of a mother who must find the courage to right wrongs chosen on her behalf.” You can follow a number of South Asian writers at www.sarisandstories.com.
I also loved Jeannie Lin’s The Lotus Palace, and look forward to reading the subsequent title, The Jade Temptress. Jeannie offered up the recommendation of Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon:
“Silver Phoenix is a fantasy adventure set in the kingdom of Xia. Asian culture, customs and mythology shine through in this vividly re-imagined version of imperial China. It places cultural diversity in a fantasy/sci-fi realm and is a great read for a YA or crossover audience."
For more great reads that include men and women of color, try A.C. Arthur, who writes both contemporary and paranormal titles full of passion and sensuality. Or Ginger Jamison, whose Redemption novels have earned rave reviews. The most recent is Jericho.
(Ginger also writes as Sugar Jamison, whose Southern-set Perfect Fit novels come highly recommended, and rather than culturally diverse characters, include heroines who have Dangerous Curves. Love it!)
Well, I don’t know about you, but my TBR pile just keeps getting longer and longer!
I would like to add, though, that in many ways I hope for the day when we don’t have to draw attention to diversity in order to honor diverse books. I hope these books become as common and unremarkable as any other kind of story, because that will mean the market is becoming color-blind, gender-blind, race-blind, etc. and will embrace books by the quality of the storytelling and the universality of the human experience.
Which all of these writers have in spades.
Happy reading! I hope you’ll expand your horizons a little this week. I’m pretty sure I will!