As romance stories grow in popularity, readers are beginning to see more representation of sapphic women’s relationships in love stories. Sometimes these books are the next best thing and occasionally there are some where the representation is the saving grace about them. I went ahead and read these women-love-women books, so I figured I would let you know which ones might be worth the read and which ones you could pass on:
‘One Last Stop’ by Casey McQuiston
3 out of 5 stars
As an author who is developing their niche in queer fiction, with two books so far, Casey McQuiston is already creating name for themselves. In ‘One Last Stop’, they showcase a sapphic relationship in a surreal setting.
For fans of contemporary with a little bit of an out-of-this-world twist, McQuiston is able to highlight different LGBTQ+ identities, not just with the two women main characters, but in the cast of side characters as well.
The theme readers will see in many WLW stories is the slow burn trope. ‘One Last Stop’ is no exception. Whereas McQusiton’s other romance novel focuses on two men in a relationship getting together relatively quickly, there is a drawn-out endgame between the main characters in this book.
‘One Last Stop’ could be slow at times with the pacing. With most romance books, there is less focus on the plot, and more character development within the couple and their perspectives. This novel did the opposite of that, instead it was more plot-heavy with characters who seemed less in-depth than to be expected.
What makes ‘One Last Stop’ a three-star rating is that while it is very well-written and reads across the page easily, there is that lacking connection between the characters. Not only is the reader made to feel like the characters are strangers, but the chemistry between the main couple doesn’t spark as it should.
‘Her Royal Highness’ by Rachel Hawkins
2 out of 5 stars
If there is one thing LGBTQ+ novels love to have, it’s the royalty trope. Usually, this trope is seen more often in MLM stories, but ‘Her Royal Highness’ highlights what would happen if a princess were to fall in love with a woman.
Covering all the bases with an enemies-to-lovers plotline as well as the roommates trope, the characters in the book are able to cover a lot of ground to get the readers pining for them to get together.
With ‘Her Royal Highness’ though, it seems the enemies-to-lovers trope only ever really covers the enemies to friends stage more than the lovers. This is another case where a sapphic book draws out a slow burn for the main couple, but the ending of the book seems unfulfilling. It felt like all the build-up was not worth them finally getting together.
Even if the writing and dialogue from Hawkins presented itself as predictable and cheesy, she was a good storyteller in the aspect of coming out as well as not letting that be the entire plot for the book. Coming out stories, while important, are usually overly focused in LGBTQ+ books and it can seem tired. Hawkins is able to avoid this.
While ‘Her Royal Highness’ was not my personal favorite or peak literature by any means, I think the storyline is a cute one that could make for a quick read, if that is what you are looking for.
‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid
5 out of 5 stars
As an author known for amazing storytelling, character development and historical timelines, Taylor Jenkins Reid could write her grocery list and I would want to read it. ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ manages to knock the WLW relationship out of the park, even though the romance is not the main plot of the book.
The title may be deceiving, but yes, this book is sapphic. While media loves to write women in relationships hidden in historical times, ‘Evelyn Hugo’ as a novel does not make this trend seem overused. If anything, this book is a fresh take on two women who have to hide their relationship due to ignorant pasts.
Reid can write a character that anyone can relate to, and Evelyn Hugo is no exception. Reading about this movie star’s life in an Elizabeth Taylor type of way, and seeing how her relationship with a woman was the most important and long-standing one, was interesting all on its own.
This novel will bring out every possible emotion in readers and that kind of hold on someone makes the writing and the plot so powerful. This is a five-star book for many reasons, but the main one is the way the writing evokes emotions in a way typical romances sometimes cannot.
‘She Drives Me Crazy’ by Kelly Quindlen
3 out of 5 stars
Another WLW story that starts with an enemies-to-lovers plot, ‘She Drives Me Crazy’ introduces so many tropes that readers look for, but does not fully deliver in the writing and dialogue.
Going from enemies who are forced to spend time together, to fake dating, to the one-bed instance, the main couple in this novel has well-written development over the course of the book in the sense that the pacing is not rushed or too drawn-out.
But, this does not change the fact that the entire vibe of ‘She Drives Me Crazy’ is written sort of like a Wattpad fanfiction rather than a published novel. Some of the circumstances the characters are thrown into do not always seem believable and are not always impressive.
There is no denying the book is a fun read, after all, who doesn’t love a jock and cheerleader sapphic romance? But, the writing in the book is what was distracting at times.
The three star rating fits this novel as it had the right idea on what it wanted to be, but did not have the correct execution to make the read as enjoyable as it could have been.
‘Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating’ by Adiba Jaigirdar
4 out of 5 stars
Another book where the relationship between the couple starts out strained, only to build up a journey as lovers. ‘Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating’ executes the chemistry well.
Many romance novels will only ever show the reader one perspective of the love story it is trying to tell, but with Jaigirdar’s writing, we see dual perspectives in the relationship switch throughout the book, so the relationship between the characters never feels one-sided.
Another point this book makes that others do not is sometimes authors will create a gay romance and think that is enough represenation. With Hani and Ishu we can see intersectional diversity through sexualities, religions and ethnicities.
The reader can really get a feel for the main characters, as well as the side characters and their relevance to the story. The villains of the story are very clearly painted, and at times some of the situations seem too exaggerated or you think to yourself “no one is actually like this.” Overall, the plot does a great job of keeping the love story the focus, even with the family and friends side plots.