Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Black Romance Novels: Guest Blogger Dee Stewart

With Valentine's Day on the horizon, we're talking romance today. Guys, a juicy novel is a great way to let your sweetheart know how you feel. Smart Bitches Who Read Trashy Books will help you decide what she might like. Want more ideas for your sweetheart, your best friend or yourself? Check out APOOO's All About Love Virtual Tour for interviews with a variety of romance writers. And White Readers Meet Black Authors is also here to help!

Here's a great article about the genesis of black romance novels.

Some authors to try:
Donna Hill
Leslie Esdaile Banks
Brenda Jackson
Francis Ray
Rochelle Alers
Readers, what are your favorite romances?

And from Guest Blogger Dee Stewart comes her favorite overall romances (see, told you we read your books!) and her favorite black romance novels. Thanks Dee!
Everything below is from Dee:
I'm a big romance novel fool. So big I watch the Sound of Music weekly. I have Pride & Prejudice on my nightstand, a complete collection of Shakespeare and the brooding Thomas Hardy novels , and I have a huge, big crush on all things Chris Botti and Sade. I got it bad y'all. I can find romance in just about any good tale. But the novels below drip with heart-yearning love and are page turners. Enjoy!

1. Atonement, Ian McEwan. Tragic, heartwrenching love story. The title tells the tale, the plot kicks in the gut. heart break at its best.
2. Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- Teen angst set during the Biafran war. Beautiful prose despite so much national confusion
3. Zora & Nicky- a modernized version of Romeo & Juliette set between two racially divided megachurches.
4. Shopgirl- Steve Martin is a comic icon, but I crave his romanctic novellas. Shopgirl is poignant, succint, and pitch perfect.
5. Twilight, Stephanie Meyer.You're never too young to fall in love with a vampire. Really. Edward's tortured love for Bella makes you fall for him so badly.
6. Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing. Both novellas are about African American women during the Harlem Renaissance who chose to pass for white for a better life. But the love story, that thing we women want so badly, kills them.
7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Schaffer. I'm a sucker for period pirces with love stories intertwined. This one is set in WWII with a twinge of humor to get through the hard parts.
8. Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates. Skip the movie and read the book. Although I want to see Leonardo and Kate again. I urge you to relish the book soon after if you can't resist the cinema. What Yates does with a story is profound and the unraveling of a marriage/rebirth of a marriage is incredible. Your heart will tear apart reading this one.
9. Stardust, Neil Gaman. Oh, I love a good fairy tale. I love an adult one even better. This beauty is reminiscent of Princess Bride, but so much more. The idea of falling in love with a star reminds me of Stevie Wonder's hit "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Me." You'll love this fantasy.
10. Tess of the D'ubbervilles, Thomas Hardy. I love pastorals. I do. Mariette in Ectasy, Marilynne Robinson's Gilead. But Thomas Hardy...ooh what it does with a simple cow milking scene takes my breath away.
A bonus, an unconventional love story is Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club. Forget Brad Pitt for a moment. What Chucky P does with the story frame is amazing. More importantly the premise of a disturbed man who believes the only way to a disturbed woman's hurt is to believe in his own reinvention of himself is what Crazy in Love has to mean. LOL.
Dee Stewart's Top 10 Black Romances
1. Zora & Nicky, Claudia Burney
2. Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
3. Kindred, Octavia Butler
4. Abraham's Well, Sharon Ewell Foster
5. Quicksand, Nella Larsen
6. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
7. Awakening Mercy, Angela Benson
8. Jewel, Beverly Jenkins
9. Too Beautiful to Die, Glenville Lovell
10. Love, Toni Morrison


susan said...

You know I was going along and enjoying the post and then she lists, Twilight. My gag reflex kicked in instantly. I'm not big on the romance genre but I do love a good love story. I like the untraditional list. Thanks.

Doret said...

I loved the romance in

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor between George and Coco.

Blues Dancing by Diane Mckinney Whetstone.

susan said...

I read Blues Dancing for a book club. Didn't like it. Was annoyed and bored.

The love between Amabelle and Sebastian in The Farming of Bones, now that is love. Tragic and tender and enduring.

Claudia said...

What an interesting list! Some unexpected recommendations here. I'm going to add Purple Hibiscus to my list.

Carleen Brice said...

I too was surprised at Dee's lists, but I like thinking of romance in the broadest terms-what's a good love story whether it's a Harlequin or a lit book. There's quite a few here that intrigue me.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
susan said...


Just keepin' it real. lol

Claudia, Purple Hibiscus is a coming of age story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I bought a copy for our library. If I knew a priest like this character, I'd might convert. :-)

Carleen Brice said...

I tried Zora & Nicky. While Claudia Burney is a great writer-uses language beautifully and creates interesting people and situations-I found the book a little too religious for me. Lots of quotes from the Bible. I would recommend it to people who are church-going Christians.

Shauna Roberts said...

Thanks for the romance novel recommendations. I'll check them out.