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Five Books Featuring Romantic Relationships Between People of Color

April 21, 2019

When I think back to when I really became an avid reader, I usually consider 9th grade the starting point. I remember seeing a copy of Eric Jerome Dickey’s Milk in My Coffee in my sister’s car, and intrigued by the cover art, I picked it up, started reading and before I knew it I was devouring that book, and all his others. I also read the works of Beverly Jenkins, Trisha R. Thomas, Sheneska Jackson and many other writers who wrote about relationships, romance, love, and all the challenges that come with it.

Fast forward to today, when I look at the kinds of books I read now, I’ve noticed that not as many of them are centered around Black romantic relationships anymore and honestly, I miss it. However, the ones I have read, I’ve loved, and I’m going to share those with you. As a heads up, all of these are not your typical, star crossed, fairytale love stories. These characters are navigating love while balancing other challenges, but that is what makes them all the better to me.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
This was the last book I read in 2018, and it was the perfect, lighthearted note to end the year. Of the five books I’m going to share with you, this is the only one I would actually categorize as a romance novel. After a proposal gone wrong, Nikole and Carlos meet, and this novel follows them as they try to navigate a friends with benefits arrangement that actually works, right? I loved this book because, although predictable in places, sometimes you just need a fun, feel-good book that won’t leave you curled up in the fetal position under the covers with the lights off.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett
None of the relationships in The Mothers are easy or a fairytale. This story follows Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey in a love triangle of sorts but not the messy soap opera kind, one more so formed out of sadness, grief, loneliness and maybe a little convenience. What I love most about The Mothers is we meet these characters as teenagers and young adults and watch them grow into adulthood without being able to escape the decisions of their pasts, instead, being forced to confront them.

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Here Comes the Sun tackles so many topics that it’s difficult for me to zero in on just the romantic relationships, but I enjoyed the way love showed up in this novel. Whether it was young love or forbidden love, in the eyes of the community this story is set, I enjoyed reading how the characters in this novel fell in and out of love and the challenges they were up against.

Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith
Whiskey & Ribbons is novel that touches not only on romantic love but the love between family and friends and all of this combined to endear me to this story. When an expectant mother unexpectedly loses her husband, she tries to piece her life back together in his absence with the help of her husband’s best friend, and they both find themselves navigating some very complicated feelings.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
In An American Marriage, Celeste and Roy’s marriage is put to the test when he is imprisoned, and we witness how their relationship changes under this added pressure. Do you stick it out? Do you honor your vows? Do you try and move on with your life the best you can? These are all the questions that run through your while reading this novel. What I love more is there is no easy answer to these questions, and An American Marriage doesn’t make it seems as if there is either.

Although five very different stories, what they all have in common is that each of them shows how relationships aren’t always, if ever, easy, and nothing can really prepare you for what may be in store. In the comments below share some of your favorite books that highlight romantic relationships between people of color.

Sanura is the laugh out loud, solo traveling, book-loving, owner and founder of My Lit Box. When she’s not reading, you’ll find her planning her next adventure. You can follow Sanura’s latest reads and travel on Twitter & Instagram. | This blog post’s featured image is courtesy of William Stitt on Unsplash


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