In this compilation, I thought I’d shed light on some Black authors and some African American romance novels that have been overlooked or are so popular that you need to add them to your reading list immediately!
1. Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson
Jesse watched as the boy let out a breath and seemed to brighten as if the weight of the world was lifted from his shoulders. He followed Kerry to the back, and Jesse could hear her as she gave the boy a snack and then began to patiently teach him how to fix his mess.
Jesse turned to his brothers. “Just give me a few months,” he said. “Let me try to keep the shop open for a few months—six months to a year at most—and see if I can’t keep it afloat. The shop is our legacy, and one that meant too much to Mama Joy and the community to just let it go. Not without giving it a try at least. Hell, it’s our last name on the awning,” he said, pulling his whole card by bringing up the Strong name they all collectively took on when Mama Joy became their official adoptive mother.
“Yeah but how can you do it alone? The fact remains that we all have jobs we still have to do. You said it’s our legacy—it wouldn’t be fair for you to be the only one working here, taking this on all alone,” Lucas said.
Just then Kerry stepped back into the main room with Errol. She walked the boy to the front door, letting him out with a wave, then flipped the lock. Turning to all of them, she looked at Jesse, then switched her gaze to Lucas, breaking the silence and rocking their world. “He won’t have to do it alone,” she said. “I’ll stay on and work with him, at least until he gets the hang of how the shop runs.”
Jesse blinked. The woman standing before him was Kerry, but suddenly she bore little resemblance to the quiet, shy Kerry who had always hovered in various corners of the shop, a shadow to Mama Joy. No, this woman was all confidence and intelligence underneath her curly twists and thick-rimmed eyeglass frames. He looked at her deeper. There was something new and different behind her all-knowing chestnut brown eyes. The corner of her lips quirked up, twitched ever so slightly as if the secrets of the world were hidden behind their full lusciousness just itching to escape.
Wait. Luscious lips? Secrets? What was he thinking, and what was she talking about, staying on? This was Kerry. Their Kerry Girl. Why was she doing this? And how could he let her? She just finished school—a few years late, but she’d received her degree and now had her own plans and dreams lined up. This was her chance to get out. To move on. Why wasn’t she taking it?
Did you like that excerpt? Honestly, with a title like that, which seeks to pull toxic masculinity apart at its seams, you know it’s going to be hard to put down this novel.
It revolves around The Strong brothers, whose adoptive mum leaves them her yarn shop after her death. Jesse, being the favorite, decides to take over for his brothers and enlists childhood friend Kerry to help run the shop with him. Unbeknownst to him, Kerry has harbored a crush on him that gradually begins to unravel…
2. Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
Jordan Collins is handed charge of the Meet Cute book club started by his late grandmother. He is forced to run it with the insufferable Rex. But as both Jordan and Rex work together to resurrect a sinking book club, Jordan realizes that his coworker isn’t as insufferable as he thought, and that maybe he’d misconstrued Rex all along.
Here’s an excerpt, so you can decide whether this novel is worthy of your bookshelf:
There was nothing wrong with him. In fact, he often wondered why it was that more people weren’t as obsessed with these stories as he was. Angsty romances involving lifelong friends, vampires that were portrayed as the monsters they were, and countless bloody murders? Every box of his was checked. He just needed more people to get up to speed.
3. Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
With a political subplot which ties in with the current state of American politics, a romance to die for and lovable characters such as the hardworking attorney Olivia Munroe and the junior senator Max Powell, makes for a perfect summer read. The novel is jam packed with delicious descriptions of food that will make your mouth water, as well as droolworthy, gripping sex scenes.
Here’s just a taste of what you are in for:
I know you think I rush into things, and maybe I do. And I know my job makes things complicated. But you know, I only rush into the big things when I know to my core that they’re right. I know to my core you’re right for me, Olivia Monroe.” He kissed her cheek. “But no, I won’t propose right now.
4. A Delicate Affair by Lindsay Evans
Leonie is bound for Radcliffe college soon, but her life changes when she meets Golden, a struggling musician who arrives in Washington DC, leaving behind his past with mob violence in the South in the hopes that he can live in peace and one day make it big in the music industry.
5. Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
This novel’s lead pairing Hestor, a dark skinned slave and her lover, Creole Galen (Black Daniel to his fellow activists), not only set out to break apart the social barriers, but also undertake the dangerous and dedicated task of leading enslaved people to freedom. They do this via the underground railroad in their capacity as abolitionists and conductors while risking their own lives.
6. That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole
Inspired by the Broadway hit musical Hamilton, this novel is set in 1820 and revolves around Mercy, who works for Eliza Hamilton. She helps the widow keep her husband’s legacy alive. Mercy has been a victim of a traumatic relationship and closes herself off to matters of the heart, but cannot help catching feelings for Andromeda, a dressmaker who is a favorite among the Black community and is quite the opposite of Mercy, being highly optimistic. She changes Mercy’s life for the better.
7. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Elle Burns is a former slave who flees to Massachusetts, and equipped with her sharp memory, works for the Confederates in the hopes that this will change the course of history and the civil war. On the other hand, Malcolm McCall, a private detective, is assigned to infiltrate a band of rebels and instead crosses paths with Elle. Their romance, despite being endearing, also poses a threat to their respective missions.
Here is an excerpt that’ll pull you right in:
Elle reached the meeting point, a secluded bluff overlooking the James. The setting sun stretched its fingers down the length of the river, its fiery caress tinting the waves with dabs of orange and gold.
Elle admired the water as it churned by, powerful enough to break free of nearly any restraint, and she was envious. She pulled her cloak closer and shivered in the river breeze as a familiar weariness descended upon her. She pushed through it, fighting the undertow of exhaustion that tugged at her skirts and her eyelids. There was a time for fatigue, and that was when the infernal war was over. She’d be a lot more tired working a field all day if the Union were to fall, that was certain.
A twig snapped behind her and she whirled.
Standing before her, once again, was Malcolm McCall. The last rays of winter sunlight glinted off of the buttons of his jacket, like a warning flashed from afar. Had he followed her? Perhaps his earlier deference had been a misdirection.
8. The Sweetest Thing by Deborah Fletcher Mello
Part of the Just Desserts series; in this novel, pastry chef Quentin Elliott finds himself in a dilemma after his boss passes away and leaves the bakery where he works to his daughter, sweet Harper. She thinks of selling it, but changes her mind when she meets Quentin and falls in love with him. Soon more suitors begin to line up, not just for Harper’s hand but also in pursuit of the bakery itself..
We hope that this listicle helped you in expanding your reading list and please do share it if you can with fellow literary enthusiasts. Do check us out on our IG page. We look forward to bringing you more such intriguing and immersive content to find yourselves stuck in…