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If you ask romantics what we love about this genre, many of us will say that a big part of it is guaranteed happy ending. After all, romance is supposed to be about hope. But one question that keeps coming up is … who deserves a happy ending? Instinctively, the answer could be anyone. And yet is this reflected in the publication? Let’s go to a bookstore and look for the romance shelves. How high is the proportion of color authors? Stories written by and with LGBTQ characters? Let’s narrow it down even further: what is the percentage of novels written by indigenous authors?
I don’t know about you, but in my long and illustrious career as a romance reader, the answer is not enough.
Oh, I’ve found books with indigenous characters in these stores … but most of them were written by white writers who fetishize First Nations cultures, and you can see that. In search of indigenous romances it can feel like filling out a terrible, depressing bingo card. Racist Slurs titles? Check. Covers based on ridiculous and offensive stereotypes? Oh yeah. Blurbs over White Saviors? You bet. Indigenous people deserve a happy ending as much as anyone else, but the publication doesn’t seem to approve.
But, you know what? Not only are there indigenous novelists, they knock them out of the park too. This list features eight romance novels by indigenous authors that are guaranteed to melt your heart.
Heartbeat Braves (Crooked Rock Urban Indian Center # 1) by Pamela Sanderson
Rayanne Larson is not happy when her special project is handed over to her director’s nephew. The thing is, the nephew is out of the question either. Henry Grant has no interest in working at the Indian Center … until he meets Rayanne.
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Against the Billionaire (Redhawk Reunion # 1) by Robin Covington
Adam Redhawk has very specific plans for private investigator Tess Lynch, and they are both professional and personal. However, does she get caught up in her quest for vengeance? That wasn’t part of the plan. Add in an unexpected pregnancy and things get really complicated very quickly.
Not meeting Mr Right by Anita Heiss
Alice Aigner has a plan: she will meet Mr. Right and marry him before her 30th birthday in two years. But you know what they say about the best plans …
Two Princes (When We Were Young # 1) by Maggie Blackbird
In this YA romance, fed up with his alcoholic mother and criminal brother, Billy Redsky begins dealing drugs for a quick buck. Needless to say, the chief’s beloved son, René Oshawee, is the worst choice of any boy he could have fallen in love with.
Unbroken Hearts by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Another YA pick, this one follows Louise Wolf who, after leaving her boyfriend for making fun of her native heritage, decides to focus on the school newspaper. Falling in love with Joey Kairouz, the new photojournalist, wasn’t part of the plan. And also not the storm that breaks out when the diverse line-up of a school musical brings racist feelings to the surface.
Inconsiderate in Texas (Texas Rodeo # 1) by Kari Lynn Dell
When Violet Jacobs decided to hire a bullfighter for her family’s rodeo, she hadn’t expected to fall in love with him. But Joe Cassidy has a knack for surprising them.
Wild Ones by Kristine Wyllys
Bri Martin likes trouble, so it’s hardly surprising that she’s drawn to underground boxer Luke Turner. But will it turn out to be the good kind of trouble?
Comfortable Cowgirl Bride (Red Dirt Royalty # 4) by Silver James
Chase Barron is not interested in marriage. If only his family hadn’t issued an ultimatum: Either he’ll find a wife or she’ll find one for him. Savannah Wolfe, a cowgirl who shows up in his bed out of the blue, could be the perfect disguise … except that the more time he spends with her, the more he wants to realize their fake relationship.