In case you’ve been living under a rock, Hollywood royalty married into British royalty over the weekend, and yes, although I am in favour of Australia becoming a republic, I stayed up to watch it.
I do love a good wedding, to be totally honest, and who hasn’t ever dreamed of being swept off their feet by royalty?
If that’s totally your bag, then I’ve got some books that might see you through to the next royal wedding, whenever that may be (and who knows, maybe we just may see one of the future royals making a huge break with tradition and marry someone of the same gender).
Fairytales aren’t my cup of tea, but if they’re yours, here are three books you might like to read.
The only book I’ve read with a fairytale theme is Ash by Malinda Lo. It’s a retelling of Cinderella with a love triangle between real life and fae thrown in. I listened to this on audiobook, which Malinda Lo read herself, which was totally amazing.
From the back cover:
In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.
If you’re into Cinderella retellings with a queer twist, then this one’s for you. There’s also a follow-up book, Huntress, which is the prequel to Ash.
The Second Mango by Shira Glassman
This one’s been around awhile, having first been published back in 2013. It’s the first in the Mangoverse series of fantasy/fairytale stories full of dragons and adventures with queer main characters. I haven’t read these myself, but they’ve been highly recommended and have great reviews.
From the blurb:
Queen Shulamit never expected to inherit the throne of the tropical land of Perach so young. At twenty, grief-stricken and fatherless, she’s also coping with being the only lesbian she knows after her sweetheart ran off for an unknown reason. Not to mention, she’s the victim of severe digestive problems that everybody thinks she’s faking. When she meets Rivka, an athletic and assertive warrior from the north who wears a mask and pretends to be a man, she finds the source of strength she needs so desperately.
Unfortunately for her, Rivka is straight, but that’s okay — Shulamit needs a surrogate big sister just as much as she needs a girlfriend. Especially if the warrior’s willing to take her around the kingdom on the back of her dragon in search of other women who might be open to same-sex romance. The real world outside the palace is full of adventure, however, and the search for a royal girlfriend quickly turns into a rescue mission when they discover a temple full of women turned to stone by an evil sorcerer.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
This one is relatively new, having been first published in 2016. It’s another Princess falling for a Princess story, but it’s not as simple as that. (Or there wouldn’t be a cool story!)
From the blurb:
Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.
Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.
When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.
But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.
I wish I could find more, but as I said in an earlier post, it’s extremely hard to find books with queer content with simple google searches.
Having said that, if you’re after more queer books with fairytale or fantasy themes, check out these blogs and links for lists:
List of Lesbian Fairytale books on Goodreads
Lee Wind’s blog is always a fantastic place to go to find books and posts about queer books. As a bonus, Lee is an author himself.
Niamh Murphy, also an author, has a great post called “11 Gorgeous Adaptations for Lesbians and Queer Girls who Love Fairy Tales! (Including 2 FREE books!)”
If you have any other books with queer fairytale themes, please drop a line in the comments. I’m sure there are plenty more out there just waiting to be discovered.