Although Black History Month has ended and we’re now into March, I couldn’t help but think of some of my top romance heroines who happen to be black. All over Romancelandia, we see hashtags like #ownvoices, #weneeddiverseromance and of course #blackgirlmagic. These tags are spreading the much needed conversation about the representation of black women in romance. Though there are countless black heroines, I’d love to see even more get their HEAs. We’ve made progress, yet still have a long way to go. So, I’d like to celebrate some of my favorite heroines to help diversify your never ending TBR.
As a contemporary romance lover, I was told by other Romancelandia friends that I needed to read Beverly Jenkins historical. To start out this list, the first heroine is Billie Wells from Destiny’s Surrender. Billie was an impoverished black woman living in 1800s San Francisco who worked as courtesan and had many wealthy gentleman callers. Andrew Yates takes an interest in Billie and on one of their last trysts she gets pregnant. Andrew feels forced to marry Billie, but she is quick to let him know that neither she nor their child need him and she is a strong woman of her own accord. Billie is my top heroine because she does not suffer fools and knows how to shoot a gun better than the boys! Billie is a woman who had to raise herself and make her own way in life and was quick to let the hero know that she doesn’t need him, but chose him.
Portia Hobbs from Alyssa Cole’s A Duke by Default is a flighty socialite from New York with a keen interest in art history. Portia takes an apprenticeship in Scotland with a sword maker to learn more about Scotland and the process of sword making. Portia was not prepared to fall in love with said sword-wielding Tavish McKenzie who by the way learns he’s actually royalty. What I loved most about Portia was the journey she was on to loving herself. Her flighty nature was actually ADHD and after years of frustration and judgment from family, friends, and even herself, she learns to come to terms with being different and embracing it.
Nadia Warner from Maureen Smith’s Wicked Games was a college recruiter accompanying her sports journalist brother to a hockey practice, just praying for the whole thing not to take up too much of her time. Much to Nadia’s shock she locks eyes with Reid Holden, the star player and the hottest man she’s ever seen. Reid is relentless in his pursuit for Nadia and she’s reluctant because her past made her swear off all athletes. What makes Nadia so special is her ability to be vulnerable and put herself out there for love after initially being afraid of getting hurt again. Nadia makes every reader who has ever sworn off love think about giving it another chance. Also, who doesn’t love the possibility of ending up with a sexy hockey player?
Poppy Patterson from Alexa Martin’s Fumbled was in love with TK Moore since she was sixteen. Football- playing TK’s parents kept the young lovers apart for nearly ten years before one fateful night in the club Poppy works in. When TK tries to pick up where they left off, Poppy grapples with mentioning that they’ve shared a child all these years. Poppy is an adorkable heroine who is striving to be a good mom and letting a man back into her life whose mother didn’t think she was good enough for him, while he continues to play a sport she deems dangerous. What I liked most about Poppy is how hard she loves and stays strong in her convictions.
Anyone that knows me can tell you how much I love Jasmine Guillory. Like a lot. Alexa Monroe, the heroine from The Wedding Date rounds out the list. Alexa is the chief of staff for a mayor in Berkeley, California and while visiting her sister at a hotel gets stuck in the elevator with a hot doctor. When he tells her he’s in town for an ex’s wedding and asks for her to be his pretend date, she says why not? Alexa is one of my top heroines because she has always played it safe and goes out of her comfort zone, finding love along the way. Alexa is a great example of the countless educated and career-minded black women who may not always make room for love, but proves taking a chance can have an amazing pay off.
These are just some of the badass black women in romance! This list certainly isn’t complete, but a great start to reading diverse heroines. Let me know some of your favorite heroines who are the definition of #BlackGirlMagic. I always welcome recommendations!