[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcome author Cecilia London to the site today! She’s talking all things political romance. Take it away, Cecilia!]
In Songbird, my new release, heroine Christine Sullivan is… a little messy. Outwardly put-together but inwardly struggling with the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter, she’s coming off a short stint as an interim POTUS (long story!) and ready to reclaim her life as a private citizen. She doesn’t, however, count on falling in love with a man sixteen years her junior. Funny how that happens, eh? Alexander Guardiola isn’t exactly a political enemy per se, but he’s much more liberal than she is. And younger. In case you forgot.
Below are a couple of my favorite romances that deal with some of the issues raised in Songbird. I’ll also admit to taking a very, very generous definition of these tropes. To me, every piece of art is political. It may make a statement due to the absence of political discussion or its inclusion. I don’t think of political fiction or romance in strictly American terms or from a Left-Right perspective. For example, a confident woman asserting and embracing her sexuality is still an overtly political act, especially in fiction. A character demanding dignity and respect from their peers and from their love interest is also inherently political. This may be a nontraditional interpretation but one that I believe is consistent with reality. So, without further ado… here are a few of my recommendations!
There are a ton of fantastic May-December romances out there, but the Boss series from Abigail Barnette (aka Jenny Trout) is the gold standard for erotic romance. Featuring late forties billionaire hero Neil and his mid-twenties heroine Sophie, it emphasizes communication and consent and never shies away from the hard discussions regarding gaps in age, income, and socioeconomic status. Simply an outstanding series, and the first book is permafree!
Enemies to lovers, political-style:
The Turncoat by Donna Thorland – Although this is properly categorized as historical fiction, the hero and heroine have an HEA so I will cheerfully refer to it as a romance. This is the first in a four-book series, all of which are set during the American Revolutionary War and are compulsively readable. This first installment gives us so much romancey goodness. Rebel bluestocking turned undercover spy! British viscount charged with bringing her in! Sparks a’flying! Love a’kindled! You feel like you’re in Philadelphia, watching these two dance around their attraction while slowly coming to the realization that love conquers all.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I had a few spoilers for this series going in, so I knew the heroine didn’t end up with the first guy she met (and it’s YA, so I let that slide… plus, again, this is not strictly romance, but more epic fantasy with strong romantic elements). It allowed me to watch the development of her relationship with her husband from a slightly more magnanimous perspective, but watching them fight through their attraction and accept their status as soulmates was incredibly fulfilling. Plus, the writing is lush and engaging. (Special shout-out to Megan Frampton, whose tweets gave me good cause to finally pick these up and start reading. I blew through all four installments in two days!)
About the Author:
Cecilia London, native Illinoisan, occasional novelist, and union lawyer, lives with her family in San Antonio, Texas. An extroverted introvert with a serious social media addiction, she is the author of The Bellator Saga, an epic, genre-crossing romance series. You can most often find her causing trouble and engaging in various shenanigans on Twitter at @authorclondon.
Songbird by Cecilia London, out now!
Christine Sullivan isn’t an easy person to love. She knows how the world sees her – aloof, standoffish, cold…perhaps even bitchy. After a lifetime in politics, including a stint with an expat government in exile, President Sullivan has taken her share of body blows, but now she’s back in Philadelphia…a widow, a recovering Republican, a former public servant seeking a quiet, private existence.
On her to-do list – rebuild her relationship with her estranged daughter and invent the rest of her life. She has her best friend Caroline, her brand spanking new condo, and her ever frustrating Secret Service detail to keep her company. That should be enough for anyone, right?
Until Alexander Guardiola comes along… liberal, emotionally unguarded, younger. A lot younger. Everything Christine isn’t. And isn’t ready for.
But opposites attract, don’t they? And hearts and minds can always be changed…