Queer fiction, especially queer romance, has had a bittersweet history.
Many books of the past that centered on queer relationships found themselves shunted into tragic endings or eclipsed in favor of more heteronormative narratives.
Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt aka Carol, about a romance between two women, was unprecedented for its time due to its non-tragic ending and defiance of lesbian stereotypes. Though Highsmith never wrote another romance like it, her novel helped pave the way for future queer literature.
Gone are the days when LGBTQ+ romance was once considered niche and ill-fated.
There are now more diverse authors and stories being published than ever before with guaranteed happy endings! After all, queer folks want to cozy up with the same types of books as their straight peers: escapist stories knowing love will prevail and our happy couple better off by the time we turn to the last page.
Whether you’re in the mood for contemporary or historical, fantastical or mysterious, comedic or suspenseful, here are some of our favorite LGBTQ+ romances to listen to that will warm your heart and sweep you off your feet!
The Dos and Donuts of Love
Written by Adiba Jaigirdar, narrated by Priya Ayyar
From the bestselling author of The Henna Wars comes a pun-filled contemporary romance featuring a teenage girl competing on a baking show, perfect for fans of The Great British Bake Off.
Shireen Malik is still reeling from the breakup with her ex-girlfriend, Chris, when she receives news that she’s been accepted as a contestant on a new televised baking competition show. Winning will bring some much-needed attention to You Drive Me Glazy, her parents’ beloved donut shop.
But with Chris also on the show and Shireen becoming fast friends with another contestant, Niamh, things get complicated. As the competition intensifies, Shireen will have to ignore all these factors if she wants to win.
Jaigirdar’s sticky sweet romance was inspired by the trend of donut shops saturating Dublin streets in 2015. She personally loves a coffee-flavored donut.
Never Trust a Gemini
Written by Freja Nicole Woolf, narrated by Marisa Calin
Classic romcom and chaotic coming-of-age combine for a story about an astrology-obsessed lesbian.
It’s Libra Season, and Cat Phillips is ready to run headfirst into love. The only problem is that her crush is on her best friend, Alison Bridgewater, who is more interested in chatting with boys. Maybe Cat should take this as a sign to get over Alison. Then Morgan Delaney swoops in with her green glasses, enigmatic smile, and talent for teasing Cat in ways that make her feel überlicious. But Morgan is a Gemini, and there’s no way that’s in Cat’s horoscope.
Woolf described her protagonist as a diehard hopeless romantic and wanted to incorporate astrology into her book because of its importance in sapphic culture:
“It’s a lesbian love language, so it makes total sense that Cat would love it…”
The Witch and the Vampire
Written by Francesca Flores, narrated by Bailey Carr and Mary Helen Gallucci
Romance, fantasy, and adventure come together in this queer retelling of Rapunzel.
Ava and Kaye used to be best friends—until one night two years ago when vampires broke through the magical barrier protecting their town and, in the ensuing attack, Kaye’s mother was killed and Ava was turned into a vampire. Since then, Ava has been trapped, desperate to escape her confinement and stop her mother’s plans to destroy the town.
Kaye, now a Flame witch, is ready to fulfill her duty of killing any vampires that threaten the town, including Ava. On the night that Ava escapes, Kaye follows her and convinces her to travel together into the forest, while secretly planning to turn her in. Ava agrees, hoping to rekindle their old friendship and the romantic feelings she’d started to have for Kaye before that terrible night.
The two are each other’s greatest threat―and also their only hope, if they want to make it through the dangerous forest unscathed.
The Doomsday Book Series
Written by KJ Charles, narrated by Martyn Swain
The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen – Book 1
Regency lovers rejoice! This frenemies-to-lovers romance features plenty of fast-paced adventure and mystery to keep you hooked.
Abandoned by his father, Gareth Inglis grew up lonely and longing for a connection. When he meets a charming stranger, he falls head over heels―until everything goes wrong and he’s left alone again. Then Gareth’s father dies, turning him into Sir Gareth with a grand house on the remote Romney Marsh.
Joss Doomsday has run the Doomsday smuggling clan since he was a boy. When the new baronet―his old lover―agrees to testify against Joss’s sister, Joss acts fast to stop him. Their reunion is anything but happy, yet after the dust settles, neither can stay away. But when Gareth finds himself threatened from every side, the gentleman and the smuggler must trust one another not just with their hearts but also with their lives.
Charles’ inspiration for the book all started with a name: Joss Doomsday. Specifically, the surname Doomsday. From there, she decided this Joss had to be a smuggler and set her story during the Napoleonic Wars, a time of unjust taxation and trade restrictions when many people benefitted from smuggling.
A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel – Book 2
Set 13 years after the first book, we follow Joss’ younger cousin as he unexpectedly partners with new local lord Rufus d’Aumesty.
When Major Rufus d’Aumesty abruptly becomes the Earl of Oxney, he finds himself living in a remote manor on the edge of Romney Marsh and his title contested by both his greedy uncle and unexpected claimant Luke Doomsday, a member of the local smuggling clan. They should be natural enemies, but Luke is a secretary by trade and quickly becomes an unexpected ally, the partner Rufus needs… and soon the lover he can’t live without.
But Luke came to Stone Manor with an ulterior motive and as family secrets unspool on both sides, master and man soon find their positions and their partnership in danger of falling apart…
The Manor House Governess
Written by C. A. Castle, narrated by Cloud Quinn
Are you a fan of dark academia or The Haunting of Bly Manor? Then you’ll enjoy this gothic mystery starring a genderfluid protagonist who becomes entangled in a family’s troubled history.
Orphaned young and raised at an all-boys boarding school, Brontë Ellis has grown up stifled by rigid rules and social “norms,” forbidden from expressing his gender identity. His beloved novels and period films lend an escape—until a position as a live-in tutor provides him with a chance to leave St. Mary’s behind.
The Edwards family welcomes him into the Greenwood Manor household with true warmth. Only Darcy, the eldest son, seems uncomfortable with Bron—the two of them couldn’t be more opposite.
When a tragic fire blazes through the estate’s idyllic peace, Bron begins to sense dark secrets smoldering beneath Greenwood Manor’s surface. But his investigation leaves him unsure what to believe, especially with his increasing attraction to Darcy clouding his vision.
Written by Timothy Janovsky, narrated by Mark Sanderlin
Those who enjoyed 13 Going on 30 and One Last Stop will love this heartwarming time-travel romance set in New York City about a struggling stand-up comedian.
Twenty-three-year-old Nolan Baker, a single, struggling comedian, decides to quit comedy and pursue more practical dreams. With his sister’s wedding on the horizon, he asks his best friend, Drew Techler, to be his date.
But right as Nolan is about to give it all up, he’s asked to fill a last-minute spot for a famous comedian. He crushes his set, but stands Drew up, misses his sister’s big day, and disappoints his entire family. After major blowouts with everyone he loves, Nolan desperately wishes on a set of gift “magical healing crystals” to skip to the good part of life. When he wakes the next morning, it’s seven years later, he’s a successful comedian, and he has everything he always thought he wanted – except his friends and family aren’t taking his future self’s calls, including Drew.
As Nolan works to get back to his younger self – and the life he so carelessly threw away – he’ll have to prove he’s not the man everyone thinks they know in order to regain Drew’s trust, friendship, and, maybe, ultimately, his heart.
New Adult is Book 3 in the Boy Meets Boy series but can be read as a standalone!