Anyone on twitter who also reads romance or follows any romance authors has watched the controversy about RWA's problem with representation by authors of color unfold over the last week. In reality, this issue has been prominent for as long as I've been on twitter, but it will periodically surge to the forefront again, usually because a well-known (white) author does something stupid and offensive and then doubles down (triples down) (quadruples down) and does way too much talking and not nearly enough listening.
The most recent representative of this is Cherry Adair.
In response to this, I'd love to read a romance by Beverly Jenkins. Ms. Bev, as she's known on twitter, is one of the grand dames of romance, and is a woman of color who writes historical romance about black men and women falling in love throughout history, in an effort to ensure that their stories aren't erased - and that readers can enjoy them.
Beverly Jenkins is the recipient of the 2018 Michigan Author Award by the Michigan Library Association, the 2017 Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 2016 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for historical romance. She has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature, was featured in both the documentary Love Between the Covers and on CBS Sunday Morning. Since the publication of Night Song in 1994, she has been leading the charge for multicultural romance, and has been a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and her peers alike, garnering accolades for her work from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and NPR.
Ms. Jenkins goes by @authorMsBev on twitter, and is well worth following. She is outspoken, articulate, and infinitely supportive of young authors of color. When I asked which of her books would be a good starting place, she pointed me to Indigo, which is one of our choices, and is a book that I will read whether or not it wins the poll!
As a child Hester Wyatt escaped slavery, but now the dark skinned beauty is a dedicated member of Michigan's Underground railroad, offering other runaways a chance at the freedom she has learned to love. When one of her fellow conductors brings her an injured man to hide, Hester doesn't hesitate even after she is told about the price on his head. The man in question is the great conductor known as the "Black Daniel" a vital member of the north's Underground railroad network, but Hester finds him so rude and arrogant, she begins to question her vow to hide him.
When the injured and beaten Galen Vachon, aka, the Black Daniel awakens in Hester's cellar, he is unprepared for the feisty young conductor providing his care. As a member of one of the wealthiest free Black families in New Orleans, Galen has turned his back on the lavish living he is accustomed to in order to provide freedom to those enslaved in the south. However, as he heals he cannot turn his back on Hester Wyatt. Her innocence fills him like a breath of fresh air and he is determined to make her his, but traitors have to be found, slave catchers have to be routed and Hester's refusal to trust her own heart have to be overcome before she and Galen can find the freedom only love can bring.
Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.
Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .
Award-winning romance author Beverly Jenkins offers up another high-stakes historical romance that is sure to make you swoon.
With Destiny’s Embrace, Jenkins brings readers back to the American West, where Logan Yates, a self-important ranch owner, must confront his feelings for his beautiful, free spirited housekeeper, Mariah Cooper. While they bicker incessantly, their sexual tension is palpable, and only rises when Mariah's former lover arrives on the scene. Will she accept Logan's heart?
Set in 19th-century California, Destiny's Embrace features unforgettable characters and a satisfying mix of adventure and passion from nation's premier writer of African-American historical romance.
If you are interested in joining me (and hopefully Obsidian Blue & Chris' Fish Place as well) for a romance buddy read, we'd love to have you! Please don't vote if you aren't going to read, though! I think that all of these books look great, so I'm ready to read whatever is picked. They should all be fairly widely available!
I'd like to schedule this for around April 15, before the Crooked House BR begins, to allow everyone to get their hands on the book!