Happy Valentine's Day, sapphics! We hope your day is filled with love, and to make sure it is, we have compiled our queer Valentine's picks. Grab the chocolates and feast on some sweet treats in the form of romantic books and movies.
Holding on to Bluebell Lodge by Rachel Bowdler
At the age of sixteen, Willow ran away and found a new home in St Agnes, Cornwall, where she was taken in by Bluebell Lodge owner, Laurel. After Laurel’s devastating death nine years later, the lodge is left to Willow and she soon finds that running it isn’t quite as easy as Laurel had always made it look. Between drowning in bills, stumbling across countless things in need of repair, and managing a chef who causes frequent fire hazards, Willow is barely scraping by, and her biggest fear is ruining everything that Laurel spent her whole life building.
Laurel’s granddaughter, Mags, is not much help, either, filled with resentment at the fact that Laurel did not leave the lodge to family, but a woman she has never particularly gotten along with. However, when things worsen and an attorney starts to hassle Willow with claims that an anonymous buyer wants to take the lodge off her hands, she must find a way to save it before it’s lost forever, and after a change of heart, Mags finally decides to offer her aid — despite her distaste for Willow. Together, and with the help of Laurel’s tabby cat, Bluebell, they rebuild the lodge piece by piece and are drawn closer than ever before as they get to know each other properly for the first time.
But when secrets are discovered and betrayals are revealed, Willow must decide if she can respect Laurel’s wishes and make a new home with Mags, or if the lies are a definite sign that Willow is better off as she has always been before: alone. Holding On to Bluebell Lodge is a story of rebuilding and renewing a home and a friendship, finding love in the most unlikely of places, and learning to let old burdens go.
Delilah Green Doesn't Care by Ashley Herring Blake
Delilah Green swore she would never go back to Bright Falls—nothing is there for her but memories of a lonely childhood where she was little more than a burden to her cold and distant stepfamily. Her life is in New York, with her photography career finally gaining steam and her bed never empty. Sure, it’s a different woman every night, but that’s just fine with her.
When Delilah’s estranged stepsister, Astrid, pressures her into photographing her wedding with a guilt trip and a five-figure check, Delilah finds herself back in the godforsaken town that she used to call home. She plans to breeze in and out, but then she sees Claire Sutherland, one of Astrid’s stuck-up besties, and decides that maybe there’s some fun (and a little retribution) to be had in Bright Falls, after all.
Having raised her eleven-year-old daughter mostly on her own while dealing with her unreliable ex and running a bookstore, Claire Sutherland depends upon a life without surprises. And Delilah Green is an unwelcome surprise…at first. Though they’ve known each other for years, they don’t really know each other—so Claire is unsettled when Delilah figures out exactly what buttons to push. When they’re forced together during a gauntlet of wedding preparations—including a plot to save Astrid from her horrible fiancé—Claire isn’t sure she has the strength to resist Delilah’s charms. Even worse, she’s starting to think she doesn’t want to…
Written in the Stars (plus the next two books in the series) by Alexandria Bellefleur
After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.
Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy... a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle's new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because... awkward.
When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship.
But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?
Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.
But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.
Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.
She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott & Alyson Derrick (they are WIVES!)
Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. She knows how to get the girl. Keeping her on the other hand…not so much. Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mom. She knows she’s in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just…hasn’t actually talked to her yet.
Alex and Molly don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus. But when Alex, fresh off a bad (but hopefully not permanent) breakup, discovers Molly’s hidden crush as their paths cross the night before classes start, they realize they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex volunteers to help Molly learn how to get her dream girl to fall for her, she can prove to her ex that she’s not a selfish flirt. That she’s ready for an actual commitment. And while Alex is the last person Molly would ever think she could trust, she can’t deny Alex knows what she’s doing with girls, unlike her.
As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling…for each other.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more...?
Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn't been too great, but at least he's not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He's heard a little about Charlie - the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months - but he's never had the opportunity to talk to him.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner...
Peaches and Honey by Imogen Markwell-Tweed
Matt’s come a long way from the hyper-masculine jerk he was fifteen years ago. He never expected to love his step-son so fiercely, or to agree with his now ex-wife that divorce was the right choice for both of them. He should be less surprised that he’s happy he moved back to his hometown of Blue Bell and sells homemade pies at the local farmer’s market. So when his first impression with his neighbor completely tanks, Matt’s determined to be cordial.
Heath is surly and distrustful of Matt at first, but their mutual interest in baking grows into friendship. Matt loves Heath’s playful and relaxed nature, the way his eyes sparkle when he talks about his bees. Matt’s never looked at a man the way he looks at Heath, or has felt so comfortable around anyone. Confused by his thoughts and more of his new friend, unsure and falling hopelessly in love with his neighbor, Matt doesn’t know what to do. Caught off guard by his growing feelings for Heath, can Matt keep from ruining the best friendship of his life?
Can't Spell Treason without Tea by Rebecca Thorne (for which you can read our review and listen to an episode of our podcast with Rebecca herself!)
All Reyna and Kianthe want is to open a bookshop that serves tea. Worn wooden floors, plants on every table, firelight drifting between the rafters… all complemented by love and good company. Thing is, Reyna works as one of the Queen’s private guards, and Kianthe is the most powerful mage in existence. Leaving their lives isn’t so easy.
But after an assassin takes Reyna hostage, she decides she’s thoroughly done risking her life for a self-centered queen. Meanwhile, Kianthe has been waiting for a chance to flee responsibility–all the better that her girlfriend is on board. Together, they settle in Tawney, a town that boasts more dragons than people, and open the shop of their dreams.
What follows is a cozy tale of mishaps, mysteries, and a murderous queen throwing the realm’s biggest temper tantrum. In a story brimming with hurt/comfort and quiet fireside conversations, these two women will discover just what they mean to each other… and the world.
On our radar:
D'Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins
Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi
HOWL: Home of the Wayward Lovers by Lucy Bexley
Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzalez
Can't Resist Her by Kianna Alexander
Movies and Show
A League of their own
Our Flag Means Death