Tuesday, April 23, 2024

7 Incredible Sapphic Books for Femslash February

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Femslash February is almost over and bookish social media still doesn’t focus on sapphic content as much as it should, and I’m still gunning for my personal reading goal of one hundred books. If you’re looking for more books with a sapphic protagonist to add to your ever expanding TBR, here are some recs that I’ve fallen in gay love with recently and others that are evergreen.

Frontier
Cover for Frontier by Grace Curtis which shows a vehicle in space with the words Love. Loss. Laser guns. at the top of the cover.

Two words, Space Western. Grace Curtis’ fast paced debut follows a gunslinger from beyond the stars who’s searching for her lost love on a future wasted away Earth. This one comes highly recommended from Gideon the Ninth’s author Tamsyn Muir and it’s easy to see why. If you enjoy sci fi, westerns, and a high concentration of weird and wait, what the fuck is going on but in the best way possible, then you’ll love this episodic piece following an amnesiac sapphic sharp shooter. Likewise if you haven’t read Gideon the Ninth, go do that as I enthusiastically anticipate the what the fuck is up with that that will be Alecto the Ninth. Grace Curtis also has a new work out in March, Floating Hotel which looks delightful and I look forward to checking out!

Our Wives Under The Sea
Cover for Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfield which shows a woman's face distorted by glass covered with water. The bottom has a commendation from Sarah Waters reading "A wonderful novel, deeply romantic and fabulously strange. I loved this book"

Do you enjoy being sad while you read things? Do you also want to know the next level of the would you still love me if I were a worm meme? Look no further than Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfeld! This one also comes highly recommended by Florence Welch, and I have been a Florence + The Machine bisexual since high school. Our Wives Under The Sea follows Miri and her wife Leah, who hasn’t been the same since she returned home from a deep sea expedition that went tragically wrong. We follow Miri as she battles with the grief of losing a loved one that’s still technically present, and we also follow Leah in flashbacks to try and understand what went horribly wrong.

The Seep
Cover for The Seep by Chana Porter, it shows a cluster of flowers with white arms reaching out from beneath the stems.

This is one that my girlfriend said to give five stars purely because of the DS9 reference. This novella by Chana Porter follows trans lesbian Trina following an alien invasion that slipped through the cracks of humanity gently and promised utopia. Trina’s marriage falls apart when her wife Deena chooses to restart her life from the very beginning, and so begins Trina’s quest to deal with negative emotions versus a world with an alien presence described as having the nuance of a golden retriever. The Seep is strange, weird, and wonderful and if the thought of an alien presence communicating through sentient pamphlets (yes you did read that right) intrigues you, you should definitely check it out!

All The Dead Lie Down
Cover for All The Dead Lie Down by Kyrie McCauley featuring a young woman with fair hair with her face covered in ivy.

One of my favourite tropes happens to be the house as a living entity, as unfortunately I read far too many VC Andrews novels growing up and here we are. In All The Dead Lie Down, the house in question is Lovelace House – the home to an acclaimed horror writer, and where Marin Blythe, a teenage girl, finds herself with a nanny job. Marin finds herself increasingly drawn to eldest daughter Evie as she tries to find out what lurks in the woods beyond Lovelace house and what truly curses the Lovelace family.

If you were a fan of the Haunting of Bly Manor and can never hear that one Sheryl Crow song in the same way again, this is going to be one you’ll enjoy! Also for the Yellowjackets fans in the house, Kyrie McCauley’s next work is described as Yellowjackets meets House of Hollows following a ship wrecked group of girls, and I know I’ll be checking it out!

More Than A Best Friend
Cover for More Than A Best Friend by Emma R. Alban, which features cartoon styled art of two women in Victorian dress on purple background.

If you like your romance historical, Emma R. Alban’s Victorian set novel follows Beth, who needs to secure a wealthy husband, and Gwen, who has no desire to get married at all. The two of them concoct a Parent Trap style plan to get their parents together following their ill fated fling decades earlier in order to solve Beth’s financial woes and help Gwen escape the marriage mart.

Obviously their fast friendship and shenanigans mean they’re spending a lot of time together, and this is a romance novel, so you know where this is going. More Than A Best Friend is light and fun and has the Bridgerton style of who gives a fuck about historical accuracy? The upcoming sequel, You’re The Problem, It’s You, is not sapphic but follows Gwen and Beth’s cousins Johnny and Bobby. If you like gay enemies to lovers you might want to check that one out!

For those of you looking for more traditional regency romance, you might want to try The Perks of Loving A Wallflower as well as Her Princess At Midnight, a sapphic Cinderella novella both by Erica Ridley.

An Education In Malice
Cover for An Education In Malice by S.T Gibson which features a stylised green and black background with white and yellow flowers, a book and an hourglass.

After reading S.T. Gibson’s Dowry of Blood, they jumped up to my autobuy list. An Education in Malice is set in the same universe as Dowry of Blood with some mild crossover. A retelling of the classic vampire novel, Carmilla, An Education In Malice follows Laura Sheridan, who enters into a heated academic rivalry with fellow student Carmilla as they both try to impress mysterious Professor De Lafontaine.

One thing I’ve had mixed feelings about when it comes to Carmilla retellings is the veering away from the more toxic/darker shades of Carmilla and Laura’s relationship. While their power imbalance is less so here, their relationship was one I found myself enjoying and rooting for. From S.T Gibson I’m also looking forward to Evocation, their upcoming m/m/f poly novel surrounding occultists in Boston, and they also have an upcoming poly erotic romantasy trilogy which sounds bonkers in the best possible way. Likewise if sapphic vampires are what you’re into reading, I have to shout out one of my favourite reads from last year, House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson!

Every Exquisite Thing
Cover for Every Exquisite Thing by Laura Steven which features blue and purple flowers on a black background.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if The Picture of Dorian Gray was about being gay and traumatised by your mother? Boy do I have a novel for you. Every Exquisite Thing follows Penny Paxton dealing with the shadow of her much adored supermodel mother as she starts to attend an exclusive drama school. There were times that I wondered if I was maybe a little too old for this one, but it’s a YA novel I know I would have needed as a teenager struggling with self image issues in a hyper image conscious area (how are we all loving therapy ex ballet girls?).

I’m looking forward to adding more sapphic books to my pile, if we all believe we can make our way out of the Twilight Zone episode of so many bookish love interests being Adam Driver in a funny hat.

Images courtesy of publishers

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