Happy Pride Month everyone! Now is the perfect time to recommend some of my favorite LGBTQ historical books.
I have a deep love for historical LGBTQ books, mostly because they show that queer people have existed since the dawn of time and I find different eras posed their own unique problems that are different contemporary queer romance . While there are a lot of ones that take place in England I’ve made sure to start with some different time periods and different countries first.
Since I am deep in the research pit for my own Greek Romance, let me begin with a classic!
1. Mary Renault: Just all things Mary Renault. She is one of my writing idols. I’d recommend her Alexander the Great trilogy, which can be a bit of a slog but is beautifully written and The Persian Boy is done from the POV of a Persian Eunuch who was considered one of Alexander’s most beloved companions. Renault is a staple in Queer Literature since she has been writing her historical LGBT books since the 50’s! Her novel The Charioteer is also a classic that depicts a gay man in World War II.
2. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: While not exactly historically accurate (there are gods and monsters) this does influence the ancient Greek nerd in me. This story has some of the most moving lines I’ve ever read, I was enthralled with the love between Achilles and Patroclus and so excited to see it presented in a way that modern audiences could enjoy. This is truly one of my favorite books.
By the way I also have a list of academic history books that go into LGBTQ history and lifestyle. The more you join me on this blog the more you’ll learn I’m fascinated with ancient Greek / Rome. A lot of the books on this list will be historicals from the different eras in England. So if you are like me and want to read more on Greece/Rome LGBTQ history I recommend The Greeks and Greek Love by James Davidson. Moving on…
3. The Conquers Saga By Kiersten White: This trilogy reminded me of why I love historical. It was griping from the first few pages and the summary is just to die for. While the idea of Vlad the Impaler being a GIRL isn’t historically accurate, Kierstan put tons of research into Islam at the time and the battles the books depict. We see a clash of religion and warfare in the 15th century. Radu is the sweetest little gay cinnamon roll I have ever read and his journey is heart wrenching. I just want him to be happy in the end. By the way, the conclusion for this saga comes out in a month! Now is the time to start reading.
4. The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles: Just a quick note KJ writes a lot of historical LGBTQ stories with paranormal elements. The Magpie Lord takes place in England during the Victorian Era (I believe) but the characters feel timeless. She writes a ton of historical LGBTQ books so make sure to check them out if you haven’t yet.
5. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee: This is a YA novel, but it is also a fun thrill ride throughout Europe, with the main character is a bisexual who flirts hard with everyone he meets- including his best friend. This is my kind of cat nip. Mackenzie Lee is a girl who knows her history and her love for the time period seeps in her writing. I would have loved to have a book like this out when I was a teenager.
6. The Solider’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian: This was the first Cat Sebastian book I read and the first in her Turner Series. The story is a fun mystery of sorts between a stuffy wounded solider and man who lives on the edge of London’s underworld. Cat really sheds a light on characters and society that are often over looked in historical romances and the good news is she has a ton of books!
I’m sorry this list doesn’t feature many Lesbian / Bi historicals. They are woefully hard to come by. So I’ll leave you with this anthology. All Out compiled by Saundra Mitchell featuring various authors. This anthology is specifically for LGBTQ teens in different historical settings. I loved it AND they have a wide range of representation. There is a story about an asexual, another with a transgender teen, and the usual love story between two teenage boys. I loved it!
I’m always looking for more historical LGBTQ books, so please list some of your favorites below!