This list of Black romances was originally published in our In the Club newsletter, In The Club. Sign up for it here for tips and tricks to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed.
Now that January is gone, it’s Black History Month, which is always an interesting time, I think. For one, it’s a reminder that so much of Black history is left out of mainstream avenues that cover history (like schools, the media, etc.). All of the instances of censorship have seen to that being confirmed as having been intentional. So acknowledging and celebrating Black history on such a large scale is both welcomed and needed. Some of my Black friends and I can’t help but kiki, though, at how blatantly certain retailers lean into celebrating Blackness out of nowhere. I mean, the support is cool of course, but cultural appropriation is real, and the sudden 180 does come across as disingenuous at times. So please double check that everything that is Black-centered that comes out around this time of year is actually supporting Black artists or donating to worthy causes, because all that glitters with kente cloth isn’t gold.
With that said, I’m excited to get to the club with you, where I’ll be hyping up some fun, steamy Black and interracial romances! Now on to the (love) club!
Nibbles and Sips
Check out this recipe for smothered chicken from chef Kia Damon, who describes just what “smothered” means: “The technique of smothering involves toasting butter and flour into a roux, adding aromatics, and thickening it into a flavorful sauce.” The full list of ingredients this recipe also calls for is:
1 cup plus ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
3 teaspoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons onion powder
6 slices bacon, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
½ small white onion, diced
2 small leeks, white parts only, trimmed and thinly sliced
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups|500 ml chicken stock
cooked white rice, to serve
I know a thing or two about something smothered, and it’s the best kind of comfort food.
Now on to the books!
Showing Some Love to Black Love
I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson
Journalist Kian Andrews hadn’t heard from his wealthy ex Hudson Rivers for months when he suddenly hit Kian up, pressing him to meet up at a café. Kian thought Hudson was trying to slide back in, but turns out, he just wants a dinner date for his parents showing up in town. Kian agrees, but that agreement turns into him going to the wedding of the season in Georgia. Now, being able to hobnob with wedding guests will certainly boost Kian’s fledgling career, but he and Hudson are going to need to reevaluate somethings. I haven’t read this one yet, but it promises to be a fun and sweet rom-com, and I’m always down for more M/M romances!
Black Love Matters by Jessica P. Pryde
Book Riot’s very own Jessica P. Pryde just released this wonderful collection of essays (🎉!) that explore this aspect of Black life that has not yet gotten its due in the media. The last 400 years of Black history as it relates to romantic love are explored, with many of the writers enhancing said history with personal accounts. This combination of the personal with the academic makes this collection such a wonderfully complex and fully realized examination of a topic that has been so central to a lot of human experiences since our existance, but that Black people have largely not been presented within the context of: love.
Sweethand by N.G. Peltier
Cherisse has sworn off men on account of her f-boi cheating musician boyfriend. Now, she’s channeling her energy into running her pastry chef business. Minding my business has always worked for me, but Cherisse’s mom isn’t having it as far as her daughter is concerned, and insists on trying to match her up with someone. And, unfortunately, Cherisse’s little sister getting married isn’t providing the distraction for her mom she thought it would. Then she starts coming into contact with the always aggravating Keiran King, who’s best friends with the man her sister is marrying. Keiran and Charisse have never seen it for each other, but things are different now. This has the added benefit of taking place in Trinidad, and features a sensitive male lead. We stan a sensitive (Keiran) King!
*whispers* also, the steamy scenes are A++ *ahem*
Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Y’all. I did not know I’d love this series as much as I do. It’s about Chloe, a computer whiz who suffers from chronic pain and has become determined to start experiencing life for real once she almost kinda dies. She moves out of her parents’ house and is trying to cross things off her get-a-life list when she comes into contact with her building’s super, Redford, who she doesn’t really vibe with at first. As they come to be around each other more, she learns more about why he isn’t as active in the art world any more, and he learns about the issues she’s had with relationships— both platonic and romantic— in the past. The lady who plays Lady Danbury in Bridgerton, Adjoa Andoh, narrates the audiobook. And with some of the scenes here being so… zesty… let’s just say that I’ll be reminded of things every time Lady Danbury speaks on season two of Bridgerton.