When people refer to romance as escapist is rarely done in a positive light but I want us all to revel in it today. I love romance, I love it when it is deeply mundane and grounded in our nitty gritty realities (but with all the orgasms) and when it sweeps me away to a different world or way of life.
Here are some recs from the RomBkLove 2021 team:
From Vicky (https://twitter.com/romancingread) recommends:
Escape for me is safe spaces, strong supportive relationships between friends or family, a sense of belonging and a cinnamon roll hero. A Taste of Her Own Medicine has all of those things: Set in a small town, it’s an age-gap erotic romance between Sonja Watts, an older divorced woman who is on a journey of self rediscovery, and Atlas James, a man who looks like ‘he could plow her north field without a horse.’ It’s all about affirmation, growth and owning your own desires, needs and histories. And it’s very hot. The best of both worlds: steamy and cozy!
Representation: Black f MC, Black m MC, Black author
Content Warnings: sex without a condom
Jaycee (@JayceeJarvis) Recommends:
When I’m looking to escape I want an immersive otherworldly setting and a love story with all the feels. Binding Shadows delivers both in spades. Set in Prague in an alternate universe where the world is controlled by power hungry necromancers, the setting is rich and interesting, with plenty of vivid details that swept me away. Magic is real and forbidden, so the growing attraction between a reluctant shifter and a woman with a touch of “grace” involves delicious layers of secrets and learning to trust each other and their own powers.
Representation: biracial MCs, Black author
Content Warnings: death of a parent figure, difficult family dynamics (bully older brother), sexism in the workplace
Ingrid from The Smut Report (@smutreport) recommends:
Magical Midlife Madness by K.F. Breene
When I’m looking for an escape I find it most satisfying when the character gets to escape too—I want to see someone just busting through limitations and I want to feel just really, really good while I’m reading it. In the Leveling Up series by K.F. Breene, I was positively euphoric to find a mature (40’s) main character starting her life over after a divorce. The focus stays on Jessie’s future and her unflaggingly glass-half-full attitude. Her kid is fine, she’s got a life to live, and that life has a possessed house, an army of murderous dolls, and neighbors with witty banter and weird quirks who are ready and willing to live and die for her (so she’s pretty busy, obviously). When I need to escape, I want to feel myself escape into the possibility of big dreams, even if it’s based in total fantasy--and I want to walk away feeling inspired and free. This absolutely bananas series will make you feel invincible and glorious in the skin you’re already in.
Representation: mature main characters
Content Warnings: divorce, some violence
This year when I wanted an escape I literally wanted a different world, but also an author I can trust. For me, Chace Verity fits both of those. They’ve delivered for me repeatedly and Your Heart Will Grow has such a fully fleshed out world that I just wanted to stay in for a while. Kelpana is a cis pansexual mermaid who is supposed to be the peacekeeper between other mermaids and humans, and Morgan is a trans prison guard who falls for her, while he’s supposed to be guarding her. From there, there’s so much adventure and fantasy and I’ve revisited this book multiple times since first reading it.
Representation: pansexual author, she/they
Content Warnings: - Offers of sex as currency/bargaining tool, multiple instances of a character being drugged, Slut-shaming, Abusive family members
What takes you away? The setting, the kinds of characters, or specific genres? Tell us your about your fave escapist rom?
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