Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge discussion

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2019 Read Harder Challenge > Task #16: An historical romance by an AOC

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message 1: by Book Riot (new)

Book Riot Community (book_riot) | 405 comments Mod
Use this space to discuss books you're reading or that might fit the 16th Read Harder task.


message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 18, 2018 08:15AM) (new)

Here is a link that may be helpful: http://www.wocinromance.com/themes/hi...

Also, as I'm not a fan of typical "genre" romance (believe me, I've tried!), any non-traditional recommendations are MOST welcome. I'm fine stretching the category a bit--I'd rather find something I'm actually excited to read than just pick something for the sake of picking it! I love romantic stories and HEAs, but I prefer stuff that leans more toward "literary" (for lack of a better term) fiction.

ETA: Graphic content is no problem. I also like my historical fiction to be well-researched and to feel authentic in terms of setting, action, and dialogue (I realize romance is largely fantasy, but a lot of historical romances I've tried have seemed too "modern," especially in dialogue and the attitudes of the characters). If it helps with recommendations, a few books with strong romantic plots/subplots that I've loved include Outlander, Tipping the Velvet, and The Time Traveler's Wife.

Thank you everyone for the rec's so far!


message 3: by Sue (new)

Sue (sue_re) | 20 comments My recommendations for this category would be:
The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan, or if you're looking for something short, her male/male romance story in Hamilton's Battalion, The Pursuit Of...

Tempest by Beverly Jenkins

Or one of Alyssa Cole's historical romances.


message 4: by Kimberley (new)

Kimberley (kimirons) | 30 comments I checked out some back posts on the woc in romance Instagram and decided on Pride and Passion by Carla Buchanan. Set during the Korean War which I know nothing about!


message 6: by Megan (new)

Megan | 131 comments Leah wrote: "Here is a link that may be helpful: http://www.wocinromance.com/themes/hi...

Also, as I'm not a fan of typical "genre" romance (believe me, I've tried!), any non-traditional recommendations ..."


Yes this. I *hate* romance novels. Any recommendations for romances that aren’t romances?


message 7: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 129 comments Megan wrote: "Leah wrote: "Here is a link that may be helpful: http://www.wocinromance.com/themes/hi...

Also, as I'm not a fan of typical "genre" romance (believe me, I've tried!), any non-traditional rec..."


Take a look at An Extraordinary Union. I haven't read it yet so I can't say for sure, but it looks like it's a Civil War spy story in addition to romance. Maybe the spy part might offset the romance for you. I'm planning to use this for my pick, but I love a good romance, so I may not be the best judge of what will appeal to you.


message 8: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (thenoblewoman) | 17 comments Does anyone have recommendations that stay at a PG-13 level? I'd especially love it if someone knows about one that features a queer couple, too!


message 9: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) | 9 comments I'm going to trust everyones recommendation for An Extraordinary Union here, but this is another one of those categories I'm not all that enthusiastic about ( a few of them this year 😐)


message 10: by Ann (new)

Ann (annbeman) | 40 comments I feel like so many of us are reading An Extraordinary Union, we should have a book club for it.


message 11: by Renee (new)

Renee (reneeww) | 115 comments Not sure where to post this, the OC thing of color, why not simply say culturally/ethnically different from self?? It’s not like caucasians are without color. Is a Jewish author an AOC? Or the Roma people? Where do Italians and Greeks fit in? What if someone is albino, but ethnically African? Sometimes I just think weird thoughts. Basque people where do they fit? I’m no longer certain what “color” means. It’s late where I am, maybe I should sleep


message 12: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha D (windmillstilt) | 49 comments I'd recommend:

Courtney Milan
Alyssa Cole (listening to an audiobook right now of hers called Four Novellas: Be Not Afraid - That Could Be Enough - Let Us Dream - Let It Shine & it iis so good; I'll be reading An Extraordinary Union for this task)
Beverly Jenkins
Lydia San Andres
Jeannie Lin

You can also check out THIS link for other possibilities.


message 13: by willaful (new)

willaful | 76 comments Rachel -- That Could Be Enough is an f/f story, and I don't think Cole's books get very explicit.

Leah -- I like books of that type too, but can't offhand think of any by AOC. I'll see if I can dig something up for you.


message 14: by Megan (last edited Dec 19, 2018 04:11AM) (new)

Megan | 131 comments Theresa wrote: "Megan wrote: "Leah wrote: "Here is a link that may be helpful: http://www.wocinromance.com/themes/hi...

Also, as I'm not a fan of typical "genre" romance (believe me, I've tried!), any non-t..."


That doesn’t look *too* awful. *sigh* I hate this category.


message 15: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 47 comments Renee wrote: "Not sure where to post this, the OC thing of color, why not simply say culturally/ethnically different from self?? It’s not like caucasians are without color. Is a Jewish author an AOC? Or the Roma..."

A "person of color" is a person who is not (primarily) of European descent, aka "not a white person." It's really got nothing to do with actual colors, so the terms are unfortunate but it's what we've got. The term "white" is used commonly and doesn't mean literally white and it doesn't mean albino. The majority of published authors (at least in the English language, which is the only one I can read) are "white" so the point here I think is to push us to find all those other authors that we may or may not have read, no matter what your own ethnicity may be. Since Italians, Greeks, Basque, and most Jewish people are of European descent, they are generally not grouped as "of color." I've seen Roma grouped in both so maybe that one is up to you. I would be really interested to know if you found a historical romance written by a Roma author!!


message 16: by Renee (new)

Renee (reneeww) | 115 comments I’m a very eclectic reader, and the phrase of color just feels wrong to me, as if one being superficial. I think the term culturally different from self is a bit more appropriate. But hey that’s me. Thanks


message 17: by Doug (new)

Doug (dougreadsbooks) | 8 comments It is entirely possible that this category will be my downfall in being able to complete this year's challenge. Every year, I hope that there will not be a romance task...and every year...there it is.

*sigh*


message 18: by Driftwood (new)

Driftwood | 2 comments Nadine wrote: "Renee wrote: "Not sure where to post this, the OC thing of color, why not simply say culturally/ethnically different from self?? It’s not like caucasians are without color. Is a Jewish author an AO..."

I agree, and to piggyback on this, I think the term "of color" has more to do with a shared experience of systemic racism than technicalities of actual skin color. Although Italian, Greek, Jewish, Basque, etc. people have undeniably experienced awful discrimination and antisemitism, people of European descent and their stories are much more visible in American culture than those of people of color: black, latinx, Asian, Native American or indigenous, and others. That is what the point of the challenge seems to be to me, anyway.


Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 23 comments I don't like romance books much, but I think I can handle Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz for this task.


message 20: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha D (windmillstilt) | 49 comments Doug wrote: "It is entirely possible that this category will be my downfall in being able to complete this year's challenge. Every year, I hope that there will not be a romance task...and every year...there it ..."

My suggestion would be to look for a novella by one of the authors. Courtney Milan has some such as The Governess Affair(and the Kindle Edition is free in the Kindle Store).


message 21: by Stine (new)

Stine Hopsdal | 19 comments This prompt is killing me. Romance i could've handled, but historical romance? Ugh.

I'm willing to stretch this prompt if I find something good, and I think my previous suggestion of Sorcerer to the Crown could be a fit in a bind. It isn't romantic-romantic, but it talks a lot about marriage, and there IS love between some characters. And also, the love for magic. Romantic enough for you? ;)

(I was stupid and read this a couple of days ago, so I have to find another one)


message 22: by Elizabeth A.G. (last edited Dec 20, 2018 11:33PM) (new)

Elizabeth A.G. | 4 comments I found a book for historical romance by an AOC called An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole. This author has written other books in her The Loyal League series.


message 23: by Stine (new)

Stine Hopsdal | 19 comments Hmmm. Maybe Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, if the historical part is stretched. (What is ''historical'' anyway? How old does the history have to be?)

The author is of Mexican decent.

This could also be a good fit for the prompt about #ownvoices set in Mexico/sentral America, as the author is gay.


message 24: by Milena (new)

Milena (milenas) | 85 comments Stine wrote: "Hmmm. Maybe Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, if the historical part is stretched. (What is ''historical'' anyway? How old does the history have to be?)

The author i..."


That's an excellent question. If you consider the 80s historical, maybe that depends on your age, you can read the same author's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.


message 25: by Judith (new)

Judith Rich | 77 comments I read "Let Us Dream" by Alyssa Cole for one of last year's tasks. It was OK but is fairly typical of the romance genre (other than the fact the heroine isn't the usual virginal type and is a brothel madam!) It's set around the time of WW1 (which bizarrely isn't mentioned).

I've pondered the AOC thing and come up with my own personal alternative - MOWED and non-MOWED ("Mostly Of White European Descent"), meaning 3 out of 4 grandparents.

Sometimes people say "oh, she's a POC, she's from Brazil". I've got a friend from Argentina and he's completely ethnically European, of Spanish & Italian descent (as are many South Americans). So I don't think he's a POC and I don't think he'd define himself as such - it's not about where you live, is it? I couldn't claim to be a POC by moving to Ethiopia.

And it certainly isn't about how pale your skin is either, because Japanese authors are always counted as POC and could well be paler than, say, someone from Sicily or the south of Spain.

I'm now just going off to kill myself if the 1980s is now historical.....


message 26: by Kendra (new)

Kendra Strand (kendrastrand) | 8 comments Leah wrote: "Here is a link that may be helpful: http://www.wocinromance.com/themes/hi...

Also, as I'm not a fan of typical "genre" romance (believe me, I've tried!), any non-traditional recommendations ..."


Thanks for sharing this link! I feel the same way about genre romance. I'm thinking perhaps Isabelle Allende's In the Midst of Winter or The Japanese Lover.


message 27: by Milena (new)

Milena (milenas) | 85 comments Judith wrote: "I read "Let Us Dream" by Alyssa Cole for one of last year's tasks. It was OK but is fairly typical of the romance genre (other than the fact the heroine isn't the usual virginal type and is a broth..."

Please don't, Judith. I was kidding.


message 28: by Henriette (new)

Henriette Terkelsen (henrietteterkelsen) Would Song of Blood & Stone fit this task? I really don't like romance (I've tried. And tried again and it just doesn't do anything for me), but this sounds okay.


message 29: by Susanne (new)

Susanne | 48 comments Henriette wrote: "Would Song of Blood & Stone fit this task? I really don't like romance (I've tried. And tried again and it just doesn't do anything for me), but this sounds okay."

For me personally, the story sounds like enough romance, but it might be a bit far away from the term "historical" because it is usually described as fantasy (ok, sometimes "historical fantasy") and seems to contain a lot of magic. One of its goodreads reviews says: "This story is set in an alternate 1920 and has a really unexpected wild west feel to it". It might fit the alternate history task better, though!


message 30: by Susanne (new)

Susanne | 48 comments Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee could be interesting for some who don't want typical romance. Last year it was among the suggestions for the Western task. It is a YA novel about two girls disguised as boys on the Oregon Trail, and although it focuses more on the friendship between the main characters, it also has an important romantic plot.


message 31: by Sarah Ruth (new)

Sarah Ruth (smurf_bunny) Tracy wrote: "I'm going to trust everyones recommendation for An Extraordinary Union here, but this is another one of those categories I'm not all that enthusiastic about ( a few of them this yea..."

I also chose this one based on all the recommendations and the comments about it not being a typical romance. I do not like romance, and I find it interesting how many people in this group are making that same point.

I am still on the fence, and checking this thread for other recommendations... the less *romancy* the better.


message 32: by Nadine (last edited Dec 22, 2018 10:37AM) (new)

Nadine Jones | 47 comments I really liked An Extraordinary Union, BUT I do think it is a "typical romance" so I hope you all won't be disappointed.

the best solution I can think of for those who just don't like romance is to read a classic - they weren't "historical fiction" at the time that they were written, of course, but perhaps they count now? Books like The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Pride and Prejudice, The Woman in White, Middlemarch, and North and South all have a romance as a major plot point but they are not the "typical romance" that seems to be so strongly disliked by some readers. The only classic AOC that I can think of is Dumas, but his stories don't really count as romances, do they?

Some other choices:
The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho - set in early 1900s, it's more of a novella, and the romance element is not so in-your-face I think.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - really more of a myth retelling, but it's "historical" to an extent
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks - more about the Bubonic plague than about romance, but there IS a romance there


edited because I completely forgot that this is for an author of color. Which leaves only Zen Cho. Who is awesome, so that's okay!


message 33: by Megan (new)

Megan | 131 comments Sarah Ruth wrote: "Tracy wrote: "I'm going to trust everyones recommendation for An Extraordinary Union here, but this is another one of those categories I'm not all that enthusiastic about ( a few of..."

It’s too bad Outlander doesn’t count. I love those books because romance isn’t the main focus.


message 34: by Sarah Ruth (new)

Sarah Ruth (smurf_bunny) Nadine wrote: "I really liked An Extraordinary Union, BUT I do think it is a "typical romance" so I hope you all won't be disappointed.

the best solution I can think of for those who just don't ..."


I love how short The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo is, that would make this much easier.

However, Year of Wonders looks like a book I would enjoy. I'm just not sure if it can be classified as Romance. I'm new to this challenge, so I could be wrong, but it feels like a bit of a stretch? Stretching is okay, though, so maybe...

Adding both of these to my *maybe* list, will definitely consider them. I'm probably going to read these in order, so I'll have a bit of time before I get to the historical romance.


message 35: by Sarah Ruth (new)

Sarah Ruth (smurf_bunny) Megan wrote: "Sarah Ruth wrote: "Tracy wrote: "I'm going to trust everyones recommendation for An Extraordinary Union here, but this is another one of those categories I'm not all that enthusiast..."

I would absolutely count Outlander. That is definitely a romance, IMO. But I have already read all but the most recent one and I don't want to attempt to re-read those! :)


message 36: by Susanne (last edited Dec 22, 2018 10:55AM) (new)

Susanne | 48 comments Nadine wrote: "I really liked An Extraordinary Union, BUT I do think it is a "typical romance" so I hope you all won't be disappointed.

the best solution I can think of for those who just don't ..."


The problem with most classics (and also Outlander I guess?) is that they aren't written by Authors of Color, right?


message 37: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1306 comments Diana Gabaldon is Latinx (her father is Mexican) so I thonk Outlander counts


message 38: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 47 comments Susanne wrote: "The problem with most classics (and also Outlander I guess?) is that they aren't written by Authors of Color, right?
..."


oh shoot you are right! I completely forgot about that!! let me go edit my post ...


message 39: by Susanne (new)

Susanne | 48 comments Bonnie wrote: "Diana Gabaldon is Latinx (her father is Mexican) so I thonk Outlander counts"

Oh, I'm very sorry! I should've done my research properly! -.-


message 40: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha D (windmillstilt) | 49 comments There might be classics out there that fit this challenge if that's what you're seeking. Just might take a little searching. Two lists so far, not sure they all fit but some might especially if you're stretching or whatever:

list one
list two


message 41: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 2 comments Do you think either James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk or Isabelle Allende’s Daughter of Fortune would work? They seem to both have some love story component to them but not sure if they would qualify.


message 42: by Yrinsyde (new)

Yrinsyde | 125 comments Renee wrote: "Not sure where to post this, the OC thing of color, why not simply say culturally/ethnically different from self?? It’s not like caucasians are without color. Is a Jewish author an AOC? Or the Roma..."

My thoughts too Renee. This prompt encourages people to read non-western authors. If someone comes from a long line of African Americans, then they are of recent western heritage, although they may be marginalised. Repeatedly referring to colour is Victorian racism perpetuated. To combat racism, we have to stop using these terms, even if they are used by marginalised themselves (marginalised agreeing to be labeled as such due to subtle oppression).


message 43: by Bobby (new)

Bobby | 166 comments I’d like to read something by Frank Yerby for this challenge, perhaps The Foxes of Harrow or The Saracen Blade.


message 44: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1306 comments Every year....it is a progressive term in the US intended to promote intersectionality and originated by Black and Latinx activists. As usual White folks show up to tell Black and Brown people they are wrong about the languge used to define our identities.


message 45: by Sarah Ruth (new)

Sarah Ruth (smurf_bunny) Nadine wrote: "edited because I completely forgot that this is for an author of color. Which leaves only Zen Cho. Who is awesome, so that's okay!"

Aw. Now I'm sad that I have to remove Year of Wonders from my maybe pile. Off to find more options, I suppose....


message 46: by Ariel (new)

Ariel Neumann | 2 comments Can anyone tell me what AOC stands for?


message 47: by Megan (new)

Megan | 131 comments Ariel wrote: "Can anyone tell me what AOC stands for?"

Check out previous posts in this thread. It's explained there.


message 48: by Therese (new)

Therese | 30 comments I'm going to read The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas's because the series is entitled The d'Artagnan Romances. I have wanted to read this book for a while and this is a good time.


message 49: by Renee (new)

Renee (reneeww) | 115 comments The Color Purple works for this


message 50: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Haider (jessicahaider) | 9 comments I am probably either going to read Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende or Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz for this one.


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