When you picture a romance novel, you probably picture a small mass market paperback with a shirtless Fabio on the cover. While those books and similar ones like it can still be found in the genre, there has been a slew of new-age romance novels being published in the last few years. These novels are a breath of fresh air and introduce modern views on romance into a genre with pretty established traditions and tropes.
We are now seeing an increase in romance novels with diverse casts of POC and queer people that strive to dismantle some of the more toxic tropes that remain present in the genre.
Queer romance novels receive praise for their inclusivity and for being written by authors of the same identity, as well as for touching on themes that haven’t been discussed often in romance novels, such as mental health and trauma. “Delilah Green Doesn’t Care” by Ashley Herring Blake has successfully filled both of those roles.
“Delilah Green Doesn't Care” follows lesbian photographer Delilah who has to return to her hometown to Bright Falls, Ore. and her estranged family to photograph her perfectionist stepsister Astrid’s wedding. When Delilah meets her stepsister's arrogant fiancé, she joins forces with Astrid’s best friends to sabotage the wedding and save Astrid from a doomed marriage.
Along the way there is healing and hijinks. Love and lust blossom between Delilah and Claire, one of her stepsister's best friends, a single mother and bookstore owner.
This book was an absolute joy to read, and I believe that it is because of how dynamic it is. The characters are messy in the best way possible, full of bawdy humor and flaws that make them so human and tangible. Imperfect characters are always more appealing to me than perfect ones. Flaws are what make people who they are, and having these flaws be present in “Delilah Green Doesn’t Care” allows for so much mobility and opportunities within the plot.
The romance between Delilah and Claire is far from a straightforward one. It has ups and downs as they learn how to be together, but they never give up. Watching the romance unfold between these two characters was beautiful. I saw Claire and Delilah rediscover their love for themselves as they fell in love with each other.
Something beautiful about the novel is the theme of second chances. Many characters in this novel have tumultuous pasts and have made mistakes in their personal lives, but they are not written off. They have the chance to make amends and rebuild their relationships better and stronger than they were before.
This is especially seen between stepsisters Astrid and Delilah. After taking the time to learn about each other, the two polar opposite step-siblings are able to take the first steps towards an actual sisterly relationship.
It’s apparent on sight that “Delilah Green Doesn’t Care” is a love story, but it’s not just a story about romantic love. The novel explores the love between family, friends, yourself, and what you’re passionate about.
Love is as multifaceted as the characters themselves. They’re so well developed that it feels like they can step off the page at any moment, and the words themselves are filled with sincerity and crafted perfectly. I cannot wait to return to Bright Falls with Delilah, Claire and the rest of the ‘coven’, as they call themselves, when “Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail” comes out on Nov. 22.