As a follow up to my April 2018 post about Diversity in Romance, I wanted to talk some more about diversity in romance - specifically main characters with mental, physical, and sensory disabilities.
***IMPORTANT: I am
writing this from a place of good intentions, but you know what they say about
the road to hell… I did some Googling to
try to be sure I'm using the most appropriate/acceptable terminology for people
with disabilities. If anything in this post is offensive, it is unintentional
and I ask that you please educate me so I can correct it.***
There has been a LOT
of discussion about diversity in romance, and it seems like the main thing
brought up is race and the lack of people of color both being published as
writers of romance as well as having representation as main characters in
romance novels. I talked about this aspect of diversity in romance in my April
2018 post, but today I'd like to focus on a different aspect of diversity in
romance. I don't see many romances about people with disabilities, and I think
it is important for people to see themselves in the media they consume. I want
to see more romances with characters who are on the autism spectrum, who are
deaf or blind, who struggle with mental illness. I want main characters who use
mobility aids and other assistive devices, and characters dealing with things
like MS or diabetes or a spinal cord injury. I'm not saying the storyline needs
to revolve around their disability; just that they be present and represented
So! Let's help each
other find some more mental and physical diversity in romances, shall we? I'm
going to talk about a few books I've read that have at least one main character
that is disabled, as well as a few on my TBR. Please leave recommendations in
the comments of more that I need to add to my TBR. :)
A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert features a
leading lady, Ruth, who is an Autistic black web comic artist.
Sit, Stay, Love by Debbie Burns has a hero who
has ADD as well as PTSD, and I am very hopeful that the third book in the
series, My Forever Home, will be about
Patrick, a side character in previous books with Asperger's. (Patrick was
definitely my favorite character in Sit, Stay,
Pandora in Lisa
Kleypas' Devil in Spring suffers from an
inner ear that leaves her deaf in one ear as well as causing her difficulty in
keeping her balance when moving around in the dark or doing things like
There seem to be a
lot of novels with main characters (especially heroes) who suffer from PTSD,
usually soldiers who have seen action of some sort in battle. Cameron in Jenny
Holiday's One and Only has PTSD. Love in the Afternoon, arguably my favorite
novel by Lisa Kleypas, is a historical with another hero suffering from PTSD.
It seems like PTSD has become one of the most socially acceptable mental
illnesses, at least as portrayed in romances and as it relates to men. I'd
really love to read more romances with MC's struggling with depression, anxiety
disorders, OCD, PTSD related to non-war situations…
A couple of romances
on my TBR with main characters who are deaf or mute include Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce, Tracking You by Kelly Moran, and Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks.
Additionally, some romances on my TBR with blind MC's include Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt, Playing the Part by Darcy Daniel, and The Arrangement by Mary Balogh.
Are there any
romances you'd recommend with main characters who are people with disabilities?
If you've read any of the books I've listed in my TBR, what did you think of them?
Is this a category you feel has adequate representation in the romance genre,
or could representation be better/more inclusive?
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