This week’s Sapphic Book Bingo category features angsty sapphic romance novels.
An angsty or high-angst romance is a book in which the author puts the characters (and the readers) through the emotional wringer.
When it comes to romance novels, “angst” usually means that the characters are going through inner turmoil and painful emotions such as longing, dread, fear, pain, and insecurity. There might be trauma and heartbreak before they characters finally get their happily ever after.
15 angsty sapphic romance novels
Below, you’ll find 15 recommended angsty sapphic romance novels:
The Loudest Silence by Olivia Janae
Rising star cellist Kate Flynn is new to Chicago and her job at the Windy City Chamber Ensemble. On day one, she is surprised by the board’s intriguing president, Vivian Kensington. Not only does the woman come with a formidable reputation, but she’s also Deaf.
However, between a familiar face Kate isn’t ready to see again and the difficulties of being a single mom, she isn’t sure Chicago is the right place for her.
When tendrils of friendship develop with Vivian, Kate finds beneath her prickly ice queen persona unexpected kindness and warmth. Is the promise of more enough to make her stay? Can two such different women, one from a world of sound and one a world of silence, truly understand one another?
The Forever and The Now by KJ
Bron McIntyre, forty-two, has it all together. Terrific job. Loving family. No desperate need for a girlfriend but would be interested if one came along. Bron McIntyre is Teflon.
Kate Agostino, forty-eight, is not Teflon. Yes, she has a terrific job. But a loving family? Not really. And her personal life is rapidly disintegrating and turning into dust.
When her orange smoothie explodes all over her business suit while she’s on her afternoon walk, Kate simply shakes her head in resignation.
Bron, having witnessed the smoothie eruption, races to help, and suddenly her life takes an unexpected turn.
Falling in love is like watching the grandest sunset on the calmest ocean where the tiniest ripples wear silver sparkles as their hats. Kate and Bron find that sunset on that ocean with those ripples of love, but what happens when you take that love for granted? What happens when your person disappears? The answers are hard to hear and Bron chooses not to listen.
After a relationship break, a family intervention, and conversations that rip apart seams, Bron and Kate eventually find themselves, each other, and their now. And what they discover is that love is the large and the deliberate, and the simple and the small.
So when tragedy strikes, they call on its strength because, when you think about it, love can live on in the forever, particularly if it lives courageously in the now.
Conflict of Interest by Jae
Workaholic Detective Aiden Carlisle isn’t looking for love—and certainly not at the law enforcement seminar she reluctantly agreed to attend. But the first lecturer is not at all what she expected.
Psychologist Dawn Kinsley has just found her place in life. After a failed relationship with a police officer, she has sworn never to get involved with another cop again, but she feels a connection to Aiden from the very first moment.
Can Aiden keep from crossing the line when a brutal crime threatens to keep them apart before they’ve even gotten together?
Can I Trust Her? by Frances Lucas
When the body of a student who threatened to reveal information about others is found at the bottom of an unlit staircase, everyone assumes her death was an accident. Days later, another girl mysteriously goes missing. High school juniors Virginia and Katie are determined to find out what happened to their classmates, but first they must trust each other with their own dark secrets.
A Whisper Of Solace by Milena McKay
Neve Blackthorne, head of one of the most successful Studios in Hollywood, is the one to rule them all. Powerful, beautiful, and aloof, she’s ruthless, yet irresistible. Above all, she has an unquenchable survival instinct.
Surely a fleeting entanglement with one Audrey Avens, a bright, young, rising star in her company, won’t bring down the Wicked Queen of Tinseltown. Or will it?
Neve’s public persona has no chink in the untouchable armor, but when the lights go out and the cameras stop rolling, what becomes of an Ice Queen whose heart is ruled by love and fear?
The Veracity of Lies by Anna Woiwood
The Wes Goodwin Show was a comedic hit in the 1950s. All across the country, families tuned in weekly to find out what wholesome mischief Kathryn Anderson as Paula, on-screen wife of Wes Goodwin, would get into with her quirky and single neighbor Kay, played by Alice Kincaid. But life off-screen, out of the spotlight and away from the adoring public, was far from wholesome.
When The Wes Goodwin Show becomes one of the top syndicated programs of 1981, The Holly Singer Show wants to capitalize on the moment with a live cast reunion.
Now a fallen starlet from the golden years, Kathryn has been making art house pictures in Germany with her second husband. When news about the reunion comes in, she finds herself wasted on a plane headed for Los Angeles. Is she strong enough to deal with what she did after all these years?
When Alice receives a call from her agent about the reunion, she nearly passes out in front of her concerned and confused son. She owes the television series her name in the business, but how can she face her past in the flesh?
Broken to Belong by Charity Muse
For singer/songwriter Dani Williams, music has always carried her – until now. No longer able to ignore her pain, Dani travels south to volunteer at a safe home for LGBTQ+ youth. While there, she meets Mae, an advisor to the residents whose warmth is contrasted by guardedness and uncertainty. Dani and Mae form a special bond which blossoms into love.
But more than their relationship becomes threatened when an attack is launched against the home, endangering its existence. To help save the home and the authentic love she yearns for, Dani must face heartbreak from her past and use her talents to confront the same prejudice that wounded her. As the strength of their bond is tested, Dani has the choice to walk away and lose everything or stay and redefine love, family, and spirit.
Playing Catch-Up by Zoey Lennox
Twenty-three-year-old Alexis Lenz’s life is a mess: she hates her job, has lost touch with most of her friends, and her love life is non-existent.
When she meets LGBTQ youth counsellor Ramie Ramirez at a dinner party, sparks fly. But Ramie is still putting herself back together after an acrimonious split from her long-term girlfriend and is only looking for something casual. If living with the repercussions of her ex’s lies has taught her one thing, it’s to keep her heart locked up tight.
As the two women begin to date, Alexis finds herself in a predicament. She’s never dated a woman before and is afraid Ramie will dump her sorry arse once she finds out.
What’s a girl to do? A little white lie can’t hurt, can it? It’s not like they’re going to do something stupid like fall in love…
One More Chance by Tiffany E. Taylor
Seven years after her wife’s tragic death, a still-mourning Aimée “Jake” Charron finds herself unexpectedly intrigued by a personal ad sent to her by one of her best friends. It was a femme sucker punch right to the gut, and Jake finds her inner alpha butch responding with an almost predatory desire.
After two failed relationships, Geneva Raineri doesn’t believe in fairy tales and happily-ever-afters anymore. Her neighbor posts a personal ad Gen wrote as a joke on a butch/femme romance site—and when a self-professed alpha butch named Jake responds, Gen finds herself swept up into a sensual game of cat-and-mouse that soon has a captivated Gen feeling like Jake’s prey.
Jake knows she’s already had one chance at a forever love, but lost it when her wife died. She wants Gen with a desire she’d thought was long dead—but Jake believes expecting to find another great love after you’ve already had one and lost it is a fool’s game.
Gen, however, is determined to prove to Jake that anyone lucky enough to be given another shot at happiness needs to grab it with both hands and never let it go.
As Jake and Gen navigate personal journeys that include heartbreak, self-discovery, passion, and courage, they both discover that risking everything to take one more chance on love might ultimately be their salvation.
Honey in the Marrow by Emily Waters
Stella Carter is a former criminal prosecutor and new widow facing down middle age alone in Los Angeles. Without being a prestigious lawyer and someone’s wife, she’s not sure who she is anymore or where her life is headed.
When she invites her niece to move in with her, Stella accidentally reconnects with her former colleague, LAPD Captain Elizabeth Murphy. The woman is beautiful but cold; someone she was always at odds with on the job.
Surprisingly, Stella finds herself leaning on her niece and Elizabeth more and more to navigate her loss. But as time goes on, Stella can’t keep seeing Elizabeth and pretending she’s not attracted to her. Besides, there’s absolutely no way Elizabeth feels the same way. Is there?
One Golden Summer by Clare Lydon & TB Markinson
Saffron Oliver is the golden girl. Golden hair. Golden skin. Golden movie career.
Only one problem: she hates it.
She flees to her sister’s seaside town – where she meets the confident & charming Kirsty McBride.
Kirsty is everything Saffron wants to be. Perhaps also, everything she wants.
But Saffron can’t have it all. So now, she has to decide: does she crave Kirsty enough to blow up her golden life?
Truth and Measure by Roslyn Sinclair
Jules Moretti is newly single, an aspiring writer, and the hyper-competent assistant to the most powerful woman in fashion. It’s a tough job, but her ice queen boss won’t settle for less than perfection.
Vivian Carlisle helms the internationally revered fashion publication Du Jour. She might be smack in the middle of a messy divorce, but you have to make sacrifices to be the best. That’s what she tells herself, anyway.
When the unthinkable happens, Vivian’s regimented world is turned upside-down. Her life is about power, success, and dominance—not a baby!
This single, shocking moment throws boss and assistant together into an intimacy neither could have imagined. With their lives in chaos, every day brings a new challenge bigger than the last. But everything will work out…just so long as they don’t do anything totally ridiculous.
Like fall in love.
Unbeliever by Karin Kallmaker
Professor Hayley Carnegie has no time for the puzzle of a large book of blank pages delivered to her doorstep. University politics don’t matter, her research doesn’t matter. Her entire life is wrapped around caring for her twin, Kylie. As the New England winter sharpens both sisters know that Kylie will not see the spring. New neighbor Aurora Lowell is immediately sympathetic, helpful … and alluring. But Hayley has no time for that either.
It’s a completely different side of Aurora that Hayley experiences when she chances to open the mysterious book near the firelight and muses aloud the vaguely familiar words that appear on the old pages… Love is magic is love in Unbeliever.
The Visitor by Angela McKenna
Lesbian Professor Helen Miller arrives in England from America. The last thing she expects is to be lodging with her friend Sophie’s reserved and anxious mother, Ingrid, but Sophie has told a big lie which pushes them all together under one roof and when Ingrid catches them both in what appears to be a compromising position, sparks fly.
Helen lurches from one calamity to another as she attempts to navigate through the storm of a family drama, teetering on the verge of being cast out, but desperate to stay. You see, despite Ingrid’s angry words and cold demeanour, Helen likes her, in fact, she likes her rather a lot and she’s wondering if, underneath all that cold fury, Ingrid likes her too…
With only three weeks left until she must return home to San Francisco, Helen fights for the true love she has always craved but will her own past, and Sophie’s lies, wreck any chance of future happiness? The clock is ticking.
All Things Beautiful by Alaina Erdell
Leighton Vaughn’s prestigious fine art atelier—and her life¬—appear to be settling down after a messy divorce. She prioritizes her daughter, art, and, teaching—that is until gifted Casey Norford joins the close-knit New York academy.
Casey didn’t receive the artistic education she expected from her bachelor’s degree, but a spot at Atelier Vaughn will remedy that. Even more than the opportunity to study with the famed Leighton Vaughn, Casey wants to give her son a stable childhood that won’t resemble her own. She’s not sure of the true extent of her artistic talent, but she’s keenly aware of her attraction to her instructor, and that attraction appears mutual.
Their sticky teacher-student relationship puts the future of the atelier in jeopardy, the needs of their young children are at odds with their dreams, and Leighton’s obsessive ex tracks her down. Will they sacrifice everything to be together?
Amazon (out in November 2023)
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