This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge post features sapphic books with a character who’s a musician. The protagonist could sing or play an instrument for a living or as a hobby they are passionate about.
Read up on the rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge
If you are only discovering the Sapphic Reading Challenge now, the good news is you can still join! It’s a year-long challenge, so it runs until December 31, 2021. Read up on the rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge and download your PDF so you can keep track of the books you read this year.
A free ebook for you
If you don’t already have my short story “Facing the Music,” you can download the free ebook here. It’s a mini sequel to my romance Perfect Rhythm, which features a pop star who returns to her hometown and falls in love with asexual nurse Holly.
15 sapphic books about a musician
I put together a list of 15 sapphic books that feature a main character who’s a musician. I hope you find at least one you’ll enjoy.
Perfect Rhythm by Jae
Pop star Leontyne Blake might sing about love, but she stopped believing in it a long time ago. What women want is her image, not the real her. When her father has a stroke, she flees the spotlight and returns to her tiny Missouri hometown.
In her childhood home, she meets small-town nurse Holly Drummond, who isn’t impressed by Leo’s fame at all. That isn’t the only thing that makes Holly different from other women. She’s also asexual. For her, dating is a minefield of expectations that she has decided to avoid.
Can the tentative friendship between a burned-out pop star and a woman not interested in sex develop into something more despite their diverse expectations?
Uprooting by Suzie Carr
On a fateful spring afternoon, two strangers meet at a musical event and a spark of an idea brings them both the opportunity to right some wrongs.
Meet Harper Ray, an undiscovered musician who’s willing to dig weeds, clean houses, and give guitar lessons to stay afloat. A childhood tragedy has kept her blocked and has limited her ability to see and live her potential.
Ivy Homestead is a green witch and life coach. Her life purpose has always been to help people live their best lives. But after hurting her best friend over a year ago, Ivy has struggled with feelings of inadequacy.
What they both discover will test their strength and have them questioning what they’re willing to risk to find their way back home within themselves and each other.
Requiem for Immortals by Lee Winter
What would make the most dangerous ice queen of them all, ruthless underworld assassin Requiem, hesitate?
Professional cellist Natalya Tsvetnenko moves seamlessly among the elite where she fills the souls of symphony patrons with beauty even as she takes the lives of the corrupt of Australia’s ruthless underworld. The cold, exacting assassin is hired to kill a woman who seems so innocent that Natalya can’t understand why anyone would want her dead.
As she gets to know her target, she can’t work out why she even cares.
Let the Beat Drop by Cheri Ritz
There is nothing Sadie DuChamp loves more than rocking out on stage behind her drum set. Her music career is a dream come true. But when her band breaks up and she gets evicted from her New York City apartment all in the same week, her life suddenly feels more like a nightmare. She finds herself with no choice but to retreat to her mother’s home in the suburbs of Chicago. The return also forces Sadie to face the guilt she has choked down since the last time she left.
Jess Moran is fine with her love ’em and leave ’em reputation. She’s too busy with grad school to let herself be distracted by matters of the heart. Her plans for the summer break include lazy days in the sun and nights helping with her family’s craft vodka business. If she happens to stumble upon a few one-night stands along the way, all the better. But when she arrives home from school to find neighbor-turned-rock goddess Sadie swimming in her backyard pool her plans for a quiet summer disappear like free samples of vodka at happy hour.
The more the two neighbors butt heads, the more they are drawn to one another. Will they find harmony? Or risk missing the beat and losing the rhythm of love…
Femme Tales by Anne Shade
Beast: Former hip-hop artist Ebony “The Beast” Trent has wrapped her persona around herself like a protective wall of bitterness. Belinda Jansen is confident, intelligent, sexy, and—to Ebony’s fascination—not the least bit intimidated by Ebony’s beastly demeanor. Can Beauty truly tame The Beast?
Awaken: Local celebrity chef Chayse Carmichael has achieved a level of success she’d only imagined while learning to cook. But when free-spirited Georgia peach Serena Frasier walks into her restaurant, Chayse realizes that success doesn’t always bring happiness if you don’t have someone special to share it with. Does love at first sight truly exist?
Stiletto: Music mogul Cass Phillips barely has a moment to sleep, let alone build a relationship. But an unexpected encounter with shoe designer Faith Shaw leads her to believe that maybe fairy tales do come true. Can true love really conquer all?
Always A Love Song by Charley Clarke
When golden girl pop star Bridget Callahan’s broken engagement comes out, she heads back to her hometown for the first time in five years to write songs for her next album. And maybe while she’s there, she’ll finally be able to face the woman she left behind who she never let go.
Bar owner Alex Marlow has spent the past five years mending her broken heart by pretending she doesn’t have one. But Bridget’s return disrupts her ordered life and brings all those chaotic, buried feelings back to the surface. Can they forgive each other and themselves for mistakes made when they were younger?
Forbidden Melody by Magnolia Robbins
Emma Harvey is a brilliant and gifted young pianist, accepted into one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the country and prepared to do whatever it takes to accomplish her dreams of playing professionally. With a renowned jazz musician for a father and a world-famous mentor growing up, she is convinced her path is easy. Until her world is suddenly silenced when she loses her hearing.
Juliet Hamilton is a prodigy violinist. First chair for nearly fifteen years in the New York Philharmonic and a professor at the conservatory, she is engulfed in her career with no time for distractions. Especially not a beautiful young graduate student with a spirited personality that challenges her every step.
When Emma and Juliet’s paths cross in the classroom, their connection is undeniable. When their music comes together, it is unstoppable. The bond they begin to form threatens to challenge more than just their opinions of music. Friendships, ethics, and careers are tested as Emma and Juliet find themselves lost in a concerto of fiery passion and heartbreak.
Pas de Deux by MJ Duncan
Though she’s still struggling to put her personal life back together a year after leaving Los Angeles, Mallory Collingswood’s career is perfectly on track as she takes to the role of Leader of the London Symphony Orchestra like it’s her birthright. She’s determined to focus on her music and enjoy her second year back home when she’s approached about a collaboration with the Royal Ballet. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that only a fool would turn down…or accept, depending on the outcome.
Taking on the role will mean working harder than she ever has in her life, and performing in a way she never has alongside the Royal Ballet’s brightest star. Individually, they are opposites in almost every way, but together they form a perfect pair, and for the first time in ages Mallory wonders what it would be like to love, and be loved, again.
On the Record by Raven J. Spencer
Out and proud lesbian singer/songwriter Emmy Whittaker is not amused when her manager books her on Andrea Stone’s show. She has worked hard to build a following. That includes many younger fans who trust her to have their backs.
Stone, who has a reputation for hearing differing opinions on controversial issues, doesn’t fit the bill. For the concessions Andrea has made, she’s been rewarded with a stellar career and considerable wealth. In her opinion, the sacrifices have been worth it.
Meeting Emmy shakes her beliefs.
A fateful decision they make leads her to understand that sometimes, the cost of compromise can be too high…
Blood and Roses by MB Panichi
Arienne my love, if I can’t have you nobody can. -Celestian
It’s Earth Year 2453 and hot lead guitarist Ari Walker and her slam-thrash band Shattered Crystal Enigma (SCE) have just embarked on their first interstellar tour. But they are not alone. Somewhere among the thousands of devoted fans is a demented stalker named Celestian who is determined to win Ari’s devotion—or be her destruction.
Too intense and focused on her music for a real relationship, Ari’s always been the love-’em-and-leave-’em type. Until she meets a woman whose power and passion matches Ari’s playing—and her heart—beat by beat. Badass drummer Rhynn Knight, SCE’s newest member, is ecstatic to be in the band of her dreams alongside the woman of her dreams.
As the tour continues and Ari’s new relationship takes center stage, the danger around them grows. Even the superior skills of SCE’s bodyguards can’t stop the stalker’s psychotic wrath. Is Celestian lurking in the darkness of the concert hall or hiding in plain sight?
Irregular Heartbeat by Chris Zett
After nearly a decade as a professional drummer, Diana Petrell leaves her rock-star life behind to continue her residency in emergency medicine. She’s determined not to let anything stop her—not even falling in love with her aloof mentor, Dr. Emily Barnes.
Emily has only ever focused on her career as a senior attending in the emergency department, and she isn’t happy about having to babysit a resident with a ten-year gap in her résumé, no matter how intriguing she is.
But every time they work together, it’s not just their patients’ heartbeat that gets a little irregular. Soon, the once-clear lines between work and personal life begin to blur.
When Diana’s unorthodox secret past is revealed, putting her job in jeopardy, Emily has to choose between her career and her relationship. A lesbian romance that asks how much we’d risk for love.
Making a Comeback by Julie Blair
Jazz pianist Liz Randall is reeling from her wife’s death and struggling to keep their band together. An invitation to play at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival is an opportunity she can’t turn down, and a challenge she might not be up to until she enlists the help of a mysterious neighbor who’s surprisingly knowledgeable about jazz.
When Jac Winters reluctantly agrees to help, a past she wants to forget threatens to destroy the carefully ordered life she’s built with her guide dog, Max, in the quiet town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
With music and love swirling around them like ocean currents, will Liz and Jac play it safe or risk everything on making a comeback?
Hammers, Strings, and Beautiful Things by Morgan Lee Miller
Blair Bennett’s only twenty-four but already has an impressive résumé. A sought-after songwriter, she’s written an arsenal of hit singles for other artists. Now she’s ready to conquer the music industry with her own band, and touring with the biggest pop star in the world, Reagan Moore, will get her exactly where she wants to go.
It’s a lot harder than Blair expects, especially when she has to cope with the loss of her grandfather. She develops a close bond with Reagan, whose quick wit and easy charm keep her on her toes. As their attraction blossoms, Blair shows Reagan how to have fun again despite her fame, and their impulsive adventures ignite feelings neither can deny.
Everything would be fine, if only Blair could keep it together. But her unhealthy ways of dealing with her grief and her troubled past jeopardize not only her budding music career but her relationship with the only woman she’s ever fallen for.
Some Part of Me is You by Adrienne Marsh
Alison has been in her brother’s indie rock band, Right Turn, since she was a teenager. Right as she’s about to graduate college and will have to start making real decisions about her future, there comes an offer for them to go on a small tour with pop-country sensation Kristen Nichols, who is looking to make serious changes to her sound and image and believes touring with indie darlings Right Turn will give the new ‘her’ credibility.
Kristen Nichols is the embodiment of everything about the music industry that Ali scoffs at, but she’s offering them an affordable, real tour, and that’s very hard to say no to. Putting up with a pop princess for a summer is a price worth paying–or so Ali thinks before she actually meets Kristen.
‘K-Nic’ does absolutely nothing for her, but Kristen Nichols in person? Yeah, that’s a different story…
The Love Song of Sawyer Bell by Avon Gale
Indie rocker Victoria “Vix” Vincent knows a good thing when she hears it. The moment Sawyer Bell picks up her fiddle, magic happens. Beautiful and wildly talented, Sawyer is the perfect match for Vix’s band—and, just maybe, for Vix. The dynamic in any group is a delicate thing, but with Sawyer and Vix thrown together on tour, it’s not long before the line between bandmates and lovers gets a bit blurry.
The indie rock life is not what Sawyer ever saw for herself. She worked hard to get where she is—in her second year of Julliard, with a bright future in classical music. But instead of spending her summer working and rehearsing, she’s on tour with her secret high school crush. And even though it was only supposed to be temporary, Sawyer feels like she’s finally found a place she belongs.
This summer with Vix has been like a dream. But every tour must come to an end, and when Julliard comes calling, Sawyer will need to make a choice: continue on the path she’s chosen, or take a leap of faith and follow her heart.
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