If you haven’t heard of the Lesbian Book Bingo before now, it’s not too late to join! In short, it’s a year-long reading challenge where you’re trying to read one book for each square on the bingo card—and you can win great books while doing it. If you need to brush up on how Lesbian Book Bingo is played, check out the rules.
I’ll post suggestions for a new square on the first and third Thursday of each month. Today, I’ll be covering the “historical fiction” square.
Part of the fun and the challenge of the Lesbian Book Bingo is that you are encouraged to read books that you might not have tried otherwise.
I know that some people shy away from genres such as historical fiction, but give it a try—or if you already love historical fiction, enjoy your read for this bingo square!
15 GREAT LESBIAN HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS
I’ve put together a list of 15 historical novels with lesbian or bisexual characters I hope you’ll enjoy.
Charity by Paulette Callen
The friendship between Lena Kaiser, a sodbuster’s daughter, and Gustie Roemer, an educated Easterner, is unlikely in any other circumstance but post-frontier Charity, South Dakota. Gustie is considered an outsider, and Lena is too proud to share her problems (which include a hard-drinking husband) with anyone else.
In the Company of Women by Kate Christie
Fort Bliss—it’s anything but. Caroline “CJ” Jamieson gave up studying history and joined the Women’s Army Corps to live it instead. Along with her new WAC friends, she is ready to do her part to help boys like her brothers, fighting in the European and Pacific theaters, make it home sooner. But when CJ meets fellow WAC enlistee Brady Buchanan, Fort Bliss might live up to its name.
Galveston 1900: Swept Away by Linda Crist
On September 7-8, 1900, the island of Galveston, Texas, was destroyed by a hurricane. Rachel Travis fled her family at a young age and now makes her livelihood in Galveston. Independent, friendly, and yet often lonely, only one other person knows the dark secret that haunts her. Madeline “Mattie” Crockett is trapped in a loveless marriage, never daring to dream of true happiness until she meets Rachel. As emotions come to light, can they survive the great storm and build the life they both dream of?
Water’s Edge by Genevieve Fortin
In 1888, Emilie Levesque and her family must leave their beloved Canada to seek employment in the booming textile mills of New England. Emilie’s initial culture shock is eased by her friendship with Angeline Fournier. Emilie knows she’s different but has no words for what she is and what she feels. Can these loving friends ever cross the forbidden boundary between the warmth of affection and the heat of desire?
Shaken to the Core by Jae
Kate Winthrop, daughter of a shipping magnate, is expected to marry a respectable man. But her true passion lies with photography—and with women.
Much to the dismay of her parents, she becomes friends with their maid Giuliana.
Then an earthquake hits San Francisco. Will the disaster shatter their tentative feelings? Or will they be able to save each other’s lives and hearts?
The Liberators of Willow Run by Marianne K. Martin
1943. It’s up to America’s women to produce the tools of war – America’s Liberator, the B-24 bomber. For Audrey, hard work and long hours are what is needed to keep her past at bay. Ruth seizes the opportunity to create a new life for herself – a life her mother would not recognize. In a rapidly changing world, these women capture the spirit of the times through determination, ingenuity and courage.
Golddigger by Hilary McCollum
Everything that mattered to Frances Moriarty was left behind in famine-ravaged Ireland. Beset with grief and guilt, she is scraping out a shadowy existence as a New York shoeshine boy when word spreads: gold lines the riverbeds of California. Determined to find her fortune, Frances sets out on the overland trek to California’s gold fields. But her steps are haunted by a past she can’t outrun.
For Me and My Gal by Robbi McCoy
Gwen Lawson is director of a small Naval museum whose treasures pique her curiosity and her compassion, especially when she comes across an old WWII-era diary describing a tragic love affair between two women. Gwen teams up with Shelby Pratt, the granddaughter of the diarist, and the pair set out to right past injustices while being drawn into an unexpected romance of their own.
Letters Never Sent by Sandra Moran
In 1931, Katherine Henderson leaves behind her small town in Kansas and the marriage proposal of a local boy to live on her own in Chicago. There she meets Annie—an outspoken feminist who challenges Katherine’s idea of who she thinks she is. In 1997, Katherine’s daughter Joan finds a packet of sealed letters when she cleans out her mother’s house. In those letters, she discovers a woman completely different from the aloof and unyielding mother of her youth. Can Annie find the strength to forgive and to live the life she’s always wanted?
Basic Training of the Heart by Jaycie Morrison
In 1944, socialite Elizabeth Carlton joins the Women’s Army Corps to escape family expectations and love’s disappointments. Can Sergeant Gale Rains get her through Basic Training with their hearts intact? With the whole world at war, victory is never certain as two women wage their own battles of will and desire.
Tiopa Ki Lakota by D. Jordan Redhawk
Wi Ile Anpo is two-spirited, a Lakota warrior with visions of a pale-skinned woman that mystify her yet also wound her soul. Kathleen McGlashan Stevens, an Irish immigrant, confronts savagery and madness when she’s abducted by Indians, but finds an anchor in Anpo. But Anpo holds herself aloof, as if there’s a secret Kathleen will never understand and a future neither of them will live to see.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby. One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance.
If you haven’t done so already, download your bingo card, pick the book you want to read for the historical fiction square, and start reading! Remember that you can either read one of the 15 books listed above or pick another lesbian book that is set at least 25 years in the past.
Leave a comment to win a book
In addition to winning books by completing a line on the bingo card, there’ll also be a giveaway for each post. This time, you can win an e-book copy of Basic Training of the Heart by Jaycie Morrison, which fits not just the historical fiction square but also the previously posted women in uniform square.
To be entered into the drawing, leave a comment and let us know which book you’re going to read for the historical fiction square or if you can think of other lesbian books that fit this category.
I’ll announce the winner of the e-book on Thursday, January 25.
The reading list for the next bingo square—doctors & veterinarians—will be posted on February 1. There’ll be another giveaway too!
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