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The 10 Best Lesbian Fiction Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The 10 Best Lesbian Fiction Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

Stories can make us feel seen and supported and lift us on the darkest days. They make us feel less lonely and give solidarity in suffering. They are also a source of great joy and laughter. People who belong to the LGBT community have been silenced for too long, hoping to “cure” them of their affliction. Lesbians who are served the double bonus of patriarchy and homophobia have very little representation, thus our interest in spotlighting the best lesbian fiction books…

Recently, a silent literary revolution has been brewing. Writers have been braving the odds and telling stories of female same-sex attraction since the early twentieth century. Some of their books were banned because of “obscenity”, and they did not see the light of day until decades later.

We have collected a delectable set of books that star lesbians. We have classics, contemporary novels, young adult fiction, celebrity romance and more just for you! These books tackle universal issues like loneliness, love, and discovering and accepting one’s sexuality.

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At the same time, they also tell an individual’s story. It only shows that we are all the same. Whether you are gay or straight, white or Asian, man or woman, we all love in the same way. Labels fall away, and only humans exist.

The protagonists in these best lesbian fiction books are from different walks of life. They fall across the broad spectrum of female sexuality, from butch to femme. Some struggle to come out of the closet, while some wear their identity proudly. Some are likable, and some are not. These stories are a kaleidoscope of queer representation.

They also come with solid side characters that are gay, transgender and bisexual. The authors portray lesbianism with undertones of race, culture, class and war, which makes for a realistic and exciting read. Whether you are an ardent follower of lesbian fiction or a beginner just getting started in this genre, these books will find a place on your shelf. 

Read on for the most genuine depictions of lesbianism ever!

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Don't have time to read them all? Why not try listening to them? Audible is a great platform for listening to audiobooks because it offers a wide selection of books, including bestsellers and exclusive content. With Audible, you can listen to your favorite books on-the-go, whether you're commuting, working out, or doing household chores.

The Audible app also has features like adjustable narration speed, a sleep timer, and the ability to create bookmarks, making it easy to customize your listening experience. Additionally, Audible offers a membership program that gives members access to a certain number of audiobooks per month, making it a cost-effective option for avid listeners. 

A great resource for people who want to maximize their time and make the most out of their daily activities. Try a free 30-day trial from Audible today, and you'll get access to a selection of Audible Originals and audiobooks, along with a credit to purchase any title in their premium selection, regardless of price (including many of the books on this list!) 

For ebook lovers, we also recommend Scribd, basically the Netflix for Books and the best and most convenient subscription for online reading. While they have a catalog comprising over half a million books including from many bestselling authors, for some of the books on this list, you'll still have to purchase individually - either as a paperback or eBook to load on your Kindle - due to publishing house restrictions. 

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The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

Written by Sarah Waters, this book follows the lives of four young people in London, set against the backdrop of World War II. We are introduced to Kay, Viv, Duncan and Helen at the outset. Kay was an ambulance driver who now roams the streets of London. Helen is Kay’s ex, who works at a dating agency.

She’s currently dating Julia, who is also Kay’s ex. Viv, who’s in an imprudent relationship with a married man, works at the dating agency with Helen. Duncan is Viv’s brother, and he is in prison. The book’s timeline runs backward; it starts in 1947, has a few chapters set in 1944, and ends in 1941. We see the present versions of the characters and slowly discover the circumstances that made them like this.

Two of the main characters, Kay and Helen, are lesbians. It is ironic how war they found the freedom to love other women during the war! Once the world returns to normalcy, they are again victims of social prejudice. The author paints a poignant picture of how the war shaped lesbianism in Britain.

While politics and laws are not the focus of this book, their influence on the lives of our main characters has been depicted accurately. What events led to the present? Why is Kay alone while both her ex-lovers see each other? Why is Duncan in prison? Why does Viv put up with bad treatment? Waters reveals the answers through compelling prose.

We get to hear the points of view of all four protagonists in the first person. They tell a story of love and loss. If you like grey characters and complex human emotions, this is the perfect book for you!

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The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

The Price of Salt (also one of the best-selling LGBT books of all time) beautifully depicts what it meant to be a lesbian in America during the 50s. Therese is a 19-year-old budding stage designer who has to work in a department store to make ends meet. On one of her shifts, Carol walks in looking for a doll. As Therese helps her, sparks fly, and the connection between them is apparent.

Carol is a suburban mom in the middle of an expensive divorce. Therese instantly falls in love with this older, beautiful and enigmatic woman. But the love between women has its repercussions. Therese is obsessed with Carol, but how far will the relationship go? Being a lesbian does not bode well for her custody battle.

The two main characters set off on a dreamy road trip but are brought back to reality when Carol has to choose between her daughter and her lover. The character development is subtle and realistic. We see Therese transform from a naïve young girl to a confident young woman. We get a glimpse of her emotions, inner conflict and self-doubt.

The story is told from Therese’s point of view, so we know precious little about what goes on in Carol’s mind. But this does not hamper the story. It takes us on Therese’s journey as she slowly understands Carol’s reality.

There are few sex scenes, but the sizzling chemistry makes up for it. The novel was ahead of its time and must have raised eyebrows when it was first published in the 50s. Love a coming-of-age story with layered characters? This is the book for you!

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The Well of Loneliness by Radcliff Hall

Set in 1920s English high society, The Well of Loneliness follows the story of Stephen Gordon. Stephen is a woman born to a father who desperately wants a son so much that he does not change the chosen name for his child, even when it’s a girl. Stephen is raised as a boy and is an expert fencer, horse rider and scholar. She even serves in the war.

And when she takes lovers, she chooses women. The author, Radcliff Hall, does not shy away from describing Stephen’s sensual experiences. The novel was not received with enthusiasm when it was first published in the late 20s.

It triggered a trial for obscenity in 1928 and was eventually banned. The novel was not published in the UK until 1949, a good six years after Hall’s death. Through Stephen’s confusion, we see how lesbians during those years didn’t know who they were, had no words to describe themselves and felt an all-consuming inner conflict. 

At one point, Stephen says, “All my life, I’ve never felt like a woman, and you know it.” Hall alludes to Stephen being transgender. She uses the word “invert”, but it is unclear what that means. Anyway, it is unimportant because the book is not about labels; it’s about being accepted for who you are.

We follow Stephen as she navigates the devastating effects of social constraints and discovers herself. The book is by no means a light read, but it is a classic novel that tells a sad but honest story.

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Cameron Post is a high school girl who kisses her best friend, Irene. And she feels all the things a great first kiss is supposed to make you feel. But there is one problem- she knows kissing a girl is not normal. She reasons that since everything from mainstream media to books only talks about boys kissing girls, there is something weird about two girls kissing. 

Set in a small town in Montana in 1989, the novel explores the sexual exploration of a young adult. Cameron’s parents die in a car crash a few hours after the kiss, and she is now sent to live with her aunt and grandmother. Both of them love Cameron but are extremely religious and homophobic. Cameron buries her secret deep within herself and tries to blend in.

She is successful, but her carefully constructed lie shatters when the beautiful Coley Taylor joins her school. A close friendship develops between the two with a luring promise of something more. But before anything can develop between them, Cameron’s aunt gets a whiff of her gayness and jumps in to “fix” her.

She is educated in practicing appropriate gender roles and refraining from sinful desires. Will Cameron discover her true self and protect it against social norms and her aunt’s well-meaning efforts?

This book is a contemporary young adult fiction that tackles the themes of teenage confusion, homosexuality and identity. This is not your regular, fluffy YA fiction. It is an account of love, desire, and loneliness. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is sure to tug at your heartstrings.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth - Best Lesbian Fiction Books

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When You Least Expect It by Haley Cass

Caroline Parker does not have a great track record with Christmas. She has been dumped thrice during the holidays! Since the last breakup, she has given up on love and the holiday spirit. So when she runs into Hannah Dalton on Christmas Eve, she knows nothing will change even though Hannah is the most beautiful she has ever seen. Besides, Hannah is married to Caroline’s work nemesis.

Caroline is a divorce attorney well on her way to becoming the best in Boston. But when Hannah hires her, she is surprised but still has no reason to get her hopes up. As the case progresses, both of them get closer than they expect. The chemistry between the main characters is palpable from their first meeting, and now it cannot be ignored anymore.

The romance is painfully slow-burn but well worth the wait. The author, Haley Cass, builds their friendship first and later tops it up with a sweet, budding romance. Caroline’s love for Hannah also redeems Christmas for her!

Cass writes her characters well. All the supporting characters are there for a reason and play their role, especially Hannah’s daughter Abbie. The story is told from Caroline’s perspective. We are privy to the tribulations of a woman who falls in love with a straight woman, at least someone who thinks she is straight.

This novel is a cute love story perfect for the holiday season. Or pick it up as your next weekend read and usher in the Christmas cheer any time of the year!

When You Least Expect It by Haley Cass - Best Lesbian Fiction Books

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Broken Beyond Repair by Emily Banting

Sydney Mackenzie is your perfect personal assistant. She is competent and compassionate. The rich and famous seek her out for these qualities. But this also means that she is always on the move. Her VW camper van, Gertie, is her trusted companion. As she is gearing up for a well-earned vacation, Gertie gives up! Sydney needs big bucks to get the van repaired before she can go anywhere.

Enter Beatrice, a world-famous actress who recently broke her leg and retreated to the country to recover. She plans to spend the summer on her estate, and the one thing she needs most now is an efficient assistant. Sydney’s boss offers her the job with the promise of a massive sum of money. The amount would easily cover Gertie’s expenses, so Sydney takes it up.

When she reaches the estate, she encounters a cold woman with a no-nonsense attitude. Sydney knows how to deal with the demands of the rich but does not know how to deal with her attraction to the gorgeous diva. As the summer progresses, Sydney sees cracks in Beatrice’s icy exterior, revealing the warm and loving woman within.

Sydney realizes that Beatrice’s coldness is a defense mechanism she has put up because of her painful past. The more she learns about Beatrice, the more in love she is with her. But can Sydney help Beatrice mend her broken heart as she helps with her broken leg? 

In this one of the best lesbian fiction books, Emily Banting writes about heavy topics like grief and trauma effortlessly interlaced with hearty humor. Her prose is a delight to read, even the heart-wrenching scenes. Besides, celebrity romance with an ice queen? What’s not to like?

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Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle is a classic in LGBT literature. It tells the story of Molly Bolt from when she is 11 up to her mid-twenties. The book is written in sections- her childhood, high school and college years. We are introduced to Molly when she is struggling with her sexuality. She lives with an adopted family in Florida.

We see how she deals with rampant homophobia but never lets it dim her light. She fights back fiercely and does not accept things as they are. Molly is not always likable, though. She can come across as a snob at times. We might even question some of her romantic choices, but these flaws only make her human.

Overall, she is a very relatable character. Molly’s relationship with her mother is rocky. We see how the characters grow over time and reconcile with each other. This book was first published in 1973 and sent shockwaves in the reading community.

The bold and unapologetic female, gay protagonist caught them unawares. The novel was an affirming, liberating read for many in the LGBT community. It might not feel as revolutionary in today’s climate, but it is still a witty contemporary story. 

The compelling prose is dialogue heavy and reads almost like a screenplay. The book is considered an autobiographical novel portraying what Brown went through. The plot follows the protagonist as she grows up. Brown uses humor, life experiences and the dark tunnel of homophobia to weave a delightful story. Any fan of sapphic literature would not want to miss out on this classic!

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown - Best Lesbian Fiction Books

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo was a 1950s Hollywood sensation. She had shot to fame with her superior acting skills and easily climbed the Hollywood ladder. Evelyn retired in the 80s and has been living a low-key private life since then. She is finally ready to spill the tea on her scandalous life. She hires Monique Grant, an unknown magazine reporter, to write her story.

Monique’s life has been relatively unsuccessful so far. At 35, all she has is a failed marriage and a mediocre job to thank for. She arrives at Evelyn’s luxury apartment determined to jumpstart her writing career with this opportunity. Evelyn was an ambitious young woman who did not shy away from doing whatever it took to make it big in Hollywood.

Everything was a calculated move: her seven husbands, her movie choices, her scandals. She is cold, calculating and devious. But Evelyn is not just a ruthless actress; she is also human. Though she married seven times, her one true love was Celia. They hide their love from a world that would never understand it. The scenes with the two of them are so sad and beautiful, and they make your heart ache! 

With impeccable writing, Taylor Jenkins Reid has brought a profoundly layered woman to life. Evelyn’s strength affects Monique. She transforms from a shy mouse to a confident young woman. 

This book has everything, lesbianism, Hollywood, sisterhood, and ambition. And we are sure the ending will leave you reeling for days! The book deserves all the hype it got. So, what are you waiting for? Pick it up right away!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid - Best Lesbian Fiction Books

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I Can’t Think Straight by Shamin Cannon

Tala is a Palestinian living in London. She has had three broken engagements, and her parents hope the fourth one sticks. They don’t see why not. Hani is a great guy, and Tala loves him. When Tala meets Leyla during her wedding preparations in Jordan, she unwittingly sets off a rolling ball of snow that will topple her life forever.

Leyla is an Indian Muslim who loves writing but works in her dad’s insurance firm. Leyla is dating her best friend. But when Leyla and Tala meet, something stirs awake inside them. The attraction is mutual and intense. Neither of them has felt this way before. As they grow closer, they must face the truth of their sexuality. More so for Tala, as her elaborate wedding is fast approaching.

They both come from strict cultures that consider homosexuality a shameful sin. But the main characters can no longer live in denial. They finally understand why they could never love a man as they were supposed to. But can Tala stand her ground against the mounting pressure? Or will she, too, live a lie like many other lesbians worldwide?

The viewpoint changes between the main characters giving us a peek into their struggle. The author switches between the Middle Eastern high society and London’s West End, showing us what an intersection of cultures looks like.

This tender tale of self-discovery juxtaposes Western and Eastern values, love and marriage, convention and desire. This is also a refreshing shift from the typical Western depiction of queer individuals. If you enjoy reading about lesbians from different cultures, this novel is a must-read!

I Can’t Think Straight by Shamin Cannon - Best Lesbian Fiction Books

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Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Sara Farizan’s Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel the story of a young Persian-American girl with immigrant parents. Leila’s race makes her stick out like a sore thumb in high school. She knows that if word got out that she likes girls, her high school life would be doomed. So she maintains a low profile and tries not to have a crush on anyone.

But when the intriguing, beautiful Saskia enters her life, she can barely keep her feelings in check. She thinks the attraction might be mutual, but all she gets from Saskia are mixed signals. Leila confides in her best friend, Lisa. As she grows closer to her tech crew members, she realizes that every one of her classmates has issues they are dealing with.

None of their lives is as simple as they seem. Farizan gently touches upon racism in this book. Leila’s life is an example of the intersection of racism with homophobia. Her relationship with her parents is realistic. They love her but cannot understand nor accept her sexuality. This is something many in the LGBT community can relate to.

We also learn about Persian culture, its beauty and its confines. One emotion that rings through the book is fear. The constant fear that a queer person lives in. The author has done a commendable job of adding such depth to a young adult novel.

This is a contemporary fiction that is more about self-discovery than romance. The characters are written well with depth and nuance. It accurately captures the emotions and experiences of high school.

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan - Best Lesbian Fiction Books

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