Talia Hibbert, the British romance novelist renowned for her contemporary and paranormal tales, has been at the forefront of shaping a more inclusive and empathetic genre. Spotlighting characters of various races, ethnicities, body shapes, sexual orientations, and life experiences, her work’s been hailed for embracing the diversity of human experience, and championing the radical notion that we are all deserving of love.

Hibbert started self-publishing in 2017 – putting out nine books in a single year – and shot to fame with the 2019 release of her first traditionally published book, Get a Life, Chloe Brown. A proponent of the #OwnVoices movement, many of her protagonists fall under the same marginalizations Hibbert herself identifies with, with Black women frequently taking center stage.

Celebrating the 2020 release of her ‘opposites attract’ rom-com, Take a Hint, Dani BrownHibbert shared ten of her favorite romances that embrace the same trope in a book list for Goodreads. On her passion for diverse representation in romance and beyond, she wrote:

“It’s no surprise that my favorite novels are always trope-heavy—but there’s something else I desire from my books, something the genre hasn’t always gotten right: diversity. To me, diversity in romance means a book whose primary characters’ identities contribute to the broadening of our literary landscape. For years, stories set outside the white, Western, able-bodied, and cis-hetero sphere have been marginalized. But bit by bit, authors and readers are working to fix things, and reading the fruits of that labor makes me smile every time.”

Explore Hibbert’s recommendations below, and complement with the bookshelves of fellow romance writers Jasmine Guillory and Emily Henry.

Talia Hibbert’s Reading List

White Whiskey Bargain by Jodie Slaughter

“She’s the head of an infamous, moonshine-brewing family. He’s the son of her greatest rival. A threat to both families forces Hannah and Javier into a tentative alliance—and an arranged marriage. But can the ruthless commander and the gentle caretaker build something real?” -TH

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

“In this contemporary Muslim Pride and Prejudice retelling, headstrong poet Ayesha is alienated by Khalid’s rudeness and judgment. But rigid thinker Khalid (aka the greatest Mr. Darcy ever and a man for whom I would sell my soul) is really just awkward, well-meaning, and a little overwhelmed by Ayesha’s brilliance.” -TH

I Think I Might Love You by Christina C. Jones

“This book had me cackling from the moment hot mess Jaclyn accidentally broke into cool AF Kadan’s apartment—while he was butt naked, of course. A delicious bite of a rom-com, this is also the only romance I’ve ever read in which the hero is lactose intolerant and the heroine kiiiinda uses it against him. I loved every page.” -TH

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

“Reading this F/F modern take on Pride and Prejudice is like watching a classic 2000s big-screen romp inside your head. From Darcy and Elle’s very first date, it’s painfully clear they have nothing in common. Elle is an astrologer; Darcy is an uptight actuary, and wine is spilled on someone’s favorite dress. But they fake a relationship anyway…” -TH

Grand Theft N.Y.E. by Katrina Jackson

“A fabulous, wig-wearing heroine pulls off a flawless heist, goes home with the head of security, boinks him into a coma, then steals his car and disappears. No, I did not make one word of that up. Watching shameless—and glamorous—thief Cleo fall for international security consultant Robert, then rob him witless anyway, was an absolute delight.” -TH

Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon

“In this M/M story, type A romance reader Jordan squares off against Rex, a book shop employee who judges his bodice-ripper haul. Except Rex is more bad-boy cynic than genuine arsehole, so to apologize for his rudeness, he joins Jordan’s romance book club. This novel features my favorite opposites attract moment: an uptight character riding on the back of a motorbike, just to prove he can totally handle it.” -TH

Island Fling with the Tycoon by Therese Beharrie

“In this absolute emotional symphony of a book, bossy, dad-like Caleb and determinedly independent Piper are forced together by a family wedding. When disaster stops the wedding in its tracks, their very different approaches to problem-solving set them at odds. But as they learn to work together, tenderness and affection blossom.” -TH

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

“The opposites attract trope is especially juicy when combined with a fake relationship, and this story works romantic wonders with the material. (Heh.) Luc, the disgraced son of a pretentious rock god, needs a steady boyfriend to clean up his image. And Oliver, an uptight, ethically vegetarian solicitor, seems like the perfect man for the job.” -TH

Trashed by Mia Hopkins

“I recommend this book—nay, this series—every chance I get, and I will never stop because it’s a masterpiece. Written entirely from the hero’s point of view, Trashed follows ex-gang member Eddie’s journey to rebuild his life post-incarceration. When he falls for his new boss, a high-strung careerwoman named Carmen, he’s forced to truly reckon with his demons.” -TH

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

“Sasha is Psy, a member of an emotionless race who despise the mercurial, animalistic Changelings. Then a job thrusts her into close quarters with Lucas, a Changeling alpha who hungers for the sensory delights the Psy eschew. He’s hot, she’s cold. He’s passionate, she’s empty. Or at least, that’s how things are supposed to be.” -TH

(via Goodreads; photo by Ed Chappell)

Looking for an Amazon alternative? Support local, independent booksellers by shopping Talia Hibbert’s reading list – and hundreds of other celebrity book recommendations – through Radical Reads’ Bookshop profile.

Categories: Writers