If you’re feeling election fatigue…we get it. 2020 has lasted approximately a million years, which means that the 2020 election has lasted approximately two million years. But it’s not over til it’s over, so if you’re feeling the need for some inspiration to get more involved in participatory democracy…We made a smut list for that!
But first, a personal note.
Why we vote
Holly: The first election I was really aware of was 2000 – and boy, was it a doozy. So my sense with electoral politics is not only that it’s outrageously important but that you might have to fight like hell to get your voice heard. I honestly can’t imagine not voting.
Erin: My mother taught me to take it seriously. When I was really young, I learned that my Grandfather lost a local election by a super small margin, which taught me that every vote really does matter. I also was made aware very young that there are many countries in the world where people don’t get to vote, or if they do, the government is so corrupt that it doesn’t matter. My whole family takes voting super duper seriously. So I vote because it’s my job as a citizen to do so.
Ingrid: I also have to say that my earliest memories of voting involved my Grandpa–really everyone in my extended family was raised with a strong conviction that serving the community is not an optional value and that voting is one of the best things you can do to serve your community. Also though–I vote because it feels good to do the right thing, and it’s satisfying to know you’re doing your part to help your community.
If those answers don’t sum up our personalities in a nutshell, we really don’t know what would.
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite romances that get us in the mood to head to the ballot box. There are a lot of suffragette romances on this list. (As always, click on the titles to go to the book’s Amazon page.)
The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite
This is one of the most politically engaged romances Holly has ever read. Agatha and Penelope go to a peaceful protest, participate in a not-so-peaceful protest, print seditious pamphlets, and take on an anti-vice society. While also falling in love and spending a lot of time beekeeping.
The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
The entire Brothers Sinister series is rooted in Victorian politics, but The Suffragette Scandal in particular is aces because Frederica Marshall (who’s been a firecracker in other books, mistake not) is a wonderfully constructed political activist heroine. She runs a political newspaper and readily engages in protests, and is marvelously fierce. Although this lands her in hot water, the relationship drama stems from the fact that the hero meets her with a deception, not from Free’s activism.
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
Annabelle receives a scholarship to study at Oxford from a Suffragette society, and because of this, she’s required to participate in suffragette pamphleting and so forth. Ergo, Annabelle is an activist because she has to be, not because she’s all fired up to be, which is a fun take. Even beyond the suffrage aspect, this book is chock full of politics, and the way that Dunmore deconstructs class and feminism is also great.
Some Like it Scandalous by Maya Rodale
Ok, so this is mostly about a Gilded Age Lady Boss starting a make-up company, but there’s a thread of activism running through the novel. Daisy Swan and her suffragette friends push the boundaries of woman’s space both literally (by going to lunch without a male escort) and figuratively (by mutually supporting each other in their goals of financial independence). Bonus points for a suffrage rally where everyone wears bright red lipstick.
Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology
This anthology of black suffragette romance is awesome. It’s got great love stories, but it’s also really rooted in history. The authors tackle not just black women’s place in the struggle to win the vote, but also explore questions of race, passing, respectability, and intersectional politics. In a non-nerdy, absolutely swoon-worthy manner.
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
A contemporary romance! McQuiston wrote this book after the 2016 election and filled it with people who are woefully underrepresented in our current political landscape. Alex Claremont-Diaz is the president’s son, and he plans to be elected to Congress as soon as he’s old enough. But the realities of ugly biases tarnish not only his dream, but his mother’s reelection campaign when he begins a same-sex relationship with a prince of England.
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