BIPOC and LGBTQ people have existed throughout history—ball gowns, suitors, and all—and historical romance publishers are finally catching up, says Adriana Herrera, who until now has only published contemporaries.

“There wasn’t a space for stories centering Afro-Latinx characters,” she says. “Publishing couldn’t even envision that kind of book.” Her historical debut, A Caribbean Heiress in Paris (HQN, May), is set at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris and matches a rum heiress from the Dominican Republic with a Scottish duke.

“I was ready,” Herrera says. “It was a matter of waiting on them to be ready for me.” Call it the Bridgerton effect: forthcoming historicals reflect the market’s demand for more inclusive historical romances.

Aphrodite and the Duke

J.J. McAvoy. Dell, Aug.

In her traditionally published debut, McAvoy imagines an alternate Regency England in which race is not a defining factor. Court beauty Aphrodite Du Bell was once jilted by Evander Eagleman, Duke of Everely; years later, the duke returns to her life as a widower, determined to win back Aphrodite’s heart. PW’s review called the book “dramatic and diverting,” and said readers will “easily fall in love with the protagonists.”


A Caribbean Heiress in Paris

Adriana Herrera. HQN, May

In the first of a trio of romances featuring Afro-Latinx heroines, heiress Luz Alana Heith-Benzan and Earl James Sinclair enter a marriage of convenience in order to forward their own entrepreneurial goals. They battle shared adversaries as well as their growing attraction to each other. PW’s review called the book’s cultural diversity “historically accurate, beautifully integrated, sensitively explored, and incredibly refreshing.”


The Gentleman’s Book of Vices

Jess Everlee. Carina Adores, Nov.

Smut collector Charlie Price is smitten with his favorite author, the secretive Reginald Cox, and vows to meet him before being married off to a woman. Bookshop owner Miles Montague (aka Cox) uses the royalties from his pseudonymous work to keep his bookstore afloat. In this first installment of the Lucky Lovers of London series, a misunderstanding leads to a steamy affair, and the pair learn to fight for the lives they want for themselves.


A Lady for a Duke

Alexis Hall. Forever, May

In Hall’s latest, Viola Carroll, presumed dead at Waterloo, dropped her father, her title (duke), her deadname, and her best friend, with whom she was secretly in love. When Viola’s path again intersects with the Duke of Gracewood, she must decide whether to reveal herself or to walk away one more time. “Fans of Lisa Kleypas and anyone looking for romance centering trans characters owe it to themselves to check this out,” PW’s starred review said.

Nobody’s Princess

Erica Ridley. Forever, July

Ridley’s third Wild Wynchesters Regency is a story of mistaken identity. Kuni de Heusch dreams of being the first female Royal Guardswoman. Graham Wynchester believes her to be a princess in need of protection. Graham invites Kuni to join his band of misfits and thieves, and things start to smolder. “The sense of camaraderie between the diverse Wynchester crew is as strong as ever,” per PW’s starred review, “and Ridley hits the sweet spot of tickling readers’ funny bones and pulling on their heartstrings in equal measure.”


The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes

Cat Sebastian. Avon, June

“With two bisexual leads, cross-dressing, and frank discussions of the pleasures of non-penetrative sex, this refreshing romance brings wonderfully queer sensibilities to bear,” PW said in a starred review of the latest from queer historical stalwart Cat Sebastian. Thief Rob “Gladhand Jack” Brooks stands to inherit the title of Duke of Clare, a role he knows would bore him to tears. He sets out to blackmail the current duke’s new wife, Marian Hayes, but she has some dastardly plans up her own sleeve. What to do but team up?


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