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Valentine’s Day and Singles Empowerment Day: Recommended Reading February 15, 2021

Posted by Onely in book review.
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For a combo celebration of Valentine’s Day (14 February) and Singles Empowerment Day (15 February), I want to flag a beautifully written and meticulously researched historical fiction series that examines religion, racial identity, ablism, cross-cultural conflicts. . . and romance. Lots and lots of romance. If that seems like a strange reading recommendation for a blog built on challenging our couple-obsessed culture, hear me out:  The coupled characters in this series of four books have deep emotional, intellectual, and physical kismet beyond anything possible in real life. It’s escapist fiction, reminding us that such whirlwind affairs really only last in stories. Their intense love lives cause all sorts of dramatic problems, which are intriguing to read about but also make me glad I’m single. What’s more, the author uses the romantic plot threads as a scaffold to show bigger and more interesting stories: a Catholic priest’s reckoning with his mixed race background, an abandoned White baby raised with Native Americans, spousal abuse, and slave revolts.  I almost never read historical fiction (not enough about cats and cupcakes), but I devoured this series. But don’t just listen to me! It’s been a nominee or finalist for several large awards, and it’s earned two Editor’s Choice designations from the Historical Novel Society.

The author Elizabeth Bell is a single woman who works full-time at a real (non-writing) job. Tired of the genre-obsessed gatekeepers in the mainstream publishing industry, she established her own Indie business to publish this series. As such, she not only writes and edits epic books, but she manages her own cover design, social media, and publicity. Yay Elizabeth!

That’s why I wanted to recommend these books for Valentine’s slash Singles Empowerment Day.

–Christina

Photo credit: Elizabeth Bell

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