In the comments to the entry about the discrimination of the Romance Writers Ink published writers contest, DreadPirateRachel and Keri asked for a Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid for f/f romance, or, in other words, lesbian romances.
Keri commented, “It's easy to find m/m, but I'm having a really hard time with f/f, especially fluffier kinds. I love Sarah Waters and Emma Donoghue, who are always suggested, but their writing tends to be more literary and heavy and less “romance novel”, and when I try to find others, I often just come across erotica meant for the male gaze.
(also a lot of f/f romance that I find are older YA novels that are less about the romance as they are about GLBT Issues, which is frustrating. I've seen plenty of m/m stories that aren't Issue novels and are more in the vein of what I think of as traditional romance, but not f/f. help help help! i love romance novels, but I want some that better reflect my own identity sometimes!)”
DreadPirateRachel added, “Yes, please! I'd love to read some good f/f romances, and I've been searching for some erotica (ANY erotica) that features f/f/m. It seems like all group-sex erotica is m/m/f. Not that there's anything wrong with that (far from it), but I'd like to see some quality examples of women deriving pleasure from each other.”
A friend of mine read Ash and really enjoyed it – it's a lesbian retelling of the Cinderella myth, though in the world in which two women fall in love, homosexuality and heterosexuality aren't dividing concepts.
I read Wildthorn awhile ago. It's a Victorian-set YA novel about a girl who is committed to an asylum because she is determined to reject the roles and limitations of women. The title character, Louisa, can be really boneheaded, but her relationship during the course of the story (I don't want to give away too much) is incredibly sweet and a beautiful thing in the middle of a hellish institution.
But both these novels are YA, and don't focus on the romance as the primary plot of the novel.
So, bring it on: which f/f romances have you enjoyed? Were there lesbian heroines or secondary characters in a book you loved recently? We need recommendations of awesome romances featuring women loving other women.