Good lesbian books and novels are hard to come by. Extraordinary lesbian books and novels are even harder. But just like us rare lesbians ourselves, that’s not to say that they don’t exist. Luckily for you, we’ve done our research. And with the help of our good friend Karen Zibets (AKA Zibs), we’ve collated a list of the very best of lesbian fiction. We cover all the lesbian classics, the best lesbian romance novels, as well as some lesbian erotica and fantasy novels too.
I can’t think of many better human experiences than getting your head buried into a really good book. I love it when a book transports me to another place or time, and I can lose myself in my imagination – even just for a short while.
I’ve always loved to read, yet only recently have I started to get into lesbian novels. In all honestly, I had no idea how extensive and diverse the lesbian fiction genre is. And I am thrilled to find so many incredible books out there that have and continue to help shape our generation.
So without further ado, let’s get to it. Here are 30 of the very best lesbian books and novels from both past and present.
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Fingersmith By: Sarah Waters (2002)
Let’s start with what is probably the most famous lesbian book of all time. Authored by the remarkable Sarah Waters, Fingersmith follows Sue Trinder, an orphaned pickpocketer raised on the streets of Victorian London by a baby farmer named Mrs. Sucksby.
One evening, Gentleman, a professional con man and beloved friend of Mrs. Sucksby, arrives with an attractive proposition for Sue. He plans to win the hand of the naive heiress Maud Lilly, to get his hands on her inheritance. But he first requires Sue to win a position as Maud’s maid, to help in his twisted plan of deception.
Enticed by the small fortune reward, and with little thought of the consequences, Sue agrees to the plan. However, when the two young women develop an unexpected bond, Sue begins to regret her decision.
Tipping the Velvet By: Sarah Waters (2000)
While Sarah Waters debut may not be as acclaimed as Fingersmith, it’s regarded nonetheless as one of the best lesbian fiction novels of the 21st century. Set again in Victorian Britain, Tipping the Velvet charts Nan King, a young girl obsessed with the cross-dressing theatre sensation, Kitty Butler.
After managing to blag tickets for all of her shows, one day fate is on Nans side, and she gets to meet her idol in person. A friendship forms and before long they become a double act, performing shows at top venues all over London.
On stage, they are an all-singing and dancing phenomenon. Behind closed doors, their relationship develops into more than just friends. The pair embark on a passionate love affair, but what follows is no happy ever after.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café By: Fannie Flagg (1987)
In this lesbian classic, we (the readers) get far more than we bargained for, as the story jumps from present to past, carrying us through a variety of gripping events. The book begins with bored housewife Evelyn, who while visiting her Mother-in-Law at her care home sparks up a conversation with pensioner Mrs Threadgoode.
Mrs Threadgoode goes on to tell her life story to Evelyn, focusing on the exploits of rebellious tomboy Idgie and her close friend Ruth. When Evelyn learns of Mrs Threadgoodes colourful past, it encourages her to make some changes for the better in her own life.
Rubyfruit Jungle By: Rita Mae Brown (1973)
Rubyfruit Jungle is the best selling lesbian book by feminist and civil rights campaigner Rita Mae Brown. Published in 1973, the dramatic coming of age novel was revolutionary for its time, documenting what it was like growing up as a lesbian in America.
The protagonist of the story is a feisty and sassy character named Molly, who from a young age realises she is a lesbian. Smart and determined, Molly excels at school, winning a scholarship at a leading college. However, when her teachers discover her relationship with a female student, she is kicked out and lands up in a psychiatric ward.
Refusing to give up on her dreams, Molly hitchhikes to New York in the hope of pursuing a career in filmmaking. Molly’s drive, wit and striking beauty land her in the right circles, and she ends up taking New York by storm, winning the hearts of several women along the way.
The Color Purple by: Alice Walker (1982)
Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Color Purple tells the life story of Celie, an African-American woman growing up in rural Georgia. A tale not for the faint-hearted, Celie endures horrific abuse from her father, who eventually leaves her impregnated at the age of 14.
The story that follows spans across 30 years, documenting Celie’s endless hardships and struggles through her own letters to God. Only when she meets an attractive jazz singer named Shug, is Celie awarded a new sense of life. And the pair begin a passionate and intimate relationship.
Other Lesbian Classics
Lesbian Romance Novels
The Price of Salt by: Patricia Highsmith (1952)
In this mid-century love story, department store worker Therese meets an elegant older woman, Carol, when she purchases a doll for her daughter in Therese’s store. Therese is instantly attracted to Carol and uses the delivery address provided for her purchase to send her a Christmas card.
A friendship develops between the two women, and Carol spills her heart out to Therese regarding her messy divorce. After Christmas, the pair embark on a wild road trip together, and it becomes clear that the attraction between them is mutual. Only a private investigator sent to expose their antics forces Carol to choose between Therese and her daughter.
If you’ve seen the movie Carol (which features one of our all-time favourite lesbian scenes), you’ll already be familiar with the storyline of The Price of Salt. But either way, this iconic lesbian romance novel is a must-read. First published in 1952, the book is both rare and controversial for its time. It is one of the first lesbian romance novels to have a happy ending, and the explosive love story of Carol and Therese remains timeless – sure to win the heart of any romantic.
Gold by: E.J. Noyes
In this lesbian romance novel, former Pro alpine skier Aspen Archer is on the run from her problems and comfortably lives out her days coaching tourists at ski resorts all around the world. One day, at a ski resort in Australia, Aspen meets Cate Tierney, and there is an obvious attraction from the get-go.
However, both women have baggage galore, and there seem to be more obstacles keeping them apart than reasons for them to be together. Cate is still carrying the burden of a former relationship and at the same time, has a daughter to protect. While, Aspen is reluctant to spend any longer than a season in any given place.
So the question is, can their relationship overcome the odds and be anything more than a holiday fling?
Reservations of the Heart By: T.B. Markinson
Reservations of the Heart is a fun, light-hearted lesbian romance novel following the relationship of Stella, a divorced 41-year-old doctor, and Aurora Shirley, a 29-year-old woman filling in a temporary position at the local medical school.
In an unexpected meeting, sparks fly when Stella and Aurora come together. However, neither is looking for a relationship. After Stella’s wife cheated, and Aurora’s family kept a life-changing secret from her, both women have trust issues. But perhaps love is just what they need to help heal the wounds of their past.
Warming Trend By: Karin Kallmaker
Anidyr Bycall is the protagonist in this romantic lesbian love story, who full of regrets following an impulsive act that cost her everything, spends her nights tending bars in Florida’s key west. Her life is meaningless, other than her research on the ice fields of Alaska – her last remaining passion in life.
When Anidyr receives news from home that her past mistakes may have been forgotten, she returns to Fairbanks hoping to recover the years of research she left behind. But when she encounters her former love, she’s devastated to see the admiration and affection drained from Eve’s eyes.
Can Ani set the truth straight about what happened all those years ago? Can she reclaim her career and clear her name? But most importantly, can she rekindle the passion that was once there between her and Eve?
Ask, Tell: Ask, Tell Series Book 1 By: E.J. Noyes
In this military-based lesbian romance novel, we follow the thoughts and feelings of Captain Sabine Fleisher – A U.S. Army surgeon deployed to a combat hospital in Afghanistan. Serving under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” anti-gay policy, isolation and loneliness take their toll on the otherwise focused Sabine. And the traumas and terrors of war become more and more challenging to deal with, while her relationship back home starts to fall apart.
Sabine finds refuge from her troubles when she starts fantasising about attractive Colonel Rebecca Keane. Rebecca runs the surgical unit at the military hospital. But when Sabine spots her wearing a wedding ring, she concludes that she is way off-limits. That is until Rebecca starts showing some subtle signs of mutual attraction and the chemistry between the two women begins to grow.
Ask Me Again: Ask. Tell Series Book 2 By E.J. Noyes
The follow-up book to Ask Tell, Ask Me Again takes place around one year later. Sabine has finished another tour in Afghanistan and is coming home for her next deployment. The military has finally repealed the DADT policy, and Sabine can’t wait to rejoice with her love, Rebecca.
An everyday life with Rebecca is all that Sabine ever wanted; however, upon returning home, Sabine’s anxiety and PTSD begins to cause rifts in their relationship. Rebecca wants to help support Sabine through her issues, but Sabine stubbornly pushes her away. And they are both left questioning if their love can withstand yet another storm.
If the Shoe Fits: Ask, Tell Series Book 3 By: E.J. Noyes
The third instalment of E.J. Noyes brilliant Ask, Tell series centres on Jana – Sabine’s younger sister, who seemingly content in her life, is thrown off balance when she meets Brooke Donnelly. Jana’s relationship history consists of a long line of casual relationships with men, never even considering being with another woman. So when she starts to develop romantic feelings for Brooke, it’s a shock.
Although Jana comes to realise she’s missing something meaningful in her life, first, she must come to terms with her sexuality. And both women will have to be brave if they are to take their relationship to the next level. Are they the match made in heaven their initial attraction suggests? Or is it the start of a disastrous love affair? Only time will tell.
Kiss the Girl By: Melissa Brayden
Kiss the Girl provides a lesbian take on Sleeping with the Enemy, charting the risky relationship between the two leaders of rivalling ad agencies.
Brooklyn and Jessica cross paths in a trendy wine bar, where they spend the night flirting and concluding in a passionate kiss. But the following day, they bump into each other at a pitch for the same campaign.
The two women realise it would be unwise to pursue their attraction for one another. However, the more they see of each other, the harder it is to resist.
Turbulence By: E.J. Noyes
In this romance novel by the wonderful E.J. Noyes, we meet the wealthy and powerful stockbroker, Isabelle Rhodes. Isabelle is a powerhouse character and quite the catch; however, her history of failed relationships has left her with a massive chip on her shoulder. Believing she is destined to be alone, Isabelle quits seeking a long term relationship and pursues no-strings-attached sexual experiences instead.
That is until she hooks up with the beautiful Audrey Graham, who just so happens to be her newly hired company pilot. Romance, in general, is a no-no for Isabelle, so an affair with a colleague seems unimaginable. But despite her best efforts, Isabelle can’t shake off her desire for Audrey.
Audrey doesn’t make things easy for Isabelle either, and her persistent flirtation soon pays off. But for their relationship to grow past a casual affair, Audrey must shake off her belief that she ‘sucks at relationships’.
Three Reasons to Say Yes: (Paradise Book #1) By: Jaime Clevenger
Three Reasons to Say Yes centres around Julia Maguire, who can’t wait to escape the mundane day to day and spend two weeks in Hawaii with her best friends. While she dreams of sun, sea, sand, and cocktails, Julia gets far more than she bargained for when she meets Reed Baxter.
Reed is in Hawaii to take a break from her busy lifestyle, and the last thing she is looking for is any kind of romance. But when she finds herself attracted to Julia, she decides there’s no harm in a holiday fling. The two agree on a no-strings affair, but when feelings get involved things start getting complicated!
The Gravity Between Us By: Kristen Zimmer
In this emotional coming-of-age romance, Payton and Kendall have been the best of friends since childhood. When Kendall grows up to be the hottest 19-year-old in Hollywood, she misses her best friend and the sanity she provided. So Kendall invites Payton to come and live with her in LA.
Kendall doesn’t expect Payton to come out as a lesbian, but seemingly comfortable with her own sexuality, doesn’t have an issue with the news. What she doesn’t realise, however, is that Payton has been hiding her crush on Kendall for years. And now they are living together, it’s getting more and more difficult to conceal.
When Kendall becomes jealous of Payton’s relationship with another girl, she starts to question if her feelings for Payton have grown past friendship. But how can it be possible if Kendall is straight? Now the pair must find out whether the feelings they have are real. And can their relationship survive the external pressures of fame?
Living By: Lise Gold
Cam Saunders is the protagonist in this slow-burn lesbian romance novel, who one morning finds herself rescuing a woman intent on taking her own life. The woman turns out to be a famous actress, and after swearing Cam to secrecy, the two women part ways, unaware that fate is to bring them together once again.
Six months later, the troubled actress is working hard to get her life back on track. Yet despite her fortune and fame, she struggles to fight off the deep depression that has taken over her life. The actress thinks of Cam often, and when she shows up in her life again, they believe it is destiny. Soon enough, their friendship turns into attraction, and now they must question everything they thought they knew about themselves.
Alone By: E.J. Noyes
Another must-read by E.J. Noyes, Alone sits somewhere between a lesbian romance and a psychological thriller. The story follows Celeste Thorne, who is living out four years of her life in complete isolation as part of a psychological experiment. With little worries about being alone and a nice paycheck at the end of it, it seems like easy money.
But when Celeste finds injured hiker Olivia Soldano in the woods, the solitary life she has become accustomed to is thrown off balance. Celeste grows attracted to Olivia, and not only does she question breaking the rules of her experiment, but she begins to wonder what is real and what is imagination. After all, it’s not the first times her mind has played tricks on her!
Other Lesbian Romance Novels
- Tell it to the Bees By: Fiona Shaw
- And Playing the Role of Herself By: K.E. Lane
- Ready or Not By: Melissa Brayden
- I Can’t Think Straight By: Shamim Sarif
- Jericho By: Ann McMan
Lesbian Fiction Erotica Novels
The X Ingredient By: Roslyn Sinclair
In this steamy lesbian romance novel, Diana Parker is an esteemed lawyer in Atlanta, with a reputation of being ruthless both in and out of the courtroom. Her intimidating manner makes it hard for her to hire and keep good assistants, but desperate for a job, Laurie Holcombe believes she is up to the challenge.
When Laurie shows up to her interview with a smalltown accent, delicate features, and a pink streak in her hair, Diana immediately concludes she isn’t right for the job. But when Laurie shows her more audacious side, Diana decides to give the young woman a chance.
When Laurie’s proves herself to be exceptional at the job, Diana finds herself warming more and more to her new assistant. And as the chemistry between them builds, Diana is left wondering if she’s as straight as she once thought.
The Night Off By: Meghan O’Brien
If you’re looking for a book guaranteed to leave you a little hot under the collar, you won’t want to miss this lesbian fiction erotica novel. The storyline follows Emily Parker, who after living a troubled childhood, strives to have ultimate control over her own busy life.
One night, however, following years of celibacy, she decides to hire a prestige escort to help satisfy her all her wildest fantasies. Nat Swayne is only too happy to help, but when their no-strings night of passion turns into something more, things start to get complicated. And the question is, can both women surrender to their feelings despite their past habits?
Other Lesbian Fiction Erotica Novels
- Thirteen Hours By: Meghan O’Brien
- At Her Feet By: Rebekah Weatherspoon
- Behind the Green Curtain By: Riley Lashea
- Branding Her: Bundle 1, Episodes 1-6 By: Alex B. Porter
- Branding Her: Bundle 2, Episodes 7-13 By: Alex B Porter
Lesbian Books for Young Adults
Her Name in the Sky By: Kelly Quindlen
In this beautifully written coming-of-age novel, Hannah is in her senior year of high school when she starts to fall in love with her best friend, Baker. Having grown up in a conservative town in Louisiana, Hannah battles with her feelings, willing herself to like Wally. A kind young man who asks her to go to the prom with him.
But the more she tries, the more she can’t get Baker out of her head. Hannah adores everything about Baker and longs to be more than just friends. But can she come clean about her feelings and risk losing Baker altogether? Is there any possibility that Baker feels the same way about her too?
The Miseducation of Cameron Post By: Emily M. Danforth
The Miseducation of Cameron Post charts the trials of tribulations of a young teen, Cameron Post, who struggling to terms with the death of her parents is also grappling with her confused sexuality.
Following her parents’ accident, Cam moves to Montana with her conventional, ultra-religious Aunt Ruth and her Grandmother. Cam knows she will have to hide her true self if she is to get by peacefully in her new town. But when the beautiful and quirky Coley Taylor moves to town, that might not be as easy as Cam once thought.
Despite Coley having a boyfriend, the two young women form an intense connection. But when Aunt Ruth gets wind of the ‘sinful’ love affair, she sends Cam off to a correctional facility. Cam must now confront the demons of her past and dig deep to find out what it is she wants.
Annie on My Mind By: Nancy Garden (1982)
Annie On My Mind was one of the first books for young adults to portray a lesbian love story between two teenagers. As such, the book has a rather tumultuous and controversial history. Not only challenged on several occasions, but the book was also subsequently banned from several school libraries.
Nevertheless, the book has received a number of young adult fiction awards and is, without doubt, one of the most influential lesbian fiction novels of all time.
The story charts the relationship between Annie and Liza – two seventeen-year-olds growing up in New York City. Both girls are from entirely different backgrounds; however, their differences do not stop them from meeting and falling in love.
Other Lesbian Books for Young Adults
- Seasons of Love By: Harper Bliss
- Everything Leads to You By: Nina LaCour
- Keeping You a Secret By: Julie Anne Peters
- We Are Okay By: Nina LaCour
Lesbian Fantasy Books
Reaping the Benefits By: E.J.Noyes
Reaping the Benefits is a delightful supernatural romance, centring around the world of Morgan Ashworth as Death’s head minion. (Yes Death, as in the Grim Reaper, Death.) Her role involves delivering afterlife packages to people, that help determine where they will go when they die. But when one of those people turn out to be a human employee she fancies, it’s not a favourable task.
Meanwhile, Jane is shocked when it’s her turn to complete the questionnaire, especially when it’s her hot boss who delivers it. But she decides to use the situation to her advantage and asks Morgan to use her resources to help her complete her bucket list. And it just so happens that it involves sleeping with her boss!
The more time the two women spend together, the more their feelings develop. But, of course, there’s the slight complication of one being immortal and the other being human to overcome. Will Morgan risk losing another mortal woman when she knows it means an eternity of heartbreak?
Other Lesbian Fantasy Books
- Princess of Dorsa: The Chronicles of Dorsa, Book 1 By: Eliza Andrews
- Soldier of Dorsa: The Chronicles of Dorsa, Book 2 By: Eliza Andrews
- Of Fire and Stars By: Audrey Coulthurst
More Favourite Lesbian Fiction Novels
Keepers of the Cave: Johnston and Riley Series, Book 1 By: Gerri Hill
In this romance/mystery/crime drama novel, FBI agents CJ Johnston and Paige Riley have a one night stand hanging over their heads. And when they are assigned to a mysterious case in the East of Texas, they are forced to put their feelings aside.
It quickly becomes apparent that there is something strange going on in the isolated town of Hoganville, and the odd behaviour of the locals confirms their suspicions. Now the two agents must investigate over 50 years of bizarre disappearances, all the while keeping the sexual tension between them at bay.
Weeping Walls: Johnston & Riley Series, Book 2 By: Gerri Hill
In the chilling second instalment of the Johnston & Riley series, FBI agents CJ Johnston and Paige Riley are back. And this time they are investigating a mysterious murder at an eerie abandoned house in small Houston town.
As it turns out, there was a similar murder at the same house 14 years prior. And as the team delve deeper into the case, the story takes on a paranormal turn.
Calling the Dead By: Ali Vali
Calling the Dead is a murder mystery set six months after Hurricane Katrina has devastated New Orleans. The stories protagonist is Detective Sept Savoie, who throws herself into her work after losing her sister during the disaster.
When a chef is found murdered outside a famous restaurant, Sept finds herself in the midst of a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the killer responsible.
At the same time, one of the suspects Keegan Blanchard is on the one hand disgusted that she is under investigation. And on the other slightly turned on by the sexy butch detective.
In Dyer Need: The First Chapter (Ren Dyer Series, Book 1) By: Claire Highton – Stevenson
In this ‘end-of-the-world’ lesbian romance novel, Ren Dyer is at the pinnacle of her career. Recently appointed as head of the protection team for the Home Secretary, she is a woman dedicated to her job.
The Home Secretary, Andrea Fielding, on the other hand, has been looking for love in all the wrong places. But when a global disaster happens, she sees something that’s been staring her in the face all along.
Now Ren must escort a group of people to safety. But can Andrea break down the Ren’s tough exterior, and show her there is more to life than her job?
Other Favourite Lesbian Fiction Novels
- Backwards To Oregon By: Jae
- Hidden Truths By: Jae
- In Dyer Circumstances: The Final Chapter (Ren Dyer Series, Book 2) By: Claire Highton-Stevenson
**Full Book Reviews for all books coming soon!
Thank You For Reading
We hope you enjoyed this list of the best lesbian books and novels. Be sure to let us know if you have any others that you think deserve to be on this list. You can reach out to us in the comment section below or through our contact us page.
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Charlotte & Natalie x
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Last Updated on October 11, 2021 by Our Taste For Life