The world is full of love stories and romance, but often when you boil them down, there’s nothing new in the world. Authors have been bringing us love stories since the start of time, from Shakespeare’s Kate and Petruchio in the Taming of the Shrew, to Jane Austen, and right up to contemporary times with Danielle Steel, Nicholas Sparks, and Nora Roberts, we’re spoiled for choice for romance… if you consider romance to be two white people of the opposite sex falling in love that is.
Today we’re looking for something a little more diverse, a little less conventional, and a little different to the tired old tropes, and while researching we found this list of love stories that definitely come under the non-conventional heading.
We hope you like the recommendations, and feel free to add your own in the comments!
Sky Burial – Xinran
In 1994, journalist and author Xinran met a Chinese woman with an extraordinary story. For over thirty years, since the 1950s, Shu Wen searched the mountains of north Tibet for her husband, a Chinese military doctor, who was missing in action. Her moving and unforgettable life story brilliantly recreated by Xinran, gives insight into the landscape, religion and people of Tibet. At the same time it illuminates the complex and emotional relationship and history between the Tibetans and Chinese.
Brokeback Mountain – Annie Proulx
Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two ranch hands, come together when they’re working as sheepherder and camp tender one summer on a range above the tree line. At first, sharing an isolated tent, the attraction is casual, inevitable, but something deeper catches them that summer.
Both men work hard, marry, and have kids because that’s what cowboys do. But over the course of many years and frequent separations this relationship becomes the most important thing in their lives, and they do anything they can to preserve it.
Ali and Nino – Kurban Said
The sweeping tale of love challenged by war, as romantic and gripping as Gone with the Wind or Dr. Zhivago, Ali& Nino portrays, against a glamorously exotic backdrop,the enduring love between childhood friends divided by separate cultures.Ali and Nino grow up together in carefree innocence in Baku, on the Caspian Sea. Here, where East and West collide, they are inevitably drawn into the events of World War I and the Russian Revolution. Torn apart by the turmoil of the divided society around them, Ali joins the defense of Azerbaijan from the onslaught of the Red Army and Nino flees to the safety of Paris with their child, unsure whether they will ever see each other again.
I Think I am in Friend Love With You – Yumi Sakugawa
In a world where the failure to find romantic love is considered to be a life wasted, we need more of this! What’s friend-love? It’s that super-awesome bond you share with someone who makes you happy every time you text each other, or meet up for an epic outing. It’s not love-love. You don’t want to swap saliva; you want to swap favorite books. But it’s just as intense and just as amazing.
Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Often if books aren’t written by white people, they fail to be genred into any other category than diverse, which is why you might not think of Americanah as a love story! But it is, and it follows the diverging paths of two high school sweethearts from Nigeria — and, eventually, how they choose to move forward when they’re reunited again.
Oranges are not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
Thankfully there’s a lot more LGBT literature than there used to be, but when this Winterson classic was released, it was all on its own. In this quirky and experimental coming-of-age novel, Winterson tackles what it’s like to come to terms with your sexuality when your extremely religious mother believes you’ve been chosen to become a missionary.
Jazz – Toni Morrison
Jazz is a story of change after the abolishment of slavery, but it’s also a love story you will ever read, and it’ll break your heart. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.
Mrs Caliban – Rachel Ingalls
We promised you diverse and we’re nothing if not consistent! Ingalls novella is the story of a lonely, grieving American housewife in a dying marriage who finds both true love and sexual awakening in the form of an amphibious talking biped (recently escaped from a government lab) named Larry.
The Gravity of Us – Phil Stamper
Teen romance stories are ten a penny, but we love touching look at first love through an LGBT perspective, and there’s plenty of suspense and a few thrills thrown in too! We love you Judy Blume, but there’s space for stories like this one too.