8 Queer & Diverse Novels That Feel Like Watching A Hallmark Movie

Lean into your love of all things romantic and delightful

Photo by Kyler Boone via Unsplash

We as society need to accept our love of Hallmark movies. No more quietly enjoying Hallmark movies when no one else is around, no more calling them “guilty pleasures” or feeling embarrassed when someone labels you a Hallmark movie enjoyer. It’s time to end the stigma of enjoying the simple pleasures, because we could all use more simple pleasures in our lives. So what if a made-for-TV-movie about nearly impossible circumstances leading to a lasting romance is the thing that gets you through the day? I, for one, support you. Romance is fun! Lean into your love of all things romantic and delightful with this reading list.

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Hana Khan’s family owns a halal restaurant that was already struggling before the fancy new competitor with the handsome son moved in down the street. As the family business continues to sink, she reaches out to listeners of her podcast for advice. But her most loyal listener might end up being closer to the situation than she realized, and he might also be dreamier than she bargained for. This book has all the staples of a Hallmark movie and then some; prepare to be romanced by Jalaluddin’s sweet, modern romance.

Payback’s A Witch by Lana Harper

Like all great Hallmark movies, this book starts with an independent woman reluctantly returning to her hometown—except in this case, the woman is a struggling witch, Emmy Harlow, and her hometown is the magical town of Thistle Grove. Emmy just wants a quick trip home and some quality time with her friend Linden, but when she runs into the enchanting Talia and finds out Talia and Linden have unknowingly been dating the same guy, Emmy decides to help them get revenge. Except, maybe revenge isn’t the only thing motivating Emmy, maybe it’s also the promise of more time spent with Talia.

Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

This book has it all! A successful, career-driven woman (Andrea Tang) who isn’t interested in romance! A hot entrepreneur who seems like her perfect match! An office rival who might be more appealing than Andrea thought! A meddling family who doesn’t want Andrea to be the only unmarried Tang of her generation! This swoony book is packed cover to cover with fun, romance, and joy.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

PhD student Dani Brown doesn’t want romance, she just wants the perfect friend-with-benefits. When hot, ex-rugby-player-turned-security-guard Zafir rescues Dani from a fire drill gone wrong, she thinks she’s found the FWB to end FWBs. But of course, in the world of romance novels and Hallmark movies, nothing is ever so simple. Zafir’s heroism is caught on camera and the pair blow up online, leading him to beg Dani to pretend they’re in a relationship in order to get publicity for his children’s rugby charity. Dani’s fine with the arrangement—until she realizes Zaf is a hopeless romantic who’s going to test her anti-love resolve. 

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

What’s better than a queer love story that involves fake dating and astrology? When Darcy’s brother sets practical, analytical Darcy up with his business partner, eccentric Twitter astrologer Elle, she thinks he couldn’t have found a worse match for her. However, in an attempt to stop her brother from meddling in her love life, Darcy tells him the date went great and begs Elle to play along. Thus begins Elle and Darcy’s fake relationship, which will definitely never, ever turn into something real—or will it? 

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake

Delilah Green doesn’t want to go back to her hometown. She’s busy in New York, becoming a successful photographer and sleeping her way through a string of beautiful women. When her estranged stepsister guilt-trips Delilah into coming back to their hometown to photograph her wedding, Delilah reluctantly agrees. But when she runs into her stepsister’s best friend, Claire, a single mother who runs a bookstore, her feelings about her hometown change. Every word of this description sounds like the perfect, gay Hallmark movie.

This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender

After Nathan Bird’s father dies and his mother falls apart, he decides he doesn’t believe in happy endings. An aspiring screenwriter who loves movies, Nate thinks happy endings only exist on film. But when his best friend Florence decides to prove him wrong, he ends up being reintroduced to his childhood best friend and crush, Oliver. A main character who’s given up on love? A charming but meddlesome best friend? A childhood friend turned romantic interest? Hallmark fans, this one’s perfect for you. 

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Grace just completed her PhD in astronomy, and heads to Vegas to celebrate with her friends. Drunkenly marrying a woman whose name she doesn’t know wasn’t part of the plan, but when Grace wakes up to find out she’s done just that, she decides to embrace it. Kicking her stern father’s intentions for her life aside, Grace runs away to New York to spend the summer with her wife, until, of course, reality catches up with her. This is an official petition for more Hallmark movies to feature accidental marriages.

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