Delilah Green Doesn’t Care (2022) by Ashley Herring Blake, is a delightful queer sapphic romance that features a couple of my favorite romance tropes: Forced Proximity and Coming Home/High School Crush. Blake has written several YA and middle-grade novels, including the 2018 Stonewall Honor Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World, but this is her first adult romance.
Delilah Green is a hardworking and hard-partying lesbian NYC photographer who is on the cusp of achieving the notoriety and respect she’s been trying for, when she is reminded by her estranged stepsister, Astrid, that she’s been booked to photograph Astrid’s upcoming wedding events. Delilah’s mother had died when Delilah was very young, and her father was remarried to Astrid’s mother. Unfortunately, Delilah’s father then died when Astrid and Delilah were preteens, leaving Delilah parentless. While Astrid’s mother provided Delilah with housing and the material things she needed, Delilah never felt at home, and she and Astrid fought through their teenage years. As soon as possible, Delilah left Oregon for New York and rarely returned.
Clare is one of Astrid’s best friends, who had a baby, Ruby, at 19 and then split up with Ruby’s father because of his unreliability. She had come out as bisexual in high school, and stayed in their hometown, eventually taking over running the family bookstore. Ruby is now a pre-teen, and Claire is navigating letting go of some control to her ex, who is claiming to be responsible now, with her dismay at Astrid’s choice of future husband, and her own lack of romantic prospects. When she sees a dark-clad, tattooed woman at the local bar, she is dared to make conversation, where she finds out that the woman is also queer, not recognizing it’s Delilah.
It’s a really sweet romance, with the added bonus of family estrangement not necessarily getting completely resolved, but at least the past is discussed and perspectives shared. And it’s fat-positive! Claire is described by Delilah early on as “curvy and nerdy-sexy” whose hips had gotten a little wider since high school, and later, it’s revealed that Claire has always been “full-figured” and proud and confident to be so.
I thoroughly enjoyed it as a great example of a sapphic romance with one not-skinny protagonist, that involved some much needed family reconciliation. There’s even a Pride and Prejudice-inspired pond scene, and Astrid herself is featured in an upcoming sequel, Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail.