The romance genre has been criticized for promoting harmful stereotypes about body image, particularly with regards to female characters. However, a new wave of authors has emerged in recent years, creating stories with plus-size female leads that celebrate body positivity and challenge traditional beauty standards. Here are some of the must-read romance books with plus-size heroines that you don’t want to miss:
“Get a Life, Chloe Brown” by Talia Hibbert
“Get a Life, Chloe Brown” follows the story of Chloe, a plus-size web designer who suffers from chronic pain. After a near-death experience, she decides to make a bucket list of things she wants to accomplish. The list includes getting a life, moving out of her family’s home, and finding love. When she meets Red, the super-hot and tattooed handyman who works in her apartment building, she thinks he might be the perfect guy to help her tick off some items on her list.
This book is a great example of a body-positive romance that doesn’t shy away from the realities of living with a chronic illness. Hibbert’s writing is funny, sexy, and empowering, and Chloe is a relatable and lovable protagonist.
“The Right Swipe” by Alisha Rai
In “The Right Swipe,” Rhiannon Hunter is a successful dating app creator who has sworn off romantic relationships. But when she reconnects with Samson Lima, a former NFL player and the guy who ghosted her after a one-night stand, she can’t help but feel drawn to him again. Rhiannon is a curvy, confident, and unapologetic woman who challenges the unrealistic beauty standards often seen in romance novels.
Alisha Rai’s writing is witty and engaging, and her characters are complex and well-developed. “The Right Swipe” is a refreshing and empowering read that tackles themes of body positivity, workplace harassment, and online dating culture.
“The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang
“The Kiss Quotient” tells the story of Stella, a successful econometrician with Asperger’s syndrome who hires an escort, Michael, to teach her about sex and dating. Stella is a plus-size heroine who struggles with self-confidence and body image issues, but through her relationship with Michael, she learns to love and accept herself.
Helen Hoang’s writing is tender, honest, and sensual, and she does an excellent job of depicting the complexities of living with Asperger’s syndrome. “The Kiss Quotient” is a heartwarming and inspiring romance that celebrates diversity and inclusivity.
“Love on Lexington Avenue” by Lauren Layne
“Love on Lexington Avenue” is the second book in Lauren Layne’s “Central Park Pact” series and follows the story of Claire, a wealthy widow who discovers that her late husband had an affair. To cope with her grief and anger, she embarks on a home renovation project and hires Scott, a contractor with a bad-boy reputation. Claire is a plus-size heroine who struggles with insecurities about her body, but Scott is drawn to her confidence and intelligence.
Lauren Layne’s writing is charming, witty, and romantic, and her characters are relatable and likable. “Love on Lexington Avenue” is a delightful and uplifting read that celebrates self-love and personal growth.
“Big Girl Panties” by Stephanie Evanovich
“Big Girl Panties” is an older book on this list, but it’s still worth mentioning. The novel follows the story of Holly Brennan, a recently widowed woman who decides to get in shape and hire a personal trainer, Logan Montgomery. Holly is a plus-size heroine who struggles with body image issues, but Logan sees beyond her physical appearance and helps her become more confident and self-assured. As Holly starts to embrace her curves and accept herself for who she is, she begins to develop feelings for Logan, who is also dealing with his own personal issues. “Big Girl Panties” is a heartwarming and uplifting romance that celebrates self-acceptance and personal growth.
“The Plus One” by Sarah Archer
In “The Plus One,” Kelly is a curvy data analyst who hires a handsome actor, Ethan, to be her date for her best friend’s wedding. Kelly and Ethan pretend to be in a relationship for the weekend, but soon their fake romance turns into a real one. This book is a fun and flirty rom-com that challenges societal expectations about body size and beauty standards.
“Act Like It” by Lucy Parker
“Act Like It” follows the story of Lainie, a plus-size actress who is forced to date her co-star, Richard, to improve their public image. Lainie is a confident and sassy heroine who refuses to conform to Hollywood’s unrealistic beauty standards. Lucy Parker’s writing is witty, charming, and swoon-worthy, making this book a must-read for fans of enemies-to-lovers romance.
“The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne
“The Hating Game” is a workplace enemies-to-lovers romance that features Lucy, a curvy heroine who works as an executive assistant at a publishing company. When her office nemesis, Josh, is promoted to co-CEO, Lucy is forced to work even more closely with him. Sally Thorne’s writing is hilarious, witty, and full of sexual tension, and her characters are complex, relatable, and endearing.
“Dear Aaron” by Mariana Zapata
“Dear Aaron” tells the story of Ruby Santos, a curvy woman who becomes pen pals with Aaron Hall, a soldier serving overseas. As their correspondence evolves, they develop a deep and meaningful connection that becomes romantic when Aaron returns home. Mariana Zapata’s writing is slow-burning and emotional, and her characters are authentic and relatable. “Dear Aaron” is a heartwarming and uplifting romance that celebrates the beauty of self-acceptance and love.
“Size Matters” by Alison Bliss
“Size Matters” is a steamy contemporary romance that follows the story of Leah, a plus-size graphic designer who falls for Sam, a sexy and successful businessman. Leah is a confident and strong-willed heroine who doesn’t let her size define her or limit her options in life. Alison Bliss’s writing is funny, sexy, and empowering, and her characters are likeable and relatable.
The romance genre is slowly but surely embracing body positivity and inclusivity, and these books are leading the charge. From curvy heroines who learn to love themselves to empowering love stories that challenge beauty standards, these romance novels celebrate diversity and promote self-acceptance. So, if you’re looking for a feel-good romance that will make you fall in love with yourself and the world, pick up one of these books and get ready to be swept away.