10 Lesbian Novels That Changed My Life

10 Lesbian Novels That Changed My Life is a podcast that I (Sheena) did with a special guest Karin Kallmaker.

How could I not do this list when Kallmaker’s work was so influential in how I viewed the world of lesbians?


Many of these are on my Top 10 list on The Lesbian Review because they are favourites. Today, I will share some of the personal reasons behind my love for them.

Please note: This list does not include all the personal relationships that I have made because of books, whether it is with friends who share an interest in great books or authors who connected with me.

How Lesfic in general changed my life:

When I was 19 I discovered lesbian fiction. Not this one in particular, that came later, but I discovered Kallmaker’s work and it was like a door to a whole new world opened. This was a world where I was normal. A world where women loved one another and it was okay to feel that way.

Then, when I had consumed all the Kallmaker’s I could get my hands on I discovered that she also wrote under the pen name of Laura Adams and these were more supernatural in nature. I coveted those books and Christabel in particular. And when it became available through kindle, I was overjoyed. I bought it and just consumed it like a fire consumes dry wood.

There are some books that change you when you read them. They imprint themselves into your very DNA. This is one of those books for me. Which is why, even though I have ready most of your other books, this is my choice.

1 Christabel by Karin Kallmaker

Christabel by Karin KallmakerPublished by Bella Books

What it’s about

Deeper than the city streets, the subways, even the dry riverbeds that no longer flow, are the roots of a tree that remembers love and tragedy…

Financier Dina Rowland’s assignment is to make fashion designer Leo Goranson a lot of money. But the more she knows of him, the more repugnant his personal life is to her. Not the least inconsequential is his unbreakable hold on his greatest asset: supermodel Christabel. One touch and the power–and responsibility–of Dina’s long-hidden heritage threatens to crumble the careful plans she has made for her life.

Christa knows there is no escaping her tormentor, but she has a plan to deny him what he ultimately wants from her. The past can’t be changed. Having long accepted her fate she is unprepared for the wild feelings that Dina’s eyes arouse in her. There is passion, certainly, but also the rarest feeling of all to her: hope.

Why it changed my life

A love story that takes place in two times. A bad guy that grows stronger by inflicting emotional pain on others and two women who have been destined to be together for many lifetimes. I love this book. Kallmaker’s best and I am so glad it was finally released in kindle.

This is a fantastic read. Kallmaker has created a moody, epic, romantic, passionate novel that should be read by anyone who really wants to feel passion that spans an eternity. This book made the number one spot on my all time favourite lesbian novels for The Lesbian Review

Available on Amazon




Check out my full review here 

Check it out Christabel by Karin Kallmaker made this #Top10 list

2 Tomorrow’s Promise by Radclyffe

Tomorrows Promise by RadclyffePublished by Bold Strokes Books

What it’s about

Adrienne Pierce, buffeted by fate and abandoned by love, seeks refuge from her past as well as her uncertain future on Whitley Point, a secluded island off the coast of Maine.

Tanner Whitley—young, wild, restless—and heir to a dynasty, desperately tries to escape both her destiny and the memories of a tragic loss with casual sex and wild nights, a dangerous course that may ultimately destroy her. One timeless summer, these two very different women discover the power of passion to heal–and the promise of hero that only love can bestow.

Why it changed my life

Anyone who is familiar with my coming out story knows that it was a very tumultuous time in my life, not just because I was coming out but because I was in love. The girl who I was head over heals for was never going to love me back because she was straight. Well that’s what I thought anyway.

I read this book during that time and it so echoed my feelings of desperation and loneliness. So it made a great impact on me.

For those who don’t know, today the girl who I was in love with – she is my wife.

Available on Amazon




Check out my full review here 

Check it out Tomorrow’s Promise by Radclyffe made this top 10 list

3 Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Fingersmith by Sarah WatersPublished by Virago

What it’s about

London 1862. Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth, grows up among petty thieves – fingersmiths – under the rough but loving care of Mrs Sucksby and her ‘family’. But from the moment she draws breath, Sue’s fate is linked to that of another orphan growing up in a gloomy mansion not too many miles away.

Why it changed my life

This was one of the first books that I read which took romance and made it a side plot rather than a main thrust. Also it was so beautiful that I stayed up late into the night reading it.


Available on Amazon




Check out my full review here 

Check it out Fingersmith by Sarah Waters made this top 10 list

4 Shell Game by Benny Lawrence

Shell Game by Benny LawrencePublished by Bedazzled Ink

What it’s about

Life in a remote fishing village in the middle of a civil war is neither safe nor inspiring. So, when an opportunity comes along for village girl Lynn to be kidnapped and enslaved by Darren, a ruthless pirate queen, she takes full advantage of it. But Darren is neither as ruthless nor as piratical as she appears at first glance–and Lynn’s not exactly what she seems to be, either. In between encounters with old girlfriends, a slow death involving marmalade, and bounty hunters with no sense of humor, Lynn and her new mistress attempt to work out exactly what they are to each other–and who’s in charge.

Why it changed my life

On the surface this is a tongue in cheek story of a pirate and a woman who is running from something. But beneath that this book is a commentary on being a captive and losing your ability to choose.

This book brought layers to my lesfic world.

It is also really funny which is a rarity in literature, never mind lesfic.

Available on Amazon




Check out my full review here 

Check it out Shell Game by Benny Lawrence made this #Top10 list

5 Keepers Of The Cave by Gerri Hill

Keepers of the cave by gerri hillPublished by Bella Books

What it’s about

While the investigations go on in Dallas and Baton Rouge after the disappearance of a senator’s daughter, FBI agents CJ Johnston and Paige Riley are assigned to the sleepy backwoods of East Texas for a dead-end assignment to infiltrate an all-girls school.

Random disappearances dating back fifty years and more raise red flags that point to the tiny, isolated community of Hoganville. But CJ and Paige fear there will be little distraction from the memories of the one-night stand they shared six months ago.

Nevertheless, they integrate themselves into the lives of the teachers and staff, but soon the odd behavior of the townspeople has them convinced something sinister lurks there. Something, perhaps, that even the residents of Hoganville don’t know about.

Why it changed my life

This book introduced me to lesfic horror. And it was like discovering chocolate for the first time. It tantalized my taste buds and made me crave more.

Available on Amazon




Check out my full review here 

Check it out Keepers Of The Cave by Gerri Hill made this #Top10 list

Karin Kallmaker’s List

6 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women by Louisa May AlcottWhat it’s about

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

So begins one of the best-loved children’s classics, Little Women. Coming of age in the North during the Civil War, the March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—experience great joy and tragic loss while becoming the true little women of the title. The novel is resonant with themes of friendship, feminism, and building strong character, which are explored through the sisters’ relationships with their family, in particular their beloved Marmee, their friends, and their neighbours.

Why it changed my life

Karin read this book when she was an impressionable 10 year old. And it made her question the role of women.

Available on Amazon




Check it out Little Women by Louisa May Alcott made this #Top10 list

7 Sex Variant For Women In Literature by Jeannette H Foster

Sex Variant For Women In Literature by Jeannette H FosterWhat it’s about

An account of famous lesbians, the books they wrote, their efforts to achieve publication, and their lives with other lesbians.

Why it changed my life

This opened Karin’s eyes to lesbian references being throughout stories that are traditionally thought of to be heterosexual.


Available on Amazon




Sex Variant For Women In Literature by Jeannette H Foster made this #Top10 list

8 Curious Wine by Katherine V Forrest

Curious Wine by Katherine V ForrestPublished by Bella Books

What it’s about

The intimacy of a cabin at Lake Tahoe provides the combustible circumstances that bring Diana Holland and Lane Christianson together in this passionate novel of first discovery.

Candid in its eroticism, intensely romantic, remarkably beautiful, CURIOUS WINE is a love story that will remain in your memory.

Why it changed my life

This book is the reason Karin decided to write lesbian fiction and give up on heterosexual romance.


Available on Amazon




Check it out Curious Wine by Katherine V Forrest made this #Top10 list

9 Tell Me What You Like Kate Allen

Tell Me What You Like Kate AllenPublished by New Victoria Publishers

What it’s about

Alison Kaine, lesbian cop, enters the world of leather-dykes after a woman is brutally murdered at a Denver bar. In this fast-paced, yet slyly humorous novel, Allen confronts the sensitive issues of S/M, queer-bashers and women-identified sex workers.

Why it changed my life

This made Karin relook at consent in relationships.



Available on Amazon




Tell Me What You Like Kate Allen made this #Top10 list

10 Being Emily by Rachel Gold

Being Emily by Rachel GoldPublished by Bella Books

This book is a: quick description of sub genre

What it’s about

They say that whoever you are it’s okay, you were born that way. Those words don’t comfort Emily, because she was born Christopher and her insides know that her outsides are all wrong.

They say that it gets better, be who you are and it’ll be fine. For Emily, telling her parents who she really is means a therapist who insists Christopher is normal and Emily is sick. Telling her girlfriend means lectures about how God doesn’t make that kind of mistake.

Emily desperately wants high school in her small Minnesota town to get better. She wants to be the woman she knows is inside, but it’s not until a substitute therapist and a girl named Natalie come into her life that she believes she has a chance of actually Being Emily.

A story for anyone who has ever felt that the inside and outside don’t match and no one else will understand…

Why it changed my life

This book allowed Karin to reformulate her thinking about transgender people.

Available on Amazon




Check it out Being Emily by Rachel Gold made this #Top10 list

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