Why is it difficult to find romance novels written by authors from South Africa?
One reason could be language.
South Africa has a long history of Afrikaans love stories. (Afrikaans is one of the ten official languages in South Africa.) While English is spoken in the country, many publishers want to promote the Afrikaans language. For example, NB Uitgewers, one of the biggest publishing houses in South Africa, offer multiple romance imprints. These books are only available in Afrikaans.
The romance novels aren’t different just because of the language. The stories are imbued with the culture and values of the area, inspired by South African folklore and legends, and influenced by prolific romance authors who have shaped the love stories of a country.
Romance readers around the world are missing out.
For those who only read English, there are still ways to explore the South African romance genre. Romance writers from the country such as Elsa Winckler have their work available in Afrikaans and English editions.
Start with Love, In Writing, a sensual romance set in the surfing town of Kommetjie. Graham is a famous and cynical science fiction writer who believes love is a literary invention. He meets Margaret, a romance author who owns a bookstore that only sells books promising happy ever afters.
The spark between the two is immediate and disruptive. It’s no surprise that Graham gradually becomes the muse for Margaret’s romance hero and she’s the inspiration for the main character of his latest work.
Avid romance readers will enjoy the clash of wills in this hate-to-love tale. They’ll recognize the story beats as the couple journey from the meet-cute to the misunderstandings before finding the forever kind of love.
Of course, not all romances by South African writers are set in their homeland. Readers who want a bright and sexy love story should try The Trouble with Mojitos by Romy Sommer. Expect to be swept away with the idyllic tropical setting, sizzling chemistry and complex characters.
Kenzie is a film location scout visiting the Caribbean. Needing to prove that she’s not a screw up, she’s struggling with an impossible work assignment. She’s determined to be a success, even if it means getting help from Rik, an adventurous drifter living on the island. Kenzie has given up bad boys but she doesn’t trust her instinct or her ability to resist temptation when she’s around Rik.
But Rik is actually Frederik, a prince who recently was exiled thanks to a routine DNA test. He chooses to help Kenzie with her assignment because he needs a diversion from the emptiness of living in paradise. Instead he finds a woman who understands him. And, much like him, Kenzie needs a future, not just a past.
Readers who want hot category romances by South African authors can enjoy the work of Joss Wood. She’s written for several Harlequin imprints including Desire, KISS and Presents. Many of her stories are set in South Africa, including How to Undo the Proud Billionaire.
Radd is rebuilding his family’s name and fortune. He is always in control of his environment and his emotions. Until he meets Brinley, a broke floral designer who knocks him off-balance.
Brinley knows she should avoid Radd as she works on an assignment at his luxury safari resort. He rules a world she has fought hard to leave. She can’t allow herself in another situation where she would be diminished and discarded. Even spending one night with Radd would be too much of a risk.
This steamy love story is about trust and belonging. Readers will cheer on the heroine as she demands a relationship where she is not just loved, but celebrated.
For more information about South African romantic fiction, visit the Romance Writers Organisation of SA website.