February will always be thought of as the month of love. However, although large heart-shaped boxes of mysterious chocolates and sappy cards will always abound, there is a new unofficial holiday in February that is quickly gaining traction: Galentine's Day, celebrated the day before Valentine’s Day.

Haven’t heard of it? I hadn’t until last year either. Galentine’s Day has its roots in the Parks and Recreation television show (2009-2015). As Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, explains: “Oh, it's only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies.”

Galentine’s Day is a holiday whose time has definitely come. I love the idea of women celebrating women. In fact, I found this idea so inspirational that I put together a list of female romantic fiction authors whose female characters are strong, smart, witty and well-equipped to handle anyone or anything. Feel free to share (and celebrate) with your friends.

  • Alyssa Cole: Cole has received accolades for her Civil War-era romance An Extraordinary Union, which features a forbidden romance, espionage and a heroine who remembers everything she sees and hears. Be on the lookout for the first book in Cole’s contemporary new series, A Princess in Theory.
  • Alisha Rai: “Rai is at the forefront of a new wave of romance writers for whom themes of racial and ethnic identity, gender and sexuality, and mental health are not extras but integral to the romance plot because they are necessary for building characters and their worlds.” Start with Hate to Want You. (Novelist Plus).
  • Kim Harrison: “Harrison’s sexy bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan prowls the dark streets of Cincinnati, keeping tabs on the vampires and other creatures of the supernatural who prey on the city's innocent and vulnerable inhabitants.” Start Harrison’s Hollows series with Dead Witch Walking. (Novelist Plus).
  • Sonali Dev: “Dev writes multicultural contemporary romances starring spirited young women and handsome, dashing young men, both torn between Indian cultural tradition and modern Western culture. Her likable, well-drawn protagonists believe in true love but are often thwarted by their dark family pasts. Dev presents her mildly sensuous stories with a light touch and an upbeat tone without trivializing Indian customs or mocking the ambitions of smart women intent upon self-discovery.” Start with A Bollywood Affair. (Novelist Plus).
  • Deanna Raybourn: Raybourn writes both the Victorian-era Lady Julia Grey and the Veronica Speedwell mysteries. Speedwell is a particularly witty and adventurous character (a lepidopterist no less) who has no patience with the Victorian mores of her time. Start with Silent in the Grave (a Lady Julia Grey mystery) or A Curious Beginning: a Veronica Speedwell mystery.



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