More than a Best Friend

The Lesbian Bridgerton you didn’t know you needed

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Pub Date 11 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 12 Jan 2024

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'Gives us all the top tier wit, spice, and swoons.... One to watch!' Evie Dunmore


Love is more than just a game for two.

It’s 1857, and anxious debutante Beth has just one season to snag a wealthy husband, or she and her mother will be out on the street.

Gwen, on the other hand, is on her fourth season and counting, with absolutely no intention of finding a husband, possibly ever. She has plenty of security as the only daughter of a rakish earl, from whom she’s inherited her penchant for drinking too much and dancing ‘til dawn.

Beth and Gwen are enchanted with each other on sight. And it doesn’t take long for Gwen to hatch her latest scheme: rather than join the husband hunt, they should set up Gwen’s father and Beth’s newly-widowed mother.

They had a fling years ago, after all…

Can Beth and Gwen find a way to defy convention and be together? And will their parents find love along the way too?

A swoon-worthy debut queer Victorian romance in which two debutantes distract themselves from having to seek husbands by setting up their widowed parents, and instead find their perfect match in each other—the lesbian Bridgerton you never knew you needed!

'Gives us all the top tier wit, spice, and swoons.... One to watch!' Evie Dunmore


Love is more than just a game for two.

It’s 1857, and anxious debutante Beth has just one season to snag a wealthy...

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ISBN 9781405966122
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 111 members

Featured Reviews

Five-amazing-stars for the cover alone! It is beautiful and perfect. I can tell that the author is a Taylor Swift fan based on the number of references I have come across. I loveee when authors geek out like this. It reminds me they are just like me!

Finding out that this is the author’s debut novel took me by surprise because it did not read like one. I thought it was written by a seasoned writer so I am thoroughly impressed and amazed.

At first sight, one might think this book is a cute queer romance book, but it is more than meets the eye. It was thought-provoking, evocative, and emotional as well. For a YA book, the subject matter was handled with great care and nuance.

Our main characters Beth and Gwen were a bit messy, but lovely and completely obsessed with each other. I absolutely adored them! This book was so “Dress” coded (a song by Taylor Swift). IYKYK. There is a good amount of longing and yearning.

All in all, if you want a sapphic, historical romance consisting of stolen gazes and moments that remind you of Taylor Swift love songs, this book is for you.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin General UK - Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton, Viking, Penguin Life, Penguin Business (wow that was a mouthful) for providing me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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What a debut! This book is absolutely joyous and it’s definitely in my top five reads of this years. It’s a Sapphic Bridgeton, but with more depth, and sprinkles of matchmaking and mischief throughout.

It’s 1857 and the social season is about the commence. After the death of her father, Beth’s mother is desperate for her to marry to save them from financial ruin. With only enough fortune to see them through one season the pressure is on. Beth finds a friend in Gwen who is entering her fourth season. When formally introducing each other to their parents they discover there’s clear history and animosity. Beth and Gwen are determined to uncover their parent’s history and play matchmaker. As they grow closer through scheming, they soon realise that they are more than just friends.

It’s a double love story with lots of longing and many Taylor Swift references. I can’t wait to continue the series with James and Bobby, and of course return to Beth and Gwen’s story. Emma R. Alban is definitely on my list of authors to watch now after this outstanding debut.

Please, someone turn this into a tv series I need more Beth, Gwen, Lord Havenfort, Lady Demeroven , Mrs Gilpe and Mrs Stelm content.

Read if you enjoy:
Sapphic Historical Romance
The Parent strap
Slow burn

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Note: As per Penguin General UK's approval preferences on NetGalley, I am planning on posting this review to Goodreads on 04/01/2024 (one week before publication). If this can be changed, feel free to email me and I can post it right away.

I rarely know quite what I expect when I go into a romance book, but this one delivered on all fronts. A sapphic historical fiction with a parent trap-esque twist (and a Taylor Swift reference), More Than a Best Friend is filled with fun hijinks, gay yearning, and sweet moments from the very first page to the very last.

Beth is thrown into the social circle during her first season as a debutante, but she has little choice besides working to secure herself a wealthy husband before the season is out, otherwise she and her mother will have nowhere to live and nowhere to go. Gwen is something of a pro, with this being her fourth season, but she is not looking for a husband. For her, the season is an opportunity to have fun and cause harmless trouble, and her father is more than happy for her to do just that.

But when Beth and Gwen meet and become fast friends (and nothing more, of course), they soon realise that there’s some sort of history between Beth’s mother and Gwen’s father. And naturally, the only thing for them to do is spend as much time together setting their parents up. Because Beth and Gwen are just best friends…

Beth and Gwen both feel like fully-fledged characters, and their relationships with their respective families and friends feel as real as their relationship with one another. The supporting cast members were lovable (where they were supposed to be), and there wasn’t a single moment that I felt removed from the story in any way. Moreover, this book thoughtfully touched on topics of a more serious nature, several of which are as applicable and important in our current time as they were in the 1800s.

All in all, this was a sweet, fun read, and I know that I’ll be thinking about Beth and Gwen for a long time. I cannot wait for Emma R Alban’s next.

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I loved this book so much! Both the main love story and the parent’s one were really compelling and felt very genuine and well developed. It was so refreshing reading an LGBT period piece without any characters being homophobic! It was really such a fun read and I can’t wait to read more books by this author.

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.

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I loved this book so much, I devoured it finishing in less than 24 hours. The characters and plot were addicting and I could really picture the scenes and settings. The writing was beautiful and I teared up throughout the book, I cannot wait to read the next ones in the series as they're released. I loved every single part of this book and can't wait to recommend it to literally everyone I meet.

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A SAPPHIC REGENCY ROMANCE, YESSSSSS!!! I loved this book! Extra points for use of Taylor Swift lyrics! Also, the author's tiktoks are cute.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an e-ARC copy of this book, in exchange for this honest review.

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5 stars, but i genuinely wish i could have given this book more.

i have seen this book on so many of my friends tbr's, and was absolutely over the moon when i was accepted to write an honest review in exchange for an arc. thank you to the author and publishers for this opportunity.

this book warmed my heart, ripped it out, stomped on it, picked it back up and threw it into the meat grinder, and then healed it back together again with magical powers. that is truly the only way i can explain my experience reading this delightful story.

going into more than a best friend, i knew it was a sapphic story, but what i especially loved about this book was the subplots and journeys that beth and gwen take you on. not only is this a friends to lovers story set during the 1800s regency period, but also a tale of the lost love between the girls parents as well, which i found myself thoroughly enjoying as well. this book tackles the heartbreaking societal expectations for the girls to find husbands despite not wanting them, and instead find love, warm and home in each other. it also has a subplot surrounding their single parents and their own heartbreaking tale of longing and angst that they were not allowed to have in their own early adulthoods.

i smiled, i laughed, i giggled and kicked my feet, i cried, i snuck onto my phone at work so that i could continue reading this story, because it gripped me from the moment i started it.

i cannot wait to have my own copy of this book on my bookshelves. it will be one of the few sapphic books i have enjoyed enough to purchase a physical copy of.

thank you again to the author and publishers :)

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

First off, 5/5 stars. Truly wonderful and lovely and emotional and just spicy enough.

This novel follows the lives of Beth and Gwen as they navigate the courting season in 1857 London. Gwen has made it through three unsuccessful seasons, and couldn't care less about finding a match this year either. However, for Beth, this is her first and last season, or else her mother and her will be thrown out of their estate by her late-father's brother. Gwen and Beth instantly connect and shenanigans and heartbreak ensue.

There was some struggle with the very first point of view from Beth, it felt very tell-not-shown. However, by the time we finally got around to Gwen's point of view, the writing really hit its mark. The romance was so well done and I felt their desperation to be with each other like a punch in the gut. I frequently turned to my wife and told her how much I loved her and how grateful I am that we can be married and own property in this day and age. I loved this story with my whole heart and I will absolutely be reading the next one as soon as I can get my hands on it.

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i’ve been looking forward to this for literal months now, so getting to read it early was so very exciting. marketed as a victorian ‘the parent trap’ the book encapsulates all the fun and chaos that the classic 1998 movie does.

the book is instilled with love stories — gwen and beth’s at the forefront, but their parent’s story is there and prominent and has moments of it’s own to shine. there’s also gwen’s cousin, albie, and meredith and though we don’t see their story as much in detail, we do see their friendship with gwen and beth in their most turbulent moments and that’s beautiful on it’s own.

i loved (LOVED) the style of writing and how everything felt important. i loved (LOVED) gwen and beth and reading about their love as it grew. mischief and matchmaking being a series makes me very happy. i’ll be ready and waiting for book 2 when it makes it’s appearance and for gwen and beth to maintain their chaotic ways.

one of my favourite reads of the year <3 when it’s released in january, i’ll buy a copy and have it pride of place on my bookshelf.

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I absolutely adored this book, it was such a cute historical romance. I love, love, love Beth and Gwen together. The slow realisation of their feelings, the acceptance of them and the need to work a way out to be together was just so well done.

I also loved the matchmaking shenanigans of getting Dashiell and Cordelia together. Very excited for the sequel to see James and Bobby become the next pair to be subject to matchmaking schemes.

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Sapphic bridgerton! I love period pieces and this was no aception.

The story of Beth and Gwen was sweet and bitersweet to follow. I loved following both characters through their journeys of finding out who they were and watching them fight for there right to be happy and not just a wife.

I really hope there is a sequel to this story as I’d love to read it!

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an adorable ya historical book regarding two lesbian women navigating their sexuality and growing feelings for each other while dodging men and marriage proposals and aspects left and right! Such a sweet romance, a really good entry for someone looking for an easy historical fiction with a fluffy friends to lovers romance (but make it lesbian!) An absolutely fabulous rec!

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