More than a Best Friend
The Lesbian Bridgerton you didn’t know you needed
by Emma R. Alban
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Pub Date 11 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 12 Jan 2024
'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!
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 35 members
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.
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
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.
i received a free copy of this book and i am 100% voluntarily leaving this review. it is completely 100% genuine and sincere with words that only describe my true feelings for this book.
✨”our secret moments in a crowded room. they got no idea about me and you. there is an indentation in the shape of you. made your mark on me, a golden tattoo”✨
the parent trap x historical romance + a taylor swift reference?! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! i have never needed a book so badly before in my life until now!!! i am going CRAZY over this concept. IT. WAS. EVERYTHING!! I NEED THIS BOOK ON MY PHYSICAL SHELF RIGHT NOW?!!
gwen and beth were ADORABLE. i’m so obsessed with them!! i’m obsessed with all of the couples, but their one was so CUTE!!!
even though the title says “Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend”, trust me when I say the “friends to lovers” trope was BEAUTIFULLY written in this book. literally all of the couples in this book were so well suited with each other. but if i had to pick a favourite couple, i GOTTA go with the HOT ASS PARENTS (OMFG??? 🥵🥵🥵🥵).
I NEED A NOVEL SOLELY BASED ON THEM NOW 😩😩😩!!
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.
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.
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.
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 :)