Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care is a queer romcom about a woman who has to return to her hometown for her estranged stepsister’s wedding. Delilah lives in New York City, trying to make it in the world of photography, and staying at arms’ length from everyone. When her stepsister Astrid, who she’s never gotten along with and tries to avoid speaking to, asks her to be the photographer for her wedding, Delilah needs the money, so she finds herself back in Bright Falls, facing memories of her father’s death. At the same time, Astrid’s best friend Claire is trying to manage co-parenting with her ex and keeping Astrid happy during her wedding. When Claire and Delilah run into each other after years, sparks start to fly.

This is a romcom that deals with quite a lot of character stuff whilst also building up the romance, especially around Delilah and Astrid coming to terms with their childhood and how they see each other, and Claire working out how to put herself first and give her almost-teenage daughter (and previously unreliable ex) room to grow. The premise is a classic romantic comedy one, with someone forced back into a place they left for a wedding, and some pre-wedding activities giving structure and chances for the protagonists to see each other. The chapters move between the two main characters, giving both perspectives, and Delilah in particular is a flawed character, too quick to just try and get a rise out of someone rather than really engage, and who has to learn to give people another chance.

I particularly liked the way that Delilah built up a connection with Claire’s daughter, teaching her about photography, as it made the book feel like it wasn’t an ‘oh, also I’ve got a child’, but the love interest actively taking an interest in them. Astrid’s fiancĂ© being terrible, and therefore the wedding that sets up the plot being a bad idea, is a classic trope, and the book, perhaps unexpectedly from the premise which might sound like it’s more of a ‘character escapes from conservative little town and has to go back’, shows queer characters realistically uniting to help stop the awful cishet guy. There’s a few questionable actions by characters which aren’t really dealt with, but that tends to be true of most romcoms, which typically need to be read with a dose of ‘that was discussed properly by the characters later’.

With a sequel about Astrid on the way for people who want more of these characters, Delilah Green Doesn’t Care is a fun romcom about two women reaching their thirties and working out where they are and what they want next. It’s easy to get gripped by it and stay up too late reading it, which tends to feel like the mark of a good romcom novel, and the chemistry is good. A book that does what it says on the tin, whilst letting the characters be vulnerable and grow.