The Charioteer (1953) by Mary Renault, tells the story of Laurie Odell, a WWII soldier who was wounded, and now is recovering in a hospital, where he meets and falls in love with a conscientious objector, who is a deeply religious Quaker. He also meets an old school mate he admired and fellow soldier, who also is homosexual and is comfortable with his sexuality.
Laurie struggles with his romanticized view of love and a more realistic path to happiness.
I am rereading this right now. It is just so beautiful and romantic. I love Mary Renaults books about Alexander the Great, but this is my favorite of her books by far.
Maurice (1913) by E.M. Forster, tells the story of Maurice, a wealthy young man who knows from a young age of his sexual differences, though he does not completely understand them. When he goes to Cambridge, he meets another student, Clive Durham, with whom he falls in love. Their romance is tested by Edwardian morals, expectations for wealthy sons, and internalized and external homophobia.
My absolute favorite book of all time. Super romantic, easy to read, and the chapter that Maurice begins to realize he’s gay is one of my favorite things ever written.
(I am going to reblog some of the books that I personally love from my queer book recommendation tumblr).