"I have a friend, never read romance. What should I give them?"
The romances that are usually rattled off after this question tend to follow the same (white/cishet) pattern. They're probably great romances! They shouldn't be scrapped. But maybe our suggestions can be expanded.
Wait, Alisha! I want books with XYZ! (That's probably already published). But not TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED (Yes, traditionally published as well). There just aren't that many out there. (Nope, there are.) Okay, but what about in audio? (Yes. In every format. Even self-published authors do it all!)
I asked for suggestions of diverse romance to hand to new-to-romance readers, and I was inundated with books people have read and LOVED so I've compiled a handy buying guide. I did NOT sort these suggestions by racial diversity, religious minority, LGBTQ, disability, etc, because 1) I am on a deadline and 2) intersections are real and make the world go 'round.
Incidentally, best-of-romance/romance legends lists/many major review sites seem to suffer from this same problem. That needs to change. Structural barriers, man, structural barriers.
Happy reading! Feel free to squee away at me about these romances, or your faves that I missed this time around. :)
Romancelandia long-timers: Kitt, Jenkins and Jackson should be as familiar to you as Kleypas, Roberts and Devereaux. If you haven't read these women, get to buying. Then try to be cool if you're ever lucky enough to meet them (hi my name is Alisha, and I've gotten teary-eyed being in the same room as Kitt. Also Kleypas. And Jenkins. ROMANCE LEGENDS ARE HARD FOR ME TO HANDLE OKAY).