This essay examines common ground between two recent novels: Die Wahl (2003) by Erika Pluhar and Jessica, 30. (2004) by Marlene Streeruwitz.Both writers’ women protagonists have lovers who are politicians, and both texts engage with Austrian politics, set as they are against the backdrop of the growing acceptability of populist, right-wing politics in contemporary Austria. These modern ‘Entwicklungsromane’ show the development of a sense of resolve in their respective protagonists. Where Pluhar's novel makes playful reference to trivial literature conventions at a diegetic level only, Streeruwitz uses and manipulates the format of a popular literary form – the woman's novel, or ‘chick-lit’ novel – to assist her in interrogating political events in Austria at the time of the novel's setting. Despite their outward appearance as trivial romance stories, both novels have strong political agendas.