Talk of historical romance stories is plentiful here, and even though I am not well-versed in this genre, we have many fellow readers that absolutely LOVE and highly recommend ’em. I couldn’t help myself! I just had to compile the most talked about ones into a list.
After all, I’ve loved a few of ’em myself (haven’t we all, if we consider Outlander and The Bronze Horseman, just to name a few – I also read a few in Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series – SO good!), and sometimes fun to take a break from our usual genre, and explore something completely different (and yet still, 100% romance). In fact, many of the heroes in these books will remind us of our own alpha-favorites.
Maryse: I’m totally in the mood to create a Reader Recommended list of Historical Romance books. These sound too good to miss, and there’s plenty of us that don’t even know where to start, when it comes to Historical.
Cait: Maryse an historical list would be fab!! …I love a good regency/historical novel! Sometimes it’s hard to find a good one so I will be checking those out!
Robyn: Maryse….let me know when your doing the Historical Romance list! I’ve got a lot of great books for you!
Jeannie: I also am going back to reading more historical, so I’m going to try a few of the ones you recommended… I love historical, but many of them are too politically correct – they end up being less realistic for the time. Readers don’t seem to want to read what life might have really been like back then (medieval era, regency era or whatever historical time period), they want people to interact the way they do today set in a different historical setting. So I would like to see more historical romances that push boundaries.
Tessa: …my teenage years was filled with historical romances, especially kidnapped and sent to harem types. … I’m realizing though, a lot of those historicals I read at 13,14,15 were dark. 1500s Ottoman Empire slave trade, forced marriage, pirates… yep. I’m thinking those were the original “dark romances”. …All those old historicals were so dark and angsty with strong heroines (the good ones were with strong heroines). *grins*
Fabi: I think my hobby was born from reading all those historical romance novels way back when. It seemed that every one of them had a scene with a library full of books.
bev: For me my early teens and started with historical. Heyer & Hodge. Then onto Garwood and so on… I do love a historical. I think one reason, like with UF, it’s because I get to step fully into another place.
DG: *shaking head in agreement* yep, I remember those historical romances fondly from my teenage years also.
MichelleS: Ah, a historical with words like “ruthless scoundrel” and “beautiful young widow”… right up my alley.
bev: I want to read more westerns and different historical times and places.
Michelle: I love good time travel historicals!
Diane M: Historical sounds like a great change of pace, I never read it either…
Fabi: I’ve been craving an old school historical romance. …I love the ship ones because of the close quarters, there is no getting away. And the logistics of command which puts the heroine at an even bigger disadvantage. I just love this group and all the great recommendations. Plus, you’re all so AWESOME.
Kim: I’m reading historical romance right now too I have been for the past 3 weeks. I feel like I’ve gone full circle since that was what I used to gobble up!! Sometimes I just need a naughty duke, a Scottish laird or a romp amongst the “ton” to whisk me away!
Jan130: A couple of comments about looking for good historicals had me checking out some more of my old favs to share. I’m pretty picky, and often find myself disappointed with some books by authors I’ve previously really enjoyed. Case in point – Mary Balogh. I absolutely love some of her books, but I’ve found others frankly tedious. (Sorry don’t mean to offend anyone). So it’s good to get recommendations from others of ‘best’ books by authors I’ve liked.
(we’ll start with Jan130’s recommendations “Here are a few more of my fav historicals. Love to hear your favs”)
These Old Shades (Alastair-Audley Book 1) by Georgette Heyer <— Yeah, read her to death when I was a teenager. This one is still my fave. First published in 1926. Unbelievable. I re-read it recently out of curiosity, and it’s still got it. Super romantic story. Who needs explicit sex in a book, when one look can say it all? Ah, Justin Alastair. (Swoon). GH is a legend. AND SO MANY agree with this one (even if the cover TOTALLY doesn’t do it for me, at all… I think the story totally will!)
bev: I love this book. Have been wanting to do a re-read for a long while. I used to read it all the time but been over a decade, maybe. This is a Georgian HR and I loved the MCs. There is a big age difference. Heyer is credited with helping establish the modern HR and hero types. Id LOVE for a br. Though not for everyone. … super old school. …Love love love Avon and his Leonie. She maybe the only one not scared of him.
Heartless by Mary Balogh <— Gorgeous Georgian romance with emotionally damaged hero redeemed by the love of a good woman. (Sigh) Luke and Anna’s relationship is built beautifully and convincingly. These characters are real to me. A go-to comfort book. (Balogh’s Irresistible is also an old fave with many re-reads. I’m seriously in love with Nathaniel Gascoigne.)
A Woman Scorned (Lorimer Family & Clan Cameron series Book 2) by Liz Carlyle (Regency era) <— Loved this and all of her early books. (Sadly her recent efforts have gone off IMO.) This book is one of her best. Captain Cole Amherst. Decent, honourable, upstanding ex-soldier (and super hottie) falls for a femme fatale whose past is under a cloud. (But is she really as wicked as everyone thinks???)
Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga Book 6) by Mary Balogh <— I don’t love the other books in this series, but Wulfric’s story is pretty good. No-one thought Wulfric, the arrogant and sexy Duke, would ever lose his heart, but when he meets Christine … (REGENCY)
Devilish (Mallorens & Friends series Book 5) by Jo Beverley (Georgian) <— Again, I wasn’t rapt in the other books in this series, but this one, the tortured Rothgar and the wilful Diana’s story, was a goodie.
A Woman of Virtue (Lorimer Family & Clan Cameron series Book 3) by Liz Carlyle (Regency) <— One of her earlier, better books. It’s a companion or sequel to A Woman Scorned. Cecelia and Delacourt – instant combustion. And what is Delacourt’s dark secret???
The Country Gentleman by Fiona Hill <— OK it’s from the 80s and there’s no sex LOL. But it’s still a bright and humorous Regency, well written and witty.
A Season of Mists by Sarah Woodhouse <— Ann inherits a run-down farm but none of the locals think she can make a go of it, including her dashing neighbour Harry. Yeah, another one from the 80s and I don’t think available electronically but Woodhouse was a quality writer and I’ve enjoyed her books.
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase <— Considered a CLASSIC in this genre and Anne loved it! “I have read Lord of Scoundrels and love it! Its a classic! One of my favorite HR without a doubt!”
Love Only Once (Malory-Anderson Family Book 1) by <— Tessa recommends this one! “…just plain good historical? The Mallory- Anderson series by Johanna Lindsey. All seperate characters/ stand alones, I read them out of order and it didn’t spoil a thing. My absolute favorite was Gentle Rogue (Malory-Anderson Family Book 3). *sighs* James was one of my teenaged self’s BBF… GENTLE ROGUE! Seriously, if you love historicals, that one was awesome. *swoons over James Mallory all over again*”
Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale <— Pauline was enjoying this one! “I am reading Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale at the moment because I am in the mood for historical and at 71% I am thinking a 4.5- 5 star at this stage. It is REALLY good.”
Wolfsgate by Cat Porter <— Anna enjoyed this one! “I read Wolfsgate recently and liked it a lot! I’m picky about the historicals I read, but I had no problem at all engaging with this one and totally getting into the characters and story lines. Good stuff!”
HIGHLANDERS (and TIME TRAVEL)
Lord of The Isles (Zebra Historical Romance) by Debbie Mazzuca <— MichelleS recommends this one! “Lord of the Isles, D, Mazzuca (trust me, just read this time travel, highland historical!!!)”
The Highlander Series 3-Book Bundle: In Bed with a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass, Never Love a Highlander (The Highlanders) by Maya Banks <— Kathy recommends these! “If you want to read historicals, Maya Banks’ Scottish Highland series, “The Montgomeries and the Armstrongs is one of the best that I have read! It is candy!”
The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning <— MichelleS is spanking me over still not having read this one! “Maryse – you just know I’m going to razz you about the whole “I KNOW Adam Black’s book I need to read ASAP in this series” comment…. say what???? His was the BEST of the bunch. Oh Adam… sweet sweet wicked Adam… (I loved Daegus MacKeltar, but Adam rocked my world).”
MacCoinnich Time Travels Series by Catherine Bybee <— MichelleS also recommends this one! “…did you ever read MacCoinnich Time Travel series (3 books) by C. Bybee? It’s kind of all that wrapped up in one (PNR, historical, fantasy). Oldie, but goody.”
The Wicked Ways of Alexander Kidd (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs Book 2) by Paula Quinn <— MichelleS loves this! “Loved it. Exactly what I needed to clean my palate. Total formula book for historical romance, but, you know sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered. I had too many that were dark or complicated or angsty on my TBR. So my favorite little part? Remeber how “V” always says “true?” at the end of everything in BDB? Well, Alexander says “savvy?” at the end of a bunch of his alpha talk…. and swoony ole’ me just ate it up! …this heroine is not a wishy-washy girl – the total opposite. Maybe that’s why I loved it – after reading Confess, which you have to admit has a wishy washy heroine, I needed a stubborn wench who slaps pirates when they get too handsy!! HA!… And it really is a bargain for a full length Paula Quinn novel. Love her Highland Historicals (Children of the Mist, The MacGregors). A wonderful escape for romance lovers that need a break from angst or dark or complicated. …really really good. Her others are re-reads for me at least twice a year. They are just that good.”
The Highlander Series 3-Book Bundle: In Bed with a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass, Never Love a Highlander (The Highlanders) by Maya Banks <— Kathy also recommends these! “I love Maya Banks Highlander Series and have been hoping a new book will come out as it has been a couple of years since the last in that series.”
The Captive Prince Trilogy by C. S. Pacat <— M/M historical romance much loved by MANY here in our group. Like Katia! “I highly recommend Captive prince trilogy by C.S.Pacat. This is historical romance with very intriguing plot and so captivating caracters! It is slow burn but very very worth it! Chek it out!!!”
Measure of Devotion Trilogy Box Set by Caethes Faron <— FM/M historical romance and Fabi recommends this one! “*squeeeeeeeeeeee* The ENTIRE Measure of Devotion Trilogy Box Set… If you like mm, if you like historical, if you like heartbreaking angst, if you like reading about a love for the ages, read this trilogy. … It is AMAZINGLY good.”
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin Trilogy Book 1) by Robin LaFevers <— Young loved this one! “I just finished Grave mercy (His fair assassin) by Robin LaFevers and wanted share with you all that it was FANTASTIC!! It took me solid two days (it is a long book – a little over 500 pages) but if you are looking for something unique and historical fantasy with a great H/h with slow slow burn, give this a try. Robin LaFevers’ writing is beautiful. Now I need to find something as good as this one.”
The Kracken King by Meljean Brook <— another bev recommendation and she says: “Oh…wait… just read The Kraken King by Meljean Brook and it was great. Steam punk so maybe fantasy or miscellaneous?”
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah <— I wholeheartedly agree! This one is a favorite of mine! And Anna recommends it, too! “Nightingale Kristin Hannah – Historical fiction WWII. This was an ugly cry book.” (Maryse’s 5-star review)
Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer <— Michelle LOVED this one! Morning Glory! One of my favorite historical romances as well It’s a very ‘real’ story that doesn’t shy from the hard edges and of course a 1940s wartime America sets a daunting backdrop. I remember reading it when I was into the more swoony historicals with the dominant heroes and it just was a breathe of fresh air. It was all about the characters – Will and Elly with their shared vulnerability, loneliness, and simple, humbling passion.
Tapestry (Werner Family Saga Book 3) by Belva Plain <— MichelleS is excited about this one! “Tapestry??? More happy dancing from me!!! Another one of my faves. I used to read so many historicals, and a few stand out. This was one. Maybe I just hadn’t experienced that kind of angst in a historical before – who knows? I wonder how it would read now, for me!”
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher <— Jan130 recommends this one! “An oldie but still a goodie. Still makes me cry when Olivia finds the poetry book and the letters.” and Suanne Laqueur agrees! ““Shell Seekers” is one of my all-time favorites. I just reread it this fall and it was like visiting an old friend. “Coming Home” is my absolute fave by Pilcher.”
WESTERN STYLE HISTORICALS
Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O’Connell <— Meliss suggests these! “Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold is wonderful! I have loved all of her books.” and bev agrees! “Eyes is a western historical romance that revolves around a marriage of convenience. Much more to it, and really good read.”
Soul Catcher (P.S.) by Michael C. White <— Lisa recommends these! “If you want a western/ historical book to rock your world you have to read Soul Catcher by Michael White and
The Tenderness of Wolves: A Novel by Stef Penney <— Lisa also recommends “The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney. Both books I couldn’t put down. (Wolves is not The Others style wolves either).”
Comanche Moon by Catherine Anderson <— Anne suggests this one! “…have you read Comanche Moon by Catherine Anderson? Its a great native american historical romance. Its one of my favorites ”
Tempest by Catherine Hart <— Tessa LOVED this one! “…have you read Tempest by Catherine Hart? It’s an oldie, from my high school days, when I read western historicals. The blurb is pure uninformative, but it’s the best western romance I’ve ever read. It’s so old, it’s not even in publication any more. The beginning is pure devastation. A gang stops her and her husband, tie her husband to watch as they rape her, then kill him. The rest is a revenge story, but with sweet added as she extremely slowly heals and falls for the gunslinger whom she hired to kill the men. Major, heartfelt HEA.”
Hell’s Eight Series by Sarah McCarty <— Fabi recommends this one! “…have you tried the He’ll’s Eight Series? It’s a historical romance set in the wild west. Bad boy Texas rangers. I’m reading the newest one, Ace’s Wild (Hell’s Eight Book 7), which just came out. *eyes nearby fire extinguisher* … This is a 5+ star series for me. …So steamy hot that you have to read them with a fire extinguisher in one hand.”
Heart of the West by Penelope Williamson <— bev says: “Hearts of the West & The Outsider by Penelope Williamson are great Western style.”
Without Words by Ellen O’Connell <— Another recommendation from bev “Without Words and Beautiful Bad Man by Ellen O’Connell. Take a peek.”
Beautiful Bad Man (Sutton Family Book 1) by Ellen O’Connell
MISCELLANEOUS HISTORICAL ROMANCE GENRES:
Imagine by Jill Barnett <— Jeannie enjoyed this one! “Imagine by Jill Barnett is a historical that I recently read with two very different people ending up shipwrecked with three orphaned children. I loved it! Jill Barnett’s books are always fun and heartwarming.”
Sutherland Series by Kresley Cole <— Speaking of shipwrecked, MichelleS loved these!! “One of my favorite “ship wrecked” books (set of two books) was by Kresley Cole. The Sutherland series. Brothers who captain ships and the girls they rescue, that kind of thing. She’s one of my favorite authors and she does not disappoint with these historicals: sexy, fun, saucy girls, alpha males, adventure and tons of love / hate. FUN FUN FUN.”
Swan Song by Tracey Ward <— Allison LOVED this one! “Dude! Have you ever read Swan Song by Tracey Ward? If you love historicals, DO IT. It’s about a singer at the Cotton Club in Chicago back when it was run by Al Capone’s brother. She keeps everyone there at an arms length, because you know . . . gangsters. Until Birdy comes along. Drew, known as Birdy, the mysterious, dark, and deadly sniper. And OMG. It’s so good and I am typically NOT. A fan of historicals. Highly recommend! He’s the first guy I ever considered replacing Ignazio Vitale as my book husband. But I can’t. Naz is mine forever.”
The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel; Clockwork Prince; Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare <— Michelle recommends this series! “The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare – I think it’s better than Mortal Instruments and has the historical feel too…”
The Awakening of Ivy Leavold (Markham Hall Book 1) by Sierra Simone <— Angie loved this one! “I just finished The Awakening of Ivy leavold by Sierra Simone. It read like a contemporary novel but it is set in the 1800s. It was dirty, erotic, smart, sexy, and really well written. Did I mention the sex was smoking hot? You guys have to read this one too!”
Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson <— Julia also Also, “Keeper of the Dream” by Penelope Williamson is an awesome medieval romance novel. You have to read these! They are fabulous!!!!”
FAVORITE HISTORICAL AUTHORS:
Beatrice Small ➜ Fabi suggests this author! “Oh my God, Beatrice Small. Her historicals were the best. So steamy …Beatrice Small was one of my favorite authors when I was reading historical exclusively. Her books were always so hawt. Lol. Sky O’Malley *sigh*!’ and Tessa agrees! “*SQUEELS LOUDLY* Okay, so I love Bertrice Small and her historicals especially. I”
Georgette Heyer ➜ Jan130’s recommendation! “And, (do I even need to say it?), don’t forget the legendary Georgette Heyer.”
Elaine Levine ➜ Meliss suggests this author! “Elaine Levine writes historicals about the West that are great, so are her contemporary romances.”
Sarah Mccarty ➜ Meliss loved her too! ” Sarah Mccarty historicals are excellent, too!
Julie Garwood ➜ bev loves her! “Oh, Julie Garwood. Her historical romances were so wonderful.” and Georgia agrees! “I’ve been on a Julie Garwood kick. Having re-read all her Historical romances once again. Scottish Highlanders anyone. I forgot how great of a writer she is. Who can forget The Bride. One of her best.”
Lisa Kleypas ➜ bev (and SO MANY of my friends) absolutely love THIS author!! “A. Lisa. Freaking. Kleypas. Historical!!!!! …To be honest almost all her historical books have been multiple re reads.” and Michelle agrees! “Love Lisa Kelypas! Can’t say enough good about her and historical romances in general! The first book of Lisa’s I’ve read was Married by Morning (Hathaways Book 4). If you haven’t read it do so!..Like right now! I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now and I love it! I’ve gotten so many ideas for new books to read! Keep up the great work girls!”
bev recommends this from this author: Have to mention Lisa Kleypas as she writes some of the best heroes. Seduce Me at Sunrise (Hathaways Book 2) is about Win and Kev. Win comes from a very tight knit happy family and they take Kev in. Kev is Romany and is looked down on by most. This and because of other reasons he is always trying to keep her at a distance.
Same can be said for Derek Craven in Dreaming of You (Gamblers Book 2). I mentioned this book in a previous post but he deserves to be mentioned twice. Derek was given up as a baby and grew up in the worst parts of London. He did questionable things to become the owner of his very ssuccessful gambling hall. Because of his past actions he doesn’t feel worthy of happiness with Sara. Both Sara and Win make it very clear how they feel about their heroes. So if I beg pretty please would you consider reading a Kleypas historical?
Paula Quinn ➜ MichelleS considers this author a “comfort read” … “I love my comfort reads. For me, Outlander book one, one of Paula Quinn’s historicals (MaGregors of Skye)”
Tessa gives us a list of ’em! “For a really good regency, I’d recommend (that Bev hasn’t) Mary Jo Putney, Mary Balough, Wind Dancer Series by Iris Johansen, Stephanie Laurens, Lynsay Sands, or Laura Kinsale. lol”
Virginia Henley <— Tessa also suggests this one! “…have you read Virginia Henley? Her historicals were always full of royal intrigue. *grins*”
Judith McNaught <— Julia recommends this author! “I’m a huge lover of historical romance novels and no one does it better than Judith McNaught. You have to check out her titles like “Whitney, My Love” and “Something Wonderful.” They are two of her best. and Shana agrees! “I agree with the Judith McNaught book recommendations. Judith McNaught is what started my love for romance books over 20 years ago. I have read Whitney, My love numerous times and enjoy it every time.”
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss <— Aida says this author is a MUST to be added to this list! “I’ve been lurking for quite some time, but I couldn’t keep from commenting on this post. Why, oh why, didn’t Kathleen Woodiwiss not make it on this list? Shanna was the first romance novel I read many years and it is still one of my favorite historical romances. Woodiwiss wrote many more very good historicals. She definitely should be added!” and Rose agreed! “The historical author that got me started in that genre was Kathleen Woodiwiss. Three favorites that stood out for me were A Rose in Winter, Shanna and The Flame and the Flower.”
Jude Deveraux <— Tessa reminds us of this author! “Also, love for Jude Devereaux. She’s the first who was told the public like men “coercing” women and said, “If he rapes her, he’s not a hero.” Thus, she changed romances for the better. Also, Also, her books are so everywhere as far as time periods, it expands ones repertoire.”