Good Minds Suggest—Lauren Willig's Favorite Historical Romances

Posted by Goodreads on April 2, 2013
With dirty double-crossing spies, aristocratic shenanigans, and plenty of weak-in-the knees romance, novelist Lauren Willig makes reading history oh so much fun. Her sweeping historical romances, the Pink Carnation series, follow Napoleonic-era spies in England and France with an epic sequence of books that began with 2005's The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and continues with the tenth installment expected in August 2013. In between the exploits of her flowery secret agents, Willig also found time to write a stand-alone historical novel. The Ashford Affair is no less lush with its multigenerational saga of a family secret that plays out in both Edwardian England and Kenya—and in modern-day Manhattan. A native New Yorker, Willig shares her favorite historical liaisons.

Trade Wind by M.M. Kaye
"A vast, sweeping, swashbuckling epic of a book set in mid-19th-century Zanzibar in the midst of the machinations of the royal family of Muscat and Oman and the various powers seeking to benefit from their internal power struggles. The heroine is a committed American abolitionist, the hero a rascally English slave trader (picture a blond Rhett Butler with an English accent). No one writes it like M.M. Kaye."

Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer
"The Marquis of Vidal isn't used to being thwarted. The consummate 18th-century rake, he's more used to ladies fawning over him than challenging him. But all that goes awry when strong-willed Mary Challoner interferes with his plans to run off with her scatterbrained sister. When he sweeps away Mary instead, Vidal soon finds that he's abducted far more than he bargained for. Heyer's classic [features] witty dialogue plus an extra bonus: a heroine who isn't afraid to threaten to shoot the hero—and follows through."

The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough
"Anyone who loves L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle will adore this book. In the Blue Mountains of Australia at the turn of the 19th century, in a town where all the streets are named after bits of Byron's life and poetry (the prostitutes, appropriately enough, can be found on Caroline Lamb Place), the downtrodden poor cousin of the town's ruling family finds the guts to stand up to her relatives and come into her own—with a little help from a mysterious stranger."

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
"Just after World War II, a nurse stumbles through a time-slip and finds herself in the wild Highlands of the mid-18th century, in the midst of all of the intrigue, crossing, and double-crossing just before the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. Leaving aside one of the most compelling heroes to wear a kilt, the joy of this book is the first-person narrative through which we get to see the oddities of the 18th century in minute, and often laugh-out-loud amusing, detail."

Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald
"Another novel that lets you travel along with it to another place and time, Zemindar follows the journey of an Englishwoman to India in the mid-19th century, where she becomes entangled with the eccentric owner of a vast estate, the Zemindar of the title. Together Oliver and Laura are swept up in the tumultuous events of 1857. The book would be worth it just for the vivid descriptions of the siege of Lucknow, but what really makes this book a constant reread for me is watching the struggle of wits and wills between Oliver and Laura, two incredibly strong-willed and self-possessed people who both fight hard against the notion of falling in love—which, of course, makes it all the more satisfying when they do."

Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Favorite Historical Romance

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

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message 1: by Abigail (new)

Abigail 'Trade Wind' has been a favorite of mine since I was a teenager - made me realize that a romance can have plot other than the love story.

message 2: by Donna (new)

Donna Thorland Terrific list!

message 3: by Eirene (new)

Eirene Ritznore These are wonderful suggestions. I love Trade Winds. Thanks for giving me more for my reading list. I have never read Zemindar or Devil's Cub.

message 4: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Interesting that you included The Ladies of Missalonghi. I don't know many people who have read that book. I loved it!

message 5: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Cheryl wrote: "Interesting that you included The Ladies of Missalonghi. I don't know many people who have read that book. I loved it!"

I loved Ladies of Missalonghi too! Outlander was also a favorite.

message 6: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Virginia wrote: I loved Ladies of Missalonghi too! Outlander was also a favo..."

Yay, another fan. :) Outlander is a favorite of mine too!

message 7: by Verity (new)

Verity W I cannot recommend Devil's Cub enough for anyone who's never come across it. Georgette Heyer is the queen of historical romance for me - and Devil's Cub is one of the best - along with "These Old Shades" which deals with the generation before Vidal. Wonderful.

message 8: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Although I've read over 20 of Georgette Heyer's light-hearted Regency romances, Devil's Cub has escaped my notice. However, anything Lauren recommends is better than good enough for me.

message 9: by Razz (new)

Razz I'm not a big fan of time travel novels, but "The Outlander"
is one of my all time favorites. (and to think I dragged my feet about reading it!

message 10: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Aares Hi Luaren-- we agree on so many books! :) I love every one of Heyer's books and Diana got me hooked in the first place! Hope you are doing well this lovely spring. Pamela Aares, Jane Austen and the Archangel

message 11: by Maisoon (new)

Maisoon Awamleh lovely

message 12: by Robin P (new)

Robin P M. M Kaye also has the fabulous Shadow of the Moon and The Far Pavilions. And if you like Zemindar, try Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman.

message 13: by Karen (new)

Karen The Outlander series are the best books I have ever read in my life. I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys historical romance. The writing is fun and brilliant.

message 14: by Sam (new)

Sam The Outlander books are some of my absolute all time favorite books! I recommend them to anyone who likes a good romance, even if they aren't particularly fond of historical fiction. These books gave me a love for historical fiction.

message 15: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey On a personal note, I was blessed to meet Lauren Willig last year at Gwinette College at a reception in her honor. Diminutive in size, her personality filled the entire room. She is charismatic, brilliant, and loves her fans!

message 16: by Marianne (new)

Marianne Devil's Cub and Outlander are definitely on my list of all time favorite historial romances - another one I liked was Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale where the hero has suffered a stroke. my other Georgette Heyer favorites are Arabella and The Grand Sophy.

message 17: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ Outlander? Overwritten and not to my reading liking.

message 18: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ I would add Desiree by Annemarie Selinko and Katherine by Anya Seton.

message 19: by Traci (new)

Traci I would add The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. Loved Outlander, one of my favorites.

message 20: by Srushti (new)

Srushti Shah I would like to see Wuthering Heights, Gone with the Wind and The Hunchback of Notredame on the list.

message 21: by pilar (last edited May 19, 2013 07:49AM) (new)

 pilar Las Damas de Missalonghi, de su lectura tengo precioso recuerdo.

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