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message 1: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 94 comments Not my list, but one I found interesting and wanted to share.

Regency England is probably romance’s best known setting, but historical romances span the centuries and continents. With this list, I tried to represent that breadth, but I barely scratched the surface.

If you don’t normally read romance, consider trying one of these. Be aware that in a genre romance novel, the focus is on the relationship, and the setting has to serve that. I think the best historical romances offer a vibrant, evocative setting that conveys the spirit of the age. The setting helps make the characters who they are, and the characters embody the setting, but their relationship is the key to the book.

If you are a romance reader, I apologize. I have without doubt left off your favorite author or book. Please share the names and titles in the comments: like most romance readers, I believe there’s no such thing as a scary TBR pile.

Also, I hope you can take a moment to share the pride I felt putting this list together. We are lucky to read a genre that is elastic enough to include such a wide range of characters, plots and settings. And all without losing sight of what brings readers to it in the first place: to bear witness to and savor the triumph of romantic love and renewed hope for peace and justice in this world.


My Fair Concubine, Jeannie Lin (Tang Dynasty, China)

Medieval – Elizabethan

The Conqueror, Brenda Joyce (England 1069)

Prisoner of My Desire, Johanna Lindsey (England)

Keeper of the Dream, Penelope Williamson (Welsh border)

Brothers of the Wild North Sea, Harper Fox (Dark Ages)

Fires of Winter, Roberta Gellis (12th Century England/Dark Ages)

What A Scoundrel Wants, Carrie Lofty (12th century/Robin Hood)

The King’s Man, Elizabeth Kingston (13th century Wales)

The Secret, Julie Garwood (Scottish Highlands, 1200)

Alinor, Roberta Gellis (Europe, 1206)

The Saint, Monica McCarty (early 14th century Scotland)

A Bed of Spices, Barbara Samuels (Strassburg, 1348/Plague)

By Possession, Madeline Hunter (14th century England)

For My Lady’s Heart, Laura Kinsale (1360s/70s, Northwest England)

Agnes Moor’s Wild Knight, Alyssa Cole (early 1500s Scotland)

Skye O’Malley, Bertrice Small (Elizabethan England and Europe)

Eighteenth Century Britain and Europe

Laird of the Mist, Paula Quinn (17th century Scottish Highlands)

Thief of Shadows, Elizabeth Hoyt (1730s London)

Outlander, Diana Gabaldon (1740s and 1940s Scottish Highlands)

These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer (1755-6 France)

A Most Unsuitable Man, Jo Beverley (1760s England)

False Colours, Alex Beecroft (1762, The Georgian Age of Sail)

The Sergeant’s Lady, Susanna Fraser (Peninsular War, Spain)

Ruthless, Anne Stuart (1760s Paris)

The Forbidden Rose, Joanna Bourne (Reign of Terror, France 1793)

Revolutionary War/Colonial US

Rising Wind, Cindy Holby (Colonial Georgia/ early 1700s)

The Turncoat: Renegades of the American Revolution, Donna Thorland (1777 Philadelphia)

Be Not Afraid, Alyssa Cole (Revolutionary War)

Untamed, Pamela Clare (New York, French and Indian War)


Rogue Spy, Joanna Bourne (1802)

All Through the Night, Connie Brockway

The Notorious Rake, Mary Balogh

Unveiling Love, Vanessa Riley

Thunder and Roses, Mary Jo Putney (Wales)

Venetia, Georgette Heyer

To Love A Thief, Julie Ann Long

Flowers From the Storm, Laura Kinsale

A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal, Meredith Duran

Bound With Love, Megan Mulry

Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander, Ann Herendeen

The Viscount Who Loved Me, Julia Quinn

All I Ever Needed, Jo Goodman

To Have and to Hold, Patricia Gaffney

Beau Crusoe, Carla Kelly

More Than A Mistress, Mary Balogh

The Duke’s Wager, Edith Layton

Mr. Impossible, Loretta Chase (1821, Egypt)

Enlightenment, Joanna Chambers (trilogy) (1820s Edinburgh)


The Rogue Not Taken, Sarah MacLean

The Magpie Lord, KJ Charles (includes bonus magic)

Never Too Late, Amara Royce

Loving Leonardo, Rose Anderson

Devil in Winter, Lisa Kleypas

Private Arrangements, Sherry Thomas

The Proposition, Judith Ivory

The Duke of Shadows, Meredith Duran

A Lady Dares, Bronwyn Scott

The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, Jennifer Ashley

My Beautiful Enemy, Sherry Thomas

The Duchess War, Courtney Milan

Winter Garden, Adele Ashworth

Black Silk, Judith Ivory

19th Century US: Civil War/Reconstruction/Old West/Frontier

Sunshine and Shadows, Roberta Gayle (19th century Colorado)

Forbidden, Beverly Jenkins (Nevada)

Indigo, Beverly Jenkins (Michigan)

Kissing the Captain(1876, California)

Passion’s Furies, Altonya Washington (1821, Charleston)

Backwards to Oregon, Jae (1830s)

Nowhere To Run, Gay G. Gunn (1849 South/California)

The Wives of Bowie Stone, Maggie Osborne (Kansas)

Sam’s Creed, Sarah McCarty (1858 Texas)

Seduced, Molly O’Keefe (1860s West)

Gold Mountain, Sharon Cullars (1865 California)

Destiny’s Embrace, Beverly Jenkins (19th century California)

His Secondhand Wife, Cheryl St. John (19th century Colorado)

Harlot, Victoria Dahl (1875 Colorado)

Dancing on Coals, Ellen O’Connell (1881 Arizona Territory and Northern Mexico)

The Preacher’s Promise, Piper Huguley (1866 Ohio)

The Bridegroom, Linda Lael Miller (1915 Arizona)

Gilded Age- Mid-Twentieth Century (mostly US)

Beast, Judith Ivory (Gilded Age cruise ship/France)

Somebody Wonderful, Kate Rothwell (1882 New York)

The Portrait, Megan Chance (New York, 1885)

Tempted Tigress, Jade Lee (Qing Dynasty, late 19th century China)

Tiffany Girl, Deanne Gist (1893 Chicago)

Think of England, K.J. Charles (1904 England)

Simple Jess, Pamela Morsi (Ozarks, 1906)

A Company of Swans, Eva Ibbotson (1910s Europe and South America)

A Spear of Summer Grass, Deanna Raybourn (1920s Africa)

Whistling in the Dark, Tamara Allen (1919 New York)

Black Gold, Anita Richmond Bunkley (1920s Texas)

Jazz Baby, Lorelei Brown (Boston)

Taffy, Suzette Harrison (1935 South)

Unhinge the Universe, Aleksandr Voinov and L. A. Witt (WWII)

Blood Moon Over Britain, Morag McKendrick Pippin (WWII)

Vintage Contemporary (these were contemporaries when they were published but almost feel historical now)

The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart (1961 Northumberland)

The Honey is Bitter, Violet Winspear (1967)

Sister Peters in Amsterdam, Betty Neels (1969)


Gambled Away: A Historical Romance Anthology, Joanna Bourne, Isabel Cooper, Rose Lerner, Jeannie Lin, Molly O’Keefe

Through the Hourglass: Lesbian Historical Romance, edited by Sacchi Green and Patty Henderson

The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, Piper Huguley

message 2: by Christine PNW (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) I haven't read anywhere close to all of these, but I did go through a hist rom phase five or so years ago, and spent nearly a year immersed in the genre.

I echo your recommendation of A Bed of Spices, which remains one of the most unique historical romance novels I've ever read.

I also really enjoyed Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (Regency), Harper's Bride by Alexis Harrington (gold rush Alaska), and The Pride of Lions by Marsha Canham.

message 3: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 686 comments Interesting list! Thanks for sharing it; there’s a lot for me to explore. Under the Regency category, I would add The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer. It would make a good crossover read for those historical fiction fans who wish to sample historical romance because it incorporates a lot of social history and political elements into the story, and the focus is more on the male characters.

message 4: by nx74defiant (new)

nx74defiant | 14 comments I didn't like My Fair Concubine, Jeannie Lin (Tang Dynasty, China)

Loved Outlander, Diana Gabaldon

Unhinge the Universe, Aleksandr Voinov and L. A. Witt, is good M/M historical romance

message 5: by Liz (new)

Liz Gibson | 42 comments Any recommendations for historical fiction pirate romance?

message 6: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 686 comments Yes, Liz, absolutely! Try Anna Faversham, One Dark Night.

message 7: by Liz (new)

Liz Gibson | 42 comments Thank you!!! I feel like I've read almost all of what I can find so I really appreciate it!!! :D

message 8: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 686 comments It’s actually more smuggler than pirate, come to think of it—if that will work for you. I feel I’ve seen some pirate romances lately, but can’t come up with the names.

message 9: by Liz (new)

Liz Gibson | 42 comments No worries; if you ever think of them, let me know! :)

message 10: by Beth (last edited Jul 26, 2016 01:08PM) (new)

Beth Sponzilli (bethsponzilli) | 79 comments Liz, I have yet to read it but I heard that The Pirate Captain by Kerry Lynne is very good. I believe there is one more in series, and a third is in the works.

message 11: by Liz (new)

Liz Gibson | 42 comments Sweet!!! Thank you so much!!! :D

message 12: by Beth (last edited Jul 26, 2016 01:06PM) (new)

Beth Sponzilli (bethsponzilli) | 79 comments Liz, also, I think you might enjoy The Tea Rose Trilogy by Jennifer Donnelly. I looked at your profile at the books you've read and these seem like something you'd like! I loved this series, romance, historical, adventure, heartbreak... I can give you a ton more suggestions if you want.

message 13: by Beth (new)

Beth Sponzilli (bethsponzilli) | 79 comments Ok, one more, seeing as you like alot of the books I do.. The Discovery of Witches series. Yes it has a vampire and witch in a romance, but is so good! Also some time travel.

message 14: by Brina (new)

Brina Gone With the Wind

message 15: by Beth (new)

Beth Sponzilli (bethsponzilli) | 79 comments I second Gone with the Wind, reading right now, half way thru almost. I can't believe I waited so long to read it.

message 16: by Liz (new)

Liz Gibson | 42 comments Beth wrote: "Liz, also, I think you might enjoy The Tea Rose Trilogy by Jennifer Donnelly. I looked at your profile at the books you've read and these seem like something you'd like! I loved this series, romanc..."

I'm adding all of these to my amazon wish list now!

message 17: by Brina (last edited Jul 26, 2016 01:39PM) (new)

Brina Liz this is hardly a traditional romance but Isabel Allende's trilogy of Daughter of Fortune, Portrait in Sepia, and House of the Spirits involves star-crossed lovers combined with adventure and is really fun to read.

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