New to Historical Romance? Well, come on in, the water’s fine. I remember the days when readers would take great pains (like stitching pretty little fabric covers, or leaving dust jackets at home) in order to hide the fact that they were reading the genre of romance novel that actually inspired the nickname “bodice ripper.” Everyone was so discreet about books with “Duke” in the title, or shirtless men in buckskins on the cover. Heaven forbid there would be an actual torn bodice. *gasp*
Those days were silly, because half the people in that airplane, bus, or library were probably reading similar novels. And times have changed. If we can all sit in a theater together and watch Fifty Shades of Grey, who’s to worry about a little bit of torn clothing, am I right? If vampires don’t have to be campy, neither do earls and governesses.
So stop letting silly concerns keep you from discovering an untapped (for you) source of fun, emotional, and entertaining reads by some of the best writers out there. If you are ready to fill your dance card with a list of “the good ones” here are some of the books that have kept me up reading until way past my bedtime. I hope they draw you in, just as they did me.
SHANNA Kathleen Woodiwiss
This is an oldie but a goodie. The Flame and the Flower (also by Kathleen Woodiwiss) may have started the genre, but Shanna started it for me. I first read my mother’s copy, but acquired a copy of my own as an adult and you can pry it out of my cold, dead hands. It’s a story that moves from the nastiest of dungeons to the poshest of drawing rooms. It touches three continents and has just about every ingredient of a fun, adventurous tale. You’re welcome.
RANSOM Julie Garwood
I read this book just about annually. Julie Garwood captures so well the character traits that make us fall in love with both our hero and our heroine. She mixes it with a whole lot of fun and adventure. I recommend all of Julie Garwood’s historicals, but this one is probably my all-time favorite romance novel. Period.
The Bridgertons Julia Quinn
This is not a single novel, but a series of novels in which each tells the love story of a Bridgerton sibling. These don’t have to be read in order of publication. Each story stands on it’s own. You don’t have to read the whole series, either, but get started and see if you don’t. You can find the whole list on her website.
JUST ONCE Jill Marie Landis
This novel is the story of a young girl who escapes her fate by running from New Orleans to trudge up the Mississippi River with the help of a backwoodsman from Illinois. I don’t think you’ll find this one on many lists, as it may not have reached the popularity of some of the others, but something about this story has lead to several re-reads from my keeper shelf.
COMANCHE MOON Catherine Anderson
Catherine Anderson writes contemporary as well as historical fiction and doesn’t shy away from characters with physical scars as well as emotional ones. This historical was the first book I read by Catherine Anderson and there is a reason why it is beloved by so many readers. Read it and find out.
I believe you’ll find something in this list that draws you in like the rest of us. You can find more great recommendations on these review sites for historical romance:
Happy reading, and I hope you learn to love historical romance the way that I have!