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If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that my guilty pleasure is Historical Romance and how I ALMOST abandoned this genre (GASP!) Never fear, because I haven’t abandoned it and I still claim this genre to be my ultimate favorite genre!
Well, since most of you are more YA/Contemporary readers, I decided to share 10 books that I think Historical Romance newbies should read! Please be aware that this is adult historical romance, so I won’t be mentioning the classics (Pride and Prejudice because I honestly haven’t read that book, I know, the HORROR!), and Young Adult books.
- SECRET WAYS by Kat Martin – Secret Ways was the first historical romance book that I read that I fell in love with. At the time, I used to read Harlequin Historicals. Not that those books are bad, it was just more serial-y to me and short. I didn’t even realize that there was this awesome branch of romance! Secret Ways features a courtesan’s daughter named Vermillion (OMG THE NAME!) who was suspected of sharing secrets to the French and was investigated by Captain Caleb Tanner, an Earl’s second son. Of course, he masquerades as a groom and both fall in love! *sigh*
- DREAMING OF YOU by Lisa Kleypas – Haven’t I said that Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite historical romance authors? If not, let me tell you this: SHE IS MY MOST READ HR AUTHER EVAAAAR! I have read even her older ones, although not all of them. Dreaming of You is one of my favorites because…..DEREK CRAVEN! I think this hero was my very first book boyfriend before book boyfriends became a thing! What does this book have? An authoress who comes to London to research about the serial novels she had been writing. She saves Derek Craven from a deadly attack and the rest is history! I think the main reason why I am in love with this book is Derek Craven’s imperfection! He is a casino owner who is not educated and is a self-made man. One of the scenes that I always remember is when our heroine, Sarah, reads a to-do list written by Craven and everything was spelled wrong! I honestly have no idea why this scene stands out to be, but it is one of the most memorable scenes in HR that I can remember.
- HOW TO WOO A RELUCTANT LADY by Sabrina Jeffries – This book stands out to be because of both the hero and heroine. I fell in love with Miss Minerva Sharpe the moment I read this book! It is full of childhood unrequited love (and war of words, of course), and a love/hate relationship between the hero Giles. This is one of those “I fell in love with my brother’s best friend and he was a rogue” trope and How to Woo is written beautifully!
- LIONS AND LACE by Meagan McKinney – I read this book years, and years ago. In fact, my copy is sooo battered that it has survived the transportation in two different countries multiple times (these were the days before ebooks)! Lions and Lace is the first book that I read set in 1900s New York, the Knickerbocker era, to be exact and I fell in love with it. This is about a self-made Irishman financier whose sister is shunned by society. He hatches a plan to force Miss Alana Van Allen to marry him and falls in love with her in the process. This book is full of high society snobbishness and a side story about Alana’s sister (read Rifles and Roses….sooo goood!).
- SECRET DESIRES OF A GENTLEMAN by Laura Lee Guhrke – The love between the classes trope is one of my favorites AND THIS BOOK IS PERFECT! Plus, there is CAKE! AND BAKING! AND CAKE! This is a girl bachelorette story about a young lady with no family at all, trying to support herself by running her own bakery! Phillip Hawthorne, Marquess of Kayne grew up with Maria (our awesome heroine) and secretly is attracted to her. But being the snobbish Marquess, that he is, tries to do the right thing and not show his feelings. Fast forward to ten years later, and he discovers that Maria has rented a shop right next door to his townhouse while his real townhouse was being renovated! He is not having it of course because he still desires her! AHHH the love….and there are scenes of baking…and CAKES and CAKES AND KISSES WITH CAKE!
- THE HUNTER by Kerrigan Byrne – This book DESTROYED ME! I ugly cried like crazy and I am totally in love with Argent! Picture an actress with a secret and an assassin tasked to kill her? Doesn’t that sound like the perfect plot?! IT IS! And Argent’s backstory is just perfectly devastating that I UGLY CRIED WHILE READING THE PROLOGUE!
- LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY by Maya Rodale – If you like Americans in London, this is the book for you! Lady Bridget is an American trying to fit in the London society. Lord Darcy is a stickler for propriety and is trying not to fall in love with Lady Bridget! What happens? They fall in love, of course! This is an awesome historical with Pride and Prejudice themes that will definitely make you fall in love with Bridget and Looooord Darcy. I also love the relationship between Bridget and her siblings, especially her brother James. Plus, did I mention that this also has CAKE?!
- TAKEN BY THE DUKE by Jess Michaels – If you haven’t tried reading a historical erotic novel, Taken by the Duke is a great start! It IS very spicy and descriptive but the plot is amazingly done that the sexytimes do not take over the whole story. This has Romeo and Juliet themes and abduction, slight BDSM-ish themes but it is tastefully done! By the way, Jess Michaels writes awesome historical erotic novels that actually have a real plot!
- MY FAIR MISTRESS by Tracy Anne Warren – So, Tracy Anne Warren mentions financier Rafe Pendragon in a few of her books, and this is his story! He is another self-made man (I do love this trope), who is ruthless in his business dealings. What starts as a way to scare of Lady Juliana ends up with him propositioning her to be his mistress for 6 months in exchange for forgiving her brother’s debt. Well, this doesn’t go as planned because Rafe and Juliana fall in love! This story will make you cry, will make you hate Rafe, but will also make you fall in love with him!
- THE SECRETS OF MIA DANVERS by Robyn DeHart – This is the first book that I read with a blind heroine! I was a little surprised by this story but it just BLEW ME AWAY! This has Jack the Ripper elements here and Mia actually witnesses the murder! The quest is on to find out who the killer is, with the help of Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington.
There you have it! Ten awesome books that I think historical romance newbies would want to read! I tried to pick different romance tropes for you to try so let me know if (and when) you’ve read them! If you’re a fan of historical romance, AWESOME! Share your thoughts and recs for historical newbies in the comments below!