Historical Romances

As a teen historical romances were my favorite escape reading and this probably continued through college.  As an English Education major I had to read lots of classics and the historicals were like a reading vacation.  Many people don’t read romances.  Think they are predictable, all about sex, or poorly written and some of them are, but not the good ones.  I’m a romantic and I like knowing that when I pick up a romance it is not going to depress me.  It is a comfort read.

As a teen I read a lot of LaVyrle Spencer, but for the life of me I cannot remember any of them specifically.  I’m going to have to try her again and see what I think.  Here are a few current favorites…

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is not your ordinary historical romance.  It has adventure, history and magic too.  And best of all, it’s smart.  I always recommend this one for those that claim they hate historical romance.  This one is an original.  I’ve read the first four in the series and need to get to the next two.  And if you ever have a chance to hear Diana Gabaldon speak, do it!  She’s a delight.

Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati is another great one and it doesn’t get enough attention.  This one is set in 1792 when an Englishwoman settles in New York village.  She meets a Mohawk and finds herself drawn to him and his ways.  Not your typical romance.  It’s smarter and full of great beauty.  It also has several sequels, although this one can be read alone, there are no cliff hangers to make you continue.

I have two favorite authors of historical romance.  The first is Judith McNaught.  I have read Almost Heaven many times over the years, followed  closely by A Kingdom of Dreams.  I’ve read every book she’s written and her historicals are the best.  It seems that she has stopped writing historicals, but her contemporaries are good too.  Brenda Joyce is another favorite.  I’ve never been disappointed in her historicals.  I reread her Deadly series this year and a few other recent favorites are The Fires of Paradise and Splendor.  She’s written so many books that I haven’t read them all, but hope to read all of the historicals someday.

So, do you read historical romances?  Do you have a favorite that I should add to my wish list?

32 thoughts on “Historical Romances

  1. gautami tripathy says:

    I too like Historical novels by Brenda Joyce. Splendor is a really good one. Another one is Captive. I Liked Always Heaven too. Another favorite author.

    BTW, you keep reading romances! And stay away from CRIME FICTION.


    • stacybuckeye says:

      Just yesterday I realized how few historical romances I’ve read this year and put aside the thriller I was reading to start one 🙂

  2. Susan says:

    Well, I’m with you there, girl! The Outlander series are some of my favorite books. I blew through the first four in a couple of months when my friend got me hooked on them. Luscious. I kind of got bogged down in The Fiery Cross though, and never finished it. I will someday.

    I just picked up a used copy of Into the Wilderness recently, but I haven’t read it yet.

    One of my favorites is Follow the River by James Alexander Thom. It probably lies a little closer to historical adventure, but there is romance in there as well. I also love the Phillippa Gregory books about Henry the VIII’s wives and lovers.

    I read all of LaVyrle Spencer’s books. My favorite is probably Morning Glory.

    • stacybuckeye says:

      I started The Fiery Cross too and put it down for some reason and haven’t picked it back up! But I will.
      Morning Glory sounds familiar, I may have an old copy around here somewhere.
      I’m adding your recommendations to my list 🙂

  3. Kathy says:

    I love LaVryle Spencer,though really only her historicals. She was my “entre” into romance. My two favorites are November of the Heart and Morning Glory. Here’s what I wrote about that… http://bagsbooksandbonjovi.blogspot.com/2009/07/9-of-31.html
    Of course, I like Brenda Joyce, You inspired me to re-read the “Deadly” series after you reviewed them.
    Diana Gabaldon is an amazing storyteller. I had a chance to meet her eons ago (before email, internet etc.) She actually sent me typewritten pages of Dragonfly (I think it was that one) so I could read it before it was published.
    Whitney, My Love by Judith MacNaught is very good. I knew someone who named her daughter, Whitney, because of that book.
    A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux is another good time travel romance… not as good as Outlander but definitely worth reading.
    Enjoy your romances.
    I disagree with Gautami, though… crime fiction is a great genre!
    Hope all is well with your little one 😀

    • stacybuckeye says:

      First, you got to read pages of Dragonfly in advance?!! Lucky, lucky girl!
      And I almost added A Knight in Shining Armor. It was on my handwritten note, but I left it off. Don’t know why – I loved that book! And I also really liked Whitney, My Love. Whitney is a possibility for the little one, but not because of the book 🙂 Little one is kicking away.

  4. Nicole says:

    I love Judith McNaught historicals. I think I read all of them in college and was crushed to find only contemporaries after I had finished the. I think I read one contemp. and enjoyed it, but I really don’t tend to go for straight contemporary romance. I prefer to read romance as a component of a story. I loved Outlander as well. I read a few in the series before I got a little bored with them.

    • stacybuckeye says:

      Maybe we should start a petition for McNaught to write more historicals. I prefer them to contemporaries too.

  5. Kay says:

    It’s funny you wrote about historical romances because I was thinking about some of them this morning. I was trying to decide about some more nostalgia posts and was sifting through my memories.

    I’ve read OUTLANDER twice, but have never continued with the series. I will at some point. Lavyrle Spencer is a familiar name and I read a bunch of her books. Also KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR by Jude Deveraux. Great book.

    I think my favorite author for comfort the one I’ve reread most is Julie Garwood. My favorites are THE SECRET, THE GIFT, THE PRIZE, realy a bunch of them. Maybe I should share about her this week.

    Oh, and I’ve meant to read INTO THE WILDENESS. I know it’s not really exactly like THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, but I love that movie. Have no desire to read the book because it won’t have Daniel Day-Lewis. LOL

    • stacybuckeye says:

      I’ve read Garwood and enjoyed her. I’ll have to see if I’ve read any that you’ve listed.
      Outlander and Into the Wilderness are worth the time it takes to read them 🙂

  6. Nise' says:

    Don’t get me started gushing over the Outlander series and Into the Wilderness series! Listening to the Outlander series this year has been exceptional! I highly recommend the audio books.

    Judith McNaught and Jude Deveraux were my favorite authors I read everything they ever wrote in my 20s!! Now read their contemporaries.

    Kathleen Woodwiss (deceased) wrote great historicals too.

    • stacybuckeye says:

      I read a lot of Deveraux too, but haven’t kept up with her as well. I still have not read Woodwiss and will have to remedy that soon!
      Listening to the Outlander series again might inspire me to finally read The Fiery Cross!

  7. Literary Feline says:

    I haven’t read any of the authors you mention, I’m afraid. I haven’t been able to work up any interest in the Outlander series even though just about everyone I know loves it. Maybe one day. I do love historical fiction, something I occasionally forget when I’ve been away from the genre too long. I haven’t read a lot in the way of historical romance though. I never mind a little romance in the novels I read, but I prefer it not to be the main course. Just my preference though. My comfort reading tends to come in the crime fiction variety more often than not.

    • stacybuckeye says:

      I love thriller and crime fiction as well, but there are some really good historical romances out there that get overlooked. Maybe one day you’ll feel compelled to try Outlander 🙂

  8. Staci says:

    I devoured Spencer and it broke my heart when she retired from writing. Love McNaught too… Gabaldon is my favorite of all time though..currently reading Breath of Snow and Ashes..loving every single page 😀

    • stacybuckeye says:

      Time is a challenge for me right now and probably will be for quite awhile. I’m guessing a baby will cut into a lot of my reading time ;), but I really need to catch up with the Outlander series.

  9. Melody says:

    I used to read lots of historical romances some years ago, but ever since I started blogging and reading all the great recommendations by fellow bookbloggers have expanded my reading horizons, I began to read lesser romance but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them but because there’re so many books out there for my exploration! 🙂 That said, I’ve a huge pile of romance in our storeroom so I hope to read them sooner!!

  10. Teddyree says:

    Love the Outlander series and same for the Wilderness series, read them all and thoroughly recommend finishing them. It always surprises me that not a lot of people seem to have heard of Sara Donati.

    Best historical romance I read last year was The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley and I’m hanging out for the 2nd installment to arrive.

  11. Margot says:

    I’m a LaVyrle Spenser fan too. I remember when her first book came out and it was so different from the other romance novels. I believe I’ve read all of her books. I should go back and reread one or two. My other favorites are by Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught.

  12. Bumbles says:

    Well I am assuming that you have read The Other Boleyn Girl? Historical Fiction and Romance are not my favorite genres – yet whenever one lands in my lap accidentally, I end up liking it very much. I have been waiting to get to the Outlander series – I keep letting other books get in the way! Oh – and War & Peace was a pretty fun historical romance. Give Anna Karenina a try some time too!!!

    • stacybuckeye says:

      I don’t think I’d classify W&P a historical romance, historical yes, but it wasn’t really a true romance. Maybe Anna Karenina…

  13. KyleeJ says:

    I’m reading Outlander right now. A friend has been after me since we met (almost 6 years ago) to read at least the first book in the series. I’m about 1/3 of the way through and already in love with it. I’m a fan of historical romance, since high school like you, and I really enjoy well written epic series. Other favorites of mine: Stephen King’s Dark Tower, most David Eddings, Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel Legacy and Elizabeth Haydon.

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