Top Historical Romance Reads of the Year
So, It's no secret I Love historical romances. I started reading my mom's Johanna Lindsey and Kathleen Woodiwiss paperbacks when I was in high school. I often take a break from them, but every time I am in a book slump I pull them back out. And my knowledge of the best HR authors is very scattered because of it. So I am happy to take suggestions on newer authors or even older authors I may have missed. I am just finishing up participating in the Historical Romance Read A Thon on Instagram and thought I would do a review post about all the historicals I've read in the past year or so.
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare.
This one, I think, is tied with the Johana Schupe one for my favorite in recent memory. I read the entire book in one day (which is super rare for me since having kids and spending much of my free time on my own writing). I love a wounded make protagonist I guess. Disability rep is really important to me and I thought the Duke's blindness was well handled. Also the sex was really hot. And I even got teary eyed at one point with the love story. So good.
Lessons after dark
So technically this one
is fantasy romance... But it's historical fantasy romance because it does take place in historical england. A magician and his wife hire a new teacher for their magic school where they are training children to aid in the war. Sparks fly between her and the doctor who works at the school. I accidentally read this book before the first one not realizing it was a series, and it was a bit confusing a few times because I didn't know the background of the school. But ultimately was able to be read on its own. I enjoyed this one as well, and was excited to discover that this particular publisher had a lot of similar books so I will definitely be reading more.
Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
This is first book in a series I am excited for. Really good steamy scenes. Decent pacing on the love story. Nothing totally out of the ordinary. But the secondary characters made the story come alive so I am very excited that many of them feature in the rest of the series. The sisters-in law of the Female MC were hilarious (she was a widow). And the brother of the male MC, I can not wait for him to settle down in a book.
Her Caprice by Kiera Dominguez
This is another fantasy historical blend and the only clean romance on my list. I usually stick to having a bit of heat in my romance, but the premise on this was interesting enough to draw me in. In most ways it is a typical regency romance... only the main character has a secret magic abilitiy and rather than looking for a husband, she is looking to avoid one, to pretend she is trying to find a match during her first season but really she is not. Of course, she find someone she loves, and there is a whole debate about what to tell him and not tell him about her abilities. It's great fun, and I am getting ready to read the sequel right now.
A Notorious Vow by Johanna Schupe
I had never even heard of Johanna Schupe until I started the Historical Romance Read A thon and she was a featured author on the bingo card. This is the first historical I've read in a really long time that was set in America instead of England. This one takes place among the gitzy and glamourous New York City elite in the robber baron days. This book is tied for my favorite recent book. Another main character with a disability. This wealthy inventor in this book is deaf and the fascinating way that he functioned in society when that was next to impossible was great. I loved the chemistry between the two characters. I had butterflies through the entire book more so than most books I read. I can not wait to read more Johanna Schupe as well.
Educating Caroline by Patricia Cabot
I did not know this was Meg Cabot's alter ego until recently but I love her work in historical romance or teen romance it seems. This is a fun regency romance about a girl who wants to make her fiance hot for her so that he won't continue seeing his mistress. She convinces the most notorious rake in the city to teach her about sex... And of course the sparks fly and she loses interest in the fiance... Too bad her family owes him for saving her brothers life and they won't let her give him up. I enjoyed this a great deal. Nothing super noteworthy to love or hate. Very typical and fun steamy regency romance.
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
I mean who didn't read or reread this book in anticipation of Bridgerton? I had already read a bunch of Julia Quinn including this one several years ago. But I wanted to reread them before Bridgerton aired. I must say, it's not my favorite romance novel. It's longer than a lot of them, and the fake relationship trope goes on a little too long so it takes a while for the couple to really get into much actual relationship. And then it's hot and wonderful for a bit before.... the scene (if you know, you know) which is waaay worse in the book than it was in the show. Daphne is also my least favorite Bridgerton. Anyway, I still like this book because it leads into an even better series. And the show was one of the rare cases where I like the book better.
So, what are some other great Historical Romance authors out there that I don't know? I need them all, especially if they have any sort of minority rep in them, disabilites, lgbtq+, different races. Give me them all. And I'd love to read more historical romances that don't take place in regency England since I've read a ton of those and I'm trying to broaden my horizons.