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The 35 Best Historical Romance Novels That Will Steal Your Heart

Fall in love with a time, a place, sophisticated ladies, and hunky highlanders.

best historical romance novels

We love historical romances because they don’t just give us happily ever afters—they transport us back decades, even centuries, and to places we could never visit otherwise. And when you combine a swoon-worthy love story with a lush historical setting, you've got a recipe for an irresistible literary escape.

From the Wild Wild West to Regency England, these 35 historical romance novels are the best of the best.

jubilee trail, a historical romance novel

Jubilee Trail

By Gwen Bristow

In this New York Times bestseller, recent finishing school graduate Garnet Cameron is drawn to frontier trader Oliver Hale. After accepting Oliver’s marriage proposal, this New York girl finds out just how ill-prepared she is for life on the Jubilee Trail.

This novel is a classic tale of a couple from different walks of life, whose road to love is never easy. Garnet proves to be a rebellious and strong female lead, and the Wild West backdrop provides plenty of adventure.

RELATED: 7 Dreamy Romance Sagas from Gwen Bristow

triumph, one of the best historical romance novels


By Heather Graham

Heather Graham’s Triumph, the final book in the Old Florida series, follows the star-crossed affair between a Union soldier and Southern belle. War, hostile families, and an unfortunate marriage stand between the two lovers, threatening to destroy their relationship.

RELATED: 10 Steamy Historical Romance Novels That Will Get Your Petticoats in a Twist 

american dreams, one of the best historical romance novels

American Dreams

By Janet Dailey

Temple Gordon is the epitome of a Southern belle. Raised on a grand plantation, the outspoken young beauty has known only the comforts of luxury. Yet there are deep secrets buried in her family's last that could tear everything apart. 

“The Blade” Stuart, a reckless Cherokee landowner, knows that trouble is rumbling close and he wants to protect Temple, the woman he loves. Together, they'll risk losing everything to fight for freedom and their legacy. 

The End of the Affair

The End of the Affair

By Graham Greene

As the Blitz ravages London, Maurice Bendrix is ravaged by forbidden desires: He's fallen in love with Sarah, the neglected wife of his friend, Henry Miles. But once the pair embarks on a lusty game of deception, Sarah blindsides Maurice by abruptly ending their relationship. 

As he wrangles with what he believes are unrequited passions, he slowly realizes that Sarah's marital status wasn't the only thing that tore them apart. Graham Greene's 1951 novel evokes all the drama and romance of the World War II era—a perfect read for anyone who likes their love stories with a dash of tragedy.

saved by scandal's heir, a historical romance novel

Saved by Scandal's Heir

By Janice Preston

Harriet, Lady Brierley, is a respectable widow, determined to keep the secrets of her broken heart deeply buried. She knows that she'll never love again, but then her first great romance returns. 

Benedict Poole once deserted her but now he's back, and he's determined to uncover the true consequence and tragedy of their affair many years before. But things have changed. His family name is now one steeped in scandal and everything he knew about Harriet has turned out to be untrue. Is the love still there, and can it be revived?

the american heiress, one of the best historical romance novels

The American Heiress

By Dorothy Eden

In the spring of 1915, Clemency Jervis heads to England via the Lusitania to marry the handsome Lord Hugo Hazzard of Loburn. After her ship is attacked, Clemency’s maid, Hetty Brown—who is practically her doppelgänger—marries Lord Hugo, disguised as Clemency. From there, American Heiress becomes a story full of passion, war, and deceit.

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the mysterious lord marlowe, one of the best historical romance novels

The Mysterious Lord Marlowe

By Anne Herries

When Miss Jane Lanchester is mistakenly abducted, her captors soon realize they're in over their heads. Their accidental victim is sharper and feistier than she first seems. She makes a daring break, only to be assisted by one of her kidnappers - the mysterious and well-bred Lord George Marlowe, who offers her his exclusive protection. 

It doesn't take long for the pair to form a deep attachment. Can this bond withstand the ongoing dangers and can their bond change to one of love?

Related: 10 of the Best Historical Romance Mystery Books

the dangerous series, some of the best historical romance novels

The Dangerous Series

By Amanda Scott

Amanda Scott's Dangerous series shows how hazardous love can be. Rich with historical detail, it's a collection of four standalone, Regency romances: Dangerous Illusions, Dangerous Games, Dangerous Angles, and Dangerous Lady.

In Dangerous Illusions, the independent Lady Dainty Tarrant must marry a war hero who’s not who he claims to be. In Dangerous Games, Melissa Seacourt finds herself auctioned off by her father to pay his gambling debts. In an attempt to escape her fate as a bought bride, she decides to run off with a stranger. In Dangerous Angels, Charlotte Tarrant’s life is saved by a man who not only asks for her hand in marriage, but is England’s most notorious spy. In Dangerous Lady, the finale to the tetralogy, Lady Letitia Deverill meets her enemies in court, including the irresistible Viscount Justin Raventhorpe.

RELATED: 10 Books Like Outlander That'll Make You Want a Scot of Your Own 

in bed with the duke, one of the best historical romance novels

In Bed with the Duke

By Annie Burrows

Gregory, Duke of Halstead, has faced many scurrilous accusations over the years. The one that hurts the most is the claim that he's a "vile seducer of women." It's not true, but when he wakes up naked in bed with no memory of the night before, next to a beautiful stranger, he wonders if maybe he should reassess his image. 

Prudence is just as shocked as Gregory when she awakens. How on earth did they end up in bed together, and what will happen next for the Duke and his surprise lover?

Related: 20 Must-Read Harlequin Books

falconridge, one of the best historical romance novels


By Jennifer Wilde

This Gothic romance by Tom Huff (writing here under Jennifer Wilde, one of his many pseudonyms) centers around Lauren Moore, who is thrown into poverty after her mother’s death. Lauren accepts an invitation to live with distant relatives in the Falconridge mansion in Cornwall, England, and is unwittingly thrown into a world of secrets, lies, and murder. Lauren suspects that the secrets of the mansion pose a great threat, but little does she know that the greatest threat of all is Norman Wade, her cousin by marriage.

RELATED: 18 Must-Read Historical Romance Authors 

the blacksmith's wife, one of the best historical romance novels

The Blacksmith's Wife

By Elisabeth Hobbes

Rejected by her favored knight, Joanna Sollers knows she will never love again. No one could recreate the passion she felt for her chosen partner, especially not the man she's now being forced to marry: blacksmith Hal Danby, who happens to be her beloved's half-brother! 

For Hal, marriage allows him entrance into the Smiths' Guild. It's not a love match, both of them know that, but everything changes with one stolen night. Can this loveless pairing find true emotion amid their troubles?

highland promise, one of the best historical romance novels

Highland Promise

By Hannah Howell

This novel centers around Eric Murray, who sets out to get his rightful inheritance after years of fighting with his family in the 15th-century Scottish Highlands. On his journey, he meets Bethia Drummond, who is allied with those he wants to fight. Eric and Bethia can’t deny the passion they feel for each other, but can their bond survive their families’ feuding?

RELATED: 7 Highlander Romance Novels Starring Red-Hot Scots 

the highland laird's bride, a historical romance novel

The Highland Laird's Bride

By Nicole Locke

Lioslath of Clan Fergusson has defended her clan and her orphaned siblings against countless enemies. She'll fight everyone to keep her family safe, including Laird Colquhoun, the man responsible for the death of her father. 

Bram Colquhoun is eager to negotiate with Lioslath, but his usual tactics don't work on this fiery and guarded woman. That is until they're forced to wed, and Bram must do whatever it takes to win over his new bride.

drop of the dice, one of the best historical romance novels

The Drop of the Dice

By Philippa Carr

This book centers around Clarissa Field, a woman who falls in love with a Jacobite rebel in Georgian England. When her beau is caught and exiled, Clarissa is married off to another man and finds herself in a terrible love triangle. This sweeping story spans decades of Clarissa’s life and provides some twists along the way.

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the innocent and the outlaw, one of the best historical romance novels

The Innocent and the Outlaw

By Harper St. George

Emmaline Drake seems like an innocent barmaid to most, but she's actually the stepdaughter of a notorious bankrobber. That means she has a keen eye for trouble. When Hunter Jameson walks into her saloon, she knows he's trouble with a capital T. 

She's proven right when Hunter kidnaps her to retaliate against her stepfather, forcing her to escape to the brothel where she was born. In desperation, she auctions off her virginity… and the highest bidder is Hunter himself.

Related: 15 Erotic Historical Romance Novels You Haven't Read Yet

dangerous to love, one of the best historical romance novels

Dangerous to Love

By Rexanne Becnel

Ivan Thornton was recently named Earl of Westcott. But this new title can't heal the shame and anger Ivan has from decades spent being known only as a bastard. Striking out at the affluent community which caused him so much pain for so long, Ivan has been bedding, and breaking the hearts of, women across London. Although technically part of society now, Ivan terrifies the men who are meant to be his peers.

Spinster Lucy Drysdale accepted long ago that she'll never meet a man who would marry an outspoken woman like her. When she arrives in London to chaperone the young cousin of the new Earl of Westcott, Lucy is shocked to find herself deeply attracted to the handsome, haughty earl. Lucy knows there's no chance of a true romance between her and the earl. But perhaps she can at least teach him how to make his way through a season in society?

RELATED: 12 Bad Boy Romance Books That Are Oh So Good 

secrets of a wallflower, a historical romance novel

Secrets of a Wallflower

By Amanda McCabe

Diana Martin is thrilled to be working as a writer covering the Parisian Exposition, but she must keep her new role quiet from her disapproving parents. That means living a double life for a while and hoping nobody sees through her ruse. 

Unfortunately, Sir William Blakely discovers her deceit and he knows that it could lead her into dark and dangerous places. He quickly decides that the only way to protect Diana is by staying as close to her as possible, whether she likes it or not.

My American Duchess by Eloisa James

My American Duchess

By Eloisa James

It’s no surprise that romance novelist Eloisa James—who also wears the hat of Fordham University Shakespeare professor—is a master of her craft. My American Duchess, is a tale of a thrice-betrothed American heiress who is determined to make her latest marriage work. But there’s one catch: An English duke has his eyes set on the already-attached heiress, and he will stop at nothing to win her heart.

RELATED: 10 Delightfully Good Eloisa James Books 

a lady in need of an heir, one of the best historical romance novels

A Lady in Need of an Heir

By Louise Allen

Gabrielle Frost knows that marrying any man would mean handing over control of her beloved family vineyard in Portugal to her new husband. She doesn't want to lose what's most precious to her, but she also knows she needs to produce an heir. 

So when Nathaniel Graystone, Earl of Leybourne, arrives to escort her to London, Gabrielle wonders if he could help her father said child. She only needs an heir, not a husband, so as long as she keeps her meddling feelings at bay, there won't be any complications. As if it's ever so simple.

the bargain, one of the best historical romance novels

The Bargain

By Mary Jo Putney

In this Regency romance, Lady Jocelyn Kendal must marry before she’s 25-years-old in order to receive her inheritance. As the deadline approaches—and the man she wants to marry remains unattainable—Jocelyn hatches the perfect plan: marry a soldier who is on his deathbed. But when Major David Lancaster amazingly recovers and is deeply in love with his now-wife, the marriage of convenience becomes more complicated than Lady Jocelyn bargained for.

RELATED: 11 Regency Romance Books That Will Sweep You Off Your Feet 

the prairie doctor's bride, one of the best historical romance novels

The Prairie Doctor's Bride

By Kathryn Albright

Sylvia Marks has had enough of being the subject of town gossip. As a single mother with not a penny to her name, she's viewed with scorn and suspicion, and she's happy to avoid those judgmental folks. But when her son is seriously injured she’ll do anything to save him, even kidnap a doctor. 

Dr. Nelson Graham is taken aback when a gun-toting Sylvia drags him to her home, but soon he's won over by her determination and devotion to her son. Perhaps she's the ideal candidate to be his wife...

historical romance authors

Never Seduce a Scot

By Maya Banks

As a Scotswoman who never speaks, Eveline Armstrong has always been seen as strange and other-worldly. Unbeknownst to her own people, she isn't dumb at all—she's simply deaf. But when Eveline must marry Graeme, a gruff Scottish warrior from a rival clan, she decides she won’t hide her intelligence any longer. She could've never imagined how her new husband would react to her secret—just as Graeme could've never foreseen how much he'd care for his arranged bride. Maya Banks' novel is a unique and steamy Scottish tale set in the 1200s that no historical romance reader should miss.

RELATED: 8 Tantalizing Scottish Romance Novels  

seduced by the prince's kiss, one of the best historical romance novels

Seduced by the Prince's Kiss

By Bronwyn Scott

Princess Anna-Maria Petrova has known Prince Stepan Shevchenko all of her life. She knows him as a stoic, upstanding individual devoted to duty, family, and not much else. He hasn't captured her interest much as a result. 

That is, until they ended up alone together on the West Sussex coast. Now he's looking at her with fire in his eyes and there's tension between them that threatens to explode. Does Anna-Maria dare explore this newfound romantic potential?

The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson

The One True Love of Alice-Ann

By Eva Marie Everson

In 1941, 16-year-old Alice-Ann has fallen head over heels for her brother’s friend Mack, who’s five years her senior. When Mack enlists in the army, Alice-Ann makes her feelings known immediately.

Mack starts corresponding with Alice-Ann through letters over the next three years, but then all communication suddenly stops. With no word from Mack, Alice-Ann must decide whether she should forget about Mack, her true love, and start a future with another man.

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historical romance authors

An Offer from a Gentleman

By Julia Quinn

In this Regency era take on Cinderella, An Offer from a Gentleman follows Sophie Beckett as she sneaks into a masquerade ball and finds her own Prince Charming. When Sophie takes off after the clock strikes midnight, her new suitor will do whatever it takes to find her. This story reminds us of everything we loved about the classic Cinderella tale—storybook ending and all—but it allows us to see beyond Prince Charming’s “perfect” exterior to the flawed hero underneath.

RELATED: 8 Romance Books for Fans of Julia Quinn's Bridgerton Series 

historical romance authors

Marrying Winterborne

By Lisa Kleypas

In Victorian London, the savagely ambitious Rhys Winterborne always get what he wants—and he wants the timid Lady Helen Ravenel more than anything. Lisa Kleypas' novel chronicles all of Rhys' ploys to win her over. But though Helen has had a humble upbringing and little contact with London society, she has a very big secret...

Related: 8 Romance Authors for Fans of Lisa Kleypas

best historical romance novels

The Duchess War

By Courtney Milan

Miss Minerva Lane could be a hothouse bloom if she wanted, but she's intentionally made herself a wallflower. Minerva knows from experience that, for a woman, being the center of attention can be risky. So to distance herself from a scandalous past, Minerva has donned glassed and adopted an attitude guaranteed not to get her noticed. 

In another life, Duke of Clermont Robert Blaisdell is the kind of man Minerva wouldn't have minded getting attention from. But now she has too much to lose to concern herself with romance. And when he begins to pursue her, Minerva suspects that the handsome, haughty new duke in town has an ulterior motive. Unfortunately for him, Minerva isn't about to reveal her deepest secrets just because of a pretty face. A funny, thoughtful battle-of-the-wits romance, The Duchess War is the first full-length book in The Brothers Sinister series, which features four novels and three novellas. It is preceded by the excellent novella The Governess Affair.  

RELATED: Romance Book Series You Won't Be Able to Put Down 

an extraordinary union, one of the best historical romance novels

An Extraordinary Union

By Alyssa Cole

The first book in Alyssa Cole's The Loyal League series was named a Publishers Weekly best book of 2017 and a top 10 romance fiction book of 2017 by Booklist. Set during the Civil War, the heroine of An Extraordinary Union is Elle Burns, a former slave now living in Massachusetts. When the Civil War begins, Elle, who has a photographic memory, returns to the South to serve as a spy for the Union. 

Detective Malcolm McCall has experience in espionage, but is struggling to maintain his cover with the enemy in Virginia. When a plan is discovered which could decisively turn the tide for the Confederates, Elle and Malcolm must combine their strengths to save the Union. As the two of them struggle to maintain the lies of their fake identities, they go deeper behind enemy lines—and begin to fall for each other. 

historical romance novels

Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel

By Lorraine Heath

This is the fourth book in Lorraine Heath’s beloved Scoundrels of St. James series, which is set in Victorian London. When Eleanor Watkins sets out to avenge her sister’s death, she allows nothing and no one to stand in her way—that is, except for the strong and charming inspector, James Swindler. Their relationship is a wonderful slow-burn, and a twist at the book's halfway mark makes Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel all the more delicious.

best historical romance novels

Hearts Aflame

By Johanna Lindsey

The second book in Johanna Lindsey's Haardrad Family series, Hearts Aflame is an enemies-turned-lovers romance that is still fun, 32 years after it was first published in 1987. The year is 873 A.D., and Saxon lord Royce of Wyndhurst has been raised to mistrust and despise the Viking people. Kristen, a Christian Viking woman of marriageable age, sneaks aboard her brother's ship in search of adventure. But Kristen is horrified when she learns that her brother's journey isn't a trading mission but instead a raiding party targeting a Saxon monastery. 

In the ensuing chaos, half of her brother's crew is killed, and Kristen is captured and enslaved by Royce. Before long, captive and captor realize there is surprising mutual respect between them, though each may be too proud to admit their intense attraction to an enemy.  

Related: 7 Viking Romance Novels to Add Adventure to Your TBR List

historical romance authors

Only a Duke Will Do

By Sabrina Jeffries

Seven years ago, Duke Simon Tremaine wooed the king’s illegitimate daughter, Louisa North—but she exiled him after she discovered his political schemes. Now Simon’s back in England, and he's struck a deal with the king: If Simon marries Louisa and gets her to drop her work on prison reform, he'll be promoted to prime minister.

Featuring a brave heroine and a hot-headed hero with emotional baggage—plus, intriguing Regency politics—Only a Duke Will Do proves why Jeffries is a “grand mistress of storytelling” and a New York Times bestselling author.

RELATED: Sabrina Jeffries Shares the Personal History Behind Duke Dynasty 

historical romance novels The Chief Monica McCarty

The Chief

By Monica McCarty

Filled with intense 14th-century Scottish power struggles, The Chief centers around Tormod MacLeod, who’s forced into marrying Christina Fraser. But Tormod’s feelings for Christina conflict with his duties as a warrior. Which will Tor choose—his clan or his wife?

RELATED: 7 Marriage of Convenience Books That Prove Love Works in Mysterious Ways 

best historical romance novels


By Beverly Jenkins

The second book in Beverly Jenkins' Old West series, Breathless is a delicious ride for fans of westerns and friends-turned-lovers romance. The owner of a respected hotel in Arizona territory, Portia has had to sacrifice to earn the security and comfort she has today. To gain her achievements, Portia has compartmentalized her past. So when her childhood friend Kent Randolph shows up in town, Portia is conflicted. 

When they were children, Kent made Portia laugh by calling her 'duchess.' But Kent isn't a little boy anymore, and this handsome surprise from her past makes Portia want things that could risk everything she's worked so hard for. Kent is ready to stop tumble-weeding around the Wild West and saddle up for a life with Portia. But can she give up the independence she sacrificed everything to gain? 

RELATED: Western Romance Books That Will Make You Yearn for a Cowboy of Your Own 

historical romance novels

Wicked Intentions

By Elizabeth Hoyt

She's a widowed saint, and he’s a devil (in the bedroom)—but somehow Temperance Dews and Lord Caire make a perfect pair. Although their relationship starts off innocently enough—she’s helps him navigate the 1737 London slums in exchange for an introduction to high society—they soon surrender to the passion they've tried to suppress.

historical romance novels

A Rogue by Any Other Name

By Sarah MacLean

A Rogue by Any Other Name, the first installment in a Regency series, adds to Sarah MacLean’s already impressive catalog of romance novels. The story follows the dark and brooding Marquess of Bourne, who insists on marrying a seemingly innocence lady—though, deep down, she’s just as sinful as he is.

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