We love historical romances because they don’t just provide us with a happily ever after–they transport us back decades or even centuries, weaving intricate, accurate details into swoon-worthy–and steamy–stories.
From the American Wild West to Regency Era England, these 18 historical romances are the best of the best.
In this New York Times Bestseller, recent finishing school graduate Garnet Cameron, a refined New York woman, is drawn to frontier trader Oliver Hale. After accepting Oliver’s marriage proposal, Garnet finds out just how ill-prepared she is for life on the Jubilee Trail.
This novel is a classic tale of lovers from different walks of life, who are faced with obstacles from the start of their relationship. Garnet proves to be a rebellious and strong female lead, and the American Wild West provides plenty of adventure as the story’s backdrop.
In this Regency-Era 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 has already fallen in love with his now-wife, the marriage of convenience becomes more complicated than Lady Jocelyn bargained for.
Never Seduce a Scot
In this steamy Scottish tale set in the 1200’s, beloved clan daughter Eveline Armstrong has faced prejudice from her own people for not speaking her entire life. Little do they know, she also cannot hear. But when she’s forced to marry gruff Scottish warrior Graeme Montgomery from a rival clan, Eveline decides she won’t hide her intelligence anymore.
She could never imagine how her new husband would react to this secret–and Graeme could never imagine how much he passion he could feel for his arranged bride.
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 forced marriage to the wrong person stand between the two lovers and threaten to tear them apart.
The American Heiress
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 looks just like her lady–marries Lord Hugo, while disguised as Clemency. American Heiress is a story of passion, war, and a tangled web of deceit.
The One True Love of Alice-Ann
Sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has fallen head over heels for her brother’s friend Mack, who’s five years her senior. When Mack, who lives in 1941 Georgia, 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 stops suddenly. 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.
The Dangerous Series
The Dangerous series shows how hazardous love can be. Rich with historical detail, the series is 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; and in an attempt to escape her fate as a bought bride, she decides to run off with a strange man. 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.
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.
An Offer from a Gentleman
In this Regency-Era retelling of Cinderella, An Offer from a Gentleman follows Sophie Beckett as she sneaks into a masquerade ball and finds Prince Charming waiting for her. When the clock strikes midnight, and Sophie takes off, the prince 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.
My American Duchess
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, which stayed on the New York Times Bestsellers list for two consecutive weeks, 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-betrothed heiress, and will stop at nothing to win her heart.
In Victorian London, the savagely ambitious Rhys Winterborne always get what he wants, and he wants the timid Lady Helen Ravenel. The story chronicles the relationship between the two, as Rhys tries to win over Lady Helen, who’s had a humble upbringing and very little contact with London society–but little does Winterborne know, she has a big secret.
Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel
This is the fourth book in Lorraine Heath’s beloved Scoundrels of St. James series, set in Victorian-Era London. Protagonist Eleanor Watkins sets out to avenge her sister’s death, and doesn’t expect anything to stand in her way–that is, except for the strong, charming inspector James Swindler. Although the relationship starts out slow, a twist about halfway through the book makes this a must-read.
This novel centers around Eric Murray, who sets out to get his rightful inheritance after years of fighting with his family in 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?
Only a Duke Will Do
Regency-Era Duke Simon Tremaine wooed the king’s illegitimate daughter Louisa North seven years earlier–but she exiled him after she found out about his political schemes. Now, Simon’s back in England, and the king makes a deal with him: If Simon marries Louisa and gets her to drop her work in prison reform, the king will appoint Simon prime minister.
Bringing together a brave heroine and hot-headed hero with emotional baggage, all while weaving politics into romance, Jeffries proves why she’s a “grand mistress of storytelling” and a New York Times bestelling author.
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 wife?
The Drop of the Dice
This book centers around Clarissa Field, a woman who falls in love with a Jacobite rebel in Georgian England. When her love 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.
She’s a saint, and he’s a devil (in the bedroom). But somehow widow Temperance Dews and Lord Caire make a perfect pair.
Although Temperance and Lord Caire’s relationship starts off innocently enough–she’s helping him navigate the 1737 London slums in exchange for an introduction to high society–soon they realize the uncontrollable passion that neither can refuse.
A Rogue by Any Other Name
Author Sarah MacLean saw the chance to use a Shakespeare reference in this book’s title and took it. This book, the first installment in the Fallen Angels series, adds to MacLean’s already impressive catalog of romance. The story centers around a dark Regency Era hero, Michael, the Marquess of Bourne, who insists on marrying a seemingly elegant lady–though secretly, she’s attracted to sin.
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