Though the Regency era only lasted for nine years, it's certainly left a lasting impression. When most people think of this period, images of too-tight corsets, stuffy parlors, and King George IV likely come to mind. As for us historical romance readers, we can't help but think of the rakish earls, the daring ladies, and the rule-defying trysts of our favorite Regency novels. Here are 11 of our favorite books set during the era. Just try and resist!
Newly freed from her pirate captors, Jacqueline “Jack” Malory has finally been reunited with her family. Naturally, her father is out to avenge her besmirched honor—though Jack would rather settle the score on her own terms. When her planned confrontation with her captor goes awry, she’s again whisked away by the dastardly man she refers to as "Bastard." This time, though, things are a little different. As this handsome pirate's true character reveals itself, the waves of passion start to roil—and soon, the boat isn’t the only thing that’s rocking.
The Bad Miss Bennet
While Elizabeth cozies up with Darcy at Pemberley, the not-so-lucky Lydia finds herself in dire straits. Her husband, the dull but reliable Mr. Wickham, has perished at the Battle of Waterloo, and now she's looking for someone to take his place. But young Lydia won’t settle for just anyone, oh no—only the wealthiest bachelor will suit her (foolish) whims. Her pursuit takes her from England to Paris to Italy, but are love and marriage truly in the cards for the miscreant of the Bennet family? Author Jean Burnett picks up where Pride and Prejudice left off, crafting a fun Regency romp full of Jane Austen's signature wit.
My Sweet Folly
Folie’s marriage to a much older man isn’t exactly setting the bed on fire. Lt. Robert Cambourne, her cousin-in-law, is similarly lonely—stationed, as he is, far away in India. When the pair begin an accidental correspondence, they’re immediately smitten and continue writing for several years. But when Folie's husband dies, Robert is unwilling to take their relationship off the page. Four years later, Robert—now the legal guardian of Folie's stepdaughter—summons the pair to his country home. Brooding and irritable, Robert is nothing like the man she once imagined, though a chain of events will bring them closer than ever...
The Maid of Milan
Three years ago, Adelaide “Addy” Leeson was married off to Lord Tristan Leeson, who knew nothing of her tragic and scandalous history. Now, Addy is finally ready to transform their marriage of convenience into one of genuine love—but people keep getting in her way. Not only is her mother up to her usual tricks, but her husband has unwittingly invited Addy's ex into their home. Now, Addy's once-buried past lurks around every corner, and Tristan is one whisper away from discovering it all. Can she manage to keep her dark secrets from coming into the light—and thus protect the purest love she's ever known?
The Duchess Deal
The Duke of Ashbury has returned from war with a body full of scars, but his wounds go much deeper than the surface of his skin. Dumped by his bride-to-be and insecure about his appearance, he’s grown reclusive and disillusioned with love—now hoping only for an heir. While his marriage to Emma is more of a business transaction than a holy union, their fiery chemistry starts to melt the chill in his heart. Emma is patient but outspoken, without money but full of compassion—and she may just restore this broken hero to his former glory.
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
Lady Philippa Marbury may be book-smart, but her intelligence doesn’t exactly extend to the bedroom. With marriage just on the horizon, she turns to Mr. Cross—the disreputable bookkeeper of an equally disreputable establishment—to get some hands-on experience. It’s a research project that Mr. Cross, however uncouth, wants nothing to do with—though he’s about to get his own lesson in temptation and seduction. What he and Philippa discover during their “fieldwork” will lead them to some startling conclusions about what it is they truly want...
What happens when your entire marriage is based on a lie? Such is the case for Lady Dainty Tarrant who, forced to surrender her independence, reluctantly wed Lord Penthorpe. Unbeknownst to her, the real Penthorpe did not survive the carnage of Waterloo, and his enemy—Lord Gideon Deverill—has assumed his identity. It’s all part of Gideon’s plan to unite the feuding Deverill and Tarrant families, but are his good intentions enough to keep Dainty's heart once she discovers his deceptions?
The Duke and I
The first book in Julia Quinn's beloved Bridgerton Series, The Duke and I introduces Daphne Bridgerton. The fourth sibling of eight, Daphne out of necessity learned how to get along with men, but the eligible bachelors of the ton view her more as a friend than as a potential wife. Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings—a close friend of Daphne's brother—is recently returned from traveling abroad, and somewhat shocked to discover how cutthroat the competition is among eligible young men and women in London (and the mothers desperate to see their offspring spoken for). Spurred by a common desire to escape the pressure of the season, Simon and Daphne pretend to be courting—but Simon soon finds himself sincerely taken with his friend's younger sister.
Kate Worthington wants to travel the world, but her meddling mother has other ideas. They strike up a bargain: Kate must first find, then reject, three suitors before she embarks on the Indian trip of her dreams. Her quest begins at Blackmoore manor—a place lifted from the pages of a Gothic novel—with the help of her friend, Henry. But when she begins to fall in love and their relationship veers from platonic respect towards romance, Kate realizes that freedom isn’t only found in adventure, but in having an open heart. Julianne Donaldson’s romance is an emotional roller coaster that will remind readers of a sweeter, lighter version of Wuthering Heights.
Devil in Winter
She’s a shy, well-bred lady from a wealthy family. He’s a Viscount with a terrible reputation and empty coffers. By all accounts, Evangeline and Sebastian should not be together—and yet, a daring scheme has brought them to the altar. Wanting to keep her inheritance from her relative’s greedy clutches, Evangeline proposed to Sebastian herself, under on one condition: He could have her money, sure, but there would be no sex after their wedding night. As the town playboy, Sebastian is more than ready to change her mind—but his own change of heart is something he never saw coming.
The Perils of Pleasure
After nearly being hanged for a crime he didn’t commit, Colin falls into the hands of Madeleine Greenway—a kickass mercenary who is being paid for Colin’s rescue. Both have been betrayed: Just as Colin has been framed for murder, someone else has it out for Madeleine. They decide to join forces to find the people who betrayed them, though their teamwork goes a little farther (and gets a little hotter) than they anticipated. Is it possible that in the search for their enemies, they've found true love instead? We love this Regency for its unusual role reversals and bounty hunter-esque heroine!
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