Recommendations for Historical Romance Newbies

Posted 6 April, 2015 by Amanda / 16 Comments

Historical Romance 101

Unfamiliar with historical romance? THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY. Because Quinn, Jennifer, Renee, and I have you COVERED. Today we’re exploring which books you might be interested in if you’re new to the genre.

FYI: All series titles — the names in parentheses — link to Goodreads so you may explore further. Other links go to reviews written by me or posted on On a Book Bender.

For those who enjoy paranormal romance…

Did you know there are a few crossover series? YES. There is! (I’m also writing one. Because I can!) Here are a couple paranormal worlds set in the past.

Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate)

I was first introduced to Gail Carriger by Tara (who’s reviewed for me a couple times) back in 2010. Soulless predates my blogging days, though I do have reviews for Changeless, Blameless, and Heartless floating around the blogosphere.

The Parasol Protectorate series is likely considered more steampunk than paranormal (and maybe even more UF than romance, but shhh, these are my recommendations), but it’s a great introduction to a historical-like setting.

Plus, you’ve got werewolves and vampires and other preternatural (and supernatural) creatures. The narrative is witty and fun to read. You really can’t go wrong with it. (Of course, I should take my own advice and read the last book in the series. Which I own.)

Parasol Protectorate order: Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, Timeless

Kristen Callihan (Darkest London)

KRISTEN CALLIHAN. *swoons* My first introduction to Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series was when Kelly reviewed the first book, Firelight, on this blog. Unlike the Parasol Protectorate series, Darkest London is truly paranormal and historical. And romances.

No lie, just talking about them makes me want to reread the books. I should probably also read the latest book, Soulbound, which I also happen to own. o.O If you enjoy paranormal romances, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the Darkest London series, too.

Darkest London order: Firelight, Moonglow, Winterblaze, Shadowdance, Evernight, Soulbound

For those who enjoy lighthearted and funny romances…

When you need an escape and a laugh — fluff at its finest — look no further than these series.

Julia Quinn (Bridgertons, Smythe-Smith)

No regular reader of On a Book Bender is surprised to see JQ make my list of recommendations. I adore her stories, utterly and completely.  They are funny and filled with family antics that make me want to be part of the family. Also, she created LADY DANBURY, whom I want to be when I grow up.

Bridgertons order: The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer From a Gentleman, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, To Sir Phillip With Love, When He Was Wicked, It’s in His Kiss, On the Way to the Wedding

Smythe-Smith order: Just Like Heaven, A Night Like This, The Sum of All Kisses, The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy

Tessa Dare (Castles Ever After)

You guys, I’m seriously getting the point where I want to start off my paragraphs with all caps of the author’s name because I love them that much. But for your sake, I am resisting. But it’s hard. So hard. Much like all the heroes these authors write.

I adore Tessa Dare’s books because they’re funny, and her characters spring to life. And she’s made this AWESOME book trailer. Anyone who can create THAT is awesome. Period.

Castles Ever After order: Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot

For those who enjoy smart characters…

Because intelligence makes for a fun story.

Sarah MacLean (The Rules of Scoundrels)

No lie, Sarah MacLean’s A Rogue by Any Other Name is the book that launched the Great Historical Romance Bender. If that isn’t a resounding recommendation, I don’t know what is.

These are the bad boys and the women who tame them. Sarah MacLean also managed to pull off a twist that had me gasping out loud in the best possible way. (Because I wasn’t expecting the twist. Not for any other reason. AHEM.)

The Rules of Scoundrels order: A Rogue by Any Other Name, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover

Courtney Milan (Brothers Sinister)

I started reading a lot of Courtney Milan right around the time I got into studying story structure, and it blew me away how masterful she constructs her stories. It’s quite amazing, and writing about them now makes me want to reread every Courtney Milan book I have. (She has another series coming sooooon.)

Brothers Sinister order: The Duchess War, The Heiress Effect, The Countess Conspiracy, The Suffragette Scandal

Don’t forget to stop by Quinn’s Book Nook, Feminist Fairy Tales, and Addicted to Romance today for more historical romance recommendations!

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16 Responses to “Recommendations for Historical Romance Newbies”

  1. You have great choices here hun!! I just love them. I loved that you categorized it and made it so organized…mine is just a jumble…I had a difficult time narrowing down the choices…I guess I have read more than I thought I had lol. But I love Darkest London series ( I am about half way through, just waiting on the next book from my library), and I adored the Bridgerton series…I loved all of the books there, but I think the first half of the series are my favorite ones…but it is pretty difficult to choose. And you can never go wrong with Sarah MacLean…she writes amazingly well and just draws your attention immediately.
    Renee (@Addictofromance) recently posted…Historical Romance 101: Recommendations for BeginnersMy Profile

  2. You know, I almost included Soulless on my post today, too. I should have. I got nervous that maybe it wouldn’t qualify for HR, even though I think of it as that. That is a great way to introduce yourself to HR.

    And obviously JQ and Tessa Dare. I am having a major craving to re-read Romancing the Duke. For read, I need to read it right away!

    And I didn’t know that Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake was what sparked your Great Historical Romance Bender.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Historical Romance Recommendation for BeginnersMy Profile

    • I’m in the middle of the a Courtney Milan reread right now. Hopefully I’ll have time to write the reviews I didn’t write the first time… but this week is suuuuper busy. =/

      And yeah. Soulless isn’t totally HR, but it’s close enough. It’s the book that got me into paranormal romance, like, five years ago, so it works that way too! :)

  3. I just added Courtney Milan’s books to my tbr and saw the first book was a Kindle freebie :)
    I love your recommendations! Tessa Dare and Sarah MacLean are great, great romance writers and I’ll probably read anything they write.
    Kaja recently posted…Scarlet by A. C. GaughenMy Profile

  4. I’ve only read one Kristen Callihan but I ADORED it. :) I can’t wait to go back and see more of her world. Wait! You read Julia Quinn?!?! Just kidding. I’m surprised you haven’t hurt me for not reading her yet.

    Tessa Dare’s book trailers are what really made me pick up her books. If someone puts in that much effort behind promoting their books, you know they’re going to bring their A game.

    Courtney Milan is another author that I really get on myself for not reading yet. I really need to balance the YA in my life…..maybe historical romance is the way to start doing that!
    Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter recently posted…Discussion: Reading Life After ARCsMy Profile

    • I don’t hurt people for not reading books. I may strongly proclaim my love, but that’s about it.

      Have you read Sarah MacLean? I feel like Kristen Callihan, Courtney Milan, and Sarah MacLean really bring the emotion and angst (the good kind) to books, where JQ and Tessa Dare are more lighthearted. EITHER WAY, they’re all good. ;)

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