The Best of the Great Historical Romance Bender

Posted 28 August, 2015 by Amanda / 14 Comments


It occurred to me recently that the August Bout of Books marks the anniversary of the Great Historical Romance Bender.

And what better way to celebrate its second anniversary (SECOND!) by talking about the best books/authors/series? Also… the majority of these books are set in Regency and Victorian England. I’m biased. I can’t help it!

Auto-buy authors

Or authors whose books I can never get enough of. (See: review of When a Scot Ties a Knot) In no particular order.

1. Sarah MacLean

She who started the Great Historical Romance Bender with A Rogue by Any Other Name. Other favorite is Pippa’s story in One Good Earl Deserves a Lover. Fantastic, angsty stories.

Start with Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, in the Love by Numbers series. When you read the Rules of Scoundrels series, do NOT read the synopsis for the other books. Do not search out reviews for books you haven’t read. Just read.

The latest: Sarah MacLean’s next book is The Rogue Not Taken, releasing at the end of December 2015. It’s the first in a new series.

2. Tessa Dare

Her books are funny, emotional, and swoony. Tessa Dare *gets* her readers and her stories shine because of it. I can barely choose a favorite, but her Castles Ever After series is stellar.

Start with A Night to Surrender in the Spindle Cove series. Don’t miss the Castles Ever After series, either, because ALL. THE. SWOONS.

The latest: according to Tessa Dare’s website, she’s returning to the Spindle Cove series, first with a Christmas novella (to be released early December), then a full length novel in 2016.

3. Julia Quinn

BRIDGERTONS! Hands down, this is THE historical romance family you want to read about. Funny and lighthearted, you can always count on Julia Quinn and the Bridgertons to brighten your day.

Start with The Duke and I, the first book in the Bridgertons series. And yes, Romancing Mister Bridgerton is pretty damn awesome. After the Bridgertons, pick up the Smythe-Smith Quartet and Bevelstoke series.

The latest: although we don’t have a date (beyond 2016) or much information, the Bridgertons are coming back.

4. Courtney Milan

These are smart and emotional, proving Courtney Milan is masterful at weaving a romance. So, so good.

Start with The Duchess War, the first in the Brothers Sinister series, which is currently free in ebook. Find all buy links on Courtney Milan’s website.

The latest: her next historical romance series is the The Worth Saga, which is supposed to be out in 2015.

5. Jennifer Ashley

Like Courtney Milan, Jennifer Ashley constructs a heart-wringing romancing. And you really have to look no further than the MacKenzies & McBrides series.

Start with The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, the first in the MacKenzies & McBrides series. It’s hot. Ian is unlike any other hero.

The latest: the eighth book of the MacKenzies & McBrides series will be out late September 2015, and leaves Victorian England (and Scotland) for the years 1745-1746.

Authors I’m keeping my eye on

Or new-to-me authors I’ve discovered along the way and while they’re not favorites—yet—they certainly have the potential to be.

1. Suzanne Enoch

Any author who can pull me in with humor automatically gets my notice. The Care and Taming of a Rogue landed in my lap, and I was hooked. I need more!

2. Kelly Bowen

I picked up I’ve Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm when Felicia (The Geeky Blogger) tweeted about it… then immediately bought books 2 and 2.5. Kelly Bowen has been recommended for fans of Julia Quinn and Sarah MacLean. Accurate.

3. Julie Anne Long

JULIE ANNE LONG, WHAT DO YOU DO TO ME? By all rights, I shouldn’t like most of Julie Anne Long’s books. They feature tropes and overdone heroes (not crispy, mind you) I’ve had enough of. AND YET. She slays me every time.

I’ve read her Pennyroyal Green series (minus the one releasing later this year) and I’m delighted to see she has other books. There’s no one book I’d recommend to start with.

4. Alissa Johnson

I was first introduced to Alissa Johnson by Renae, my darling daughter. The Providence series is great, as are the standalones I’ve read… but I also picked up A Talent for Trickery, the first book in a new series releasing later this year, on NetGalley and it was phenomenal.

Did you know? It’s difficult to boil two years and 200+ books into a comprehensive post. There have been many other authors and books I haven’t included here… and it does not mean I love them any less. (Probably.)

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14 Responses to “The Best of the Great Historical Romance Bender”

  1. Awesome list! Tessa Dare and Sarah MacLean are on my list, too. I did try The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie on audio, but I didn’t like it … I think it was because I wasn’t a fan of the narration. I should try reading it! And I’m just reading The Duchess War right now! It’s SO great! I just passed the scene on the train about princesses and dragons … hilarious! I can’t wait to read more of the series!

    I hope you can continue your bender! I can’t believe it’s been two years! I think I’ve only read maybe a dozen historical romances this year, but whenever I read one I wonder why I’m not reading more. They’re so much fun!
    Kristilyn (A Little Time To Read) recently posted…Let’s Talk About: Edgar and the Tree House of Usher by Jennifer AdamsMy Profile

    • Narration can really kill a book, can’t it? Jennifer Ashley is on par with Sarah MacLean and Courtney Milan, I think, so perhaps reading would make it better?

      Yes. I love The Duchess War… but the rest of the series is great too. It’s all great! Ha. :)

  2. *chin hands* Remember when you first embarked on your historical romance bender? Who ever thought it would last this long? Not me. Mostly because I still have a Kate Daniels book sitting here I was going to try to entice you to read with me. You know what, Amanda? I’m going to read it myself. Two years later. Carry on with your historical romance-y self!
    (But honestly, what are you going to do once you run out of books? *SCARED EYES*)
    Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal recently posted…Enticed by Blood by Laurie London [Review]My Profile

    • THANK YOU FOR INTRODUCING ME TO HER. I just started on the second book in that series and I’m already dreading reaching the end. But. BUT. I’ll have to pick up some Lorraine Heath. Perhaps at the library?!

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