Monday, March 12, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY (17): Historical Romances

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I am a huge fan of historical romances so I decided to do a list of my favorite historicals ever!  Most of my Top Ten lists are not ranked due to the fact that it is very difficult to do so.  But, I can rank these books so they are organized from #10 to my all-time favorite.  Enjoy and feel free to contact me with any questions about these books or other historical recommendations!

10. An Affair to Remember by Karen Hawkins (Talisman Ring #1)
This is a hilarious battle of the sexes-type novel that is heavily inspired by the wonderful The King and I.  Anna and Anthony's constant bickering and eventual courtship is pure entertainment and the children are cute without being precocious or annoying.

9. As You Desire by Connie Brockway (Braxton Family #1)
This book has my all-time favorite romance trope: the hero's unrequited love for the heroine.  Harry's reasons for not pursuing Desdemona are completely understandable and it is joy to see him through his inhibitions out the window.  Desdemona (Dizzy) is a language prodigy who is oblivious to Harry's true feelings and desires a grand romance similar to the ones she loves to read.  The whole book is a blast to read with its sweet love story and vivacious characters.  Plus the whole thing takes place in late 19th century Egypt!!

8. Secret Desires of a Gentleman by Laura Lee Guhrke (Girl Bachelors #3)
Another hero with unrequited love for the heroine!  This book is influenced by two wonderful love stories: Sabrina and Pride and Prejudice.  The late Victorian setting is unique and the concept of the girl-bachelor is fascinating to me.  I also love that the heroine has an occupation and is willing to do anything to be successful at it.  Plus it is a blast seeing a powerful man get turned upside down by his beloved.

7. Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros
An intriguing twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast story with an injured war hero and his determined nurse.  Samantha is one of my favorite heroines with her smart mouth and secretive past while Gabriel is a sympathetic hero that broke my heart throughout the book.  This book is a great example of romantic chemistry and sexual tension...the pages seem to crackle with the energy that Samantha and Gabriel let out.

6. Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh (Bedwyn Family #6)
The last of the Bedwyn novels and easily the best in the series.  I don't believe the series needs to be read in order to enjoy this book, but it does make you appreciate Wulfric in all his haughty glory.  He is very reminiscent of the proud, but yummy Mr. Darcy.  There is even a wonderful tribute scene to Pride and Prejudice.  I also enjoyed the fact that neither the hero or the heroine is in their first blush of youth and their maturity shows in their actions and responses.

5. The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt (Princes Trilogy #1)
A Georgian romance with two unconventional protagonists: an impoverished, mousy widow and an arrogant, pox-scarred lord.  Neither Edward or Anna is typical of this genre, but their love story is full of as much passion and romance as a thousand Harlequin presents novels.  I will warn readers that there are a few "spicy" scenes, but they correlate well with the overall plot which is rare in romance novels.  I also loved the epigraphs before each chapter which tells a fairy tale that directly relates to the original story.

4. The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley (Highland Pleasures #1)
The hero of this book is one of the best I've ever read.  Ian is living with a type of autism in 19th century England so is thought insane by most of society.  The author does a wonderful job of expressing Ian's character and making him heroic despite his various idiosyncrasies.  Also, the heroine, Beth, is strong-willed and a perfect balance to her unique hero.

3. Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (Wallflowers #3)
A great example of how a talented writer can turn a former villain into a hero.  Sebastian St. Vincent is definitely a rake who gets his comeuppance when the shy Evie proposes marriage in order to escape her abusive family.  St. Vincent needs the money so he takes her up on her offer, but his life turns upside down through his interactions with Evie.  His transformation from selfish bad boy to doting husband is realistic while Evie's growth into a strong woman is poignant and beautiful.  If you want to see Sebastian at his worst, I recommend Kleypas's It Happened One Autumn which is the direct prequel to this book.

2. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
One of the most popular historical romances of all-time and for good reason!  Lord Dain's arrogant, bad boy nature paired with Jessica's razor sharp wit and forceful personality is explosive.  Their chemistry is immediate and their love story is a definite journey that will hit all the major emotions.  I adore intelligent romance and this is one of the best ever written!

1. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn (Bridgerton Family #2)
Another battle of the sexes that is both hilarious and romantic.  Anthony is a viscount who is determined to marry a mild-mannered woman who he could never love.  His chosen lady's older sister, Kate, is wary of the viscount's attentions and makes it her mission to halt the courtship.  And, of course, amid all the bickering and scheming, these two begin to fall for each other.  This book has everything that I love about historical romance: detailed characters, comedy, a few tears, and a hell of a love story!


  1. I've never really read historical romances, well not really romances not in a long time. Glad you stopped by. You shoudl def check out the Uglies.

  2. Oooh, historical romances!! LOVE THOSE!!! I haven't actually read too many of these, though! Except for The Viscount Who Loved Me. I ADORE the Bridgertons, and am on, I think, the 5th one. So good. And Lisa Kleypas is on my kindle, ready and waiting for me to jump on her bandwagon. I love Sarah MacLean and Karen Noble, too. But I'm definitely going to check out all these other fab sounding romances! Can't wait!

  3. Great list - I've just added a bunch of books to my romance TBR thanks to you! :)

  4. A lot of people did romance lists. I'm not a huge fan of pure romance (give me paranormal romance any day though). So, I haven't read any of these books on your list. However I think I need to psyche my brain into liking romance novels... Great picks!

    Thanks for visiting my Top Ten.

  5. I just rediscovered my love for historical romances! I haven't read any from your list, so I'll have to check out a few. And 1 recommendation - Mistress of Rome (Kate Quinn) - just finished it and loved it.

  6. I haven't read any from your list but I've had some of the authors recommended to me. Going to get to them one day.

  7. I have not read any of these books; but they do seem great :D Great list ;)
    Thank you for commenting on my Top Ten. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina's Books


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