Over the next few months, we at Romancing the Past plan to blog about our favorite historical romances. Here's my Top Ten, in no particular order:
Wild At Heart (Patricia Gaffney, 1997) - A man raised by wolves and the daughter of the scientist who’s studying him, in 1890’s Chicago. The hero is delicious, and I love Gaffney’s writing style.
In for a Penny (Rose Lerner, 2010) - In the interest of full disclosure, Rose Lerner is one of my critique partners, but even if the author were a complete stranger I would’ve fallen for her deft writing and utterly human characters in this fresh take on the Regency marriage of convenience tale.
The Grand Sophy (Georgette Heyer, 1950) - My favorite of Heyer’s prolific output for Sophy’s exuberance and the delightful wit that pervades the whole book.
One Perfect Rose (Mary Jo Putney, 1997) - Though I read trad Regencies and YA romances in high school, I took a break from the genre in college and the next few years thereafter. This was one of the first books I read upon returning, and its story of a duke who thinks he has only months to live and decides to take a break from duty while he comes to term with the news has stayed with me.
Mr Impossible (Loretta Chase, 2005) - Egypt, archeology, scholarly heroine, beta-but-badass hero, Loretta Chase. What’s not to love?
To Love and to Cherish (Patricia Gaffney, 1995) - The hero is a vicar; the heroine starts the book married to his childhood friend. A heartbreaking, moving, and ultimately hopeful story.
The Shattered Rose (Jo Beverley, 1996) - I’m always a fan of Jo Beverley’s rich, well-researched historicals, but this medieval is my favorite. The hero returns from the crusades to find his wife, believing him dead, has moved on with her life. Not an easy story, but sometimes easy is just what I don’t want.
Heaven and Earth (Kathleen Eagle, 1990) - Kathleen Eagle is one of the few authors who can make me read contemporary or Western settings. Very early in her career she wrote a few Harlequin Historicals, and I wish she’d done more because they’re so good. If you can track down a copy of this story of a missionary widowed on the Oregon Trail and the Metis trapper who rescues her, give it a read.
The Rules of Gentility (Janet Mullany, 2007) - A playful romp of a Regency told in first person, alternating between the hero and heroine’s point of view. I’ve used it as a conversion tool on readers who don’t otherwise read romance.
Shattered Rainbows (Mary Jo Putney, 1996) - Military history geek that I am, my favorite part of this book is the Waterloo sequence in the first half, but it’s a great read from start to finish with an especially appealing hero and heroine.
Looking back at my list, it occurs to me that the mid to late 90’s was something of a golden age for historical romance. But I’m enjoying plenty of what I’m reading now, too--I’m just hesitant to put a book on my Top Ten list until I’m sure it’s not just enjoyable at that moment, but memorable years later. (Even In For a Penny qualifies on that count, since I read it in our critique group over a year before it was published.)
What about you? Have you read any of my choices? What are your all-time favorite historical romances?
Susanna Fraser is the author of The Sergeant's Lady (available now) and A Marriage of Inconvenience (April 11, 2011). You can visit Susanna's website here.