The best historical romance books by contemporary authors

The Books I Picked & Why

Romancing Mister Bridgerton: Bridgerton

By Julia Quinn

Romancing Mister Bridgerton: Bridgerton

Why this book?

This is the book that kick-started my career! Before walking into a small bookstore in Ghana and picking up this particular novel, I had no idea Regency romance was even a genre. Not only did I find this story engaging, but it was also filled with humor and written in a style that made me crave more. Until that point, I had attempted to write a historical fiction novel (which remains unfinished until this day). As soon as I was done with Romancing Mister Bridgerton I thought, this is the kind of story I want to write. Low and behold, I’m now working on my 42nd Regency romance book!


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When Beauty Tamed the Beast

By Eloisa James

When Beauty Tamed the Beast

Why this book?

I think this was the first historical romance I read where the hero had a disability, which added great depth of character. It was also the first historical romance I read where the hero had a medical profession. This subject matter – medicine during the early to mid 19th Century – piqued my interest so greatly I’ve since written several novels in which the hero or heroine is medically trained. I’m especially keen on challenging various misconceptions relating to medicinal practices during this period, like the fact that hand washing is still being credited to Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865) even though William Buchan (1729-1805) wrote about the importance of it nearly 100 years earlier in his book titled, Domestic Medicine. Just one of those things that gets my goat…


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In The Viscount's Arms (Staunton Sisters Book 1)

By Allyson Jeleyne

In The Viscount's Arms (Staunton Sisters Book 1)

Why this book?

This book immediately stood out to me for a couple of reasons: the setting was vividly described, the characters engaged in simple everyday tasks that not only added depth but helped paint a picture of the era, and the author managed to make this story extremely sexy without explicit lovemaking scenes. I stopped writing explicit scenes years ago and have since aimed for a more sensual tone, which actually poses a much bigger challenge. So I’m always interested to see how other authors (of which I’ve encountered only a few), tackle such scenes in a more suggestive manner while still conveying the passion between the hero and heroine successfully. This book is an excellent example of how less truly can be more.


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Scandalous Desires

By Elizabeth Hoyt

Scandalous Desires

Why this book?

This was the first historical romance I read where the hero’s an anti-hero bad boy on the wrong side of the law. It’s one of those books where it almost seems impossible for him to end up with the heroine at the end. But Elizabeth Hoyt excels at writing gritty love stories where the reader and heroine alike fall in love with the biggest scoundrel. Having read this story and seeing how Mickey O’Connor’s character was tackled helped me create Carlton Guthrie, a notorious crime lord, years later when I began writing The Forgotten Duke.


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Any Rogue Will Do

By Bethany Bennett

Any Rogue Will Do

Why this book?

It isn’t easy breaking through as an author these days, especially not in a genre that’s as competitive as the historical romance genre has become. Bethany Bennett entered the scene last year with a novel that’s not only memorable, but which contains a plot and characterization that easily match those of more seasoned authors. Her sequel, West End Earl, is even better and proves she’ll excel, so this is a new to me author whose career I look forward to following in the coming years.


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