The best historical romance books to curl up on the sofa with

Who am I?

They say your childhood shapes your life. By the time I reached thirteen, work began to teach me how to survive. After working a wide range of jobs, I ended up teaching students aged from fifteen to fifty. It was a joy. They opened my eyes. They were my inspiration. They kept me writing around the paid job. I was there to teach them, but I also learned from them. They gave me another special gift. To share their truly amazing stories with you.   


I wrote...

Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox

By Lynn Griffin,

Book cover of Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox

What is my book about?

When Harriet Laws loses her grandmother and her job, her happy life in London seems over. Alone, grief-stricken, and penniless, she thinks wildly of ending it all. Fate steps in as Tom Fletcher saves her, gives her hope, and guides her to new employment. He takes her to dinner. She finds him attractive. He's older, but she doesn't mind. Does he?

Tom, a quiet, hardworking man, is unsure of Harriet's feelings, but he's also very busy building his business interests. So it's no wonder a suave, sophisticated fellow walks off with Harriet right under Tom's nose. What follows, no one could have predicted. Harriet not only loses contact with all her friends but must again fight for her very life...will she ever see Tom again?

The books I picked & why

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Small Island

By Andrea Levy,

Book cover of Small Island

Why this book?

I read this novel many years ago and was blown away. I found it enlightening, skillfully written, and thought-provoking.  I was particularly captured by its honesty and how the period was easily brought to life. I was right there, in the moment. 

Small Island still holds a special place in my heart today as it began the sow the seeds for my own novels, to highlight and expose wrongs that are rarely written about without sounding preachy. 

Set in WW11 and its aftermath, the drama dances swiftly into the light, and with it fearlessly reveals the curiosity of family dynamics, racism, and prejudice. I found it to be an excellent read. I would definitely add it to your reading list.

Small Island

By Andrea Levy,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Small Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hortense shared Gilbert's dream of leaving Jamaica and coming to England to start a better life. But when she at last joins her husband, she is shocked by London's shabbiness and horrified at the way the English live. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was. Queenie's neighbours do not approve of her choice of tenants, and neither would her husband, were he there. Through the stories of these people, Small Island explores a point in England's past when the country began to change.


The Midwife's Secret

By Emily Gunnis,

Book cover of The Midwife's Secret

Why this book?

I was initially drawn in by the period, title, and intrigue. I loved the premise of this novel, yet it felt so heart-wrenchingly sad. 

It’s New Year’s Eve 1969 when little Alice goes missing. For me, a parent’s worst nightmare. And when poor young farmhand Bobby James is convicted, well. With twists, lies, and deceit, I desperately wanted the truth to come out, and have injustices righted. Years later architect Willow James discovers the truth. Thank goodness. Hold on tight. No spoilers here. I found it a good read.

The Midwife's Secret

By Emily Gunnis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Midwife's Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of global bestseller THE GIRL IN THE LETTER, a gripping, powerful and heartbreaking new novel of two families and the devastating secret that binds them. The perfect read for a long winter's night...

'A hugely addictive story...full of twists, turns, class divides, betrayal and deceit ****' Heat magazine

'A gripping story' Woman & Home

'One of the best books I've read this year! I adored every single page! A gripping and emotional mystery. If you love Kate Morton then Emily Gunnis is the author for you *****' Real reader review

'Spellbindingly good! Heartbreak, intrigue, mystery. I was…


A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

By Amanda Foreman,

Book cover of A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

Why this book?

This story captured my attention because of the period, and drama that explodes in and behind the scenes. It intertwines the lives and sagas of ordinary families and ordinary lives. I love to read and write about characters that have depth, believability, and the all-time favourite, coincidence. I found myself immersed immediately.  

The world is at war. I learned how middle-class Harry Chase and his working-class girlfriend Lois Bennett fought against the Blackshirts, that was until Harry headed to Warsaw as a translator. Lois is busy with her factory work, whilst managing her pacifist father. Harry promises to write but soon finds himself conflicted as he has a Polish sweetheart, Kasia. What becomes of Lois? I was delighted when this book was turned into a drama production by the BBC. Though great, I stand by the book. It is a great read. 

A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

By Amanda Foreman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A World on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

10 BEST BOOKS • THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • 2011
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • The New Yorker • Chicago Tribune • The Economist • Nancy Pearl, NPR • Bloomberg.com • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly
 
In this brilliant narrative, Amanda Foreman tells the fascinating story of the American Civil War—and the major role played by Britain and its citizens in that epic struggle. Between 1861 and 1865, thousands of British citizens volunteered for service on both sides of the Civil War. From the first…


Why 319?

By Mark Love,

Book cover of Why 319?

Why this book?

Although the Jefferson Chene mysteries are not historical, I really enjoy them. I love a mystery and all the twists and turns that go with it. It feeds my imagination and I want to unpick the motive of the murderer. 

Here we are with a murder, but the question is this a possible serial killer with no apparent motive? Thank goodness, honest, hardworking, and dependable, Jefferson is on the case. I thought I had the case cracked, but prayed I got it wrong. I chomped through to the end, sure I got it all worked out. Did I? No, I didn’t, not until the last possible minute. But that’s the beauty of a good mystery isn’t it?

Why 319?

By Mark Love,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why 319? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A serial killer is on the loose in metro Detroit. Three female victims have been discovered in motel rooms in different suburban cities surrounding Motown. The only connection is that each body is found in Room 319, and the killer leaves the taunting message “Why 319?” on the bathroom mirror, written with the victim’s lipstick.

Detective Jefferson Chene heads up an elite squad of detectives assigned to the case. With no home life, he devotes every waking moment to catching killers. But this one is more elusive than most. With no clues and no apparent link between the victims, Chene…


Hometown

By Wendy Rich Stetson,

Book cover of Hometown

Why this book?

Wendy Rich Stetson has an easy style of writing that settles you straight into the story. Reading a saga like this, especially having a good dash of romance and intrigue left me with the good feel factor. 

After watching the film, The Witness, I always had the urge to find out more about Amish life and what really makes them tick. I wasn’t disappointed. Hometown centres on three people and someone’s heart will surely be broken. I absolutely loved it. I recommend you put this on your reading list.

Hometown

By Wendy Rich Stetson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hometown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Tessa's big-city plans take the A Train to disaster, she lands in her sleepy hometown, smack in the middle of the
most unlikely love triangle ever to hit Pennsylvania's Amish Country.

Hot-shot Dr. Richard Bruce is bound to Green Ridge by loyalty that runs deep. Deeper still is Jonas Rishel's tie to the land and his family's Amish community. Behind the wheel of a 1979 camper van, Tessa idles at a fork in the road. Will she cruise the superhighway to the future? Or take a slow trot to the past and a mysterious society she never dreamed she'd…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the United Kingdom, Amish, and family secrets?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the United Kingdom, Amish, and family secrets.

The United Kingdom Explore 454 books about the United Kingdom
Amish Explore 12 books about Amish
Family Secrets Explore 111 books about family secrets

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Colour Bar, The Lies That Bind, and William Shakespeare if you like this list.