The best historical romances starring independent women

Who am I?

It is a truth almost universally accepted that historically women had no way to support themselves except marriage…but it’s not true! I’m all-in on Happily-Ever-After, of course, but I absolutely love it when a heroine is smart, sensible, and able to support herself on her own. When she falls for someone, it’s got to be for real because she’s not afraid to take charge of her own life and make her own way, despite whatever obstacles are thrown at her. 

I wrote...

About a Rogue: Desperately Seeking Duke

By Caroline Linden,

Book cover of About a Rogue: Desperately Seeking Duke

What is my book about?

Bianca Tate stands to inherit her family’s thriving pottery business, and she fully expects to keep running, too, without any man’s interference or help—until a penniless rogue turns up and starts charming his way into her company, her family, and her heart.

The books I picked & why

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An Heiress to Remember: The Gilded Age Girls Club

By Maya Rodale,

Book cover of An Heiress to Remember: The Gilded Age Girls Club

Why this book?

Maya Rodale always writes strong, clever heroines, and this book features one of her very best. Beatrice Goodwin has been tossed around by life, but she’s come home to her first love: Goodwin’s, her family’s once-fashionable department store in Gilded Age New York City. The one person standing in the way of her plans to make it the finest store in New York… her other first love, Wes Dalton, whose heart she broke years ago. He wants revenge. She wants her store. They’re both smart, funny, and oh so good at their shared profession, you know they’ll be unstoppable together.

Vixen in Velvet

By Loretta Chase,

Book cover of Vixen in Velvet

Why this book?

Nobody tops Loretta Chase when it comes to writing a woman on a mission. Leonie Noirot comes from a long line of swindlers and con artists, but her business sense at fashion is no fake. When she runs up against a man who thinks he can both outsmart her and humble her, just because he’s a wealthy marquess, well… he’s in for a revelation. Leonie’s determined to win their bet and make her own fortune, and then fall in love. Simply marvelous.


By Beverly Jenkins,

Book cover of Vivid

Why this book?

This is a real battle of wills, between Dr. Viveca Lancaster, newly licensed physician, and Nate Grayson, manager of a newly-founded Michigan town in desperate need of a doctor. He hires her, sight unseen, and when she shows up, he tries to fire her, because he doesn’t want a female doctor, but Viveca is not having that. She’s going to prove herself, as one of the first Black women doctors in 1870s America, and Nate falls for her as a brilliant doctor as much as he does for her as a woman. It’s impossible to go wrong with a Beverly Jenkins book, but this one is extra delicious.

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows: Feminine Pursuits

By Olivia Waite,

Book cover of The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows: Feminine Pursuits

Why this book?

This book has two business-minded heroines! And both are fascinating. Agatha runs a printing business, which is embroiled in the scandal of the day, the Prince Regent trying to divorce his wife. Unfortunately, the book warehouse is infested with bees, who must be removed by local bee expert Penelope. Agatha’s and Penelope’s careers and expertise bring them together—and each finds the other’s competence very attractive—until their hearts bind them together.

The Rebellion Engines

By Jeannie Lin,

Book cover of The Rebellion Engines

Why this book?

This is about a mathematics prodigy in a steampunk version of 19th century China, who wants to study at the Imperial Academy in Peking….except that she’s a young woman and not allowed to enroll in the all-male academy. Needless to say, this does not stop Anlei, who disguises herself as a man, scores top marks on the exam, and falls in love with one of her fellow students at the same time. Brilliantly lush writing, inventive world-building, and a mathematical romance to make my nerdy heart sing.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Michigan, romantic love, and lesbian topics and characters?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Michigan, romantic love, and lesbian topics and characters.

Michigan Explore 38 books about Michigan
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Lesbian Topics And Characters Explore 57 books about lesbian topics and characters

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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