The most swoon-worthy historical romances to warm your heart

The Books I Picked & Why

A Summer to Remember: A Bedwyn Family Novel

By Mary Balogh

Book cover of A Summer to Remember: A Bedwyn Family Novel

Why this book?

A Summer to Remember is one of my all-time favorite historical romances. The story, set in England’s Regency period (1811-1820) is an excellent introduction to Balogh’s emotional, heart-tugging stories of people who fall in love against all odds. “Pretend Engagement” is one of my favorite Romance tropes, and this story delivers. Kit Butler has no intention of marrying but needs a fiancée to distract his parents. Lauren no longer believes she’ll find love but wants one summer to remember. Enter Kit and the pretend engagement. Over the course of the summer, mutual passion hovers at the edges of their developing friendship. At times Kit is almost unbearably sweet to Lauren. Balogh has a deep, deep backlist. You can’t go wrong with her work.


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Private Arrangements

By Sherry Thomas

Book cover of Private Arrangements

Why this book?

Private Arrangements was my introduction to Sherry Thomas’s absolutely exquisite prose and story-telling. The setting is the Edwardian period and gives us a couple who were once passionately in love. The day after their wedding everything goes wrong with no way to pick up the pieces. Indeed, the two have lived apart for the last ten years. Now she wants a divorce, and he has a shocking proposal for her. How on earth can two people who have made such terrible mistakes find their way back to each other? Thomas takes you on an emotional ride on the way to the answer. She’s an amazing writer whose characters come to life on the page in a way few can match. If you haven’t read her work, you should.


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Jewel

By Beverly Jenkins

Book cover of Jewel

Why this book?

This was my first Jenkins Historical Romance and it was by no means the last. I confess I picked up the book because I was tickled that the title was my last name, but the story. Wow. It gripped me hard from the start. The historical setting is the American West of the 1870s and involves a couple who pretend to be married, for just one evening. The pretense ends in scandal and a real marriage to save their reputations, and the hero’s journey to love is deeply emotional. Some of Jenkins’s contemporary-set romances have been made into movies and I keep my fingers crossed that one day they’ll choose some of her historicals.


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The Viscount Who Loved Me: Bridgerton

By Julia Quinn

Book cover of The Viscount Who Loved Me: Bridgerton

Why this book?

Bridgerton. Need I say more? Well, yes. This is my favorite of Quinn’s Bridgerton series, and every time I re-read this book, I laugh at the scene in the Viscount’s study. I am laughing right now. Quinn’s historicals are full of fun and joy, perhaps epitomized in a Bridgerton sibling game of Pall Mall that is both merciless and screamingly funny. There’s nobody better at joyful stories than Quinn. If you want to spend a few hours being delighted, read this book. Then go watch Ava Duvernay bring that joy to the screen.


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Ravished

By Amanda Quick

Book cover of Ravished

Why this book?

Another favorite romance trope of mine is Beauty and the Beast, and Quick gives us The Beast of Blackthorn Hall paired with a paleontologist heroine who brooks no nonsense, especially from the Beast. The poor man doesn’t understand how outmatched he is until it’s too late. There are caves, dinosaur fossils, smugglers, the ocean tide, and the wonderful road to love for two characters who really, truly, need each other. The dialogue absolutely sparkles. Amanda Quick is a pen name for NYT bestselling author Jayne-Ann Krentz.  


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