The best historical romances with a touch of magic

Who am I?

When I think of the distant past, I imagine it being populated by those who were a bit closer to the magical world than we. The men (or were they wizards?) who raised the standing stones. The druids of the ancient Celtic world. Figures like Arthur, Robin Hood, and the Viking shamans who harbored a kinship with the waters, with the trees, and with the land. The magic of the past is like a song played on a harp, the echoes of which still waft through our world. Some of us can hear those echoes yet, and some of us write about them.


I wrote...

Daughter of Sherwood

By Laura Strickland,

Book cover of Daughter of Sherwood

What is my book about?

Raised in the kitchens of Nottingham Castle, Wren has no idea she is the daughter of the legendary Robin Hood. Since Robin's death many years before, the resistance against Norman tyranny has been upheld by a magical triad, but now one of the guardians has died. With two young men, Sparrow and Martin, Wren must form a new triad to defend Sherwood's magic. To one of them, she will also give her heart.

From the moment Wren bursts into his life, Sparrow loves her. But he knows she may choose his lifelong rival, Martin, as her mate. When Martin is captured by the Normans and held at Nottingham Castle, can their determination to protect Sherwood endure?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Crystal Cave

Laura Strickland Why did I love this book?

This is the story that took me on my first voyage into the magical waters of Historical Romance, and from there on to the enchanted isles. Most readers think of Mary Stewart as a writer of Romantic Suspense, but her Merlin Trilogy is, for me, the definitive recounting of the Arthurian legend. This book showed me I can not only read Historical Romance, I can live, breathe, smell, and taste it. I can be Merlin. And I can live in Arthurian times, at least for a little while.

By Mary Stewart,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Crystal Cave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The spellbinding story of Merlin's rise to power.

Vivid, enthralling, absolutely first-class - Daily Mail

So begins the story of Merlin, born the illegitimate son of a Welsh princess in fifth century Britain, a world ravaged by war. Small and neglected, with his mother unwilling to reveal his father's identity, Merlin must disguise his intelligence - and hide his occasional ability to know things before they happen - in order to keep himself safe.

While exploring the countryside near his home, Merlin stumbles across a cave filled with books and papers and hiding a room lined with crystals. It is…


Book cover of The Crow Goddess

Laura Strickland Why did I love this book?

I picked up this book years ago at my local library by chance, if you believe in chance—which I do not. At that time, I had no idea the narrative of a historical romance could stretch back to Iron Age times, or that I could lose myself in the characters who populated the legends I love. For years, I’d been listening to Celtic music. In Patricia Finney’s wonderful story, I heard that music in the everyday world she created. I discovered how it feels to drive a chariot. Quite possibly, I revisited a past life. I will be forever grateful this book came into my hand.

By Patricia Finney,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Cast Of A Stone

Laura Strickland Why did I love this book?

Avril Borthiry is one of those writers who captivate you, hijack you and absorb you into the tale she tells. You can tell she feels the Historical Romance she writes, and she has the rare talent of imparting what she feels to her reader. This is a powerful tale. As with all of life, there is light and dark in this story, a battle between good and evil. You will love her characters. You will weep, suffer, bleed, and rejoice with them. Even after you finish reading, you will never really leave this book behind.

By Avril Borthiry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cast Of A Stone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alexander Mathanach is a Scottish knight; a man of noble birth haunted by a tragic event in his past. Those he loved betrayed him and almost destroyed his faith. Yet, despite his bitterness, he fulfilled the vow he made. As promised, he took the orphaned child from the abbey and raised her as his own, choosing to live a quiet life in the depths of a remote, northern forest.But Alexander is guardian to more than a young girl. He is also the keeper of a divine artifact, one that draws a terrible evil to his secluded doorstep. When his peaceful…


Book cover of Witch of the Glens

Laura Strickland Why did I love this book?

Although this is, strictly speaking, a Young Adult level book, it belongs here in my cadre of stories that have woven a measure of magic through my being. I first read this as a young girl, and loved it so much I saved my pennies to buy my own copy (I still have it). Sally Watson showed me how to create a real, believable, and magical heroine. One with flaws, and fears, and a call to be other than those who surround her. Other than those who surround her. The story also takes place in the Scottish Highlands, a place very dear to my heart, and presents a wealth of actual historical characters who come to life between the pages. This one will forever have a place in my heart.

By Sally Watson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The time was 1644 in Inverness, Scotland. As the "wicked wee lass" raced along the steep streets, just ahead of the stones and cries of briosag! hurled at her, she wished with all her heart that she were a witch. What a spell she would put on them all! For all her seventeen years, Kelpie could remember nothing but belonging to Mina and Bogle, gypsies who lived by their evil wits. The only law any of them knew was that of self-preservation. Bogle said she had been kidnaped because of her blue ringed eyes of the "Second Sight," and she…


Book cover of The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven

Laura Strickland Why did I love this book?

Jennifer Ivy Walker is a relative newcomer to publishing Historical Romance, but she knows how to embroider a legend. There is a wealth of detail in her writing that pulls the reader into the story. This tale is a retelling of the story of Tristan and Isolde, in which we meet figures such as Lancelot du Lac, King Arthur and his Guinevere, and get glimpses of Camelot. Elves and goddesses mingle with mortals in the forests of ancient Britain and France. This retelling has a French accent that lifts it above the ordinary and the well-known. It belongs here because it gives me faith that the ancient tradition of weaving magic into stories, both by pen and tongue, will carry on.

By Jennifer Ivy Walker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom.
Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe…


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