The best historical romances with adventurous women

Who am I?

I am the bestselling author of more than 46 romance novels. I love history, enjoy research, and am always looking for little-known facts to make my stories more authentic. Some of those facts have revealed that women in the 19th century often took on occupations, hobbies, or causes that challenged them and sometimes placed them in danger. Although seldom acknowledged as such, women in the 19th century were a force to be reckoned with, although their contributions were often overlooked. But through reading personal accounts, letters of the time, biographies, and nonfiction accounts about various women’s roles, I have gained a greater appreciation for how daring women have been throughout history.

I wrote...

The Return of the Duke

By Lorraine Heath,

Book cover of The Return of the Duke

What is my book about?

When his father, the Duke of Wolfford, is hanged for an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria, Marcus Stanwick is stripped of everything. Vowing to return honor to his family, he seeks to expose the others involved in the treasonous plot. His search forces him to turn to a woman he despises for her unforgivable betrayal.

Harboring secrets, Esme Lancaster has her own reasons for wanting to discover who’s behind the conspiracy that’s still afoot. As their hunt for the truth leads them into danger, they’re unable to deny their growing desire for each other. But giving in to temptation comes at a cost, and they must decide if love is worth the risk of losing their one chance for redemption.

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The books I picked & why

After Dark with the Duke

By Julie Anne Long,

Book cover of After Dark with the Duke

Why did I love this book?

I love how words can be woven together to create images and emotions and to bring characters to life. Julie Anne Long has a lyrical way of writing that always carries me deeply into the story. I find once I start reading one of her books, I can’t stop until I’ve finished it, even if it means staying up all night. In After Dark With the Duke, the heroine has left the safety of home to become an opera singer, facing the challenges of a society that enjoys the art but finds the artist scandalous. I came away with a richer understanding of the era. I admired the heroine’s ability to find the strength needed to make difficult choices that would lead her to adventure and, hopefully, a better life.

By Julie Anne Long,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After Dark with the Duke as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sparks fly when a daring diva clashes with an ice-cold war hero in the newest thrilling romance in USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long's Palace of Rogues series.

She arrives in the dead of night, a mob out for blood at her heels: Mariana Wylde, the "Harlot of Haywood Street," an opera diva brought low by a duel fought for her favors. But the ladies of the Grand Palace on the Thames think they can make a silk purse from scandal: They'll restore her reputation and share in her triumph...provided they can keep her apart from that other guest.…

My Kind of Earl

By Vivienne Lorret,

Book cover of My Kind of Earl

Why did I love this book?

I find such fun in an innocent miss wanting to explore a brothel. Curiosity and inquisitiveness are attitudes that I believe drive adventurous women. But they don’t always start a brawl in a brothel nor do they have the scientific mind to develop a small bomb that will allow them to escape. I always enjoy a heroine with a sharp mind who isn’t afraid to use it. Vivienne Lorret brings humor to her stories, making her characters incredibly relatable. I smiled throughout the story and loved the heroine’s little quirks.

By Vivienne Lorret,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

USA Today bestselling author Vivienne Lorret continues her charming new trilogy with a bluestocking whose search for information on the mating habits of scoundrels has her stumbling upon the missing heir to an earldom... in the London underworld.

Jane Pickerington never intended to start a brawl in a brothel. She only wanted to research her book. Yet when her simple study of scoundrels goes awry, she finds herself coming to the rescue of a dark, enigmatic stranger... who turns out to be far more than an average rake out for a night of pleasure. He's positively wild!

Only the most…

Book cover of Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover

Why did I love this book?

Little is more adventurous than a woman who owns a gambling hell, who has forged a path to success, and dares Society to judge her. I love Sarah’s depth of characterization and how she infuses her characters with a background and motivations that make their actions, even the questionable ones, understandable and believable. I find she always takes an insurmountable conflict and uses it to drive the characters toward change. I so admire Sarah’s ability to carry me on a journey that always ends with a sigh of satisfaction, and often a few tears.

By Sarah MacLean,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Fabulous' Eloisa James
'Smart, sexy, and always romantic' Julia Quinn
'For a smart, witty and passionate historical romance, I recommend anything by Sarah MacLean' Lisa Kleypas

RITA Award winning author, Sarah MacLean, reveals the identity of The Fallen Angel's final scoundrel in the spectacular conclusion to her Rules of Scoundrels series . . .

By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking-in London's darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city's most legendary gaming hell. For…

Book cover of Between the Devil and the Duke

Why did I love this book?

An adventurous lady gambler. I enjoy stories where the heroine is taking on the role usually belonging to the hero. Kelly Bowen is so skilled at giving us characters to care about and root for. This story was a delicious read with a heroine equal to the task of taming the hero. I love Kelly’s writing style and how smoothly her stories flow.

By Kelly Bowen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Their love was always in the cards.

He should have thrown her out. But when club owner Alexander Lavoie catches a mysterious blonde counting cards at his vingt-et-un table, he's more intrigued than angry. He has to see more of this beauty-in his club, in his office, in his bed. But first he'll have to devise a proposition she can't turn down.

Gossip said he was an assassin. Common sense told her to stay away. But Angelique Archer was desperate, and Lavoie's club offered a surefire way to make quick money-until she got caught. Instead of throwing her out though,…

Wild at Heart

By Patricia Gaffney,

Book cover of Wild at Heart

Why did I love this book?

Wild at Heart is my #1 favorite historical romance. Unfortunately, it is out of print. The writing is beautiful, the story heart-wrenching, and the heroine adventurous in a subtle way as she challenges those who are studying a man raised by wolves to view him not as an object but as a person. I found this story to be perfection. If you can find a copy, you won’t be disappointed.

By Patricia Gaffney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Gaffney, Patricia

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in romantic love, aristocracy, and storytelling?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about romantic love, aristocracy, and storytelling.

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