The best gritty western historical romances for lovers of the show The English (who wanted a HEA)

Who am I?

As an only child of a working mother, I spent a lot of Saturday afternoons with John Wayne. I graduated to movie nights at the theater with Clint Eastwood. My hero-worshipping crush on tough guys combined with my passion for romance novels and my fascination with the history of the American West made me the perfect candidate to write gritty, romantic westerns. My very first book, written over 30 years ago, was a western.


I wrote...

Beauty and the Bounty Hunter

By Lori Handeland,

Book cover of Beauty and the Bounty Hunter

What is my book about?

Cathleen Chase was an unassuming farmer’s wife until her husband was gunned down in front of her. Desperate for revenge, she offered con artist Alexi Romanov anything if he would school her in the art of the dodge. Alexi didn’t realize he’d turned Cathleen Chase into Cat O’Banyon, a ruthless bounty hunter who would stop at nothing to catch the man who murdered her husband, until she was gone. Now she’s back with a bounty on her head and needs Alexi’s help. But, again, he has his price. Again, she will pay any cost.

To survive, they must trust each other, but in a relationship forged from deception and lust, is trust even possible?

The books I picked & why

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Silver Lining

By Maggie Osborne,

Book cover of Silver Lining

Why this book?

The day I found Maggie Osborne was the day I found a kindred western romance novel-writing soul. Her heroines are the kind of tough that won the west. They didn’t need a man; they could tame that place themselves. However, if a worthwhile male comes along... they can be persuaded.

I read every book Maggie ever wrote, but Silver Lining is the one I remember the best. Low Down is not your typical romance novel heroine. She’s rough, gruff, and tough. And she only wants one thing—a baby.

Not a husband, mind you, just a baby. In the 1800s. How she gets one, makes for one of the best yarns I’ve ever found.

Silver Lining

By Maggie Osborne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hailed as “one of the best writers in the business” by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, multi-award-winning author Maggie Osborne delivers hilarious and heartrending tales of resilient women full of grit, pride, and dignity who shine through hard times. Now meet the most irresistible and independent heroine of them all, a woman called Low Down, who never had anything good happen to her until the day she asked for the one thing that only a man could give her. . . .

As scruffy and rootless as the other prospectors searching for gold in the Rockies, Low Down wanted nothing in return…


Always to Remember

By Lorraine Heath,

Book cover of Always to Remember

Why this book?

This novel takes place during the post-Civil war period, so it is not “technically” a western though it does take place in Texas. However, it has that gritty reality and deep, dark emotion I search for in my favorite novels.

The hero is tortured. The heroine is vengeful. They come together and terrible, difficult, life-changing, and character-building plot twists happen. They choose each other, above all odds.

If you want proof that love conquers all this is the book. I have never forgotten it.

Always to Remember

By Lorraine Heath,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Branded a traitor and imprisoned for refusing to fight for the Confederacy, Clayton Holland returns home to Cedar Grove, only to be spurned by the townspeople, except for vengeful Meg Warner, who finds her hatred and grief transformed by love.


Fall from Grace

By Megan Chance,

Book cover of Fall from Grace

Why this book?

It has been years since I read this novel and I still vividly remember the “Wow, this is good stuff and I want to write something just like this” feeling it gave me.

Take a strong woman beset by unbelievable odds, add a dark, dangerous, tortured anti-hero. Sprinkle a little vengeance on top, then mess it all up with love.

Oh, baby! Yes, please!

Fall from Grace

By Megan Chance,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1997.

Lily lost her childhood the day the Sharpe gang murdered her parents and “adopted” her. Soon, she was “Lily the Cat,” a wanted outlaw herself, ruthless and smart. But Lily bided her time and planned her revenge, betraying them all and making her escape, running for the life that should have been hers.

But she reckoned without Texas Sharpe, the man who loved her, married her and defied his father for her. And Texas was about to show Lily just how ruthless a man betrayed could be....


Cash

By Linda Winstead Jones,

Book cover of Cash

Why this book?

Sexy, lazy, drawling, dangerous, womanizing, gambling gunslinger. Who can resist that? Add in a secret baby, a lost love, and the end to an epic western series.  

Sure, I wrote 3 of the books in this 6 book set, but when I read Cash, I bawled. I lived with the Rock Creek Six for long enough that they felt like family and if you read about them, they’ll feel like family to you as well.

Sexy, dangerous, haunted-by-their-pasts family. But family.

Cash

By Linda Winstead Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you liked the Magnificent Seven, you’ll love the Rock Creek Six!

Six elite Confederate soldiers band together after the War Between the States, hiring out their guns to protect lawless towns. Violence is all they know, until they make their way to Rock Creek, Texas.

Rock Creek is the only place gunslinger Daniel Cash dares to call home, even though he’s surrounded by constant and annoying reminders that the others have moved on. His friends have made lives and families for themselves, they’ve finally left the war behind. He never will.

Nadine Ellington, a girl from his past, comes…


Redeeming Love

By Francine Rivers,

Book cover of Redeeming Love

Why this book?

Redeeming Love is a retelling of the Biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the California Gold Rush, with a heroine who was sold into prostitution as a child and a hero who heeds God’s call to marry her and love her unconditionally.

I have always been drawn to dark heroes, in both my reading and my writing, but this book is all dark heroine and after reading it I wanted to write a few dark heroines too. The characters in this book have stayed with me for years as I’ve endeavored to create something as powerful as Redeeming Love.

When asked if there is a common theme that runs through all my novels, I realized I write books where the characters will do anything for love. Sometimes “anything” isn’t pretty. Sometimes “anything” is scary. But love is worth the risk.

Redeeming Love

By Francine Rivers,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Redeeming Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER * SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE starring Abigail Cowen, Tom Lewis, Nina Dobrev, with Logan Marshall Green and Eric Dane, special appearance by Famke Janssen. Distributed by Universal Pictures with a screenplay by Francine Rivers and D.J. Caruso

CALIFORNIA'S GOLD COUNTRY, 1850. A TIME WHEN MEN SOLD THEIR SOULS FOR A BAG OF GOLD AND WOMEN SOLD THEIR BODIES FOR A PLACE TO SLEEP.

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. A child prostitute, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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