The best romantic books with quirky heroines

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always had a fondness for the quirky heroine because I find her so relatable! As a child, I was overly sensitive and obsessed with animals. I liked to read and draw, but was dreadful at organized sports, and for the most part I didn't feel as if I fit in with the expected social norms of my peers. The quirky heroines in books and literature comforted me, and showed me that first, I wasn't alone, and second, that I could find love and acceptance in a world with which I often felt out-of-step.


I wrote...

Creatures of Habit

By Charlotte Brothers,

Book cover of Creatures of Habit

What is my book about?

The Boy-Next-Door Returns… All Lawrence wants when he arrives home after wartime service is to return to his gardening and peaceful country life; a life without taking orders. Instead, he finds his parents are as determined as ever to push him at their neighbours’ daughter, Eugenia, whom he recalls as a bossy girl with a penchant for rescuing injured animals. Eugenia is a creature of habit, determined to keep her life the way it is. She likes her independence, her farm, and her flowers. Besides, Lawrie had been such an ordinary boy… 

Will the attentions of a dashing visitor thwart their parents’ schemes, or will Lawrie and Eugenia discover love can bloom where it was planted?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Blue Castle

Charlotte Brothers Why did I love this book?

One of the wonderful things about Young Adult books is that many authors understand the longing that young female readers have for heroines with real personality who overcome the challenges of their times or particular situations. Such stories move to the pinnacle of my “oh-my-gosh-I-loved-this!” list when they include a romance and by the end, the heroine is acknowledged as an equal to her partner. While L.M. Montgomery is known best for her unforgettable Anne of Green Gables (who could have been on this list), my particular favorite quirky heroine of hers is Valancy Stirling in The Blue Castle

The romance in this book is just as unconventional as Valancy herself, there’s a marriage of convenience, a beautiful setting for introverts, an island cabin and cats. What’s not to love?

By L.M. Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Blue Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, comes another beloved classic and an unforgettable story of courage and romance.

Valancy Stirling is 29 and has never been in love. She's spent her entire life on a quiet little street in an ugly little house and never dared to contradict her domineering mother and her unforgiving aunt. But one day she receives a shocking, life-altering letter―and decides then and there that everything needs to change. For the first time in her life, she does exactly what she wants to and says exactly what she feels.

At first her family…


Book cover of Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Charlotte Brothers Why did I love this book?

Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast which gives us a practical, irregular heroine who redefines beauty. I’ve reread this book multiple times because the magical setting, colorful descriptions, and character development are heartwarming and unique. This is a story of transcendent love between two people (some more human than others!) who come to know each other's thoughts and quirks thoroughly—and to love each other for them. 

By Robin McKinley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Beauty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

When the family business collapses, Beauty and her two sisters are forced to leave the city and begin a new life in the countryside. However, when their father accepts hospitality from the elusive and magical Beast, he is forced to make a terrible promise - to send one daughter to the Beast's castle, with no guarantee that she will be seen again. Beauty accepts the challenge, and there begins an extraordinary story of magic and love that overcomes all boundaries. This is another spellbinding and emotional tale embroidered around a fairytale from Robin McKinley, an award-winning American author.


Book cover of Venetia

Charlotte Brothers Why did I love this book?

Like authors Montgomery and McKinley, Georgette Heyer specializes in bringing us heroines that have interests and spunk that set them apart from the conventions of their time. I could have chosen nearly any Heyer heroine to mention, but if you’ve not yet read one of her Regency historical romances, I recommend beginning with Venetia

Venetia Lanyon has a good deal of common sense and sees herself as intellectually equal to the men around her, even if they don’t recognize it. She is beautiful, yes, but more interested in being valued for her smarts. A kind, yet plain-speaking heroine, it’s delightful to watch Venetia fall in love with an equally direct and open-minded gentleman. His respect and affection for her gives her the courage to do what she must in an effort to secure her own happiness.

By Georgette Heyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reading Georgette Heyer is the next best thing to reading Jane Austen."—Publishers Weekly

Beautiful, capable, and independent minded, Venetia Lanyon's life on her family's estate in the country side is somewhat restricted. But her neighbor, the infamous Lord Damerel, a charming rake shunned by polite society, is about to shake things up.

Lord Damerel has built his life on his dangerous reputation, and when he meets Venetia, he has nothing to offer and everything to regret. Though his scandalous past and deepest secrets give Venetia reason to mistrust him, a rogue always gets what he wants.

As Venetia's well-meaning family…


Book cover of I Capture the Castle

Charlotte Brothers Why did I love this book?

I credit this book for rekindling my love for fiction after years spent reading non-fiction art and marketing books. I couldn’t believe the hours I found to read when I didn’t think I had any! I Capture the Castle plunges us immediately into the thoughts of a most unusual teenage girl, Cassandra Mortmain, who lives in a decrepit castle with her generally loveable but dysfunctional family. The first-person narrative and the descriptions of artistic poverty brought to us through the eyes and pen of Cassandra herself are delightful. Although her own love story is not tied up neatly with a bow at the end (It’s more of a coming-of-age story than a romance), quirky and memorable Cassandra certainly is!

By Dodie Smith,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked I Capture the Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

One of BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World.

A wonderfully quirky coming-of-age story, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, author of The Hundred and One Dalmatians is an affectionately drawn portrait of one of the funniest families in literature.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is illustrated by Ruth Steed, and features an afterword by publisher Anna South.

The eccentric Mortmain family have been rattling around in a…


Book cover of Love in the Afternoon

Charlotte Brothers Why did I love this book?

Of all the books I’ve mentioned, Love in the Afternoon is the only rompy-sexy Regency genre romance. When I’m in the mood for something a little spicier, this is the book I reach for. Beatrix, (like me) loves animals, and her passion for them plays a role in defining her character and also gives us readers some funny scenes to enjoy. She’s a slightly awkward, natural young woman who wears riding pants (very shocking). She deals with the man she comes to love and his dog in much the same way, for both of them have wartime PTSD and need lots of no-nonsense love to right themselves.

By Lisa Kleypas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Love in the Afternoon continues the Hathaways series by Victorian romance author Lisa Kleypas.

As a lover of animals and nature, Beatrix Hathaway has always been more comfortable outdoors than in the ballroom. Even though she participated in the London season in the past, the classic beauty and free-spirited Beatrix has never been swept away or seriously courted…and she has resigned herself to the fate of never finding love. Has the time come for the most unconventional of the Hathaway sisters to settle for an ordinary man—just to avoid spinsterhood?

Captain Christopher Phelan is a handsome, daring soldier who plans…


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Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

By K.R. Wilson,

Book cover of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

K.R. Wilson Author Of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Reader History enthusiast Occasional composer Sometime chorister

K.R.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

When King Priam's pregnant daughter was fleeing the sack of Troy, Stan was there. When Jesus of Nazareth was beaten and crucified, Stan was there - one crossover. He’s been a Hittite warrior, a Silk Road mercenary, a reluctant rebel in the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381, and an information peddler in the cabarets of post-war Berlin. Stan doesn't die, and he doesn't know why. And now he's being investigated for a horrific crime.

As Stan tells his story, from his origins as an Anatolian sheep farmer to his custody in a Toronto police interview room, he brings a wry, anachronistic…

Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

By K.R. Wilson,

What is this book about?

Long-listed for the 2022 Leacock Medal for Humour

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