The best historical romance featuring smart, feisty heroines who aren’t cowed by social mores

Who am I?

When we were young and naughty, our parents only had to give my sister The Look, and she’d burst into tears. Me, I would stare right back at them and demand, “What?” Fiercely. In fact I often got in trouble for “arguing,” (when all I was really trying to do was make my case because I felt misunderstood). These days people describe me as someone who doesn’t care what other people think. I forge my own path, staunchly, proudly, and so I am drawn to heroines who do the same, who fly in the face of societal expectations to fight for truth and science and what is right.


I wrote...

Mistress Mackintosh and the Shaw Wretch

By Rose Prendeville,

Book cover of Mistress Mackintosh and the Shaw Wretch

What is my book about?

Jory Mackintosh is more excited by healing herbs than husbands or holy prayers. She craves freedom—but, on the eve of her escape, she becomes an unwilling pawn in her family’s schemes with the Black Watch.

Finlay Shaw, the disgraced younger brother of the laird, has spent ten long years atoning for the death of another brother. When the clans order him to escort Jory to begin a new life in a secret convent, it’s his last chance for redemption. Too bad for Finn, Jory has no intention of going quietly.

The books I picked & why

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A Lady's Formula for Love

By Elizabeth Everett,

Book cover of A Lady's Formula for Love

Why this book?

I adore everything about the premise of this book—a secret society of lady scientists, working away in an old house in London, trying to invent solutions to the problems of the day. Yes please! I also love that Lady Violet is worldly. She's knowledgeable about physical relations between men and women, and she knows about her body, what she likes, and how to prevent pregnancy. She’s very down-to-earth, empowered, and sex-positive, and she brings our brooding hero Arthur to his knees. There’s something very special about historical fiction with a modern sentimentality. Add to that a swoon-worthy hero, a cast of colorful side characters, and dark forces working against our heroine, and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect start to a super fun series.

A Lady's Formula for Love

By Elizabeth Everett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Lady's Formula for Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What is a Victorian lady's formula for love? Mix one brilliant noblewoman and her enigmatic protection officer. Add in a measure of danger and attraction. Heat over the warmth of humor and friendship, and the result is more than simple chemistry--it's elemental.

Lady Violet is keeping secrets. First, she founded a clandestine sanctuary for England's most brilliant female scientists. Second, she is using her genius on a confidential mission for the Crown. But the biggest secret of all? Her feelings for protection officer Arthur Kneland.

Solitary and reserved, Arthur learned the hard way to put duty first. But the more…


The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

By Jennifer Ashley,

Book cover of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

Why this book?

I fell in love with Ian Mackenzie in about ten seconds and kept falling in love with him over and over throughout the book. Written as a character on the spectrum living in a time when such things were not well understood, he has a very difficult time connecting with people, which makes his bond with his brothers, and his bond with the heroine Beth, all the more delicious. Beth, too, is a character to love. She’s swept off her feet just as quickly as I was by Ian’s intense infatuation, but she’s such a strong character, willing to go toe to toe with anyone to protect Ian just as he wants to protect her. Embroiled in a mystery that has shades of Jack the Ripper, every single character just wants to protect the people they love from truths they fear.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

By Jennifer Ashley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A woman is drawn to a dangerously intruiging man in this unique historical romance from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley.

It was whispered all through London Society that Ian Mackenzie was mad, that he’d spent his youth in an asylum, and was not to be trusted—especially with a lady. For the reputation of any woman caught in his presence was instantly ruined.
 
Yet Beth found herself inexorably drawn to the Scottish lord whose hint of a brogue wrapped around her like silk and whose touch could draw her into a world of ecstasy. Despite his decadence and his…


Redeeming the Reclusive Earl

By Virginia Heath,

Book cover of Redeeming the Reclusive Earl

Why this book?

I was taken by this book from the moment I read the description. An intrepid archaeologist and fossil hunter trespassing on the lands of a hermit who literally wants her to get off his lawn? What could possibly go wrong! In Effie we have another heroine who is interested in science, knows her own biology, and is quite willing to explore it with the right sort of man. She’s a virgin, but she’s not a wilting young flower. She’s more of a curious pragmatist. In Max we have another damaged hero, and oh my goodness I am a sucker for a hero with terrible events in his past which have left him with physical scars as well as mental ones. I also love a good grumpy sunshine trope.

Redeeming the Reclusive Earl

By Virginia Heath,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

His heart is a fortress.

And she's trespassing!

After losing all he holds dear in a horrific fire, Max Aldersley, Earl of Rivenhall, shuns the world - until he catches Effie Nithercott digging holes on his estate! He banishes the intrepid archaeologist and the disturbing feelings she rouses within him. But she returns even more determined and infuriatingly desirable than before! He's determined she'll never reach the man beneath the scars...no matter how deep she digs!


A Lady for a Duke

By Alexis Hall,

Book cover of A Lady for a Duke

Why this book?

I was a little afraid to read this one at first but should have known better. I was afraid the main conflict would revolve around bigotry towards the heroine. Instead it’s a cozy exploration of self-acceptance. Lyrically beautiful writing paints a picture of the world almost as it should be, where bigotry is acknowledged as existing and that potential does drive some of the internal conflict, but not in an intrusive way. Unlike some of my other selections, Viola isn’t particularly experienced or worldly. She has closed herself off from the world and it’s up to Gracewood to draw her out again. This story of a young woman settling into her true self and the best friend who is desperately happy to get to know her again is a friends-to-lovers masterpiece.

A Lady for a Duke

By Alexis Hall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Lady for a Duke as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lush, sweeping queer historical romance from the USA Today bestselling author of Husband Material—perfect for fans of Netflix’s Bridgerton, Evie Dunmore, and Lisa Kleypas!
When Viola Carroll was presumed dead at Waterloo she took the opportunity to live, at last, as herself. But freedom does not come without a price, and Viola paid for hers with the loss of her wealth, her title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood.

Only when their families reconnect, years after the war, does Viola learn how deep that loss truly was. Shattered without her, Gracewood has retreated so…


A Rogue of One's Own

By Evie Dunmore,

Book cover of A Rogue of One's Own

Why this book?

This second book in the series A League of Extraordinary Women is an enemies-to-lovers tale of ardent feminist and suffragist Lucie who has no use for men and absolutely no use for foppish rake Tristan. She’s far too busy trying to save the world. As someone who wishes they could solve every ill of modern society single-handedly, I identified with this aspect of her character so hard. And then there’s Tristan. He’s probably the only hero on my list who qualifies as a rogue, but he wears that reputation-like armor against an abusive father, from whom he’s attempting to rescue his beloved mother. I may have mentioned that a hero with a tragic past is absolute catnip to me. Trigger warning on this one, colonialist themes play a larger role than in most regencies.

A Rogue of One's Own

By Evie Dunmore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Rogue of One's Own as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Rich with subplot, historical detail and beautifully descriptive writing that keeps the pages turning until the delightfully unconventional happy ending."—NPR

An Indie Next/LibraryReads pick!

An Apple Must Listen Audiobook for September!

A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution—but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.
 
Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in romantic love, women in the sciences, and archaeology?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about romantic love, women in the sciences, and archaeology.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Sinful Scot, A Scot in the Dark, and Marrying Winterborne if you like this list.