The best historical romance novels that will make you fall in love with the genre

Who am I?

I’ve always had a passion for history and the American West in particular. From a young age, my reading reflected my passion, with a few mysteries in the mix. I didn’t read many romance novels until one day I was flying to another city and I forgot to pack a book. My assistant drove me to the airport and she pulled a historical romance novel from her handbag. It was her favorite and she was an expert on romance novels. Before my plane landed, I was hooked—and I’m still hooked. That started my career as a historical romance novelist.

I wrote...

Whispering Pines (The Langtry Sisters)

By Scarlett Dunn,

Book cover of Whispering Pines (The Langtry Sisters)

What is my book about?

As a young girl, Rose Langtry feared her gruff, handsome rancher neighbor. Coming back to Colorado after five years, she's outraged to find Morgan LeMasters ready to hang her brother. But when Rose is injured, Morgan's tender care turns her unease into unexpected closeness and admiration.

Stopping Frankie Langtry has long been Morgan's priority, yet he can't resist Rose's pleas for mercy. As brave and spirited as she is soft-hearted, Rose needs to keep her family farm from going under, and a marriage of convenience will provide it. Morgan hardly dares admit his longing for a deeper, truer union. But Frankie is bringing danger back to Whispering Pines, and it'll take forgiveness, courage, and faith to create a future together.

The books I picked & why

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Gone With the Wind

By Margaret Mitchell,

Book cover of Gone With the Wind

Why this book?

As an American history enthusiast, this choice was a no-brainer for me. This is my first choice because of the well-developed characters and the particular time in history. What I particularly appreciated was the masterful way Margaret Mitchell developed Scarlett from a spoiled young woman, living a life of privilege, to a determined woman compelled to find a way for her and her family to survive during challenging times. Both Rhett and Scarlett are fascinating characters, and we see them change personally as they navigate their love story throughout the novel.

This book has all of the elements of a great historical romance novel: intriguing characters, an interesting setting, desire, love, tension, conflict, and suspense. While the ending wasn’t one I would have written, I’ve found that a novel doesn’t have to have a HEA for me to love and remember the book.

Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen,

Book cover of Pride and Prejudice

Why this book?

How could any list not include a Jane Austen novel? I loved the era and of course, the independent thinking of Elizabeth Bennet. Again, the depth of the characters is always the one key factor that draws my attention. I prefer a heroine who can think for herself and not bend to the accepted norms. And equally appealing to me is a great hero who accepts the woman who dares to think differently and finds a way to win her love.

The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757

By James Fenimore Cooper,

Book cover of The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757

Why this book?

This one will probably surprise a few people, but it is a historical romance. For those who haven’t read the book, please know that the movie starring Daniel Daydream- Lewis does not accurately parallel the book. I chose this novel because it is an American story with American characters, published in 1826. Cora is another very strong character, certainly ahead of her time and admired by Hawkeye, who was also an unusual character for the period. I enjoyed the historical details intertwined with fiction. Definitely worth your time to read.

The Bride

By Julie Garwood,

Book cover of The Bride

Why this book?

I must have a Julie Garwood novel on my list—and this is one of my favorites in the Scottish medieval romance category. In my opinion, Garwood writes great romance novels, with strong, attractive, and likable characters. This novel offers a determined hero and an equally headstrong heroine, combined with murder and intrigue. You’ll also have a few smiles with this one. I always enjoy a little humor in romance novels.

Marry Me by Sundown

By Johanna Lindsey,

Book cover of Marry Me by Sundown

Why this book?

Of course, I must include a novel set in the American West. How could I not? And oh, so many to choose from—a difficult task. This is another recommendation based on strong, intriguing characters. The heroine is determined to save her family from financial ruin and she faces the hardships of the West. Lindsey has written two very passionate, headstrong individuals, and you will have some laughs and some tears reading this one.

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