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

The Books I Picked & Why

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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