The most recommended Regency books

Who picked these books? Meet our 69 experts.

69 authors created a book list connected to Regency, and here are their favorite Regency books.
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Book cover of Regency Spies: Secret Histories of Britain's Rebels and Revolutionaries

Lona Manning Author Of A Contrary Wind

From my list on Regency England beyond balls and bonnets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer of Jane Austen-inspired fiction who fell down a research rabbit hole and perhaps I’ll never climb out. Dr. Johnson said, “The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading… a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” The five books I’m recommending offer a window into the long 18th century, the era of the Enlightenment, and the dawn of the industrial revolution. In these books I’ve met philosophers, romantics, and reformers who brought literacy to the underclass and emancipation to the enslaved. These books have helped me place the characters of my novels within a fascinating, consequential period of history. 

Lona's book list on Regency England beyond balls and bonnets

Lona Manning Why did Lona love this book?

How did governments spy on their own citizens in the age of quill pens and candlelight? Although Londoners lustily sang “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves,” the reality was that few men could vote, and some were in danger of being dragged off the street and impressed into the Navy. The struggle for democratic reform, however, was met with suspicion by government leaders who feared a revolution like the one in France that toppled the monarchy. Regency Spies uncovers the hidden world of espionage and agents provocateurs who kept an eye on populist reformers like Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt and deluded fanatics like Arthur Thistlewood. While learning about the Peterloo Massacre and the Cato Street Conspiracy, I was also intrigued by the parallels to our own times.

By Sue Wilkes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sue Wilkes reveals the shadowy world of Britain's spies, rebels and secret societies from the late 1780s until 1820. Drawing on contemporary literature and official records, Wilkes unmasks the real conspirators and tells the tragic stories of the unwitting victims sent to the gallows. In this 'age of Revolutions', when the French fought for liberty, Britain's upper classes feared revolution was imminent. Thomas Paine's incendiary Rights of Man called men to overthrow governments which did not safeguard their rights. Were Jacobins and Radical reformers in England and Scotland secretly plotting rebellion? Ireland, too, was a seething cauldron of unrest, its…


Book cover of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

A.E. Walnofer Author Of A Girl Called Foote

From my list on servants fake and otherwise.

Why am I passionate about this?

None of us had any choice about where or when we were born, nor under what circumstances. Marie Antoinette could have just as easily been born the illegitimate daughter of a scullery maid as the archduchess of Austria that she was. That’s why the whole servant-employer dynamic has always intrigued me. Servants are, in fact, real people, always have been. Though they’re often treated as little more than sticks of furniture, servants have been overhearing, observing, revealing, and plotting a lot of fascinating things throughout all time.

A.E.'s book list on servants fake and otherwise

A.E. Walnofer Why did A.E. love this book?

Wellborn Margaret Macy is not used to hard work, so when she falls on hard times and disguises herself as a maid in a gentleman’s palatial home, she’s going to have difficulties. However, it’s not just a matter of getting the silver shiny as she also has to remain undetected by her employer…who tried to court her not so very long ago.

By Julie Klassen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Maid of Fairbourne Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Regency Romance and Mystery from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen

Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant…


Book cover of Claws and Contrivances

Anne Rollins Author Of The Solitary Rose

From my list on Regency romances with a touch of magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up an avid reader of children’s and YA fantasy, which is how I discovered the subgenre of Regency fantasy. When I stumbled across Wrede and Stevermer’s work in libraries and used bookstores, I absolutely loved it. As an adult, I enjoyed exploring the Regency romances of older authors like Georgette Heyer and Marion Chesney as well as more recent Regency writers. But when I began writing romance myself, I went back to the fantasies that were my first introduction to the Regency era. My Regency novels are primarily romance, with just a pinch of magic, but I hope both romantasy fans and historical romance readers can enjoy them.

Anne's book list on Regency romances with a touch of magic

Anne Rollins Why did Anne love this book?

This is the second of Stephanie Burgis’s Regency Dragons books, but in my opinion, it can stand on its own.

The protagonist and viewpoint character, Rose Tregarth, is slowly emerging out of a fog of depression caused by the loss of her parents. She now lives with loving and somewhat eccentric cousins in Wales. Part of the charm of the book comes from the diverse cast of secondary characters, which includes a sapphic couple, a young girl with an anxiety disorder, and a young woman of color.

As an autistic reader, I very much appreciate that Rose’s love interest, a renowned dragon scholar, is coded as autistic, because it’s difficult to find good autistic representation in historical romance. Dragon fans take note: the book abounds with adorable miniature dragons with magical powers! 

By Stephanie Burgis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A madcap Regency-era romantic comedy involving a most determined heroine, a baffled scholarly hero, and a surprising number of dragons.


Rose Tregarth may have been invited into her uncle's remote home in the heart of Wales as an act of kindness to a poor relation, but it doesn't take her long to realise that her newly-met family members are in need of all the help they can get. Between mysteriously appearing little dragons and a threatening new neighbour, Rose is soon up to her ears in plots and schemes to save the people and beasts she's come to love...with the…


Book cover of Lady of Milkweed Manor

Erica Vetsch Author Of The Debutante`s Code

From my list on historical whodunnits.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a lover of histories and mysteries for as long as I can remember. Equal parts museum junkie and Dateline addict, I cannot get enough of history and whodunnits. From Poirot and Conan Doyle to Bernard Cornwall and Ken Follett, I love them all. As a kid, reading with a flashlight under the covers was a favorite pastime, and I wore out my library card. As an adult, I head to the true crime section of the bookstore first. I love that there are books that blend my two passions so well, and I hope you enjoy this list of historical mysteries as much as I do.

Erica's book list on historical whodunnits

Erica Vetsch Why did Erica love this book?

I was immediately drawn to the main character, her plight, and her questions. At every turn, it seemed there were more secrets to uncover.

Julie Klassen seemed to have written herself into an inescapable tangle, but she deftly wove a satisfying solution that fit both the story and characters as well as the social expectations of the Regency Era—masterfully done! It's definitely a sigh-worthy read!

By Julie Klassen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lady of Milkweed Manor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this inspirational historical romance debut novel set in 19th-century England, a young pregnant woman is forced to make difficult choices. Twenty-year-old Charlotte Lamb is the daughter of a heartless English vicar, as we discover when she becomes pregnant and he throws her out of her childhood home. Vulnerable and unprotected, she is forced to a lodging place for unwed mothers. Soon, Lamb must make decisions involving true love and sacrifice, providing many powerful turning points throughout the story.


Book cover of Regency Recollections: Captain Gronow's Guide to Life in London and Paris

Melissa McShane Author Of Burning Bright

From my list on touring the unfamiliar corners of Regency England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the Regency era since first reading Jane Austen’s novels, but in writing my series of 19th-century adventure fantasies, I discovered there was so much more to the period than I’d ever dreamed. Though their culture and traditions aren’t like ours, I’m fascinated by how much about the lives of those men and women is familiar—the same desires, the same dreams for the future. I hope the books on this list inspire in you the same excitement they did in me!

Melissa's book list on touring the unfamiliar corners of Regency England

Melissa McShane Why did Melissa love this book?

So at this point, you’re steeped in all things Regency, and there’s so much to see, you need a native guide. Enter Captain Rees Gronow! Captain Gronow knew everyone who was worth knowing during the Regency, including the Prince Regent himself, and wrote memoirs that were witty and satirical and funny. This compilation of his writing gives the dirt on the rich and famous of Regency times, and if you want to know more about the places you’ve read about, chances are Gronow has something to say about them.

By Christopher Summerville (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Captain Rees Howell Gronow was a dandy, a debtor, a duellist and a raconteur who lived the high life in Regency London and Paris. He was also a talented writer and his memoirs form the liveliest picture of Regency society ever produced.

A contemporary noted that Gronow 'committed the greatest follies, without in the slightest disturbing the points of his shirt collar.' An epitome of style, the personification of the man about town, he devoted his life to fashionable and exciting pursuits. And he lived in exciting times. He was a Waterloo veteran , knew the obnoxious Prince Regent, mixed…


Book cover of Wallflower

Stephen W. Bartlett Author Of The Bridal Prospectus

From my list on romance without sappy character introspection.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to write more than I like to read, but when I do read, I want to learn about other places and times besides my own. Since my own novels are contemporary fiction, it makes sense that historical fiction is my favorite category to read. Likewise, my interest in romance isn’t from unrequited love, but rather, a desire to explore the difficulties of choosing a life partner in our complicated world. (Even my detective novels contain romance!) But I don’t like sappy introspective thought processes, a variation of teen angst, and most readers of historical romance have this same aversion. So none of my recommendations will be that way. 

Stephen's book list on romance without sappy character introspection

Stephen W. Bartlett Why did Stephen love this book?

Oh yes. It’s another romance novel set in the Regency period. The Regency, only nine years in length, has spawned more romance novels than any other time in England’s history. So what’s so special about this one? Well, neither the girl nor the guy wants to get married but circumstances conspire to throw them together. I found their conversations to be spirited, meaning original and adversarial. It is delightful how they begin to genuinely like each other and lose their disdain for the institution of marriage. There are some lessons here for our modern days. 

By Catherine Gayle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The choice between adhering to a long-held pact and finally accepting love could prove Lady Tabitha Shelton’s unhinging. She is plump, plain, pleasant . . . and thoroughly unappealing to any of the men of the ton—apart from fortune hunters. A self-appointed wallflower, she has every intention of remaining one. Tabitha made a vow of spinsterhood with her cousins when they were girls, and she refuses to go back on her word. So far, she’s proven herself quite adept at warding off the blasted fortune hunters’ pursuits.

Noah deLancie, Marquess of Devonport, would prefer to marry for love and companionship—he’s…


Book cover of The First English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840

Melissa McShane Author Of Burning Bright

From my list on touring the unfamiliar corners of Regency England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the Regency era since first reading Jane Austen’s novels, but in writing my series of 19th-century adventure fantasies, I discovered there was so much more to the period than I’d ever dreamed. Though their culture and traditions aren’t like ours, I’m fascinated by how much about the lives of those men and women is familiar—the same desires, the same dreams for the future. I hope the books on this list inspire in you the same excitement they did in me!

Melissa's book list on touring the unfamiliar corners of Regency England

Melissa McShane Why did Melissa love this book?

Captain Gronow shed some light on the darker aspects of the Regency period, which was a time before law enforcement as we know it. But it wasn’t all bad—the Bow Street Runners were the start of a new era of policing. I was fascinated by the story of how these first detectives came to be and how much truth was behind the myth, especially since the myth has become a popular one for fiction writers in recent years.

By J. M. Beattie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The First English Detectives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first comprehensive study of the Bow Street Runners, a group of men established in the middle of the eighteenth century by Henry Fielding, with the financial support of the government, to confront violent offenders on the streets and highways around London. They were developed over the following decades by his half-brother, John Fielding, into what became a well-known and stable group of officers who acquired skill and expertise in investigating crime,
tracking and arresting offenders, and in presenting evidence at the Old Bailey, the main criminal court in London. They were, Beattie argues, detectives in all but…


Book cover of The White Forest

Clare Langley-Hawthorne Author Of Consequences of Sin

From my list on historical books to incorporate magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history buff I am also fascinated by folklore and magic, and how it has influenced society during various time periods. I love discovering writers who seamlessly manage to present a parallel magical universe grounded in actual history or who manage to incorporate fantastical or magical elements into a historical novel. Over the last few years I’ve been increasingly drawn to exploring the philosophical, magical, and spiritual underpinnings of society as part of my historical research. Although my own published works to date have been straight historical fiction, my current work in progress is definitely veering into the speculative, alternative history realm. 

Clare's book list on historical books to incorporate magic

Clare Langley-Hawthorne Why did Clare love this book?

Set in Victorian England, this novel is a sinister, gothic tale based on the ability of a young woman to read the souls of man-made objects and the disappearance of a young man drawn to the occult. I loved how this book was grounded in the real Victorian London and yet managed to incorporate gorgeously gothic supernatural elements as well as a love triangle involving well-drawn and believable characters. For me, the writing was what really drew me in and I have to admire anyone who can weave historical and fantastical elements as beautifully as this author. 

By Adam McOmber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this hauntingly original debut novel about a young woman whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society, Adam McOmber uses fantastical twists and dark turns to create a fast-paced, unforgettable story.

Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is…


Book cover of Edenbrooke

Jennifer Beckstrand Author Of His Amish Sweetheart

From my list on romance for people who hate romances.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love happy endings and happily-ever-afters. I love reading and writing books that make people happy, give them hope, and bring romance into their lives. Shakespeare’s plays inspired me to explore the ways a writer can convey strong emotions with the written word. One of the first romances I ever read was Pride and Prejudice, and it changed my life. It made me laugh, but it also taught me to believe in the power of love and the power of storytelling. I have written thirty-two romance novels. I like to spread the love!

Jennifer's book list on romance for people who hate romances

Jennifer Beckstrand Why did Jennifer love this book?

Edenbrooke is an easy read full of pure pleasure. This book explores innocence and idealistic love, and I adore it just for that reason. Last year I interviewed Julianne on my book club, and she talked about how since her divorce, she can’t write a book like Edenbrooke ever again. I told her that the innocence is what I love about her book. Most of us have moved past innocence, but we still like to visit that place and remember when love was young and fresh and new and we believed in the beauty of our dreams.

By Julianne Donaldson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Edenbrooke as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she'll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue…


Book cover of Murder on Black Swan Lane

Amy M. Reade Author Of Cape Menace: A Cape May Historical Mystery

From my list on mysteries that make you wish you had a time machine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a lover of historical mysteries ever since I realized it’s possible to read mystery fiction and learn history at the same time. Every time I pick up a mystery set in the past, whether it’s the ancient past, the more recent past, or somewhere in between, I know I’m going to be intrigued and challenged by a great story and come away with a greater understanding of the people, culture, customs, and events of that time period. It’s a win-win. I write historical mysteries because I want to share with readers what I’ve learned about a particular time or place in a way that’s compelling and engaging. 

Amy's book list on mysteries that make you wish you had a time machine

Amy M. Reade Why did Amy love this book?

This first-in-series book is set in Regency London, a place I would love to see via time machine (but only to visit—not to live there—because I like my creature comforts way too much).  

The two main characters, Charlotte Sloane and the Earl of Wrexford, are from different sides of the tracks, so to speak, but there is some evidence that Charlotte may have experienced affluence at one time. Charlotte and Wrexford team up to solve a murder for which Wrexford stands accused. Their witty dialogue, disparate strengths, and willingness to overlook the other’s shortcomings make this a great read. 

And the cover is gorgeous, isn’t it? 

By Andrea Penrose,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Murder on Black Swan Lane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Regency London, an unconventional scientist and a fearless female artist form an unlikely alliance to expose a cold-hearted killer . . .
 
The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behavior. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back. As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself…