At some point in high school I picked up what must have been either a Johanna Lindsey or a Kathleen E. Woodiwiss novel, and a lover of historical romance was born. It’s what I read almost (but not quite) exclusively, so when Shonda Rhimes optioned Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series I was ready. Regency romances are something I can discuss for hours, and I’m excited to welcome everyone new to the genre into the fold.
Before we dive in, I should probably mention that any historical romance more than 20 years old has a decent chance of being problematic by today’s standards. The authors I’m sharing today tend to sacrifice a bit of historical accuracy for the sake of being more in line with modern standards.
Oh, and while you’re here, check out my Bridgerton review!
Bridgerton is based on the first book in the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. There are a total of eight novels, one collection of what Quinn calls “Second Epilogues,” two novellas, and Quinn’s current series, a collection of Bridgerton prequels. (The prequels feature an earlier generation of the Bridgerton family and do not overlap with the original collection of novels.)
Each Bridgerton sibling gets their own HEA (Happily Ever After) in one of the original eight novels. If you’re a fan of the series looking for books, then this is the obvious place to start.
I’m always going to recommend starting in order with a book series, but all of them are written as stand-alone works, so you can read them in any order. Just know that subjects you to spoilers. (Although, in the world of historical romance novels, HEAs are a given, so how spoiled can you get?)
Season one of Bridgerton (calling it season one, because let’s face it, we know season two is coming) is based on The Duke & I. That’s followed by The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer From a Gentleman, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, To Sir Phillip, With Love, When He Was Wicked, It’s In His Kiss, and On The Way To The Wedding.
All credit goes to Lisa Kleypas for introducing me to Julia Quinn when she recommended The Duke & I in an old post on her website. We’re talking about the dark days of the internet, a good 20 or so years ago. Lisa Kleypas is one of the only authors who can get me to read modern romance, but her historicals will always be my favorites.
The Wallflowers is a series about four friends (two of whom are sisters) who meet because they are relegated to the corners of ballrooms when they’re out in society. They form a bond and are determined to help each other find husbands no matter what it takes.
The series begins with Secrets of a Summer Night, then continues with It Happened One Autumn, Devil In Winter (my favorite), and finishing up with A Scandal in Spring. There’s also A Wallflower Christmas featuring the brother of the Bowman sisters featured in It Happened One Autumn and A Scandal In Spring.
Kleypas lets her characters bookhop, so you’ll find many of them featured in other novels.
Tessa Dare is another author on my must read list. Although I can’t claim to have read everything she’s ever written, I’ve certainly read most of it.
Spindle Cove – or Spinster’s Cove as it’s sometimes called – is the seaside resort featured in a expansive series of novels and novellas from Dare.
It begins with A Night to Surrender, followed by Once Upon a Winter’s Eve (a novella), A Week To Be Wicked, A Lady By Midnight, Beauty and the Blacksmith (a novella), Any Duchess Will Do, Lord Dashwood Missed Out (a novella), and Do You Want To Start A Scandal (which is a crossover with her Castles Ever After series), Love Letters from a Lord, a Spindle Cove novella, is set for release July 6, 2021.
Rescued From Ruin
I think I found Elisa Braden via an Amazon recommendation and I’m forever grateful. From her debut novel I was hooked, and I only wish she could write a little faster because I’m always far too eager for her next book.
In the Rescued From Ruin series we meet the Lacey family, who feature heavily throughout the series, as well as lots of other fun characters who all share the common issue of avoiding a potential scandal.
The series begins with The Madness of Viscount Atherbourne, then continues with The Truth About Cads and Dukes, Desperately Seeking A Scandal, The Devil Is A Marquess, When A Girl Loves An Earl, Twelve Nights As His Mistress (a novella), Confessions of a Dangerous Lord, Anything But A Gentleman, A Marriage Made In Scandal, and A Kiss From A Rouge. There’s also Ever Yours, Annabelle, a prequel novella.
Braden’s new series, Midnight In Scotland, contains characters from the Rescued From Ruin series and is every bit as good.
More Historical Romance Authors To Try
If these series haven’t given you enough to enjoy, I’d also recommend Jess Michaels, Courtney Milan, Jennifer McQuiston, and Christi Caldwell. If you still need recommendations? Hit me up…I can go on and on and on…