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Historical Romance

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What Is Historical Romance?

The genre has been around for a long time, first becoming popular in the early 19th century. Historical romance books take place in the past. In addition to the historical setting, the plot focuses on developing romance for the main character.

Several sub-genres of historical fiction are typically labeled according to period. From ancient civilizations to modern America, just about every period of history has inspired more than a few romance novels. For example, Regency and Victorian historical romances have become mainstays of romantic literature.

Who Are Some of the Best Authors of Historical Romance?

If you want to start at the very beginning, with the authors who got the ball rolling, Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen are widely considered the best early writers in this genre. Fortunately, there are many talented authors still putting pen to paper today, such as:

  • Diana Gabaldon: An American author who blends romance, science fiction, and fantasy.
  • Johanna Lindsey: A writer of 50 novels, Lindsey's books explore medieval, Regency, western, and Viking settings.
  • Phillipa Gregory: This English novelist specializes in romantic fiction set in the Tudor period.
  • Jean Plaidy: The pen name for Eleanor Alice Burford, her books span French, Italian, and English history.
  • Nora Roberts: Roberts may very well be the queen of romantic literature, as her novels regularly sit at the top of the New York Times Best Seller List.
  • Laura Esquivel: This Mexican writer combines magical realism with her historical romances.

What Are Some of the Best Historical Romance Novels?

If you're looking for a historical romance book to read, plunge right in. The best way to find one you like is to try out a variety of authors and time periods. Consider the following titles to kick off your historical romance novels journey:

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: This is the book that spawned many sequels and a TV series. It takes place in post-WWII England and 18th century Scotland and is full of swashbuckling adventure and plenty of romance.
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: If you'd like something a little different, give this book a try. The setting is a circus, and the characters are magicians. There's plenty of intrigue, sparkle, and young love.
  3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: For readers who like classics and are in it for the long haul, you can't beat Tolstoy. He's at his best here with this story of the tragic love affair between Anna and Count Vronsky.
  4. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory: You can choose any book by Gregory, really, and have an enjoyable read. This one was made into an acclaimed miniseries.
  5. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough: This sweeping epic about forbidden love set in the Australian Outback has captured the hearts of generations of readers. It is also a well-loved miniseries from 1983.
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: No historical romance novel list could be complete without this classic gem. This is the original Regency novel that started a 200-year long affair with the genre. When you're finished with this one, read Austen's other titles.
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