Unless you’re a history buff, looking into the past can often be boring and meticulous, unless you happen to like romance. Historical romance is a genre of sexy, sultry trysts that are set during major historical time periods throughout the world. From dashing dukes and lords to ladies in waiting; these romances are sure to heat up even the chilliest night.
But with summer just around the corner, they’re a great option to take on a weekend getaway or a last-minute trip to the beach! So, take your pick of these top twelve historical romance reads and let us know which one was your favorite!
Bridgerton: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Set in England, this first installment of the series that practically plunged Netflix into the light porn industry has everything a reader wants in a historical romance. Intrigue, a secret plan that is sure to be found out, and plenty of steamy sexual tension. Daphne Bridgerton and Sam Basset are planning a ruse to keep him unmarried and find her a proper suitor. But what happens when she starts falling for the handsome Duke? While it might not be explicit, Bridgerton: The Duke and I is not to be missed.
The Charm School by Susan Wiggs
Taking place during the 1850s when the Fugitive Slave Law was in full effect; Wiggs spins a beautiful twist on the Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson. Her story involves a young spinster who is the outcast of her gorgeous family, and a rough and careless sea captain who is certainly the odd man out in his own family. When circumstances bring these two together, life will transform Isadora Peabody into the only woman Ryan Calhoun can’t let go. And with her own misfit Charm School from the Silver Swan, Isadora will finally find what her heart has been searching for.
Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen
When Captain Maximus Harcourt comes home to an obviously deceased and quite naked Earl tied unceremoniously to his sister’s bed, a sister who happens to be missing; he’s left with only one option. He must seek out Miss Ivory Moore, who is known for all but erasing the most devastating scandals. Duke of My Heart is sure to keep you guessing even as it sweeps you away on the waves of romance.
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Imagine dreaming of a fairytale prince, only to have your hopes of love dashed by time. Isolde Ophelia Goodnight is twenty-six and long ago put away her hopes of a fairytale romance. At the rate she’s going, she’ll settle for the necessities of life. But love might still have a place and a prince for this dreamer and by Romancing the Duke; Ophelia may just find where she belongs.
Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin
Set in 8th Century China during the Tang Dynasty, this culturally rich romance has a little of everything for a well-rounded reader. Action, suspense and obviously love fill the pages as the tale of Ryam and Princess Ai Li unfolds. Ryam is a strange man in a strange, harsh, and often unwelcoming land. His looks and demeanor make him an outcast, but Princess Ai Li is drawn to him like iron to a magnet. He too is drawn to her female essence for much more primal reasons, but the instinct to protect her drives him to risk life and limb for the young woman. Read the first chapter here, and Butterfly Swords is available on Amazon and Goodreads.
The Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
In this wickedly good enemies to lovers’ historical romance, Phoebe, who goes by Lady Clare holds a grudge against a man who made her late husband’s school years a misery. Hellbent on never forgiving the man, she’s forced to reevaluate her principles when she comes face-to-face with West Ravenal at a family wedding.
How can she hold unforgiveness toward a man who so quickly and unabashedly awakens the woman she is inside? Full of sensual heat and electric passion, The Devil’s Daughter will have you burning from the start.
Brothers of the Wild North Sea by Harper Fox
Caius is a hot-blooded Christian monk who learns fast and loves fiercely. When his best friend and lover, Leoff is killed in a Viking raid; Caius wants revenge, badly. But when he’s given the chance to take that revenge on a young Viking, Fenrir, who was left for dead; he uses his skills to heal the lad instead. As time moves on, both Cai and Fen feel a stirring attraction, but Fen is called back to his tribe, to continue the search for Fara-a power that would make his people unstoppable. Can Cai and Fen keep their love strong when their people want to tear each other apart? Find out in Brothers of the Wild North Sea, available at several online retailers including Amazon and Goodreads.
The Ladies Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
Catherine St. Day needs a translator to help her sort out her late husband’s text so she can finalize his last project and settle down to the quiet of her widow’s life. Lucy Muchelney needs to be anywhere but at her ex-lover’s wedding and when she finds a letter from the Countess, seeking a French translator; Lucy knows what to do. Showing up at the Countess’ London home is a bold move, but Lucy has little choice and pleads with Catherine to be allowed to stay.
When Catherine agrees to let the girl stay, she doesn’t expect the wickedly strong attraction she feels and is forced to see herself and Lucy in a different light. Lucy invites the attraction and soon the two are inseparable, but when sabotage and old wounds creep up will the two women come through unscathed. Check out The Ladies Guide to Celestial Mechanics to find out!
Born to Be Wilde by Eloisa James
Book three in the Wilde’s of Lindow Castle doesn’t disappoint as Eloisa James brings the past into the present with rich clarity. When Lavinia Gray’s marriage proposal gets turned down by the enigmatic Parth Sterling, she doesn’t think life can get much worse.
Parth takes pity on the socialite and promises to not only find her a husband, but a prince. The trouble he doesn’t see coming is that Lavinia Gray has a lot to offer and he’s starting to want her for himself. When push comes to shove, can Parth really let Lavinia go, or will he claim the woman who seems so wrong, because she feels so right? Born to be Wilde will keep you on the edge of your seat when these two get together.
Venus in Winter by Gillian Bagwell
Based on the life of a real woman, Venus in Winter will tell the tale of Bess of Hardwick. Widowed four times Venus ends up in the court of King Henry VIII. Knowing the fate of his previous wives, Bess is summarily convinced that marriage is dangerous. Still, she does wed and when her husband dies, she weds again and again. When her third husband dies, Bess is left with both property and prestige, but will she wed again or spend her widowed years quietly alone? Venus in Winter will give you a glimpse of what it must have been like to marry repeatedly in 16th Century England.
Come From Away by Genevieve Graham
It’s 1939 and Grace Baker stays in Nova Scotia to tend to her family’s small store while her three brothers suit up and ship off to fight in WWII. Three years later, as the fighting continues, Grace meets Rudi, a trapper from away-or at least that’s what she’s told. When the truth comes out, Grace will have to decide who she stands with and what she stands for. Secrets and silence ring out in Come From Away, a heartstring romance set against the backdrop of World War Two.
The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
Minerva Lane doesn’t like the spotlight. It hasn’t treated her well and she prefers the quiet life of a spinster. Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, however, has other plans. When Minerva discovers his aspirations, he becomes determined to put the wallflower on display and bare all her secrets, before she can dig any deeper into his.
The Duchess War will pit the wiles and intelligence of a beautiful young woman against the audacity and arrogance of a Duke, perhaps they can both come out winners.
Summer Sun and Reading Fun Await in 2022
This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list of historical romance, and a quick Google search will provide you with countless options, time periods and loves. This list will, however, get you headed in the right direction and will give you hours of tempting Dukes and daring Duchess’. Enjoy!
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This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Image Credit: Netflix.