Hi romance friends!
It’s November and the season of gratitude (and this year, maybe, healing?), so I thought I’d take the month to introduce you to some of my romance community friends who have very pro-romance sites or platforms and who love the genre as deeply as I do. This November I’ve asked them to share some of their favorite titles from 2016. This week it’s Historical romance:
***PJ Ausdenmore is a great and long-time friend of romance at The Romance Dish. Some PJ historical faves this year:
Claiming Her by Kris Kennedy is historical romance at its finest. This exquisitely written Medieval romance pairs Lady Katarina, a strong heroine determined to hold the Irish barony of Rardove for the English Queen, and the equally determined Aodh, a sensual, renegade Irish warrior on a quest to reclaim the family lands that should rightfully be his, not by force but by wooing both Katarina and the people of Rardove to his side. Though, by the end, Aodh may be the one who is wooed. With action, intrigue, sizzling passion, a heroine worthy of admiration and a hero many a reader will be dreaming about, Claiming Her is a story that should not be missed.
Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare marries two of the author’s series in a delightful Regency romp pairing an adorably charming heroine with a thirst for adventure, no interest in marriage, and a determination to outwit her matchmaking mama with a sigh-worthy former diplomat (and secret spy) who discovers he’s willing to fight to win the woman he loves. Dare expertly balances humor and emotion along with her superb storytelling skills and perfect comedic timing to deliver an all-encompassing, heart-tugging, feel-good romance that will elicit tears, laughter, and much joy. This is a book I will enjoy reading again and again…and again.
Joanna Shupe brings the changing social and economic landscape of New York City’s Gilded Age to vivid life in her compelling, cross-class romance, Magnate. An intelligent woman with a keen financial mind, raised in the lap of luxury among the city’s elite, wants more from life than what society allows. A rough, self-made billionaire, raised in the stews of the city, may be her only gateway to the realization of her dreams. Both have their own reasons for the business pact they strike. Neither is ready for the physical chemistry nor the gradually deepening feelings that occur when a scandal forces them into marriage. Shupe’s superbly written MAGNATE hits all the right notes and has me eagerly anticipating more Gilded Age stories from this talented author.
***Kim Lowe from the SOS Aloha blog is another long-time blogger and romance fan. Kim’s 2016 Historical picks:
I’m a sucker for a “road trip” embedded in a romance novel, especially if it is a historical romance with unspoiled landscape to appreciate.
In Cathy Maxwell’s The Match of the Century, the bride’s road trip to her wedding is interrupted by nefarious individuals. Running for her life, she stumbles across Ben, her childhood crush (and the groom’s brother) for safety. Maxwell explores peer pressure, family relationships, and discovering self-worth. She adds a dash of Regency pageantry, Gothic mystery, and her own trademark humor for a page turning adventure.
Duke of Sin gives Elizabeth Hoyt the opportunity to reform a long standing villain from her Maiden Lane series. Or does she? Hoyt is a master storyteller. Her writing is rich, decadent, and delicious, much like dark chocolate. Alas, the hero is dark chocolate personified – a wicked duke who finds himself intrigued by his uptight housekeeper who has a few secrets tucked under her mob cap. He sweeps her away to a countryside castle to discover those secrets. Does the heroine’s love inspire the hero to redeem himself? You'll have to read DUKE OF SIN to make your own judgment.
A train ride to Lizard Bay, Cornwall throws together a Lord who bought a broken down cottage and the Lady who inherited the same cottage from her spinster aunt in The Spinter’s Guide to Scandalous Behavior. Jennifer McQuiston delivers a heartfelt romance between two unpretentious members of the ton who are adrift from their peers. The disputed cottage allows them to find purpose in their lives … and love with each other. The crème de la crème is McQuiston's vivid descriptions of the physical landscape and the local culture within Lizard Bay.
***Lynne Wall is a Reference Associate and Readers’ Advisory with the Aurora Public Library (Chicago-area) and huge romance fan. Her rec’s:
I’m grateful for the Revolutionary War Romance Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole.
I got caught up in this novella from page one. Elijah Sutton and Kate meet in a life threatening situation. Elijah has joined the Patriots because of a promise of freedom from slavery. Kate has given her loyalties to the British for the promise of freedom and a life away from the American soil she despises.
Amidst the harshness of slavery and war, Cole pens a passionate love story between Elijah and Kate. On opposite sides of war, their attraction grows to mutual desire, even as Kate’s actions cause Elijah to be captured by the British. (There is a particularly clever passage where Elijah, a master horseman, relates falling in love to horse training.)
Elijah and Kate face imminent danger with their every move, and I could not read fast enough. One of them has to change their mind about loyalties—to the Patriots or to the Crown—though they each may have to choose each other first.
This is the first Revolutionary war romance I have read coming from the perspective of slaves. I will definitely be reading more by Alyssa Cole.
I’m grateful for Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins. The first title in her Old West series follows Eddy Carmichael and Rhine Fontaine as they navigate perilous and uncertain times for people of race in post-civil war America. Rhine first encounters Eddy in the desert, dying. He brings her to his establishment to heal. His success in life is dependent on his passing for white. Headstrong Eddy is determined to make it to California where she dreams of opening her own restaurant. Yet once they acknowledge the irresistible pull between them, they begin to question their choices. What good is the life you want without the woman you want? Do you follow your dream or give in to a forbidden love?
Jenkins is a Master at writing historical romance. Her heroes are rough and romantic and her heroines are sassy, strong and always makin’ a way outta no way.
The second installment in the series, Breathless, releases in January.
*** Last but not least, Scandal from Scandalicious Book Reviews - a little newer to the scene, but a great addition with her handful of reviewers, podcasts and occasional videos. Scandy says:
I took a bit of a break from Historicals this year, so I don’t have a lot to add - but I HIGHLY recommend Angela Quarles’ Time Travel Romance series (Must Love Breeches/Chainmail/Kilts). Very fun and great reads!
So there are some awesome recommendations from some pro-romance friends! What were some of your favorite Historical reads this year?