Since we’re celebrating Women’s History Month, it seems like a good time to recommend a few historical romance reads.
I just love historical romance!
I haven’t yet finished listening to Hello, Stranger by Lisa Kleypas (among the creme de la creme of authors), so I thought I’d mention some other authors and titles I’ve really enjoyed recently.
I just love Shana Galen and she keeps getting better and better. Her Survivors series is endearing, a winning combination of humor, suspense, friendship and romance. In her recent release, No Earls Allowed (read the starred review here), Lady Juliana runs an orphanage for the Regency equivalent of at-risk boys in a problematic neighborhood. When her father hires an ex military officer, Neil, to bring her home, she proves to be more stubborn than he is, and somehow ropes him into living at the orphanage and his military friends into helping protect it. Soon he’s putting the place in order and teaching the boys life lessons, all with the intention of convincing her to leave. Except the more time he spends there, the more he realizes he wants to stay.
It’s a lovely book with a sprawling cast that imbues the story with a sense of warmth and community, qualities that only hook the reader more deeply and make the book emotionally richer, beyond the completely satisfying romance.
Laura Lee Gurkhe’s The Trouble With True Love (review here) is another delightful historical. Clara Deverill takes over her family’s paper while her sister is on an extended honeymoon, and does a fine job except for the Lady Truelove advice column. She overhears a gentleman giving advice to a friend and uses the conversation as the jumping point for a column, but things get a little complicated when the gentleman realizes it and lets her know he’s unhappy. The confrontation makes it clear, however, that he needs money and she’s willing to pay him—a lot—to do the column. Then they fall in love, and at first don’t realize it themselves, and then don’t trust the other to love them back. Truly fun and touching, with a little feminist awakening for both of them in there.
Finally, if you like sweet (i.e. no sex) historical romance that’s really well-written and often deals with interesting, out-of-the-box issues, let me recommend a lovely little romance press, Shadow Mountain Proper Romance. I’ve read a few of their titles and they’re really worth checking out, especially if you’re looking for something a little different, and definitely if you’re looking for less sexually intense historical reads.
A recent release of theirs I really enjoyed was Sarah M. Eden’s Ashes On The Moor (review), which starts out in a dark place—a woman loses practically her whole family and is sent to teach in a York mining village—but turns inspiring after she winds up becoming an advocate for the town and for their struggle to maintain their Yorkshire dialect. An Irish mason and his struggling son (who would likely identify as on the autism spectrum today) burrow into her heart despite a prickly beginning, adding a sweetly romantic dimension to the book, but the multi-layered story seamlessly delves into industrialism, the powerlessness of women, the British condescension toward poverty and The Other (in this case, the Irish and Yorkshire) and other interesting facets of the complicated Victorian era.
The book is a thought-provoking and emotionally intense read, and I recommend it to readers who don’t mind a story that has to wade through devastating circumstances at the start, to find the story’s light.
Happy Reading! What historical are you paying attention to this Women’s History Month?
(I hope you’re visiting every day with the author hosts at The Romance of Reading page!)