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I don’t gravitate to contemporaries in general, so I don’t tend to read romances. I prefer my romances to be within the fantasy/paranormal genres.
However, I do think there is something charming about historical romances and want to read a lot more. I don’t tend to notice the Goodreads articles, but, I saw one called “Readers’ Top 100 Romances of the Past Three Years“* and skipped straight to the Historical Romance section. A handful of the books have a magical element, but most are the standard historical romance without.
In the list of 100, 24 are historical. And out of those 24, I have read 1 – A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin, which I gave 3⭐~ (goodreads rating: 3.94 || published: 2022).
I’m giving myself a challenge of reading as many of these books in the next three months! I say some as several of the books are part of series and while I know quite a few historical series don’t need to be read in order, I just can’t do that 😂 (which means I have a lot of Lisa Kleypas books to get through).
In this post, I’m going to go through the different books^ and some thoughts I have, with a brief blurbs of the books I own as they are the priorities (all book titles will link to their Goodreads page).
BOOKS I OWN
The Midnight Bargain; C.L. Polk (goodreads rating: 3.76 || published: 2020)
Beatrice Clayborn’s family have severe debt, so she needs to secure a wealthy man. However, in a world where marriage locks a woman’s power, Beatrice dreams of becoming a Magus.
This has such a lovely cover and I like how parts of the premise are historical fiction staples (needing a rich husband), the stakes are much more interesting when you add in the magical elements. It also means that there may be a lot more angst that I’m necessarily used to.
Reputation; Lex Croucher (goodreads rating: 3.72 || published: 2021)
After being abandoned by her parents, Georgina Ellers is forced to move to a new town to live relatives. Now lonely and vulnerable, she falls in with Frances Campbell and her “improper friends”.
I’ve seen this a lot every time I go into Waterstones. The cover I have is a lot prettier and it gives off that it will be fun, absurd and Mean Girl-esque. I know when not to take something seriously, so I hope it will be a really enjoyable read.
A Lady For a Duke; Alexis Hall (goodreads rating: 4.13 || published: 2022)
Viola Carroll was able to finally live as her herself after being presumed dead at Waterloo. Years later, she discovers that her closest friend, Justin de Vere, was shattered with grief by her death. After learning of this, Viola strives to return him to his former self.
I’m not sure why I haven’t heard more people talk about this book. A Lady for a Duke has a trans woman main character and from the reviews I’ve read there is a happily every after for her ♥ It is on the long side – around 450 pages – so my only real worry is that there’s a lot of room for unnecessary drama. I’m still very excited to get to this though!
Do I need to start new series? No, but am I going to? Yes!
first book in a series
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels; India Holton (goodreads rating: 3.72 || published: 2021)
The Wisteria Society is a crime sorority that is in danger from Captain Morvath who intends to rid England of all its presumptuous woman. Ned Lightbourne is employed to assassinate Cecilia Bassingwaite – a prolific thief – who he just so happens to be smitten with. And of course, Cecilia is hardly going to go down without a fight.
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is the first book in the Dangerous Damsels series. It sounds like it’s going to be action packed and I’m assuming there’ll be lots of witty banter between our mains. The sequel is also on this Goodreads list – The League of Gentlewomen Witches (goodreads rating: 3.99 || published: 2022) – which I don’t yet own and I’m not as interested in as I don’t really know how I feel about pirates!
Half a Soul; Olivia Atwater (goodreads rating:4.16 || published: 2020)
Prone to accidental scandal, due to a faerie curse taking away her sense of fear and embarrassment, Theodora Ettings just wants to be a wallflower during this years London Season. However, her hopes are dashed when Lord Sorcier draws her into dangerous faerie affairs.
Half a Soul is the first book in the Regency Faerie Tales series.
I’m interested to seeing how Theodora’s curse will play into the plot of the book and her relationship with the love interest. Lord Sorcier is the least liked man in high society, so I’m very intrigued to discover why and if this will give “reformed rake” vibes, which I love. Or if it will be that Theodora brings out his good side, another trope I enjoy.
Something Fabulous; Alexis Hall (goodreads rating: 3.62 || published: 2022)
Valentine Layton just wants a simple life, however, his father’s hope of him marrying Arabella Tarleton throws everything into chaos. Arabella’s response to his proposal is to flee, and her twin brother Bonny has the firm expectation that Valentine should chase after her. Thus, Valentine is forced on a journey he doesn’t want to take, accompanied by an unreasonable and dramatic man he finds annoying, but also beautiful.
Something Fabulous is the first book in the same name series and another book by Alexis Hall on this list. I very much anticipate seeing myself empathising with Valentine and hopefully, there will be lots of fun dialogue between the very different personalities of our leads. I will say, I have heard some things about Bonny’s behaviour being just plain mean that has made me less excited about picking it up.
Slippery Creatures; K.J. Charles (goodreads rating: 4.07 || published: 2020)
Set in the 1920’s Will Darling’s life finally has purpose after the Great War disrupted the world, when he inherits his uncle’s second hand bookshop. This blessing soon turns sour, when he starts getting threats for information he doesn’t have. With no one to turn to, Kim Secretan comes into his life to offer help. Mutual desire grows between the pair, but there’s more to Kim than meets the eye.
Slippery Creatures is the first book in The Will Darling Adventures trilogy.
I’ve read K.J. Charles’ A Charm of Magpies series, which I enjoyed, so I’m expecting Slippery Creatures to have great dialogue and for the plot to have lots of twists and intriguing elements. I’m definitely excited for this and will most likely read the whole trilogy back to back.
book within a series
Chasing Cassandra (goodreads rating: 4.14 || published: 2020) + Devil in Disguise (goodreads rating: 4.02 || published: 2021); Lisa Kleypas
Chasing Cassandra and Devil in Disguise are books 6 and 7 in the Ravenels series. I own all the books and my reading plans will most likely see Lisa Kleypas as my most read author this year! The Ravenels are an eccentric high society family and each book follows the love story of a different family member.
I really enjoyed the Wallflower series, so I’m excited to read more books set in Victorian England~
Daring and the Duke; Sarah MacLean (goodreads rating: 3.77 || published: 2020)
Daring and the Duke is the last book in the Bareknuckle Bastards trilogy. Each book follows a different brother and the women who “brings them to their knees”.
It seems that all these books are much more rooted in rich people being involved in the darker and dangerous underbelly of London. It’s not neccessarily something I would gravitate towards, however, I do think that Sarah MacLean is a popular historical romance author and I’m intrigued!
BOOKS I DON’T OWN (yet… maybe)
published in 2020
- A Rogue of One’s Own; Evie Dunmore – A League of Extraordinary Women #2 (goodreads rating: 4.03)
- First Comes Scandal; Julia Quinn – Rokesbys #4 (goodreads rating: 3.83)
- Sea of Ruin; Pam Godwin – Sea of Ruin #1 (goodreads rating: 4.01)
A Rogue of One’s Own is the only one on this list that sounds interesting to me. I doubt I’d ever read First Comes Scandal, even though Nicholas might be a total cutie, as I don’t really plan reading any of the Bridgerton books…
published in 2021
- Portrait of a Scotsman; Evie Dunmore – A League of Extraordinary Women #3 (goodreads rating: 3.88)
- To Love and to Loathe; Martha Waters – The Regency Vows #2 (goodreads rating: 3.51)
- Never Fall for Your Fiancée; Virginia Heath – The Merriwell Sisters #1 (goodreads rating: 3.57)
- Bombshell; Sarah MacLean – Hell’s Belles #1 (goodreads ratings: 3.80)
- The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry; C.M. Waggoner (goodreads rating: 3.79)
- The Queer Principle of Kit Webb; Cat Sebastian – London Highwaymen #1 (goodreads rating: 3.91)
- The Heiress Gets a Duke; Harper St. George – The Gilded Age Heiresses #1 (goodreads rating: 3.79)
This is a long list of books that I don’t own that came out in 2021, and quite a few sound really interesting! Portrait of a Scotsman sounds fun and cute, while The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry sounds action packed and I love the premise of female bodyguards and them falling in love ♥
published in 2022
- The League of Gentlewomen Witches; India Holton – Dangerous Damsels #2 (goodreads rating: 3.99)
- Always Be My Duchess; Amalie Howards – Taming of the Dukes #1 (goodreads rating: 3.69)
- To Marry and to Meddle; Martha Waters – The Regency Vows #3 (goodreads rating: 3.69)
These are ones that may not be read this summer, but Always Be My Duchess does sound like a fun fake dating ride that I’ll get to eventually.
What are your thoughts on these books? What should I definitely read?
Thank you for reading!
I hope you’re having a lovely day and staying safe ♥
*the article was posted by Sharon on the 7th of February 2023
^the covers are the ones used in the article and don’t necessarily match the UK cover I own and the goodreads rating is correct at time of posting (24.04.23).