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Family Dynasties

Most Memorable Family Dynasty in Romance

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I was reading the latest Stephanie Laurens ARC, The Untamed Bride, (giveaway for which runs tomorrow) and got to thinking about Ms. Laurens’ writing history and her (in)famous Cynster books. She must love the Cynsters because even the prelude to the upcoming historical quartet reference Devil Cynster. Laurens has penned 15 novels about the Cynsters compared to only 8 titles for the Malorys by Johanna Lindsey. My list above contains only those series that have 5 or greater books in it pertaining to one family. Laurens’ Cynsters are my most memorable romance dynasty. Which one is yours?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. kellykrysten
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 13:59:25

    The Malorys are definitely my most memorable family dynasty. I think this is because Johanna Lindsey romances were the first I ever read. And the Mallory books are still coming. Although, they should be called Andersen books at this point.

    Is SL still writing Cynster books? Have to admit that I’m hesitant to begin this series. 15 books sounds very daunting.

    The Bridgertons were pretty memorable, too.

  2. library addict
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:01:57

    I voted other.

    Nora Roberts’ the Stanislaskis or MacGregors come to mind as the most memorable for me. Though I loved the first few books in Linda Howard’s MacKenzie series I didn’t like the later ones.

    Also, Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons, but they may not be considered a dynasty since the books only involved one generation of their family.

  3. Jane
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:07:13

    @library addict – egads, how could I forget The Bridgertons.

  4. Barb
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:07:57

    I voted “other” because I can’t believe that you left out La Nora’s MacGregors! That series covered 9 or 10 (or more) books as originally published. Or did you DQ them because they were Silhouettes?

  5. Twitted by Pearl_ROOB
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:09:32

    […] This post was Twitted by Pearl_ROOB […]

  6. Maili
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:10:54

    Jude Deveraux’s Montgomery series (don’t know Taggert books well). I think there are about 20 books altogether.

  7. Sara Lindsey
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:12:28

    The Malorys, Mallorens and Bridgertons are all faves!
    Catherine Coulter’s Sherbrookes are also fabulous! There are at least seven in that series, I think.
    And although there are only 3 books, Woodiwiss’ Birminghams make a very lasting impression.
    Lyndsay Sands’ Argeneau series is another great family series.
    Can you tell I like revisiting old friends?

  8. Keri Ford
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:17:27

    Voted other for: Gaelen Foley’s Knight family. 10bks in all. All are wonderful.

  9. joanne
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:20:04

    Not because they were my most memorable reads but because the whole family, and therefore their books, were just nice characters: The Bridgertons.

  10. Tammy
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:21:12

    Most memorable for me is Nora’s MacGregor family.

  11. DS
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:30:34

    I voted other for Heyer’s Alastairs– These Old Shades, Devil’s Cub and Infamous Army — with Regency Buck as another book that show be read in the set– not about the Alistairs but containing other characters who show up in Infamous Army.

  12. Ellie
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:33:49

    Lindsey’s the Malorys. These are the most memorable to me, probably because they were among the first romance novels I read.

  13. Nifty
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:42:28

    I’m another who thought instantly of the MacGregors (Nora Roberts).

  14. Julia
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:42:48

    Right now Bridgertons, but I was a Malory fan before that. But before that, and before I discovered how much better and more sensical romance novels can be, I was a Montgomery/Taggert fan.

  15. LaurieF
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:48:01

    I chose the Bridgerton’s because I loved every book in the series
    and I appreciated that when each family member had their own book
    (the eight siblings) the series was done. I’ve read and enjoyed books
    by all of the authors in the survey (except the Bedwyn’s…shudder).
    However IMO most have gone past their expiry date. Not to say these
    authors aren’t still writing good books it’s that they’re also writing not
    so good books. When you read one that’s good than a couple that aren’t
    you end up giving up on the author.

  16. Sarah
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 14:54:08

    I can’t believe the Bridgertons are winning. I find those stories utterly forgettable.

  17. daisy
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 15:08:10

    I chose the Donovan’s – not only are they great books and Lowell a very talented author, but she is an author who knows when to quit a good thing. Most of the others (well, the Malory’s and Montgomery’s anyway) were good books to begin with, but have since gone way downhill IMO, which unfortunately spoils the whole series for me.

    Lowell wrote four very good books and then moved on, but she gives us glimpses of the Donovan’s in her other books which makes me happy. Besides which, I had to vote for Archer Donovan, he is the man I have been searching my whole life to find – too bad he doesn’t exist outside a book.

  18. lijakaca
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 15:11:29

    I voted for the Mallorens because it’s the only ‘family series’ in which I read all the books and the characters are all different – not just the plot. The Cynster main characters started resembling each other within 3 books IMO, and the Bridgertons were alright but for some reason don’t leave me with lasting impressions.

  19. Evangeline
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 15:15:28

    What about Brenda Joyce’s Braggs, Delanzas and de Warennes?

  20. Sandy James
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 15:16:35

    Linda Lael-Miller has had quite a good run with her McKettrick family.

    @ Maili

    Jude Deveraux's Montgomery series (don't know Taggert books well). I think there are about 20 books altogether.

    I love all the Montgomery and Taggert stories too, and Deveraux takes them from the very beginning with The Black Lion to present day with Sweet Liar. Love ’em all.

  21. Lori S.
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 16:19:43

    Would Diana Gabaldon’s Fraser family count as a dynasty?

  22. Bonnie
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 16:34:22

    Whoa!! Nora Roberts is not listed????

    I’ll say the MacGregors, first.

    But, Linda Howard’s McKenzies next.

    Both delicious!

  23. Bev Stephans
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 16:59:39

    Linda Howard’s “Mackenzies” are my favorite, but Nora’s “MacGregors” and Linda Lael Miller’s “McKettricks” are tied for 2nd.

    A lot of the series you listed I’ve never read and I don’t plan to as my TBR pile is so big, I’m not sure that I’ll ever finish reading all of them.

  24. Kim
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 17:27:04

    I can’t believe that Deveraux’s Montgomery/Taggert dynasty didn’t make it. They’re the classic family series. Though her recent books have been very disappointing, I was introduced to romance through this series. I’m feeling old (at 33!).

  25. theo
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 18:19:36


    And I loved the extended endings as well.

  26. medumb
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 18:20:40

    I am with a couple of other posters, the Malorys were the first non-category romances I read as a kid and let me tell you I inhaled them. And actually managed to re-read and enjoy a couple of them a few years ago, which for me a non-rereader is fairly big.

    Second props has to go to Deveraux’s Montgomery/Taggert books, they were inhaled not that long after I read the Malorys.

  27. ASable
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 18:21:54

    I voted “Other” because Nora Roberts’ MacGregors is my sentimental favorite. From the list, I would choose Lowell’s Donovans–another fave from my younger days.

  28. Ember
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 18:28:32

    MacGregors was my first thought too, and Mackenzies right behind.

  29. Janine
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 19:27:52

    I voted for the Malorys though I think if Deveraux’s Montgomery/Taggert had been offered as a choice, I would have voted for that. The Deveraux series has the distinction of being the first series about a family that I ever read (I started with the Velvet books) and I wonder if it wasn’t also the first family dynasty in the modern romance genre. There are over 20 books in the series, I believe. A Knight in Shining Armor is one of them, and that book is nothing if not memorable.

  30. Danielle
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 20:22:28

    I still love the Cynsters but I also loved the Malorys and the Bedwyns.

    The MacKenzie’s are in a class by themselves — I love that entire family.

  31. Diana
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 20:45:29

    For me, it’s Jude Deveraux’s Montgomery family. Hers were the first romance novels I ever read, and the reason I fell in love with the genre.

    Kim: you and I must have picked up one of her books on the same day – I’m 33, as well!

  32. Mo
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 21:36:11

    Like other who posted I voted “Other” because of Nora Roberts' MacGregors. I was very surprised not to see her on the list.

  33. Ros
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 02:42:12

    Definitely the Alastairs. Justin Alastair heads up his dynasty with fearsome intelligence, style and lack of morals. His son Dominic is the most delicious rake ever written. Dominic’s granddaughter Bab is a charmingly outrageous flirt in Brussels on the eve of Waterloo. All their assorted others – Rupert, Fanny, Juliana, Leonie, Mary, Charles and more are wickedly and wonderfully realised characters.

  34. Janet W
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 06:31:29

    Yes to the Alastairs and the MacGregors — there’s a blog over on AAR about Bad Boys and who ya gonna call for the Baddest Boy of All? Dominic, Justin’s son.

    But after much thought, I voted for Jo Beverley’s Mallorens. Like the boys of Robert’s Chesapeake Bay series (off by one book), each member of the family weaves in and out of the other stories. They don’t fade off (like the Cynsters) and they don’t just pop in and walk on stage, like many of the Julia Quinn siblings do. The first four Bridgerton books are, imo, the most closely family oriented stories. Their (the Mallorens) stories continue before, during and after their books.

    If I could vote for a “family” that’s not a family though, I would vote for Jo Beverley’s Rogue series. Friends from Harrow who continue to always be there for each other and none of them have a story that doesn’t include a Rogue or two. My favourite, An Unwilling Bride … and I like the earlier books more than some of the later ones altho I’m definitely interested in the smuggler turned earl’s tale. When is that going to be written?

    On my shelves I have most of the Cynsters (I stopped buying after the twin girls tales), the Bridgertons (not the last two), all the Bedwyn and all the Mallorens … and the Mackenzies (GREAT family series!) and the MacGregors.

  35. Sarah
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 06:47:33

    I voted for the Bridgertons, only because they’re the only ones I’ve read.

    I’m not a huge fan of family dynasties. At all. I started a Cynster novel, and then got weirded out by all the mentions and the family tree in the beginning. Although maybe I should give some of these a try…

  36. KristieJ
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 08:05:25

    I’m not voting in this poll because I’m not really a fan of the seemingly never ending series. With a few exceptions – the In Death books, the Plum books and now the Psy/Changeling books, by book 4 of a series, I’ve had enough and if it’s an author I enjoy, I want her to move on. Past that I find to much of a sameness in series book and find them somewhat interchangeable. I like to see an author move on from that comfortable little world she has created within the “family” and try something different.

  37. Kalen Hughes
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 08:26:05

    While Heyer’s Alistairs don’t have enough books to make the cut, they are my fav. After them, the Mallorens are ahead of the rest by miles. Not only do I love all of those books, but Jo is still writing them, and they’re still charming, fresh and surprising (I was totally thrilled by the identity twist in A Lady's Secret). Besides, I've always thought Jo's intro of Lord Cynric Malloren in the very first Malloren book, My Lady Notorious, was something of an ode to Heyer's Dominic . . .

  38. Michelle
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 08:43:01

    This was a great reminder of some books I’ve loved in the past. Please remind me who Elizabeth Lowell’s Donovans are. They’re the one family I just can’t remember.

  39. Chicklet
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 08:44:59

    I voted Other, because 1) I haven’t read the listed series, and 2) I’m being difficult and declaring that the Chesapeake Bay quadrilogy qualifies as a series, dammit, so I can say the Quinns are my most memorable family dynasty. *stamps foot*

  40. LizJ
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 09:24:05


    Because I just loved the wit and humor as well as the family relationships. I appreciate as well how each sibling was created very much as a unique individual (as well as most of their spouses). Yes, the best came fairly early in the series (for me, at least: An Offer from a Gentleman and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton).

  41. Kim
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 09:35:39

    Diana, LOL! My first Montgomery book was The Velvet Promise. How about you?

  42. ReacherFan
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 10:51:12

    The Carsington’s by Loretta Chase followed by the Malory’s. Lord Perfect and Mr. Impossible (who else would name their hero ‘Rupert’ and still make want to dive into the book and grab him?) and Gentle Rogue are 3 of my all time favorite historicals.

  43. Jennifer
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 11:18:42

    Heh heh, so far Bridgertons are winning–that’s my memorable dynasty. They’re fun, AND they didn’t go on for 20something books and get old.

    The Carsingtons are probably my second favorite, though mostly for Rupert.

  44. Diana
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 14:14:29

    Kim: I am pretty sure it was the Velvet Promise, as well! Awesome! Though my first Deveraux book (and the first true romance I ever read) was Conquest.

  45. Shiloh Walker
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 14:47:35

    @Diana: I love Deveraux’s Montgomery family too.

  46. Sandy James
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 18:24:23

    Shame on me! I totally forgot about Hannah Howell’s Murray family! I love her Highlander series. I know she expanded to include other clans in the series, but it always comes back to the Murrays. :-)

  47. anita chax
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 01:23:32

    I voted for Other when I’d rather have voted for Jude Deveraux’s Taggarts and Montgomerys.

  48. cate
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 06:05:58

    I’m another long time Montgomery family fan (the Taggerts never grabbed me).
    Also a huge roar for the McLeod & De Piaget’s of Lyn Kurland, I love the way she writes

  49. Jeanette
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 12:02:50

    I voted others. Hands down Nora’s the MacGregors

  50. tracyleann
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 12:11:10

    Add me to the list that wondered how the MacGregors got left out. The MacGregors, Bridgertons (got my vote, though it would have been a tough call if the MacGregors were included–btw, Quinn’s Bridgertons were the only historicals I have EVER been able to get my mom to read and ENJOY–every single book), and Malorens were my immediate contenders. Also loved Foley’s Knight series. And sorry for the run on…

  51. blog links
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 01:08:10

    I can say the Quinns are my most memorable family dynasty.

  52. patricia
    Sep 01, 2009 @ 19:29:12

    I came to this site to get more ideas for family series. I love the interrelated plots.
    It is interesting that a lot of people talk about the series that got them started on romance novels. For me that is the Cynsters. Wow! So much fun. I have those on my “favorites” shelf.

    Where can I simply get a list of the books in a series? Sometimes that info hasn’t been easy to find.

    Read on!!

  53. MaryK
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 12:35:28

  54. Leta M
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 03:21:08

    I totally love BRENDA JOYCE:DE WARREN dynasty…HANNAH HOWELL:I love her MURRAY (highland series)a must read!!!!!

  55. victoria
    Sep 19, 2010 @ 17:22:29

    My vote was for NORA ROBERT MacGregor series. I thought it was the best family dynasty.

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