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If You Like Judith McNaught, Historicals . . . Hosted...

We are starting a new series called “If You Like” which will be hosted by various readers, authors and bloggers of Dear Author. The purpose of the post and the comments is to explore what we like about a particular iconic author and what other authors have books like the iconic author. We’ll leave this up for one week at the top of the blog so that ruminators have time to contemplate the author and the recommendations. Loonigrrl did such an awesome job with this and I am thrilled to have her kick off what I hope to be a great new series here at Dear Author.

If you would like to host an “If You Like” post, please email me at Jane at


Judith McNaught

Fifteen years ago, I fell in love with an author. Her books had plucky heroines and sophisticated men. They were so skillfully written that the characters nearly jumped off the page. If you were like me, you were so captivated by the story that you almost wished you could transport yourself back nearly two-hundred years and be Whitney Stone or Elizabeth Cameron, even if for a short while.
Their journey to happily ever after was never easy, but you truly believed in their perfect endings.
For many years, Judith McNaught’s stories were that by which I measured all other books.

book reviewSetting (era): Regency and Medieval

McNaught has written six historical novels. A Kingdom of Dreams is her only Medieval Romance and is set in the late 1400s.
Her five other historicals- Whitney, My Love, Once and Always, Something Wonderful, Until You, and Almost Heaven– are set in the Regency period of the early 1800s.

Setting (geographic): England

The majority of all six historical books are set in England with both London and countryside scenes. Whitney, My Love takes place partially in Paris. Kingdom of Dreams is set in England and review

Heroine Type: Courageous Innocent

A number of adjectives come to mind when discussing McNaught’s historical heroines: beautiful, innocent, courageous, loyal, warm-hearted, naïve, kind, sensitive, witty, intelligent, and a bit rash. Most have known what it is like to be the outsider. If featured at a younger age, like Alexandra Townsend in Something Wonderful or Whitney Stone in Whitney, My Love then they are also slightly awkward both in looks and in mannerisms. Often, the heroines have known what it’s like to be an outsider or to be review

Hero type: Redeemed Cynic

They’re handsome, powerful, sensual, tortured, strong, bold, intimidating, confident, intelligent (some are geniuses) commanding, and of the nobility. Often, they are nearly jaded beyond hope and have little respect for most women. Characters such as Jason Fielding in Once and Always, Jordan Townsend in Something Wonderful and Ian Thornton in Almost Heaven are, at times, both contemptuous and downright mean to their heroines. Their redemption through the love of a kind-hearted and courageous woman is a theme often used in McNaught’s books.

Plot: (action-oriented / character-driven): Character-driven

Judith McNaught’s characters and their often arduous journey to happy ever after ARE her books. There is some action of course, but it’s almost negligible compared to the love and the sweetness of the romance blossoming between her hero and heroine.

book review Plot (slow/medium/fast): Medium

This is pretty subjective. Some may think these are slow paced books. If you’re a fan like me, these character driven stories just zip along. How about we compromise and call it medium?

Writing style (simple v. ornate): Simple

McNaught’s writing may occasionally venture into the ornate, particularly with the love scenes, but on the whole her writing style is simple. That’s not to say it’s boring by any means. She writes love stories that tug at the heartstrings, but she does so without excessive adjectives, analogies and metaphors. The following is a random sampling:

Alexandra accepted the invitation with sleepy gratitude and shifted onto the seat beside him, but instead of merely offering his shoulder, Jordan lifted his arm and put it around her so that her head was cradled snugly in the curve of his arm and chest. My lady, Alex thought sleepily. How lovely that sounded when he said it. She was asleep almost instantly.

Something Wonderful

Dialogue (lots/little/balanced): Balanced

While McNaught’s books have a lot of dialogue, they are not dialogue heavy. Neither will you find too many passages with page after page descriptions of the countryside, ballrooms, or someone’s feelings. McNaught usually keeps the dialogue and descriptive passages balanced.

Humor (Yes/No-serious/some): Some

McNaught’s books do have some humor. It’s not necessarily laugh out loud funny, but there’s a sweetness to it, often arising from the heroine’s slight awkwardness or naïveté, that is delightful to read.

Unaware of the man who had just stalked into the barn, she stroked the animal’s flank and drew a long, hesitant breath.
"I may as well be perfectly honest with you, she confessed to the cow. The truth is- I haven’t actually done this before . . . This,’ she told the cow in a revolted voice as she stretched her hands forward, "is going to be as embarrassing for me as it is for you’ . . . She squeezed twice, quickly, then she leaned back and gazed hopefully at the bucket. No milk dropped into it.
. . . Twice more she repeated the same process, and still nothing happened. Frustration made her yank too hard the next time, which brought the cow’s head swinging around as it glared reproachfully at her. "I’m doing my part,’ Victoria said, glaring right back, "the least you could do is yours!’

Once and Always

Emotional Angst (high/medium/low): High

Oh yeah. Judith McNaught is Queen of the Angst. I mean that in a good way. Her books are all about the characters’ emotional highs and lows, their distrust, their yearning, their Big Misunderstandings, their Big Separations and their big emotions. In fact, McNaught takes us on such a roller coaster of emotions with so many misunderstandings that some readers may question whether certain characters’ distrust issues are truly over when the book ends. That’s right, Clayton Westmoreland: I’m talking to you.

He forced himself to pick up the quill and write the words, "Please accept my sincere wishes for your happiness and convey them to Paul’ . . . He thought of the words he really wanted to write to her: "Please come back to me. Just let me hold you and I swear I will make you forget.
I’ll fill your days with laughter and your nights with love. I’ll give you a son. And if you still can’t love me, then all I ask is that you give me a daughter. A daughter with your eyes, your smile, your-"

Whitney, My Love

Conflict (externally driven/internally driven/both): Both

Most of the historicals have both internal and external conflict. For example, the external conflict in A Kingdom of Dreams centers around Jennifer Merrick’s kidnapping by her people’s enemy, and later her marriage to said enemy. The internal conflict results from Jennifer’s conflicted loyalties, and her reluctant feelings for Royce.

Often, the conflict in McNaught’s books derives from The Big Misunderstanding. For example, in Almost Heaven, Elizabeth Cameron and Ian Thornton meet, begin to fall in love, and are torn apart by a malicious third party. Rather than discussing their misunderstanding, both parties, particularly Ian, part on bitterly angry terms for years.

Heat level: (kisses/warm/hot/scorching): Warm

The loves scenes are sensual, but generally lack graphic language, explicit terminology and lengthy detail. The prose tends to be ornate in these scenes with the focus being as much on emotion as on the physical act. Similes (and metaphors) are not uncommon to describe said emotion such as the one used in the scene below.

’Jenny,’ he groaned, his hands rushing over her back and thighs and buttocks. . .
"Jenny,’ he whispered hoarsely, his tongue plunging into her mouth, tangling with hers as he rolled her onto her back and covered her body with his. "Jenny,’ he murmured hotly as he hungrily devoured her breasts and stomach and thighs with his mouth.
He could not stop saying her name. It played like a melody in his heart when her arms went around him and she lifted her hips, willingly molding herself to his engorged manhood. It sang in his veins as she welcomed the first fierce thrust of his body into her. . . and it exploded in a crescendo as she cried out, "I love you. . .’

A Kingdom of Dreams

If You Like Judith McNaught, You’ll Like . . .

Here’s where I need help. In all the years that I’ve been reading Judith McNaught, I have yet to find an author who consistently writes comparable characters, angst and romance. However, I have found a few books which, I believe, have McNaughtian elements.

Once in a Blue Moon by Penelope Williamson has a courageous and feisty heroine, as well as high levels of emotion and angst. For more high levels of angst, try Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas.

His Wicked Kiss by Gaelen Foley has a courageous and intelligent and occasionally rash heroine. The romance’s sweetness reminds me of McNaught’s books.

The Masquerade by Brenda Joyce: although not exact, there are qualities about the characters particularly the heroine’s innocence and kind-heartedness, and about the tenderness of the romance that are not dissimilar to McNaught. I would also recommend Joyce’s Beyond Scandal.

Julie Garwood is often recommended when discussing McNaught. I’m actually not a fan of her work in general, but I did find qualities about the heroes and heroines in Rebellious Desires and The Lyon’s Lady that I enjoyed.

Olivia Parker’s At the Bride Hunt Ball is a humorous tale with a witty yet slightly awkward heroine and a confident and sensual hero. I would recommend it to anyone who likes McNaught.

Who would you recommend?

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. Ann Somerville
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 04:30:59

    Dorothy Dunnett – Lymond Chronicles.
    Heroine Type: Courageous Innocent – Check
    Hero type: Redeemed Cynic – Check
    Emotional Angst (high/medium/low): High – OMG check!!!
    Conflict (externally driven/internally driven/both): Both – Check
    Heat level: (kisses/warm/hot/scorching): Warm – Check

    Set in medieval/Tudor Scotland, France, Russia and Malta.

    To me, this author is the apogee of what good historical writing is about – detailed research, fabulous prose, engaging characters who are superior at what they do, and plots which pull you in, break your heart, and leave you going ‘aaaahhhh’ at the end.

    The Niccolo series wasn’t anything as good, sadly. But they are still better than hundreds of other pale imitations.

  2. Kendra
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 07:41:51

    The one thing I like about Judith’s books,contemporary and historical,is that the couples marry and then there is MORE. This is unique in the romance genre. Most books end with the proposal or the marriage. I devoured all of her books when I discovered her.

    I don’t know if she has Judith McNaught type elements, but I love Renee Bernard’s new historicals. I can’t put them down. She is the only new historical author I’ve found in a while. It’s hard for me to take a chance on new authors. Two of the recent NY Times Bestsellers books felt like cookie cutter to me, so I’ve been staying away from historical.

  3. Leeann Burke
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 08:48:52

    I’m with you Loonigrrl I loved Ms McNaught’s historicals and a lot of her contemporaries as well. My favorite is Whitney, My Love.

    Now who would I recommend? I have to say Julie Garwood and Patricia Grasso come to mind and a new author Tracy Goodwin. I truly enjoyed Dance With Deception by Tracy Goodwin.

  4. Keri M
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 10:25:32

    If you like Judith, you might try early Kathleen Woodiwiss if there is indeed any person on the board that hasn’t read a Woodiwiss. :-) The Wolf and Dove and The Flame and the Flower are absolute romantic historical classics. You also might like Laurie McBain’s Devil’s Desire or Tears of Gold. Her books had a harder edge to them, but were still true to that romantic format for the timeframe. She wrote from 1975 ti 1985 and retired from writing after her father passed away. These are old romances so you might have to scout a local used bookstore to find Laurie’s. Although to me they will remain timeless and I still reread them today. I was only 10 years old when I read Devil’s Desire…dang I started young. :-)

    Somebody from today’s historical romance list for me would be Pamela Claire she is a new author for me and she is about the only historical romance author that I am actively pursuing to read. Her historicals are fresh and to me very vibrant. Happy reading. Keri

  5. Jill Sorenson
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 10:28:27

    I can’t recall if I’ve ever read a McNaught, but I loved Sherry Thomas’ Private Arrangements and I’m a huge fan of Brenda Joyce. So this “if you like” thing can go both ways. If I like Joyce I might like McNaught. Pretty cool. Thanks for the recs.

  6. azteclady
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 10:58:38

    I have nothing to contribute, I just need to say that I am intimidated by loonigrrl. Seriously, that’s one orderly mind right there. Wow.

  7. Karen Wheless
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 11:26:53

    I read Judith McNaught when I first started reading romance, but she wasn’t one of my favorites. (I found her heroes too alpha – I prefer nice guy heroes.) However, I really liked the emotionalism of her books, so I went looking for other emotional books (with nicer heroes).

    I ended up with Mary Jo Putney, Laura Kinsale and Lisa Kleypas. Putney’s books are emotional, and also have some adventure to them. I think a McNaught lover would enjoy her Fallen Angel series. Kinsale is the queen of emotionalism, although her books are more serious than McNaught’s, and also more dense in terms of language. Lisa Kleypas has been hit or miss for me, but I think anyone who liked McNaught would love Dreaming of You, and probably some of her other books as well.

  8. Lauren Willig
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 12:02:34

    Judith McNaught was THE author for me in my teens (especially “Almost Heaven”!). The closest I’ve ever found to her in style and feel is Gaelen Foley’s “The Duke,” whose heroine has something of that same quality of luminous innocence. Next up would have to be Eva Ibbotsen’s “A Company of Swans” and “The Morning Gift”, which also feature cynical (and wealthy) heroes and courageous innocents for heroines.

  9. Patty L.
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 12:12:05

    I’ve never read a Judith McNaught book, but I her characters and the flow of the books sound remarkably like Lisa Kleypas books. Mine Till Midnight was an excellent book.

  10. loonigrrl
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 12:18:36

    Keri: I just picked up Pamela Clare’s Surrender after having read and loved Unlawful Contact. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Lauren: The Duke! I loved that book! I would definitely agree with you :)

    Also, I’d heard that Sophia Nash’s books are similar to McNaught. I went out and bought A Dangerous Beauty and just started reading it last night. It’s a very emotional book. I’ve spent most of the first 150 pages crying.

  11. Wandering Chopsticks
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 12:28:36

    Sigh. I glommed onto McNaught when I was in my teens. I wish she’d go back to writing historicals as her contemporaries didn’t really do it for me. The only contemporary I really liked was Paradise.

    As for recommendations, my favorite Kleypas, an out of print that has many of the same emotional qualities you’re looking for is “Love, Come to Me.” Set in America, post Civil War.

    And for contemporaries that have humor and emotion, I like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, particularly “Nobody’s Baby but Mine,” “Kiss an Angel,” “Heaven, Texas,” “This Heart of Mine,” “Match Me if You Can,” and “Breathing Room.” Also, unlike McNaught, Phillips’ heroines are not all gorgeous with perfect bodies.

  12. T.J. Killian
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 12:31:08

    There’s a reason why Judith McNaught was the first ever million dollar contract romance author.

    Nobody compares to her.

  13. Ann Bruce
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 12:33:53

    I devoured everything by JM up until Perfect. After that, they were all misses for me. But if you’re comparing JM to Kleypas, I think time has shown that Kleypas is the better writer.

    Brenda Joyce’s heroes are much more alpha than JM’s, so don’t get too excited. But Joyce’s heroines usually drove (past tense because I stopped reading Joyce when she went to contemporaries) me up the wall because of lack of backbone. I generally liked JM’s heroines; they were sweet, a little naive, but they didn’t make me want to shake sense into them.

    Garwood is a good comparison. During my teens, Garwood and JM were interchangeable for me, except Garwood had a more comic feel than JM.

  14. Keri M
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 15:35:30

    Loonigrrl: I just read all 3 of her contemporaries back to back, I had two of them for awhile, but was determined to wait until I had the third, because it was the first I was missing. I got that and man I inhaled those books over this last weekend, they were fantastic and I can’t wait for the next installment.

    Ann: I agree that Garwood is a good comparison, I read them both together when they first come out.

    WC: I agree with SEP, she is that queen of that kind of romance…I wish she would hurry up and get that new one out…I am getting the shakes
    here, from withdrawals…my Natural Born Charmer fix was awhile ago. :-)

  15. Elaine C
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 16:39:21

    I adore Judith McNaught and have re-read all her books numerous times!

    I would have to say that Laura London (aka Sharon and Tom Curtis writing team) feature very similar heroines and heroes as McNaught and most are set in Regency England.

    I also agree with others that Lisa Kleypas is also in the same category of writing style. Lisa Kleypas has passionate love stories that stick with you in my opinion.

  16. Lissa
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 16:40:53

    I would recommend Elizabeth Lowell to anyone for any reason, but if you like McNaught – you should like Lowell’s historicals as well. Her Glendruid series – Untamed, Forbidden & Enchanted – are especially good. While they are not historicals, her Donovan series – Amber Beach, Jade Island, Pearl Cove & Midnight in Ruby Bayou – are every bit as good as her historicals. Most of her writing invokes the same sort of emotional response as does Ms. McNaught’s.

  17. Deb Kinnard
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 17:27:23

    I recommend a relatively new author, Blythe Gifford. Her Harlequin Historical medieval titles have a lyrical writing quality, great heroes and heroines who aren’t afraid to kick a little (though they feign modesty just in case). Anyone who likes stories set in the mid-14th century cannot go wrong with these, IMO.

    titles: THE KNAVE & THE MAIDEN

  18. jess
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 19:38:22

    Loonigrrl, thanks for reminding me why I love reading JM’s historicals. Her contemporaries have the same qualities to the heroines and heroes, but sometimes hard to believe that the women are so innocent in modern times.

    Agree with some of the above commenters that no other author offers stories quite like hers, but that Kleypas (historicals and the new 2 contemps) is the closest. For angst, conflict and wonderfully rich heroine and hero, I turn to Jo Beverley, Jo Goodman and MJ Putney historicals.

    Nice feature, Jane. Thank you.

  19. Lori
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 19:59:34

    What a great feature! And a fabulous author to begin it!

    I adore McNaught’s historicals (her contemps aint too bad either:-)). Somehow, the storylines which might get formulaic in another author (innocent heroine, big misunderstanding, disillusioned hero, etc) just never get old in her capable and magical hands.

  20. Patricia Briggs
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 23:04:31

    LIke ElaineC, the first author I thought of was Laura London, not so much the regencies (which I adore), but The Windflower. Like McNaught’s regencies, the people leap out at you. The heroine is an 80’s innocent, rather than the more sophisticated heroines we’ve become accustomed to, the hero a tough guy who finds himself the bewildered protector of Merry instead of the dastardly kidnapper that he saw himself as. Wonderful. It’s too bad that they stopped writing so soon. The Bad Baron’s Daughter remains one of my favorite sweet regencies, partially, I admit, because of the terrible title (which is why I read it in the first place), but also because of the awesome writing voice Sharon and Tom had.

    McNaught’s contemporaries are terrific, too — and in subject matter and voice I find them closest to Linda Howard’s.

  21. Michelle
    Jul 15, 2008 @ 11:13:26

    I discovered Judith McNaught in high school as well, and she blew me away. I loved her books up through my college days and spent lots of time trying to find someone just like her. I also searched for authors who were just like Ken Follett or Mary Jo Putney and never found anyone comparable.

    The thing is that no author can be just like her. Whatever it is that makes Judith McNaught fabulous is not something someone else can do. I don’t know if that is voice – or what it is that makes certain storytellers so fabulous and unique. If I want a Judith McNaught experience, I have to read Judith McNaught. And you can substitute your favorite author for J.M. Sometimes when I read something so fabulous by a wonderful author, I make sure I read something entirely different afterwards (or honestly reread the fabulous book) because anything else similar right after would just be a pale imitation.

    The last Judith McNaught book that just took my breath away was Perfect – like someone else mentioned above. I’m not sure if my reading tastes have changed, if she has changed or what – but none have been as satisfying. I do know in high school/college I was much more into the “fairy tale” romances than I am now. For example, I didn’t appreciate Nora’s storytelling until I was a little bit older and working in my 20’s. I don’t think of her as a “fairy tale” romance author while I do think J.M. is.

    I did go see Judith McNaught speak at the TX book festival in Austin years ago, and there was a whole possee of co-eds from U-TX-Austin there to see her – for whom she was a rock star (as she would have been for me if I was still a teeneager then). I’d never seen the like for another romance author. Perhaps she appeals more to those who discover her while they’re younger? Or those who prefer the fairy tale romance?

  22. Vivian
    Jul 15, 2008 @ 21:15:28

    My personal favorite McNaught novel is Paradise :) but all the books of hers that I’ve read are wonderful. Judith McNaught will always have a special place in my heart because she’s the first historical romance novelist I read. From there I went on to, as some people have mentioned, Laura Kinsale and Lisa Kleypas. I did, after not thinking much of Miss Wonderful, eventually fall in love with Loretta Chase.

    I know the time period is different, but Elizabeth Lowell’s Only quartet (I can’t remember the names, they all sound the same) have much of the same qualities – the plucky heroine, the jaded hero, Big Misunderstanding, internal conflict, angst – they’re just Westerns. I really liked them, so you might want to give them a try.

    Seconding the Penelope Williamson rec. I LOVE her books – also read The Outsider and Heart of the West!

    Anya Seton’s Katherine, which I just finished reading, isn’t shelved in romance, but this historical fiction novel is as romantic as it comes. It’s pretty epic, spanning decades, and holy crap the angst is high. It’s also well researched and I personally loved the writing style – lyrical but simple. I’d highly recommend it.

  23. Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » News Blips
    Jul 16, 2008 @ 07:33:14

    […] called “If you Like.” Each post will focus on one particular author, starting with this week’s If You Like author, Judith McNaught. DA has the low-down on what you might expect from a McNaught romance, then lists a few authors you […]

  24. Janine
    Jul 16, 2008 @ 12:39:07

    I started reading McNaught’s historicals when I was fifteen and like many others I remember being blown away. My favorite of her books is probably Something Wonderful, which doesn’t get many mentions on romance boards. Maybe I should reread and review sometime.

    I agree that Elizabeth Lowell’s medievals are somewhat similar to McNaught’s historicals, especially in their emotional impact and in the heroes initial distrust of the heroines.

    I also agree that Laura Kinsale’s books have a similar emotional impact to McNaught’s books, although otherwise I see them as pretty different authors.

    I also see the similarity to The Windflower, which was mentioned above.

    I would like to add one recommendation that hasn’t been mentioned — Joanna Bourne’s The Spymaster’s Lady. Although I had problems with the book, it appealed to a many other readers and I think it has some definite similarities to McNaught’s historicals. The heroine is a courageous innocent and the hero is more of a cynic. There is some humor as well as emotional angst, and a similar sense of wonder during the love scenes. Conflict is both internal and external, and the setting is England and France during the Regency. Ergo, even though it didn’t work so well for me, I think it could work very well for many fans of McNaught’s historicals.

  25. Ann Bruce
    Jul 16, 2008 @ 13:03:08

    My favorite of her books is probably Something Wonderful, which doesn't get many mentions on romance boards.

    I have SW covered in self-adhesive plastic. Don’t want to wear it out since I still enjoy re-reading passages from it.

  26. Gini
    Jul 16, 2008 @ 13:41:22

    What a fantastic and thoughtful post Loonigrrl.
    I thought the quotations really worked well to illustrate your points.
    I’ve never read any JM and from your wonderful deconstruction I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy them. Even so, I think I’ve got to try one mainly because you’ve done such a great job enthusing about them. Thank you.

  27. loonigrrl
    Jul 16, 2008 @ 16:01:22

    Gini: Oh no! It wasn’t my intention to dissuade anyone from reading JM. Which authors do you enjoy reading? Do you prefer contemporaries? If so, you may want to check out Paradise or Perfect– they’re very good. If you do want to give one of the historicals a try, I would recommend Something Wonderful (like Janine and Ann, I love that one) or my personal favorite, Almost Heaven.

  28. Cindy W
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 08:56:12

    I would suggest:
    Julie Garwood Favorites:
    Saving Grace
    Honor’s Splendour
    The Prize
    The Secret

    Shana Abe (who I just found)
    The Secret Swan
    The Truelove Bride
    Intimate Enemies (on my TBR pile)

    Teresa Medeiros
    Yours Until Dawn
    Charming the Prince

    Josie Litton Viking Trilogy
    Dream of Me
    Believe in me
    Come Back to me

    check out my shelfari shelf to see my reviews!

  29. Ann Bruce
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 13:39:35

    Oh, I completely forgot about Teresa Medeiros! I love her early work. And let me add Karyn Monk. I enjoyed everything by her starting with Once a Warrior. Similar emotional intensity as McNaught, but her heroes are more varied than just uber-rich, uber-powerful, uber-handsome men.

  30. MPH
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 13:48:05

    I stumble upon this thread by chance and was hopeful of the new series “If you like”.

    Yes, I love Judith McNaught, too. Your post is very thorough and summerize the author’s work and appeal well. What I find so unique about her stories is her heros. They just make me melt. (thanks to your excerpt from Whitney, My Love, I’m jelly right now)

    I was hopeful of finding a “back-up” but as I read the recommendations, my heart rejects. There’s no one like JM and if they are, it is just in similarity. Then I am sure to be disappointed. No, I’m better off, finding a new author with a different voice and judge her own her own.

    *sigh* the idea is good in theory for this reader. Nevertheless I will try The Duke – I’ve heard good things here and there.

    thank you again for the great post.

  31. Gini
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 14:34:59

    Loonigrrl: For many years I’ve avoided Regency novels like the plague, mainly because I’ve got big issues with the Ton,the values of that society, the clothes and – well, it just generally gives me the pip. But I know there are some excellent authors writing in that period so I’ve been trying out as many as possible, given that finding a decent selection of romance books in the U.K.(on a budget)is like looking for snow in a rainforest. So I tried Loretta Chase and love her. I started with the Carsington Quartet and apart from Mr Impossible – loved them. Especially Lord Perfect, which I thought WAS perfect and is now in my top 10. However if I’d read Lord of Scoundrels first I wouldn’t have picked up another… not without persuasion. (Your Scandalous Ways, was the story equivalent of a breath of fresh air, hoorah)
    I always thought I was a reader in for the story and that the writing style was of little importance, but this is patently not true anymore. The writing styles of the authors I recognise recommended above vary wildly. I’ve read excerpts of Kathleen Woodiwiss and Josie Litton and didn’t like the writing style at all. I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Private Arrangements – Sherry Thomas, Joanna Bourne's – The Spymaster's Lady and Shana Abe’s books. The last two authors would have to be classed as ornate writing styles wouldn’t they? So…I’m not seeing a pattern. I also enjoy a fairy tale romance as much as I enjoy something like the Mercy Thompson paranormal series.
    I will definitely start with a JM contemporary and try out your recommendations!

  32. Michelle
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 16:20:54


    I know you didn’t address your last post to me, but I’ve read and loved many a regency-set romance. Lord Perfect is also my favorite Loretta Chase novel – though I pretty much love all her novels, so it’s a hard choice.

    Have you read any of Mary Jo Putney’s straight historicals? Jo Beverley? Mary Balogh? (Slightly Dangerous is probably my favorite of hers) Laura Kinsale’s the shadow and the star or flowers in the storm? Judith Ivory/Judy Cuevas? Carla Kelly?

  33. Gini
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 17:24:18

    Michelle: I’ve read some Mary Balogh and despite not being very enamoured with her “hero’s” generally, I’ve Simply enjoyed them (haha), well, minus a few bizarre exceptions such as Lady Morgan Bedwyn in Slightly Tempted being an 18 yr old innocent, just out of the cloistered nobblet schoolroom regularly spouting modern pop psychology, I think Louise L Hay (or Dr Phil?) was on her syllabus – what was that all about?
    I haven’t read Slightly Dangerous yet, which is Wulfric Bedwyn isn’t it. Hmm, from his appearances in the other Slightly books I hope the heroine shoves his quizzing glass where the sun doesn’t shine and gives him a little humility… one can live in hope.
    I read and enjoyed the Anthology “Dragon Lovers” which had Mary Jo Putney and Jo Beverley in it. So I’ll definitely hunt out some more of theirs. (I got it for the Barbara Samuel and Karen Harbaugh novellas, two great short stories.)
    Booksonboard have got both those Laura Kinsale books – so I’ll try them as well. (If only all ebooks were in NonDRM .HTML, I’d be sooo happy. But no, must make the technically challenged old fart sweat for it eh!)
    Thank you Michelle.

  34. loonigrrl
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 17:41:51

    Just wanted to chime in to say that I loved Slightly Dangerous- it’s also my favorite Mary Balogh book.

  35. Jane
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 17:43:02

    This has been such a great discussion and I hope we continue to revisit this thread for a while. If anyone wants to host a If You Like series, let me know. We’re using the template that Loonigrrl used which will help you get started.

  36. Michelle
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 19:50:37

    Gini: I do hope you like those books. Thinking a bit more about what you said you like, it sounds like you might like humor in your stories – and in your historicals, historically relevant humor as opposed to modern humor. I’m a bit of a sucker for dark and angsty, but I can appreciate humor. You also may want to consider regency romances by Eloisa James or Barbara Metzger.

    Eloisa does have a very unique style in that she almost writes light, ensemble romances – and sometimes the main romance can suffer a bit for it – but there is something smart about her voice imo. My favorites of her were the Essex sister quartet. I would highly recommend reading her series books in a row because there is a lot of character and relationship development across the whole series. The Essex sister series all have shakespeare-inspired names, but I heard the author say that the novels of Louisa May Alcott were more of an influence in the stories. I’ve not read her Georgian books yet. I was going to wait for all 4 to be published, but now there will be 6, and I’m not sure I can wait.

    Barbara Metzger – like Loretta Chase, MJP, Jo Bev and lots of other authors – started out writing traditional regencies, and I’ve often thought that the straight historical regency romances written by authors who started out in the traditional regency lines have more of a sense of history on the whole.

    In terms of authors who are like Judith McNaught, I do agree with what a previous person wrote: Julie Garwood novels are similar, but they have more humor/less angst.

    And, loonigrrl, your piece was amazing!! It brought back good memories.

  37. Jennybrat
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 20:38:08

    Great discussion here. I used to love McNaught too. Lisa Kleypas’ books have a similar emotional intensity.

  38. wandergurl
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 22:57:20

    Once and Always is one of my favorite all time romance novels. I have read all of her books even the contemporary ones that come out now and IMO suck. Have always loved Judith Mc Naught.

    Although I have one thing to say: I hate Whitney My Love. That is the one book of hers I wanted to throw out the window.

  39. Wandering Chopsticks
    Jul 18, 2008 @ 03:49:29

    Oh, and I just remembered, Jude Deveraux’s Sweet Liar. Very different style, but the emotional intensity of the characters is very similar. In her acknowledgments, she even thanks or credits Judith McNaught for helping to “McNaughtize” her book.

  40. Gini
    Jul 18, 2008 @ 04:31:17

    Michelle: Yes, I definitely like lots of humour in my stories, so I’ll add your other recommendations to my list, I forgot to say I read the Duke and I – Julia Quinn from recs. on this blog, and loved it so have been working my way through her other titles. I’m just trying to read a bit outside my comfort zone. I’d never have tried Sherry Thomas or Joanna Bourne if it hadn’t been for the reviews and comments on this blog, and I’m so glad I did! I understand and mostly agree with the plot problems and character behaviour problems that Janine and others have mentioned regarding The Spymaster’s Lady, but for me it didn’t seem to matter because I thought the writing style was just so good it could carry any old plot tripe. Which was a bit of a revelation to me in that I didn’t think that it was possible for the plot to matter less than the writing style and still really enjoy a book, and because of thinking this I’ve tried Regencies/Georgians again and with everyone’s recs I’ll be reading the good ones!

  41. roslynholcomb
    Jul 18, 2008 @ 07:37:00

    WC: That is actually my fave Deveraux book, and she did thank JM for helping her ‘McNaughtize’ it. I wish I had someone around to help me do the same! For some reason, Johanna Lindsay’s Angel struck a similar chord. It’s my fave Lindsay book, and funny as all get out.

  42. Michelle
    Jul 18, 2008 @ 08:54:53

    I know I’ve got to stop posting to this, but funny regencies are not the first kind of story that I remember, so titles keep popping into my head after I’ve already posted.

    Gini – You may like Anne Gracie’s regencies. They also have a lot of humor. If you like Julia Quinn, you may like some of the other Avon regency historical authors such as Elizabeth Boyle or Suzanne Enoch or Victoria Alexander.

    I also really enjoyed Connie Brockway’s funny historicals – Bridal Season and Bridal Favours come to mind.

    While I’ve not read many of her books, lots of folks rave about Georgette Heyer’s humor. Some reviewers said that Diane Farr captured Heyer’s humor.

    And, you may like Mary Balogh’s “farces” – but they’re all old signet regencies, so they may be hard to find.

    And, wandergurl, there were times when I wanted to throw Whitney, My Love across the room as well. I never understood the appeal of all those rape historical romances that were mostly written before I started reading romance novels.

  43. Elaine C.
    Jul 18, 2008 @ 12:09:58

    Michelle & wandergurl, JM re-released a new updated version of her Whitney, My Love. If you have a chance and want to you might enjoy her new version better, it has softened the violence of their encounters. I personally loved the original, and the remake equally. I just love her books period.

    Patricia Briggs: Laura London’s Windflower is one of the most superbly written historical romance books of all time, it’s up there with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Oh and as a side note that is totally off topic – your Urban Fantasy stories about Mercy Thompson are off the hook, can’t for Bone Crossed to come out! ;)

  44. Michelle
    Jul 18, 2008 @ 21:29:22

    Thanks, Elaine. I was always curious about what she had changed in the new version.

    Re: other funny regencies

    Amanda Quick stories are on the light, humorous side with quirky characters. If you’ve never read her before, they can be refreshingly different. (Unfortunately, after awhile, they get to be sadly the same.)

    I’ve also really enjoyed some Louise Allen stories published by harlequin historical, so they may be easier to find in England. They’re regencies, but not the same old, same old. The heroine in No Place for a Lady meets the hero when she is driving a stagecoach – filling in for a missing driver because it’s her family’s business.

    And, it sounds like I finally need to read Windflower. I’ve hauled a copy through several moves, but my desire to read it lessened after reading a couple of other Sharon/Tom Curtis stories that I didn’t think lived up to hype.

  45. Gini
    Jul 19, 2008 @ 09:52:08

    Thank you Michelle!

  46. stelaregine
    Aug 08, 2008 @ 21:20:39

    I have to agree. I so love Judith McNaught’s books. I also love Julie Garwood! They’re the only two romance novel authors I read!

  47. If You Like Laura Kinsale…. Hosted by Janine | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Aug 18, 2008 @ 04:01:10

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  48. GUEST REVIEW: Double Enchantment by Kathryne Kennedy | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Aug 27, 2008 @ 22:30:34

    […] 27th, 2008 • Category: D Reviews, Reviews • • We have asked loonigrrl, who did the fabulous hosting of our inaugural “If You Like” series, to come and guest review for the blog. We hope […]

  49. Navya
    Oct 31, 2008 @ 10:42:08

    Hai, i really liked ur job on judith’s books. U were very good and i copmletely agree with u. but it is very difficult to like other authors once you have read judlth. so i have always been left unsatisfied with whatever i’ve read other than her name in my front page. i will surely try ur recommendations.

  50. Angie
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 20:23:46

    Hey i love this post!!!
    I’m a real fan of JM and I’m so glad with all these suggestions, i have alot of reading to do now. Something Wonderful is my all time favorite, and i really liked Until You, which i find is pretty underated.

    I would like to recommend a couple of Jo Goodman’s novels, especially Forever in my Heart.
    Jude Deveraux's Sweet Liar is also one i liked.
    And I loved Shirlee Busbee’s Whisper to me of love, i read that one when i was really young and is the only one i haven’t reread, but i know at that time it had such an impact on me that i’ve never forgotten it.

  51. Anita Chax
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 01:15:36

    Love this post. I love, emotional, angst-ridden, character-driven romances. McNaught historicals and contemporaries do the job for me! So do SEP’s books. My other fave authors are: Susan Napier, Mary Balogh, the early Jude Deveraux, Linda Howard… After glomming on Balogh the last month or so, I’m really tired of historical. Would love angsty contemporaries. Any recommendations?

    Oh, will someone please do a “if you like Susan Elizabeth Phillips” please?????

  52. chanda
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 19:10:57

    i have only read one book of Judith Mcnaught (Paradise) and i have loved her ever since, but i would love to read more of her books, though unforfunately my part of the world does not offer much of her books, i would love to read as many as i can, does anyone know where i can read her books for free? or where i can get them for free? i would appreciate it alot! i love to read and i have great interest in this particular auther.

  53. azteclady
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 19:19:10

    Chanda, the only legal way to get Ms McNaught’s books for “free” is to have someone give them to you as a gift.

  54. Karen
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 21:03:03

    I am looking for the title of a book that is very similar to Whitney, My Love where a wealthy and handsome duke sees a young girl curtseying to the sunrise and follows her growth to France and back to England. Her father punishes her once by selling her favorite horse. She rebels against marrying the duke because she loves someone else who sails away without her. Of course they marry and live HEA, but I’m going crazy trying to remember the title of this novel.

  55. Leonora
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 07:20:29

    After stumbling on “Night Whispers” at a drug store in December, I just read ALL of Judith McNaught’s books in a row (although not chronologically). I found some at B&Nobles; some at used book shops. Wow, what great reads in front of the fire I’ve had this winter. So. Today I googled “similar authors” and came across this site. And after reading these posts, what’s really embarrassing is, unlike so many of the above posters who discovered JM in high school/college, I’m 56! But now I’m so spoiled by JM’s writing style and humor, that I’ve got to try some of the “similar author” sugestions just to shake this “lost” feeling I’ve gotten since I finished the last of her books. . . Thanks for the tips!

  56. Topics about Humoristic and Funny stuff » Archive » Comment on If You Like Judith McNaught, Historicals . . . Hosted by…
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 11:57:37

    […] Sound Of Music added an interesting post on Comment on If You Like Judith McNaught, Historicals . . . Hosted by…Here’s a small excerpt…the above posters who discovered JM in high school/Bcollege/B, I'm 56! But now I'm so spoiled by JM's writing style and Bhumor/B, that I've… […]

  57. julie
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 12:23:10

    Judith Mcnaught’s books are spell-binding it’s almost impossible to find other Historical romance authors as good as her. Except for Cathrine Coulter, Brenda Joyce has some really good books, Johanna Lindsey and Julia Quinn i have yet to find other authors that meet they’re writting skill’s most of the other authors i’ve tried, i’ve found pailed in diffrence.i’m personally more into romance novels with difficult witty characters. I’ve read through almost all these writers books now and will soon have to find some new authors that at least come close to them.and idea’s beside’s the ones already given above?i’m not into harmony style books where the characters fall into each others arms after the first chapter a bit boring and lame.

  58. katrina
    Mar 07, 2009 @ 14:00:38

    Judith McNaught is definately one of my favorite authors. I’d have to say she is one of the writers where you find yourself bursting out laughing (and everone turning to look like ‘what can you possibly be reading that could be THAT funny’). I’d have to say Cathrine Coulter is definately another one of those ‘one of a kind’ authors, along with Brenda Joyce (her novel ‘Captured’ was amazing!), and Diana Gabaldon (the ‘Outlander’ series), not to mention some of kathleen E.Woodwiss which has some good books as well.
    If anyone can think of other authors that come under the desciption of: Funny, witty, adventurous, & steamy, please feel free to let me know as I’ve read almost every book these writers above have published and am desperately looking for other writers who can meet up to their standards! :-)

  59. enju
    Mar 12, 2009 @ 06:02:40

    after reading once and always, i fell in love with judith mcnaught. she writes so beautifully and passionately, it really goes through the heart. i read all her books till date and my personal fav is once and always, and her other books like something wonderful, almost heaven, perfect, double standard are really good. but i’m suprised to read remember when, someone to watch over me, night whisper, every breath you take, tender triumpth, these are horrifyingly bad!! but nevertheless she is still better than anyother writers!

  60. Iggie
    Mar 12, 2009 @ 16:12:09

    I think that JM writes the best ‘feel good’ romances ever. Her books make you want to fall in love but she never wrote fast enough for me. I would wait for her books but they would be slow coming out. When i searched and could not find anyone who wrote love stories like the way JM did, i swung completely to paranormal romances. Afterall if they cannot be sweet they can at least be dangerous. So i am now reading books by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Maggie shayne and christine feehan. :)

  61. Anita Chax
    Mar 13, 2009 @ 04:46:43

    @ Iggie,

    Strange you should mention this… so did I. I glommed on SEP, Jennifer Crusie and JMcN first and then moved to Feehan, Kenyon, Karen Marie Moning. Now it’s Kresley Cole and Nalini Singh. Unfortunately I’ve read all that they’ve written. I’m currently in a “now what?” phase. Reading excerpts like crazy hoping I’ll find another author to get addicted to. About to try Sherry Thomas…

  62. Elaine C.
    Mar 13, 2009 @ 15:09:07

    Anita & Iggy,

    If you enjoy Nalini Singh, KMM and Kresley Cole I HIGHLY RECOMMEND:

    Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson series)
    Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels series)
    Gena Showalter
    J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood)
    Lisa Kleypas has outstanding Historical Romances!!
    Sylvia Day (great contemp and Paranormal)
    Vicki Pettersson (Zodiac series)
    Lora Leigh (Breed series)

    The closest to Judith McNaught as far as historical romance, gentle, witty, tears, joy and shouting with laughter is:
    Diana Gabaldon
    Laura London
    (especially her out of print pb “THE WINDFLOWER” a must read!)
    Lisa Kleypas

  63. Iggie
    Mar 14, 2009 @ 17:06:39

    @ Anita & Elaine

    Thanks Elaine, i’ll check out those authors. i have already read some of j.r ward’s books and they are good. i am also reading lara adrian, jacqueline frank, lori handeland (nightcreatures) and kelley armstrong.

    Anita, you could try these authors and see if you’d like any of them as well.

  64. Anita Chax
    Mar 14, 2009 @ 21:17:23

    Thanks a zillion Elaine and Iggy,
    Gosh, it’s wonderful to have some more new names to sate my appetite. I’ve read and enjoyed J R ward… Will try the other writers too!

  65. purple
    Mar 30, 2009 @ 17:58:22

    I am a JM fan and I have not been able to find a better author despite trying desperately. I love the mixture of angst, humour and joy in her romances. I love the voice in her stories and the light breeziness contrasting with deeply gut wrenching passages. I have read and reread most of her novels at least half a dozen times each and read WML / Something Wonderful at least once a year. I envy anyone who has yet to read her as you are in for a real treat. Other authors who have elicited a similar reaction for me in order of enjoyment include
    1. Diana Gibaldon – Cross Stitch / Outlander
    2. JR Ward – Black Dagger Brotherhood series (early ones)
    3. Julie Garwood – Castles, The Prize and early work
    4. Mary Balogh – The Secret Pearl
    5. Julia Quinn – Bridgerton series
    IMO these are cult books in the romance genre. I am slowly reading through bodies of work by Lisa Kleypas, Teresa Medeiros, Laura Lodon (ie Tom & Sharon Curtis) but have not been able to add them to my ‘cult’ list as yet. I have read the first part of Lisa Valdez’s Passion but the graphic language is hard for me to get past despite trying on two sittings to get into the story. I would love to know of other cult works out there.

  66. Anita Chax
    Mar 30, 2009 @ 19:11:04

    @ Purple

    May I suggest Jude Deveraux… her recent contemporaries are not up my alley. But her historicals — and she’s written quite a few — made for an addictive read, starting with the velvet series. Glom-worthy, imho.

  67. Gladz
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 00:29:52

    Until You was the first book I read of JM`s books.. It was the very first book I read with angst in it, and I instantly loved that feeling.

    I started reading every JM book i could get my hands on after that. I LOVE every book she`s written, except for Tender Triumph. That book seemed very unrealistic and lacking in some way. But other than that, I have no comlpaints.

    I`ve been trying to find books similar to hers since I finished JM`s last book, Every Breath You Take. Unfortunately, it`s always been a miss for me and never a hit. I`ve jotted down some recommendations and i`m going to check them out as soon as possible.

    For my own recommendation, works of SUSAN ELIZABETH PHILLIPS are packed with angst, comedy and a really good dose of Romance. I love her Kiss an Angel, This Heart of Mine, Lady Be Good, Nobody`s Baby But Mine and It Had To Be You.

    Some of Jude Deveraux`s works are not as good as her so I just personally recommend the Velvet Series (Mongtomery books), her characters are always somewhat connected to each other, so there`s continuity in it. Her Montgomery Family Chain is very cool, too…All those rich men (insanely rich by the way, like richer-than-the-queen rich) with their own love stories.

    Julia Quinn`s terrific, if you prefer light romance with a heavy dose of comedy. Not pretty much angst, though. Her plot`s kinda light, so it`s good for just light reading. But if you want angst, it happens at a particular moment in The Secret Diaries of Ms. Miranda Cheever,which is similar to what happened with Alex and Jordan at the end of JM`s Something Wonderful.

    These books are not at par with JM`s works, but they`re pretty good reads while waiting for JM’s next book.

  68. charlotte
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 22:20:56

    Does ANYBODY here like British authors? I’m very biased against American female authors. I feel their stories and plot lack imagination, depth and I find myself skipping pages towards the end of their books. Really dislike Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, Barbara Taylor Bradford( used to like her but some of her recent works are in same ordinary style as the others), Lavryle Spencer etc. But I;m open to persuasion but proof is in the pudding.
    I love British authors like Patricia Veryan(for Regency fiction), Catherine Cookson( for romance and adventure, love her!!) and Katie FForde for Contemporary romance. Has anybody heard of Pamela Belle? Loved her Wintercombe series!!
    So those are more my style. I hope I’ve not blabbed too much but I’m new here and like this site. Thanks all.

  69. Jane
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 22:24:10

    @charlotte: Welcome! Blab away. That is what the comments are for. I don’t think I’ve ever read Pamela Belle but the name “wintercombe” sounds very familiar. One of my favorite chic lit authors was Elizabeth Young.

  70. Gini
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 15:12:17

    Hi Charlotte,
    I like British Authors!
    I do find however that the romance is secondary or tagged on to the story with British Authors so I mainly buy American Published books that give me all the romance I want.

    The British authors I like to read are Melissa Nathan, Jill Mansell, Cindy Blake (excellent books why is she not more famous??) Belinda Jones, Catherine Alliot and Joanne Harris so if you like the majority of these authors then you might enjoy the same American authors I do, which would be (to name only a few):
    For historicals; Julia Quinn, Lorretta Chase, Mary Balogh, Sherry Thomas and Joanna Bourne
    Jude Deveraux for good plots, interesting characters with a huge range of eras and story lines.
    For paranormals/fantasy; Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thomson Series although romance is secondary in these), Kresley Cole (Immortals after dark series), Shana Abe (Drakon Series she also writes historicals),.
    For comtemporaries; Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips (I don’t seem to be reading many comtemps. at the moment so I’m drawing a bit of a blank on this one).
    Not read any Pamela Belle though.
    Hope you discover some new authors to glom!
    Gini (in England)

  71. charlotte
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 17:40:10

    Thank you very much for the replies!! I will try looking up those British authors you mentioned. I don’t mind ‘tagged on’ romance ’cause I avoid strictly romance books like Harlequin and Silhouette. ‘Wintercombe’ is a must read. Check your local libraries for details!! Again thank you.

  72. chanda
    Dec 12, 2009 @ 23:27:46

    Hi Sarah i would just like to thank you for your help! i really didn’t expect anyone to help me and so I’m really thankful.Stay blessed and thank you again.

  73. Sarah
    Dec 17, 2009 @ 06:35:18

    so,,, i really really liked Double standards , paradise and every breathe you take by JM!! i mean loved them!! I loved the contemporary /city setting romance,,, and the angst/depth of feeling that you only see in historical romances.
    another similar book to those was Sweet Liar by Jude .D -that was phenomenal.

    i was wondering if any of you knew similar kinds of stories and books?

  74. Faith
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 03:27:08

    I have read all of Judith McNaught’s books and they r all amazing. I have not yet found anyone who compares to her and have now resolved to wait for her next book while just jumping from author author.
    It was nice to hear another fan of Judith McNaught.
    keep posting alternative authors cause I’ve not yet found another favorite. Guess I’m just McNaughtized!!!!!1

  75. Karen
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 03:07:56

    My Favorite Authors

    Judith Mcnaught
    Lisa Kleypas
    Julie Garwood
    Liz Carlyle-Wicked all Day
    Kelly Armstrong-Science Fiction. You will fall in love with the characters of Bitten. Elena and Clay are wonderful.

  76. Kimberley
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 03:14:07

    @Faith: I absolutely love Jean Johnson, Robin Owens, P C Cast, Kresley Cole, Nalini Singh, Traci Harding anything Paranormal Romance!!!

  77. jane2
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 18:49:47

    I also feel the same where I haven’t found an author who has consistently produced such poignancy as McNaught does. However, some of my favorite novels are The Secret by Julie Garwood, Silk and Steel by Kat Martin, and Everything and the Moon by Julia Quinn. Thanks so much for posting this…I look forward to trying out these new authors!

  78. Kay Maxson
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 09:30:39

    If you like paranormal books and heavy on the romance try Karen Marie Moning; the Highlander series. Most of this series is about time travel.

  79. Penny
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 03:08:51

    I love all her book

  80. Aya
    Jan 23, 2011 @ 10:18:38


    JM is one of my fav authors. I definitely love her historical romance novels. As to contemporaries, Paradise and Perfect are the best. I am looking forward to her new book (ie. Cant take my eyes of you) which is expected to be released in Dec 2011.

    Aside from JM, I can recommend the following authors:

    Stephanie Laurens (particulary the novels on the Cynsters clan)

    Jude Deveraux (mainly novels on Montgomery clan)

    Julie Garwood (mainly the Crown Spies Series)

    Catherine Coulter (mainly the Bride Series)

  81. faith
    Jan 23, 2011 @ 12:50:14

    Check out Susan Elisabeth Phillips, especially the new book, “Call me irresistable”

    Generally all of her books. They are fun, passionate and the hero and heroine make you feel like you are reading a fairytale. Always makes me believe in love

  82. Naj
    Mar 04, 2011 @ 00:31:40

    i grew up reading judith mcnaight tooo and is my favorite author and i was looking for something that can move me like her book but lions and lace by meagan mckinney is really good, julie garwood is also really good and julia london!!!

  83. Stevie
    May 31, 2011 @ 07:43:37

    I just finished Something Wonderful and am still in my mourning phase. I LOVED it. My other favorites were Kingdom of Dreams, and Almost Heaven. I am sad to see so many say there is not much out there like her. I am a romance addict, but no so much contemporary, although I am a huge paranormal fan. I love big strong heroes that didn’t know they had a weakness until a woman comes in and turns their world upside down. I love taking the journey with them to discover that love, the harder they fight the better. I am surprised no one has mentioned Marsha Canham. She is the one that actually got me into regencies. For any of you who haven’t read her books, my all time favorites are The Wind and the Sea, The Pride of Lions, but you also have to read the second in that series The Blood of Roses, Bound By Hearts and she has a really unique spin on the origins of Robin Hood. I stared with The Pride of Lions because I am a huge fan of Scottish period romance, Outlander series, Kresley Cole’s MacCarrick Brothers. I have also read Julie Garwood and enjoyed her books but I agree with Loonigrrl, she is not a comparison to McNaught. Canham’s books are romantic adventures with Alpha males and mostly spitfire woman but they are not all regency, some are pirates, cowboys, british navel officers, all of which I balked at but loved her writing so well I tried them and loved almost every.

    I am new to the regency era and I just happened upon McNaught through (great website) because of the reviews from readers. Now I am looking for anything that can take me on the emotional roller coaster that Something Wonderful has. I haven’t read Once and Always yet and actually wasn’t going to because some of the reviews sounded disappointing, but after reading everyones comments I will be making a trip to B&N today because I am going through withdrawal. If anyone can suggest books of super romance, strong men with fiery woman, especially reluctant lovers, please send it along.

    BTW-Thank you so much for this website! You have a new fan!

  84. Jane
    May 31, 2011 @ 07:56:17

    @Stevie- ah the good book letdown period. I need to re-read Kingdom of Dreams. I had problems with it initially because I felt the heroine was too immature, always fighting without a good basis for her arguments. But maybe I’d feel differently today.

  85. juliana
    May 31, 2011 @ 10:21:09

    Try some of theresa medeiros books, they’re witty ,good writting and hard to put down.

  86. Iggie
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 08:09:52

    Try Johanna Lindsay ( esp. the Malory series). They are quite hilarious and entertaining as well.

  87. mookles
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 15:27:05

    If you liked Kingdom of Dreams you should definitely read Whitney, My Love and Until You. Once and Always is also good but not one of my favorites. JM’s contemporary Paradise is also one of my all time favorites.

  88. Aimzster
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 20:38:28

    Glad I stumbled upon this website.

    JM will always be my favourite historical romance author. Something Wonderful set me on the path of my historical romance obsession and I’m devastated that JM has stopped writing them. I’m not a fan of her contemporaries unfortunately.

    At the time I was reading JM’s historicals, I also fell in love with Jude Deveraux’s Montgomery series, although not on the same scale.

    It’s been tough finding an author like JM. Julia Quinn is probably at the top at the moment and while I know that she’s renowned for her witty interaction between characters, I find it a bit too ‘fluffy’ and I get impatient, waiting for something – anything – to happen!

    At the moment, I’m going through Teresa Medeiros’ books. Her ‘After Midnight’ really struck a chord in me and I am reminded of JM’s sensual, charismatic heroes. While TM is my favourite author of historical romances at the moment, she doesn’t compare to JM.

  89. Jenny
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 17:09:37

    Elizabeth Elliott’s writing reminds me of both Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood, though more of McNaught. It has some of the humor and sweetness of Garwood’s as well as Mcnaught’s angstyness

    Medieval trilogy by Elizabeth Elliott

    1. THE WARLORD by Elizabeth Elliott – favorite of the favorites for me.
    3. THE ASSASSIN is supposed to be published in May 2012, hopefully.

    THE BETROTHED is set in regency times and it is about the descendants of THE WARLORD.

  90. Jane
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 17:12:10

    @Jenny: I love Elizabeth Elliott. She has a book coming out called the Assassin. Not sure when the release date is. Her website (it’s flash with auto music so beware) says Spring 2011.

    Whoops. I see you have more up to date information than I.

  91. Jenny
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 05:05:46

    Hi Jane,

    I found the new info on THE ASSASSIN that is it being published in Spring 2012 here:

    This Romance website in Spanish interviewed her June 207 2011. I hope you understand Spanish. :)

  92. Lynn
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 12:33:24

    I DO hold all books to the standard of Judith Mcnaught,in fact I can’t think of another author whose books I dream of even after I’ve turned the last page, I will read some of the above noted material. I have actually left the “romance arena and began reading my teenage daughthers books. I highly recommend “The Hunger Games” I haven’t liked a book this well since “Paradise”. Happy reading and Thx for all the suggestions. Amy

  93. Joie
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 16:01:07

    Just discovered this site/post while searching for recommended reads similar to Judith McNaught. Great forum and excellent post (loonigrrl)!! Thanks for the recommendations!
    I do have to say that I cannot understand, for the life of me, how JM can be “comparable” to Julie Garwood. I love the intelligence and wit that JM brings to her stories and the depth of character and plot that she weaves. Garwood’s heroines alone make me want to shake some sense into them. Sorry to those fans of hers, but I really did try to like her!

  94. abby
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 10:12:51

    JMcnaught, is one of my first romance authors that and i must say she is a hard one to beat. i’m kinda bummed about the whole thing since i keep comparing all books that i’ve read ever since. and though none have come at par (in my opinion) with her, i like SEP’s book, esp aint she sweet, nobody’s baby but mine, natural born charmer and etc. i also like julie garwood’s laird fiancees series, i like kisa kleypas’ wallflowers series.

    i’m a real hard reader to please, i want the books i read to have a sense of practicality in them not with too much male bravado and certainly none of those dull witted female leads. sooo i’m really please to have stumbled upon this site. gives me a sense of peace that i’m not alone.

  95. Jane
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 10:15:39

    @abby: You might like Madeline Hunter’s Rules of Seduction. The heroine is very pragmatic. Also Joan Wolf.

  96. Scarlett
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 05:53:25

    I also love JM’s books especially Almost Heaven. This is the first book I’ve read it and the one I like the most.This book made me feel even more sorry that I wasn’t born in that period of time. At the time I found the book I didn’t even know there are other books preceding this one and I was pleasently surprised when I discovered that Something Wonderful is the story of Alexandra and so on. I do hope I find here other books in the same style.
    As someone said before, I’m glad I’m not alone and that there are others in search of romance in their lives.

  97. Patricia
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 11:46:59

    The only other author who grabbed me with emotional heartstrings as Judith McNaught was June Lund Shiplett. Although June’s books are not regency historicalromance, they are based on the American colonial period with so much emotion, the characters stand out but don’t let this dissuade you from reading any of her books beginning with Reap the Bitter Winds and all other books completing this series. You will feel every gut wrenching emotion but what is more poignant is that you become so involved and engrossed in the adventure that you feel you are one and part of the story.

    June Lund Shiplett…what can I say. She is gone but never forgotten. Her writings just stay with you because you get so involved with the story that you imagine yourself being the heroine in each of her books which was so powerfully written. Her series beginning with the Raging Winds of Heaven began my journey of wanting to read everything written by this author. You felt every adventure and lordy, there were adventures to be had. You laughed. You felt every heart wrenching tear. You felt pain and you felt love. You felt every injustice. You felt every victory. You just felt every emotion because you became so involved in the story line from beginning to end. That’s just how powerful this woman captured her audience, the reader. The only other author who captured me in such a way was Judith McNaught. June’s writings were the journey of one woman’s life which transpired over time through every book in this series from when she was young to when she was old. You pictured yourself right there at that moment aging along with her, feeling along with her. I can not describe further the impact you’ll feel after reading her books. She was one powerful author. Thank you June! You have begun a new journey in heaven!

  98. lurvchocolate!
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 21:21:47

    @Patricia: June Lund Shiplett’s books sound great!!! But I can’t seem to be able to find the books anywhere. Care to give me a link??? I really want to read her books!

  99. Gladdylyn
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 22:52:19

    I love JM’s novels! First one I read was Until You. I thought
    that was the greatest, until I’ve read the rest of her books. I have no favorite after that. Each one holds a special place in my heart.

    After I ran out of her books to read, I ventured out into reading other authors’. And if I actually like them, I’ll buy all their books. So far, here’s a list of the authors I watch out for:

    Susan Elizabeth Phillips – angst is so high for Kiss An Angel and Lady Be Good…This Heart of Mine was also fabulous! Her series about this football players are really hot too…
    Lisa Kleypas – I would say out of all the authors here, she’s pretty close with the angst and the humor is also good. Love scenes are tastefully done.
    Julia Quinn – I find myself constantly laughing while reading her books. She’s got a sense of humor…
    Kat Martin – she writes awesome historical romance, most of them with angst too…
    Johanna Lindsey – hit and miss, but her earlier books are fanatastice. I especially loved Fires of Winter, Secret fire and So Speaks the Heart
    Tracy Anne Warren – The Byron Series, especially Seduced by His Touch
    Sarah Maclean – new author, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake…stumbled on it and it’s very good!
    Jude Deveraux’s Velvet Series is a must read too!

  100. Dominika
    Dec 20, 2011 @ 07:32:22

    I looove Judith McNaught and she is by far my favourite romance author, I love both the historical and contemporary books. There are a few books that I like to re-read as much as JM. But here are a few:
    Sweet Liar – Jude Deveraux (apparently under the guidance of JM), contemporary, I like Jude and have a read a lot of her books but only go back to a chosen few
    Say you love me – Johanna Lindsey (I have 5 copies of that book because I keep moving it and need a re-read fix every so often), heroine isn’t a stunner
    Saving Grace – Julie Garwood, for the feel good factor
    Meredith Duran – really been getting into her books recently but Duke of Shadows is the best
    Thunder and Roses – Mary Jo Putney – looove this book – the rest of the Fallen Angel series isn’t as good IMHO but still worth a read
    Plus there are a few short story gems:
    Jude Deveraux – Invitation, the story from Cale, is a hoot
    Jude Deveraux – Simple Gifts – The story of Mac Taggert
    Would love to read some more Judith McNaught but will have to cope with re-reads.

  101. Patricia
    Feb 19, 2012 @ 22:27:08

    I highly recommend Pamela Clare’s McKinnon series starting with Surrender. Her writing will have you wanting to read every book she has written. She also has a suspense romance that is absolutely out of this world. Her book Breaking Point was phenominal but begin reading the first book in this series. Go to Goodreads and put in Pamela Clare in the search section. You won’t be sorry.

  102. Margie
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 08:52:08

    I’m so glad to have come across this blog post. Thank you, Jane, for creating this very helpful post. Well done in analyzing Judith McNaught. I first learned of her in high school (early 90s) and decided to re-read her books recently. More than a decade later, she is still by far, my fave author when it comes to historical romance. I wish she’d go back to writing historicals. The suggestions here on similar authors are brilliant. Thank you so much for this post.

  103. marylou mawson
    Mar 31, 2012 @ 16:02:27

    thanks for this website! I am always looking for new authors. The only author I have ever found to equal JM is Laura Kinsale. She is also incomparable. I become obsessed with her books and the characters in them in the same way as I have with JM. I love all JM books without exception only because after trying other authors I found that my least favorite of JM’s books to be far superior to other authors, especially on subsequent readings. For me it is the same with Laura Kinsale they get better with subsequent readings. With that said, I will just mention my other favorite authors – Sandra Brown-Sexy suspense can’t put down page turners
    Karen Robards-ditto
    Kat Martin
    Amanda Quick
    Jennifer Crusie
    and still in my keeper pile Katheleen Woodiwiss and Jude Devereaux
    P.S. Also loved Mac Taggerts story in Simple Gifts, and have reread it several times!

  104. Marisa
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 20:43:44

    I absolutely adore Judith McNaught…wish she would write more historical books. I have read her books over and over. I am a historical romance reader but like most of you have tried to find an author similar to her with plot and writing style. Linda Francis Lee has a set that is my second favorite under Judith’s books. She wrote “Dove’s Way”, “Swan’s Grace” and then “Nightengale’s Gate”. The books are about three brothers who find love in very different heroines and circumstances. Very similar character traits to Judith’s books.

  105. Beverly
    May 20, 2012 @ 18:23:20

    To all Judith McNaught fans looking for another great author
    try Monica McCarty books, you will not be disappointed.

  106. bell
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 18:28:07

    I am a die hard Judith McNaught fan! Lately, I read a book Maid for the Billionaire (Book 1) (Legacy Collection), new author, Ruth Cardello and I totally enjoyed it. Reminded me a great deal of Judith McNaught.

  107. Jenny
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 15:40:43

    You’ll also like Meagan McKinney and Katherine Sutcliffe.

  108. Rajadreamer
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 16:08:26

    The Hathaway Family series by Lisa Kleypas + plus her Wallflower series are the closest thing i’ve found yet.

  109. Nasreen
    Oct 31, 2012 @ 05:19:55

    1. Loonigrrl!

    I’m SOOOO glad i stumbled upon this site! Your sentiments on JM’s books mirror mine. I have been searching for someone who write like her, but no one come close. I’ll look up the recommended authors right after this! Who else are your favourites?

    2. Since i’m here, just adding my 2 cents: Susan Elizabth Philips, Jude Deveraux and Julia Quinn.

  110. Reena
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 12:28:55

    I am also Judith Mcnaught fan,I loved all her books specially Paradise and Whitnet my love
    If you like her books please read Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux,Over the years I have read this book several times just as I have read all Judith Mcnaughts books several time,so please try to read this book you all will love it

  111. Nasreen
    Sep 17, 2013 @ 04:48:35


    I love that too.
    What other books are your favs?

  112. marie
    Oct 18, 2013 @ 22:49:33

    I really love this site and the breakdown to best describe of JM writing style. However, I would love if the recommendations from comments were copied to the top section of the page with links. It took me an hour to get through all the wonderful comments and look up book synapses on amazon to ultimately pick my next read. Great job on the site! love the idea!

  113. sahar
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 12:16:26

    hi, i love Judith Mcnaught’s novel Paradise its just too good…first time i read any english novel and that was suprb i just love to read JM book’s please recommend me her more interesting and romantic books…

  114. Reena
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 09:24:47

    Hi Nasreen,
    I haven’t found any books like Judith mcnaught’s and Knight in shining Armor by Jude Deveraux,but lately I have read author called Jodi Picoult,her books is not about romance,but topics she
    Writes about are so interesting and really touches you deeply,try
    Her book called Plain Truth,let me know if you enjoy it

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