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Best of the Non Regency Historicals

Best of the Non Regency Historicals

In response to my article yesterday which I provocatively titled “We should let the historical genre die”, I received several emails saying how much they, too, loved the historical genre and still wanted to read it but they needed suggestions. We have a great body of readers here at Dear Author so let’s put our heads together and put forth a list of really great Non Regency Historicals.


  • A Kiss to Die For by Claudia Dain
  • Blaze by Susan Johnson
  • Forbidden by Susan Johnson (partly takes place in Montana, New York, and France)
  • Silver Flame by Susan Johnson
  • Brazen by Susan Johnson
  • Pure Sin by Susan Johnson (Absarokee hero)
  • Marry Me by Jo Goodman
  • Never Love a Lawman by Jo Goodman
  • Only in My Arms by Jo Goodman (former nun heroine)
  • Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath (Western)
  • Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne (Western, Frontier)
  • His Secondhand Wife by Cheryl St. John (Western)
  • Years by LaVyrle Spencer
  • Vows by LaVyrle Spencer
  • Marry Me by Susan Kay Law
  • One Lonely Night by Susan Kay Law
  • The Wives of Bowie Stone by Maggie Osborne (American West)
  • Nobody’s Darling by Teresa Medeiros
  • Fair Is The Rose by Meagan McKinney (1870s Montana, I believe. This is the sequel to Lions and Lace, and I think it’s much, much better. A tortured heroine and an equally tortured hero)

Late Victorian

  • Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
  • Delicious by Sherry Thomas
  • Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
  • Black Silk by Judith Ivory
  • Beyond Sunrise by Candace Proctor (Polynesia/Oceania Victorian)
  • Lady Dangerous by Suzanne Robinson (late Victorian England. Slightly Western in that the hero ran away to America and comes back a gunslinger. Heroine is meddlesome and disguises herself as a frumpy housemaid in his home.)
  • As You Desire by Connie Brockway (late 19th century Egypt)
  • Jennifer Donnelly’s Rose trilogy (late Victorian up through WWI, diverse settings)

US Non Westerns

  • Lions and Lace by Megan McKinney (NY, turn of Century)
  • With One Look by Jennifer Horsman (New Orleans 1818), I vaguely remember the heroine being blind in this book
  • The Charm School – Susan Wiggs (Victorian Boston and South America)
  • The Horsemasters Daughter – Susan Wiggs (late 1800s, North Carolina)
  • The Sleeping Night – Barbara Samuel (WWII, American South)
  • Charade by Laura Lee Gurhke (prior to the American Revolution)
  • Breathless by Laura Lee Gurhke (Gilded Age Atlanta/Georgia)
  • Midnight Confessions by Candace Proctor (Civil War New Orleans w/ a female doctor AND older woman/younger man)
  • Hunter’s Hill by Mary Bishop (New England late 19th C)
  • Wild at Heart by Patricia Gaffney (Gilded Age Chicago)
  • November of the Heart by LaVyrle Spencer (Gilded Age Minnesota resort town)
  • Surrender by Pamela Clare (during the French and Indian wars)
  • Untamed by Pamela Clare (during the French and Indian wars)
  • Defiant by Pamela Clare (during the French and Indian wars)
  • Sweeter Than Wine by Michaela August, which is set in California just after WWI.
  • The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel. An interracial historical set in post WW II deep South
  • Morning Song by Karen Robards is set in pre-Civil War era Mississippi.
  • A Candle in the Dark by Megan Chance starts out in New York City in 1849, and travels to the jungles of Panama!
  • Halfway to Heaven by Susan Wiggs (Gilded Age, Washington DC)
  • Runabout by Pamela Morsi (turn of century Americana)
  • Defiant Impostor by Miriam Munger (pre-Revolutionary War American Colonies)
  • The Raider by Jude Deveraux (set in 1766 Colonial New England)
  • Twin of Ice/Twin of Fire by Jude Deveraux (set in 1892 Colorado)
  • Smuggler’s Bride by Darlene Marshall (set in 1840s Florida, just after the Second Seminole War)
  • Pirate’s Price by Darlene Marshall (set in 1820s Florida)
  • Princess of Thieves by Katherine O’Neal (ate 19th century America. One of those sprawling, WTFBBQ type of historicals that went all over the place, but works so well. About two con artists from feuding con artist families and the games they play as they fight and love. Plenty of real people (Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, etc))
  • Passion’s Ransom by Betina Krahn (Colonial era America. Semi-pirate book in that the heroine is captured by sailors. Krahn writes humorous and hot.)
  • Wishing by Miranda Jarrett (early 18th century New England. Part of her Fairbourne series. Heroine is a fisher(wo)man.)
  • Jade Star by Catherine Coulter (19th century San Francisco. The last in a quartet of reoccurring characters. The hero is a doctor.)

Post Turn of the Century

  • His Very Own Girl by Carrie Lofty (WWII)
  • The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons (WWII)


  • The Holding by Claudia Dain
  • The Irish Warrior by Kris Kennedy
  • The Conqueror by Kris Kennedy
  • Defiant by Kris Kennedy
  • Deception by Kris Kennedy
  • By Possession by Madeline Hunter
  • By Design by Madeline Hunter
  • By Arrangement by Madeline Hunter
  • Stealing Heaven by Madeline Hunter
  • The Protector by Madeline Hunter
  • Lord of a Thousand Nights by Madeline Hunter
  • What a Scoundrel Wants by Carrie Lofty
  • A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
  • A Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuel (Medieval Germany)
  • For My Lady’s Heart by Laura Kinsale
  • The Pagan’s Prize by Miriam Munger (Medieval Russia)
  • Wild Angel by Miriam Munger (Medieval Ireland)
  • Wild Roses by Miriam Munger (Medieval Ireland)
  • Red Adam’s Lady by Grace Ingram
  • Roselynde by Roberta Gellis
  • Alinor by Roberta Gellis
  • ?Joanna by Roberta Gellis
  • Gilliane by Roberta Gellis
  • Rhiannon by Roberta Gellis
  • Sybelle by Roberta Gellis
  • Lord of My Heart by Jo Beverley
  • Dark Champion by Jo Beverley
  • The Shattered Rose by Jo Beverley
  • The Lord of Midnight by Jo Beverley
  • Shadows and Lace by Teresa Medeiros (Medieval England. Medeiros in the 90s wrote lots of gritty, emotional, and passionate historicals)

Non US/Non Europe Setting

  •  Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin (China)
  • The Dragon and The Pearl by Jeannie Lin (China)
  • My Fair Concubine by Jeannie Lin (China)
  • The Sword Dancer by Jeannie Lin (China)
  • Flawless by Carrie Lofty (South Africa)
  • Starlight by Carrie Lofty (Glasgow)
  • Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran (1/2 in India)
  • Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale (1/2 in Hawaii)
  • Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale (Ireland)
  • The Windflower by Laura London (War of 1812)
  • The Dream Hunter by Laura Kinsale (first half set in Syria)
  • The Falcons of Montabard by Elizabeth Chadwick (Holy Land)
  • Shadows of the Moon by MM Kaye (India?)
  • The Far Pavillions by MM Kaye (India, is written around the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857)
  • Trade Winds by MM Kaye (South Pacific?? May be rapey)
  • Rangoon by Christine Monson (Burma/Thailand)
  • Fires of Winter by Roberta Gellis  (1100s/1200s England. Told in alternating first person POV. Big Misunderstanding, but believable. Plenty of real history (naturally))


  • Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small (1555-1565, Ireland, London, Algiers) (Trigger: Rape)
  • The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne (French Revolution)
  • Wild Desire by Lori Brighton (British Colonial India)
  • The Reluctant Heiress (originally titled Magic Flutes) by Eva Ibbotson (Austria)
  • A Countess Below Stairs (also published in England as The Secret Countess) by Eva Ibbotson (World War I England)
  • Bliss by Judy Cuevas (aka Judith Ivory) by Turn of the Century France
  • Dance by Judy Cuevas (aka Judith Ivory) by Turn of the Century France
  • Beast by Judith Ivory by Turn of the Century ocean liner and then France
  • The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne (France during the Terror)
  • Simon the Coldheart by Georgette Heyer ( set during Henry V, varies between England and France)
  • Lion’s Bride by Iris Johansen (Crusades- era Europe)
  • The Magnificent Rogue by Iris Johansen (Elizabethan Scotland. Real history here too. Heroine is the illegitimate child of Mary, Queen of Scots (or so she is told) and the hero, difficult, brutish, and tortured, is forced to wed her to keep her safe from those who would use her as a political pawn.)
  • Banners of Silk by Rosalind Laker  (Second Empire France & Victorian England. More historical women’s fiction than romance, but it has a great HEA. Set against the rise of Charles Worth and Napoleon III’s reign and told through the eyes of a French grisette who longs to build her own fashion empire.)
  • To Dream Again by Laura Lee Guhrke (1880s England. A bitter, tortured heroine and a hero who wants to make toys!)
  • The Painted Lady by Lucia Grahame (1890s France and England. So so grateful when an AAR reviewer pulled this out of the ether. First person POV, meaty, and difficult.)
  • Murmur of Rain by Patricia Vaughn (1890s century Paris and Haiti. A gothic-tinged historical romance. The heroine and the setting are the best parts of the book, but it’s something unusual.)

I’m working backwards in the comments, but you could all help me if you did like Samantha and include the recommendation formatted like the post Title by Author (period, short pithy details to get someone to read it)

So I’m not adding Georgian or Edwardian because … I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel different enough for me.  You are free to try to convince me otherwise in the comments.  (Also, I have 50 more comments to add)

If You Like New Adult Books

If You Like New Adult Books

New Adult Definition

The above is my own definition for the New Adult genre.  In 2009 St. Martin’s Press announced it would be acquiring books for a “New Adult” line and held a submission contest but  by 2011, SMP had not yet delivered on the promised new line despite interest expressed by readers online.  Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books, hosted the submission contest and shared that two submissions – The Girl of Thorn and Fire by Rae Carson and The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long — went on to be published by other publishers.  Ms. McBride told me:

New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.

Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to.

When I first heard of New Adult I wasn’t convinced it would interest me a great deal.

After I read Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits which featured high school seniors on the cusp of adulthood, I realized I wanted to read more about the characters in that transitional phase of their life, primarily because the issues that the characters dealt with were relatable to me, even as an older adult. Finding more books like this was a challenge so I put out a call on Twitter for college aged protagonists.

Author Julie Cross (The Tempest) recommended Easy by Tammara Webber (reviewed here). Last Sunday, self published book Easy by Tammara Webber was 29  on the NYT combined ebook list. Easy is a genre defining book. In other words if you are wondering what New Adult is about, Easy can help you understand.  After reading Easy, I went on a New Adult glom burning through Webber’s backlist and branching out to titles Something Like Normal by Trish Doller and Where She Went by Gayle Forman.

New Adult books feature characters with slightly older teens or in their very early twenties. They are more commercially accessible coming of age stories, ones that take a look to life beyond school. They are learning who they are and how they are going to respond to adult challenges. Moreover, and this is important to me, they are fairly independent.

Over the last few months, I’ve read several New Adult books. I’ve been recommending them and adult readers here at Dear Author have been enjoying them. I am seeing more and more readers ask for New Adult books. With the help of Julie Cross, we have compiled a list of New Adult books that we’ve either read and recommend or that come recommended by others.

College-aged YA

  • Tempest by Julie Cross (sci-fi/thriller – first person male MC POV)
  • Easy by Tammara Webber (contemporary book set in college – first person female MC POV) [Review]
  • Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (contemporary featuring deployed soldier returned on leave – first person male MC POV) [Review]
  • The Ivy by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur (contemporary set in Harvard – third person POV but read reviews first)
  • Bass Ackwards and Belly Up by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain (contemporary – four female MC POVs in the third person)
  • Where She Went by Gayle Forman (contemporary – first person male rock star POV who ruminates about the girl he lost but still loves.)
  • We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han (contemporary – first person female MC POV, love triangle)
  • Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn (contemporary erotic romance featuring a grad student, third person with both characters POV) [Review]
  • Sheltered by Charlotte Stein (contemporary erotic romance told in first person female POV) [Review]

Just Graduated YA

  • Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger (contemporary – first person female MC POV) [Review]
  • Reunited by Hilary Graham (contemporary – third person female characters POV)
  • Wanderlove by Kristin Hubbard (contemporary – first person female MC POV)
  • The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (contemporary – first person male MC POV)
  • Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (contemporary – first person female POV dealing with her father’s death) [Review]
  • Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt (contemporary – alternating POV)
  • Good For You by Tammara Webber (contemporary – alternating first person POV)  [Review]
  • Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (contemporary – alternating first person POV)
  • Gone Too Far by Jennifer Echols (contemporary – first person female MC POV, romance with a young (19) police officer)
  • Sophie and Carter by Chelsea Fine (contemporary – alternating first person POV) [Review]

Have others to recommend to us? Intrigued or put off by the New Adult concept?  Let us know.