12 Historical Romance Novels That Prove Love is Timeless
People have been telling stories about love throughout human history, from Homer to Shakespeare. And whether the characters wear corsets or cowboy hats, their narratives often convey universal themes about things like passion, ambition, and sacrifice. We've selected twelve works of historical fiction that cover a wide range of eras and prove that love is timeless.
12 Great Works of Historical Romance
|1.||Redeeming Love||Francine Rivers||California gold rush|
|2.||Splendid||Julia Quinn||Regency England|
|3.||Alex and Eliza||Melissa de la Cruz||American Revolution|
|4.||The Tea Rose||Jennifer Donnelly||Victorian London|
|5.||God's Eye||Susan Fanetti||Viking Age|
|6.||The Muse||Raine Miller||Regency England|
|7.||Someone to Care||Mary Balogh||Regency England|
|8.||Storm and Silence||Robert Thier||19th century London|
|9.||Shadow Music||Julie Garwood||Medieval Scotland|
|10.||The Tuscan Child||Rhys Bowen||World War II-era Tuscany|
|11.||The Speak Easy Duet||Melanie Harlow||America's Roaring Twenties|
|12.||A Matter of Grave Concern||Brenda Novak||19th century London|
Walter Scott: Father of the Historical Novel
Many people consider Sir Walter Scott to be the inventor of the modern historical novel. His most famous works, the Waverly Novels, were published during the early 1800s. These works inspired many future authors, including Balzac and Victor Hugo.
Popular Settings for Historical Fiction
- Regency England
- Medieval Europe
- Ancient Egypt
- Viking Age
- Colonial United States
From the Middle Ages to the Victorian era, historical romance novels mix history with fiction. In addition to their focus on the relationships between characters, they also provide an interesting look at how life was lived back in the day. Whether you're a fan of the genre or are interested in checking it out, this list of twelve historical romance novels that prove love is timeless will help you expand your reading list. Take note that this list is done in no particular order.
First up, at #1, we have "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. Set during the California Gold Rush of the early 1850s, this is a retelling of the Bible's "Book of Hosea." It tells the story of Angel, a prostitute who has lived a rough life. One day, she meets a man named Michael Hosea who, throughout the story, is determined to marry her under God's command. As the title suggests, it's a story of redemption, and it deals with the themes of unconditional love and faith.
Next, at #2, is "Splendid" by Julia Quinn. Set in Great Britain's Regency era during the early 1800s, the book is about an American heiress named Emma Dunster who, by coincidence, catches the attention of Alexander Ridgely, an English duke. Prior to meeting each other, neither was interested in the idea of marriage, especially the duke, who thinks that most women only want him because of his title and wealth. Ironically, this dynamic drives their relationship forward throughout the novel.
At #3, we have "Alex and Eliza: A Love Story" by Melissa de la Cruz. Set during the American Revolution, it's a romanticized retelling of the relationship between Elizabeth Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton, George Washington's right hand man. While not completely historically accurate, the book provides an interesting take on the early life of one of the United States' founding fathers.
Next up, at #4, is "The Tea Rose." Written by Jennifer Donnelly, the book is set in London during the late 1880s, and it tells the story of two lovers named Fiona Finnegan and Joe Bristow. After a series of unfortunate events, including a certain character's death due to the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper, Fiona flees to America to pursue her dreams. It's a love story that spans several years, and it shows readers the struggles of the common folk in that time period.
Coming in at #5 is "God's Eye" by Susan Fanetti. Mainly based on Norse mythology, this book features the story of Brenna, a shieldmaiden who was born with the mark of Odin. Due to her having the mark of a god, people are afraid of her, essentially making her an outcast. She eventually crosses paths with a berserker named Vali, whose life she saved when they were kids.
The story revolves around their relationship and the obstacles they have to overcome as two soldiers from different Viking tribes.
At #6, we have "The Muse" by Raine Miller. This is a prequel to Miller's "Priceless," and it deals with the life of Graham Everley, a grieving lord who instantly falls in love after meeting a woman named Imogene Byron-Cole. It focuses on the struggles of their relationship and the burdens of noble life during the Regency era.
Next, at #7, is "Someone to Care" by Mary Balogh. Another book set in the Regency era, it tells the story of Viola Kingsley, a widow who only recently found out that she was never a legitimate countess. By pure coincidence, she reunites with an old suitor from several years ago, and that's where things start taking off. The novel explores the relationship between two damaged individuals who have both distanced themselves from their families for different reasons.
At #8 is "Storm and Silence" by Robert Thier. Taking place in 19th century London, this novel focuses on the relationship between two unlikely lovers, Lilly Linton and Rikkard Ambrose. Lilly is a young, progressive woman who manages to land a lucrative job as the rich and powerful Rikkard's secretary, but there's a catch. She has to pose as a man in order to keep her job.
Aside from the romance plot, the book also explores the social issues of the Victorian era, such as the lack of woman's rights during that time period.
Coming in at #9 is "Shadow Music" by Julie Garwood. Taking place in medieval Scotland, it tells the story of Gabrielle, the daughter of an English Baron who is set to marry a Scottish laird in order to secure peace between their factions. It explores the themes of war and politics, and it provides a closer look at the border disputes between England and Scotland during the medieval era.
At #10, we have "The Tuscan Child" by Rhys Bowen. This novel mainly revolves around the story of Hugo Langley, a British pilot whose plane was shot down in Italy during World War II. There, he met a woman named Sofia Bartoli, who took care of his injuries and seemingly had an affair with him. A few decades later, his daughter, Joanna, finds an unopened letter addressed to Sofia that prompts her to learn more about his brief stay in Tuscany.
The book switches between the past and present as Hugo's estranged daughter tries to uncover the mysterious past of her now-deceased father.
Next, at #11, is "The Speak Easy Duet," which is a collection of two novels written by Melanie Harlow. Set in the 1920s during the Prohibition Era, both books revolve around a girl named Tiny O'Mara, whose bootlegger father was kidnapped by a mafia boss. In order to save her father, she starts seducing the mobster's son while also enlisting the help of a childhood friend to pay off the ransom.
Finally, at #12, we have "A Matter of Grave Concern" by Brenda Novak. Set in 19th century London, it tells the story of two unlikely lovers, Max Wilder and Abigail Hale. After getting involved with a gang of grave robbers for two very different reasons, both of them have to pretend that they're a couple in order to protect each other.
It's a book full of suspense and mystery where both protagonists find themselves being drawn closer together as they start working towards figuring out the gang's true nature.