Read More Romance - Part I (Historical)

So, I've been promising a list of my favorite romance novels to Irish, Alea and Tiffany. As most of you know, I've been a little busy, writing a book that I hope will be on someone else's list of favorite romance novels some day, but now I am done (yay!) and ready to FINALLY make that list! Of course, when I sat down to make the list, I realized that my favorite romance novels fill WAY more than one list. So...I'm splitting them up. Over the next few days, I'm going to list my top 10 Historical Romance Novels, Contemporary Romances, and YA Romances. I'm going to start with Historicals, because that's what I'm thinking about right now and, between us, it's the genre that I've probably definitely read the most of (read: literally thousands of books. it's borderline embarrassing, but I console myself with the fact that I now write historical romance novels, so...nyah).

Here we no particular order, my top 10!

But, wait. I can't do it. It's too hard. Because I could name 10 Johanna Lindsey books that are my favorites alone. Same with Lisa Kleypas. Same with...well...all of these authors. So...I'm actually going to name the top 10 historical romances written by ten different authors all of whom I hope to someday have my name uttered in the same sentence with. For the most part, you can't go wrong with a book by any of these incredible women. But these are, in my humble opinion, their best.

**Clarification. This list was designed for Alea. Who is not a romance novel reader. At least, not yet. So this list includes some classics. I like to think that what we're talking about here is a full on list of the top ten books that should be included in the CANON of romantic literature. Yeah, some of them are old. But you know what? They're awesome.

  • The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux - I can remember reading this one for the first time. I can remember falling in love with the hero...and the heroine...and their incredible story. And I can tell you that this book is, quite possibly, the reason why I have so long dreamed of being a romance novelist.
  • The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas - This is the third book in a four-book series and, I'm sure that many would say that it's breaking a pretty serious reading rule to start with book three. However, I say hang the rules and start with this one, as there is, quite possibly, no more perfect wallflower-rake romance than this one. And there is, quite possibly, no more incredible hero than Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent.
  • Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey - This was definitely the hardest choice. Because, the truth is, I cut my teeth on Johanna Lindsey and the gorgeous, incredible, amazing Malorys. And asking me to choose only one of her books is like asking mothers to choose their favorite child. But James Malory is a pirate and Georgina Andersen is a perfect match for him (and he calls her George, which I think is were Alex got her somewhat masculine moniker). More than that, they are a heckuva couple. And Fabio is on the cover. And the Canon has to have at least one of those.
  • Till Dawn Tames the Night by Meagan McKinney - Ok, so...this one can feel a little bodice-rippery...the hero is a pirate. and not the most gentlemanly of them. BUT...if you can see your way past that, you'll see that he's dark and brooding and, well, pretty darn perfect. And you'll want to be abducted on his ship anytime it's convenient for him. (Also...this one is out of if you find one, snatch it up!!)
  • The Duke & I by Julia Quinn - You have to live under a rock to have not heard of Julia Quinn, who many say is a modern day Jane Austen. I sure say it. This is the first (and my favorite) of her famous Bridgerton Series. I love love love it. Of course, as I wrote "(and my favorite)," my head was! What about The Viscount Who Loved Me? What about It's In His Kiss? This list is IMPOSSIBLE.
  • The Gift by Julie Garwood - Best. Prologue. Ever.
  • The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt - Elizabeth exploded onto my bookshelf a year or so ago with this, the first in her Prince trilogy. Smart heroine meets dark, wounded hero...and saves him. Yummy.
  • Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens - Ok. I'm in love with Devil Cynster. Seriously. My husband makes fun of me for it. But I don't care. If Devil were flesh and blood, Eric would have a serious problem on his hands.
  • The Dragon and the Jewel by Virginia Henley - I'm not wild about some of Henley's more recent stuff, but I was so obsessed with The Dragon and the Jewel when I was in high school that I actually wrote my final paper for AP European History about Simon de Montfort, the hero (who was actually a REAL PERSON!) of the book. So, it makes the list.
  • Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James - The last in the four-book Essex Sisters series...Josie is the youngest sister and her hero, the Earl of Mayne is about as debauched as heroes get...but oh does that make for a lovely lovely story. Le sigh.
OK! That was, seriously, one of the hardest things I've ever done. WOW. And now I'm already second guessing the list...what about the newer, closer-to-debut authors? What about the other women who I religiously buy? I'm going to have to make lists of those, too. And this is going to have to become a recurring feature. Because three lists will not be enough.

But, for now...what Historicals did I miss? I welcome additions and debate! (And recommendations, as always!!!)

--- Looking for Contemporary Romance instead?  Here's that list! How about Paranormals?  Click here!