Modern Historical Romance Over the Last Several Decades from Regan’s Romance Reviews Regan

How We Got to Where We Are Today

Modern Historical Romance Over the Last Several Decades.

Or, A Recommended Reading List for the Uninitiated

from Regan’s Romance Reviews

Regan Romance Photo

Sometimes when I talk to fellow readers of historical romance, or even authors, and I mention a name from the past, an author who helped shape the genre, like Kathleen Woodiwiss or Rosemary Rogers, I get a blank stare in return.
Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower
Kathleen Woodiwiss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  It occurred to me that as lovers of a genre it might be helpful to read   some of the classics to see where we’ve come from and to enjoy the greats who have contributed so much to the craft.


I’m not going as far back as IvanhoePride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre.



From reading to read_20120214


I’m not even reaching back to the seminal novels of Georgette Heyer in the early 20th century.


No, I’m starting in the 1970s when the bedroom door was flung open never to close again. And while I may not have included your favorite author, by reading the romances on this list, you’ll have a good idea of our beginnings and what so many wonderful authors have done for the genre.

Think of it as an education in modern historical romance. Where an author has written many novels (some early ones are still writing best sellers today), I tried to use their earliest work that influenced the genre.

So, here’s the list of the historical romances I recommend you read. Each has something to show you. Some may require you to shop online for a used book, though many are available as eBooks. I’m not saying they will all be your favorites, or that they are all mine. And I realize some readers will think I left off one I should have included.

This is a sampling meant to give you a picture of how the genre has developed over time. Most are novels I’ve rated 5 stars, so I promise you won’t be bored.

Included because of its significance…

• Bond of Blood by Roberta Gellis (1965)

Cover of "Devil's Embrace (Devil's Duolog...

The 1970s: The Pioneering Years

• The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss (1972)
• Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers (1974)
• Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain (1975)

Devil's Desire, 1975
Devil’s Desire  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

• Love’s Tender Fury by Jennifer Wilde (aka Tom Huff) (1976)
• Captive Bride by Johanna Lindsey (1977)
• Caroline by Cynthia Wright (1977)
• This Loving Torment by Valerie Sherwood (1977)
• The Rainbow Season by Lisa Gregory (1979)

The 1980s: The Explosive Years

• Lady Vixen by Shirlee Busbee (1980)
• Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small (1981)
• Devil’s Embrace by Catherine Coulter (1982)

Cover of "Rose of Rapture"
Rose of Rapture

• Rose of Rapture by Rebecca Brandewyne (1984)
• Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught (1985)
• The Wind and the Sea by Marsha Canham (1986)
• The Hawk and the Dove by Virginia Henley (1988)
• Capture the Sun by Shirl Henke (1988)
• Edin’s Embrace by Nadine Crenshaw (1989)
• Sweet Savage Eden by Heather Graham (1989)
• Heartstorm by Elizabeth Stuart (1989)


Diana Gabaldon
Diana Gabaldon – Outlander                 


The 1990s: The Developing Years

• Dark Fires by Brenda Joyce (1991)
• Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale (1992)
• Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1992)
• Enchanted by Elizabeth Lowell (1994)
• The Passions of Emma by Penelope Williamson (1997)
• Kilgannon by Kathleen Givens (1999)

Cover of "The Passions of Emma"
The Passions of Emma









The Flame and The FlowerThe 2000s: The “Standing On The Shoulders of Giants” Years
• By Possession by Madeline Hunter (2000)
• Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry by Amanda Hughes (2002)
• The Captain of All Pleasures by Kresley Cole (2003)
• Laird of the Mist by Paula Quinn (2007)
• Broken Wing by Judith James (2008)
• My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne (2008)
• The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran (2008)
• Raeliksen by Renee Vincent (2008)

Cover of "The Captain of All Pleasures"
The Captain of All Pleasures






Cover of "Sweet Savage Eden (North Americ...
Heather Graham

Reposted on The Beau Monde with the kind permission of member and author, Regan Walker, from Regan’s Romance Reviews.

Regan Walker

A blog for lovers of romance novels, particularly historical romance–a forum where we can share great novels and our views about those we have read.

In addition to authors guest blogging, I will share my reviews, my favorite authors and my “best” lists. Come join us!

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