In honor of V-Day, I am bound by the ancient romance author code to recommend romance books. Of course, it’s hard to narrow that down. Romance is a huge genre and has been around since Helen of Troy’s face inspired a slightly emo love triangle.
So I sat down and really thought about what I would like to read on a day devoted to eternal passion and devotion (and chocolate hearts!) and the answers came rather quickly. Passionate, swoony historical romances! It’s one of my favorite sub-genres and I have re-read all of these at least three or four times.
All of Elizabeth’s heroines are intrepid and all of her heroes are masculine yet not jackhole-y so you could start anywhere in her backlist but this is the one that I got started with and the one that I recommend to anyone who likes a bit of spying, naval warfare and adventure on the high seas with their swoons.
It looks like this one might not be available in digital anymore? Which means you need to grab the paperback just in case it’s disappearing. This book gets my heart every time but there’s also an Egyptian archaeology sub-plot that will scratch your adventure/ The Mummy itch.
Everyone has a favorite Sarah MacLean and this one must be mine because I’ve re-read it several times (and not just because of the ENDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) If you’re new to the series, please start with the 1st (A Rogue by Any Other Name) and then work your way to this one, the third. TRUST ME. I know that’s mean of me to suggest the 3rd book and then tell you to start two books back, but… it’s Valentine’s Day. Treat yourself. (Check out my interview with Sarah on the Women With Books podcast here.)
A Lady by Midnight – Tessa Dare
Amazon || Apple Books
I have lots of favorite Tessa Dare books too, but this one is the most swoony IMO. Take a grumpy war veteran with PTSD, a sweet puppy, a quirky cast of characters in Spindle Cove and you have a perfect chocolate box of romance. (Check out my interview with Tessa on the Women With Books podcast here.)
This is the only book on the list that I have NOT re-read, which I just realized makes me a liar but I couldn’t NOT include one of the best historical romances I read last year. Yes, I just got to this classic last year but OMG. It sent me into a bit of a depression, honestly, because I wasn’t sure if I could ever write a love story like this. It’s got an unforgettable voice, twists, a lot of spying and a heroine who is lovably stubborn and imperfect and who has to be dragged kicking and screaming (literally – but for good reasons) into love. (And it’s pretty obvious by now I like spying in my books…isn’t it?)
The first book in this series fits as a historical romance, IMO, even if Ms. Gabaldon doesn’t agree. If you’ve been living blindfolded under a rock in the middle of a desert island and have not read this book and if you like time travel, hot Scottish men and plucky modern heroines… well… Happy Valentine’s Day.
I have to ask - what’s your favorite swoony romance novel? What are you reading this Valentine’s Day? And I’m making a list of my favorite romance heroes for next month - so feel free to chime in with your opinions!