By Jacklyn Hoyt
Have you been bitten by the regency bug? Imagined yourself dancing across a marble floor with the Duke of Hastings gazing deeply into your eyes while violins serenade in the background?
Before it was the #1 Netflix show in 76 countries, the Bridgerton series by author Julia Quinn was a bestselling series of romance novels featuring the traditional pastel covers and vaguely intriguing titles like “The Viscount Who Loved Me” and “Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.” Thanks to the Netflix show’s popularity, these books have skyrocketed and everyone and their sister want to read the series.
The only problem with that?
The series ends after eight books!
Well, luckily for you, dear reader, there’s plenty more regency romance to go around.
Regency romance is a trope where romance novels are set during the general Regency era of English history from 1795-1837. The formal Regency era in reality was only between 1811-1820, when George, Prince of Wales, sat on the English throne as Regent before his father, Mad King George III, passed away. (You might recognize George III as the guy we went to war within 1775.) The more general Regency-era featured in historical romances encompasses everything from Jane Austen and Napoleon Bonaparte, and is identified by unique styles of architecture, fashion, and social and cultural development.
In romance novels, the Regency means corsets, balls, coming out in society to the marriage market, lots of bowing and dancing and lemonade, and handsome dukes in very tight breeches. There is something for every reader, I think. Some feature the beauty and the beast trope, where the hero, scarred from the Napoleonic Wars, comes home and refuses any social engagements, except for the one woman who loves him for who he is. There’s the marriage of convenience (Simon and Daphne, anyone?), which is probably the closest to historical truth we’ll see in romance novels. Then, there’s my favorite, the redeemed rogue, the hero who is a bit of a scoundrel and has a wicked sense of humor, but he is reformed and brought to the light by an equally plucky heroine.
If you’re looking for something to read which features these tropes and more, you don’t need Lady Whistledown to give you any hints…simply read on for some of my favorite recommendations! All of these are available for hold through the library, so give us a call, and we’ll gladly get them for you.
- The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
- Girl Meets Duke series (3 books with a fourth on the way!)
- Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do. His terms are simple: They will be husband and wife by night only; No lights, no kissing; No questions about his battle scars; Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again. But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own; They will have dinner together every evening. With conversation. And unlimited teasing. Last, and most importantly, once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…
- A Night To Surrender by Tessa Dare
- Spindle Cove series (5 books)
- Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn’t belong here. So far as he can tell, there’s nothing in this place but spinsters… and sheep. But he has no choice; he has orders to gather a militia. It’s a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch—a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram’s makeshift army. Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle… but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?
- The Naked Duke by Sally MacKenzie
- Naked Nobility series (7 books, available as ebooks with physical copies on order)
- Scandalous. Miss Sarah Hamilton, a proper Philadelphian, finds London society altogether shocking. How can it be that she has awakened from her innocent slumber to find herself in bed next to a handsome–and exceedingly naked–man? The laughing onlookers standing in the doorway are no help whatsoever and surely this amorous lunatic cannot be a duke, as he claims. She is compromised–though she most certainly will not marry him! James, the Duke of Alford, is enchanted by his unexpected bedmate–and not at all afraid of her pink-cheeked fury. If Sarah will only listen to his perfectly reasonable explanation, James is sure that he can capture her heart. . .forever.
- Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
- Love By Numbers series (3 books)
- A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club. Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing. But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
- A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
- Rules of Scoundrels series (4 books)
- What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets…A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury. A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.
Other authors that write excellent historical romance not necessarily Regency, but close to it:
- Sarah MacLean
- Lisa Kleypas
- Loretta Chase
- Courtney Milan
Call your local NOPL branch to place any of these on hold. Happy reading!