Historical Romantic Fiction that isn't lame

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Historical Romantic Fiction that isn't lame

1ryannnicole
dec 21, 2020, 3:26pm

Looking for books for someone who loves Jane Austen but wants more. I'm having trouble finding anything that isn't super cheesy. She loves Regency/Victorian/and early 20th century eras :)

2SandyAMcPherson
dec 21, 2020, 3:42pm

>1 ryannnicole: Did you try looking for Georgette Heyer novels?
Many have been reprinted and accessible from various booksellers.

Strong female leads, superlative writing and expertly detailed, accurate historical contexts. No "bodice ripper" memes, engaging heroines, idiosyncratic supporting characters.

My favourite titles:
Frederica
Cotillion
The Unknown Ajax
These Old Shades (and sequel, Devil's Cub)
The Masqueraders
Friday's Child

3MarthaJeanne
Redigerat: dec 21, 2020, 4:30pm

Georgette Heyer also wrote mysteries that were current time when she wrote them, so check that you are getting the historical novels.

I would certainly add The Grand Sophy, Arabella and The Convenient Marriage to that list.

I reread these fairly frequently just to spend time with some of my favourite people again. The characters are that good. But with other modern regency romances the people seem like modern people set into a scene, Heyer's characters fit in their time.

I would also go for other 'girl's classics'. Jane Eyre is another favourite of mine.

4karenb
dec 21, 2020, 6:32pm

>1 ryannnicole: Friends like Courtney Milan, who writes in multiple eras -- including Regency.

For perhaps less romance and definitely not cheesy, there's Edith Wharton.

5Marissa_Doyle
dec 21, 2020, 10:59pm

A few authors to look at:
Angela Thirkell (1920s-1940s England--gentle satire and very funny, and while there's usually a romance or two, they aren't at all cheesy)
Laura Kinsale (mostly Victorian romance, very well written)
Marion Chesney--also writes as M.C. Beaton--(mysteries and Regencies)

6Herenya
dec 22, 2020, 7:29am

North and South and Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell are good places to start for romantic Victorian literature. Also Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.

Elizabeth von Armin's 1922 novel The Enchanted April and L.M. Montgomery's 1926 novel The Blue Castle are both delightful.

Genevieve Valentine's The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is set during the 1920s and is a historical (not fantasy) retelling of a fairytale about twelve sisters.

I'd recommend The Secret Countess or any of Eva Ibbotson's other historical romances set during the first half of the 20th century.

I would also suggest Georgette Heyer. I enjoy Angela Thirkell a lot but she doesn't focus on romances as much.

7spiralsheep
dec 22, 2020, 12:49pm

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow is Mary Bennet fanfic and it's very good.

8Mom2MandJ
dec 22, 2020, 1:19pm

I like Carola Dunn's regency-set Rothschild trilogy, Miss Jacobson's Journey, Lord Roworth's Reward & The Captain's Inheritance. She also writes the Daisy Dalrymple series, and other single title regencies.

9klandring
Redigerat: dec 25, 2020, 11:55pm

Georgette Heyer is the most like Austen if "wants more" means "Austen just did not write enough books". Settings, characters, language, even the length of the books are very similar. Carla Kelly is also very similar but much shorter stories. There are plenty of Austen "sequels", homages and fanfic. Pamela Aiden wrote a trilogy from Darcy's point of view that is extremely well done. An Assembly Such as This is the first in that series.

Other possibilities, depending romance vs. history, setting, etc.

Marie Benedict Carnegie's Maid
Lauren Willig Secret History of the Pink Carnation
Sara Donati Into the Wilderness
Sharon Kay Penman Here Be Dragons
Elizabeth Chadwick The Greatest Knight
Loretta Chase
Courtney Milan
Stella Riley Rockcliffe series (writing as Juliet Blyth) The Parfit Knight

10MSolari
dec 24, 2020, 5:46pm

>1 ryannnicole: A friend of mine just published a wonderful historical fiction novel called The Atomic Bombshell: A Memoir By Clara Devlin As Told To Hazel Matthews. It follows the life of film noir actress and 1950s B-Movie queen Mynx Devlin. It's a wild tale!

11-pilgrim-
Redigerat: dec 30, 2020, 11:09am

Some Daphne du Maurier, such as Jamaica Inn, perhaps?

12EMS_24
Redigerat: jan 1, 11:10am

Eline Vere by Louis Couperus Dutch city girl in 19th century (available in English)
What about Anna Karenina by Lev Tolstoj?
Portrait of a lady by Henry James more sombre than Austen
other Du Maurier: Rebecca

13janey9
feb 20, 7:44am

Yes to Georgette Heyer (Cotillion and Friday's child) and Eva Ibbotson. Also Elizabeth Hawksley - The cabochon emerald, The Hartfield inheritance, Lysander's lady.
And, if you don't mind the romance being unresolved tension try Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell books - starts with A curious beginning

14merrystar
feb 20, 2:27pm

Like everybody else, I agree with the Heyer rec.

Similar to Thirkell, mentioned above, D. E. Stevenson wrote quite a few gentle, early-mid 20th century romances. From a similar time period, but generally less serious, would be Elizabeth Cadell's stories. Or possibly something by Rosamunde Pilcher (eg. Winter Solstice) might work.

15Amberfly
feb 23, 12:36pm

Evelina is an excellent read. The author was a contemporary of Austen's, maybe a little earlier.

16nessreader
feb 23, 3:08pm

Austen addict here: I picked up books by Maria Edgeworth and Fanny Burney in a dutiful, this-will-be-educational frame of mind and was surprised by how hard I was sucked into those worlds.

Pre-Jane, mind you, the hero and heroine are written as (the authors' idea of flawless) so they don't have an arc of growth.

Would also put in a bid for Anthony Trollope's high victorian Doctor Thorne which is at heart a cinderella story in poke bonnets.

17tealadytoo
Redigerat: mar 10, 11:24am

Certainly Georgette Heyer.

I'd also recommend Carla Kelly's Regency novels. (Personally, I'd recommend all her novels, but her Frontier America books don't fit the request.)
Particularly notable:
Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand
The Lady's Companion
Libby's London Merchant and the sequel One Good Turn
The Wedding Journey
Marrying the Captain

Julianne Donaldson did not write many novels, but
Edenbrooke and Blackmoore struck me as quite Austen-like

18nessreader
mar 11, 8:08am

Joan Aiken wrote a few austen sequels. Opinion is divided but I enjoyed Mansfield Revisited . (Aiken clearly didn't want to have to write Fanny Price so she shipped her and her husband off to the west indies on page one and made little sister Susan the female lead)
And in the Austen sequel fanfic area - which includes some utterly cringey bad books - Abigail Reynolds wrote a whole series of v 'variations' on Pride & Prejudice, branching off from the plot by changing circumstances (mr Bennett dies or they declare love before Lydia elopes or in one version they are both napoleonic spies. Some are more preposterous than others) There's some explicit sex scenes but there is plot too. The series is called Pemberley Variations

19tardis
mar 11, 1:46pm

>18 nessreader: At least Aiken is a good writer. I went through a phase of reading Austen "sequels" and one of the absolute worst (in fact one of the worst books period, but I'd never have picked it up at the library if it hadn't been an Austen pastiche) was a P&P sequel written by a man from Colorado or someplace with a heavy-handed religious message and no understanding of dialogue or human behaviour. It was so bad that I reviewed it on Amazon. I can't find the review now and I can't remember the title.

20tealadytoo
Redigerat: mar 11, 4:11pm

>18 nessreader: >19 tardis: Amanda Grange wrote a series in which she re-told Austen's novels from the POV of the heroes via their diaries. Although she writes well enough, the only one I really found successful was Edmund Bertram's Diary. He's the only one of Austen's heroes that I can picture spilling out his inner thoughts and emotions in a diary.

But most of the Austen sequels/homage/tributes are pretty horrible, IMO, even P.D. James' Death Comes to Pemberly.

21nessreader
mar 11, 7:17pm

>19 tardis: tardis: >20 tealadytoo:: tealadytoo

I kept reading austen fanfics for years, long past the point where I'd told myself they were mostly bilge. Not a point of pride. Sometimes it's interesting to see how a character is written, and by implication, what the fanficcer thinks of Henry Tilney or Mary Bennett. Lizzie Bennett tends to become an idealised marysue without the wit JA gave her so avoiding sequels centred on her are a solid strategy.

Am trying to cold turkey entirely.

22nessreader
mar 11, 7:24pm

>20 tealadytoo:. I read one of the Amanda Grange books. Without being bad, it didn't really add anything to the original, to my mind.

Longbourne by Jo Baker did add a dimension. The ending still niggles me but it was worth reading. It was a proper radical retake on P&P.