How to Read Historical Romance: A Book Geek’s Guide.

Julia Quinn, writes about dashing heroes, duels at dawn and ton ballrooms. She also writes about how people in history misunderstood and mistreated those with disabilities. She gives us an honest look at what it truly means to be a Cinderella story. It wasn’t that easy to fall in love with a person outside of your class and station. Can you really imagine what the palace was like when charming informed his parents that he wanted to marry an orphaned maid? What’s great about the writing of Ms. Quinn is that she never preaches to us. There is no soapbox and megaphone. Quinn writes romance, but she is realistic about it. No, most woman are not going to fall into the arms of an autocratic male. He’ll have to win her just like Darcy won Lizzie Bennet. Her men are not physically forceful with her ladies, but we are always aware that those men exist. We know about the lords that took advantage of and then abandoned the maids. We know all this, but we also know love. Quinn writes romance like it’s poetry. It’s beautifully woven, filled with angst, hope and beautiful words. Her dialogue is witty, her females are smart and her males are respectful of that intelligence.  The audience gets swept away by scenes of stolen kisses, intimate revelations and characters that stand by each other no matter what. 

Eloisa James, writes characters that have been clichéd and gives them dimension. There is the beast holed up in his castle, but that castle is also a hospital and that beast is a doctor more concerned with saving lives than socializing. James has written the rogue prince who hunts a bride for her fortune, but the prince has a crumbling castle and many people relying on him for support he cannot give. She has written the dandy, who loves clothes and is as stylish as they come, but is deeply masculine and will stop at nothing to get the girl. Eloisa James has such an interesting style. Reading her books are almost like reading a well-written Victorian gossip column or as if a talented storyteller is also the biggest gossip in town. It’s intimate and yet it is vast. James also has comedy in her writing. There are things so absurd they ring true and it makes you chuckle and laugh to yourself. Her characters make rash choices or decides that they’re going to get so and so to marry them and it’s like “Really, how did you get to that solution?!” I love that about her writing. I also love that she is not afraid to write about “fallen women.” Her heroines are not all snowy white and virginal. These ladies have experience. They are seductresses and vixens. Like I said, James adds dimension. 

Lisa Kleypas is the Queen of tortured self-made heroes. In a world saturated with foreign Princes and wealthy Dukes, Lisa Kleypas often writes about men who started with nothing. Anyone who has read about the ambitious, but broken Derek Craven, could never forget him. Characters like Derek are the opposite of what you expect from historical romance. More than an anti-hero, with his scarred face, disreputable past and lower class speech, Derek Craven does not quite fit into the genre. Which is why he is perfect for it. Kleypas also does not always write beautiful heroines. In a genre where heroines are always perfect and classy, it is refreshing to read about the bookish Sarah, Sophia who is not a virgin, the unladylike Lucy and Evie with the stutter. Lisa’s books are about the people the genre has forgotten, the gypsys, the bastard children of noblemen, the gamblers, the prostitutes, the cold lord and female authors. Lets not forget, the self made man who is looked down upon, but is too rich to be ignored.


Here is a list of my favorite Historical Romance novels: Click Read More to see the entire list.

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Tarzan and the Amazons 1945 - Director: Kurt Neumann

Tarzan und die Amazonen - Illustrierte Film-Bühne Nr. 522

Johnny Weissmuller, Brenda Joyce, Johnny Sheffield, Henry Stephenson, Maria Ouspenskaya, Barton MacLane

Tarzan and the Amazons 1945 […more Images]

A group of archaeologists asks Tarzan to help them find an ancient city in a hidden valley of women. He refuses, but Boy is tricked into doing the job. The queen of the women asks Tarzan to help them.

The Masquerade by Brenda Joyce


As a child, shy, bookish Elizabeth Anne Fitzgerald loses her heart to the dashing young lord, Tyrell de Warenne. Although she is well aware that he is the heir to an earldom and utterly unattainable, Lizzie secretly worships him for years. And one fateful evening—the night of her first masquerade ball—she is stunned when he suggests that they rendezvous at midnight. But then fortune takes a maddening turn and Lizzie is thwarted from ever meeting Tyrell. Lizzie is certain such an opportunity will never arise again, but that night is only the beginning…

Tyrell de Warenne is shocked when, two years later, Lizzie arrives on his doorstep with a child that she claims is his. He remembers her well—and knows that it is impossible that he is the boy’s father. What is this game she is playing…and why? Is Elizabeth Anne Fitzgerald a woman of vast experience, or the gentle innocent he had believed her to be? Tyrell quickly decides he will play her game and he claims the child as his own—determined to uncover Lizzie’s lies. But neither scandal, deception nor pride can thwart a love too grand and passionate to ever be denied…


I’ve always been a Brenda Joyce fan since I’ve read Violet Fire and thought it was her best novel by far. So when I saw The Masquerade, I was instantly lured by the beautiful and intriguing plot and even more ecstatic when I read the book. As far as I’m concerned, I think it even surpassed Violet Fire in terms of the story and all the other elements. This is an epitome of a great historical romance novel with adorable protagonists, exceptional story line and a not so annoying conflict. The story was so poignant and emotional that I can’t help but shed a few tears for Lizzie’s heartaches by loving a man who is way above her station and settling to be his mistress just so she can just have a shot at the man she loved since she was at a tender of age of 10. What I really love about this book is that it was not a one-sided infatuation on Lizzie’s part. You can feel the depth of affection Tyrell shared with her and how important she is in Tyrell’s life. I cried at the part when Ty almost begged Lizzie not to leave him and Lizzie torn about leaving, not that she wants to but was morally bound to do so. The only downer perhaps in this book is Lizzie’s selflessness (bordering on martyrdom), which is actually kinda annoying. Others may find it really endearing of her although I just couldn’t take how she can handle being scorned and laughed at just to spare her sister (which is a real #%#%!! by the way)  or her family getting hurt. Other than that, the time spent reading the book was all worth it. I could hardly put the book down after I started reading it. It’s definitely a must read. Looking forward to reading Brenda Joyce’s De Warenne Dynasty…