• Top 10 Best Historical Romance Novels in the UK 2021 1
  • Top 10 Best Historical Romance Novels in the UK 2021 2
  • Top 10 Best Historical Romance Novels in the UK 2021 3
  • Top 10 Best Historical Romance Novels in the UK 2021 4
  • Top 10 Best Historical Romance Novels in the UK 2021 5

Top 10 Best Historical Romance Novels in the UK 2021

Since the Netflix adaption of Bridgerton hit our screens in December 2020, the world has been on the hunt for more historical romance drama - and why not? The decadent balls and fabulous fashion allow us to travel back to a more glamorous time, while the stolen glances and the steamy action between the sheets are pretty exciting too! 


Bridgerton isn’t anything new though - there are countless novels focusing on love in different periods in history, from Regency-era bodice-rippers and brooding Victorian tales to stories of forbidden desire set in 17th century Scotland. We’ve searched the internet to bring you the best of the bunch, with books about charming pirates, possessive alpha males, and strong female leads among our recommendations. Don't be shy, take a look at our list!

  • Last updated: 23-02-2021
  • 210 views
Table of Contents

What Exactly Is a Historical Romance Novel?

What Exactly Is a Historical Romance Novel?

Historical romance is quite a broad genre but is typically identified as one where the romance takes place before 1950. Novels in this genre aren't as light in tone as chick-lit though - instead, they tend to dive deep into character exploration and provide a real insight into a specific time in history.


The style of writing found in a historical romance novel is profoundly descriptive and punctuated with witty prose, dramatic conversations, and bolshy characters. Scene-setting is one of the most important aspects of the genre, so authors often cover every small detail, in order to make the reader feel like they've travelled back in time to live amongst the people that they're reading about.

How to Choose a Historical Romance Novel in the UK - Buying Guide

Since historical romance is a genre that's incredibly popular, almost everyone is giving it a go - but how do you choose which book to pluck from the shelves? In this section, we'll give you a few pointers to help you narrow down your search.

Pick an Era and Location That You're Interested In

Pick an Era and Location That You're Interested In

One of the best things about the historical romance genre is the insight it gives you into life in the past. Picking an era and location that you're already interested in means you'll be much more engrossed in the storyline and won't put the book down until you've reached the very last page!


There are many periods to choose from - it all depends on where you want to be transported to while reading. If you want to experience the trials and tribulations of high society life in London, opt for a 19th century English romance. For raw passion and bloody battles, go for a story set in the Scottish Highlands during the 17th century. Essentially, it all comes down to preference!

Think About the Plot, Characters, and Whether You Prefer a Specific Sub-Genre

Think About the Plot, Characters, and Whether You Prefer a Specific Sub-Genre

You already know that you're after a steamy historical romance, but what about the plot? Some readers want to delve into the love lives of rich royals courting at extravagant Regency-era balls, while others would prefer a romance blossoming in a simple countryside farm on the misty moors.


Many readers relish novels focusing on relationships with traditional gender roles, following a helpless female character as she falls for a hyper-masculine hero. Others will enjoy reading about an LGBTQ* romance or a courageous feminist heroine who dreams of changing the world instead.


The sub-genre is important too - novels may focus exclusively on pirates, with romance taking place on the stormy seas. Time travel might also be incorporated, following the story of star-crossed lovers fighting to stay together. Pick a plotline and a set of characters that speak to you and you can't go wrong!

Contemporary vs Classic: Each Has Their Merits

Contemporary vs Classic: Each Has Their Merits

Historical romance novels can usually be split into two categories: contemporary and classic. Contemporary novels are typically page-turners that you'll fly through in a day or two. They're full of sex scenes, racy conversations, dramatic discoveries - basically, loads of "oh my God" moments!


The classics, on the other hand, aren't meant to be devoured poolside in one afternoon. They should be poured over, as there are often hidden messages between the lines such as criticisms of society. In fact, these kinds of novels are often on the reading list for English lit courses. This doesn't mean they lack sensuality or excitement though - the pages are usually full of passionate gestures!

Take Note of Any Literary Awards That the Novel May Have Received

Take Note of Any Literary Awards That the Novel May Have Received

Now, awards aren't everything, and you shouldn't discredit a novel just because it hasn't got the critics' stamp of approval. Still, if you're completely new to a genre, an award-winning book is generally a great place to start. 


Books like this will usually tick all the boxes when it comes to genre conventions and are bound to provide an interesting read - essentially, an award makes a book a safe bet. Once you've read a few though, you can start to figure out your preferences and you may find yourself steering away from critically acclaimed titles towards more niche stories.

Decide on a Format to Suit Your Reading Habits

Decide on a Format to Suit Your Reading Habits

Lastly, you need to decide on a format - each has its benefits but some may be better than others when it comes to your lifestyle. 


Many book lovers prefer a traditional hardback or paperback that they can physically hold while reading. Hardbacks are more durable and look good on your coffee table but do cost at least a few more quid than paperbacks. On the other hand, paperbacks are more flexible and can easily be thrown into your bag to read on the go. 


Then, you have eBooks and audiobooks. Their digital format provides a convenient way to keep thousands of books in one place, making them perfect for travelling and saving space if you don't have room for a bookshelf. Plus, audiobooks are handy for listening to while walking, commuting, or cleaning the house.

Top 10 Best Historical Romance Novels in the UK

Now that you know the secret to choosing the perfect novel, let's dive into the recommendations. We reckon you'll soon be a historical romance junkie after adding a few of our picks to your shopping basket!

10

Beverly JenkinsSomething Like Love

£6.66

Era 19th century
LocationAmerica
Sub-GenreInterracial romance
Contemporary or ClassicContemporary
Awards-
Formats AvailablePaperback, eBook, audiobook
9

Cat SebastianThe Soldier's Scoundrel

£5.42

Era 19th century
LocationLondon
Sub-GenreRegency, LGBTQ* romance
Contemporary or ClassicContemporary
Awards-
Formats AvailablePaperback, eBook, audiobook
8
Era 19th century
LocationLondon
Sub-GenreRegency
Contemporary or ClassicContemporary
Awards-
Formats AvailableHardback, paperback, eBook
7
Era 19th century
LocationLondon and America
Sub-GenrePirate
Contemporary or ClassicContemporary
Awards-
Formats AvailableHardback, paperback, eBook, audiobook
6
Era Victorian
LocationYorkshire Moors
Sub-Genre-
Contemporary or ClassicClassic
Awards
Formats AvailableHardback, paperback, eBook, audiobook
5
Era 18th century, 20th century
LocationScottish Highlands
Sub-GenreTime travel
Contemporary or ClassicContemporary
AwardsRomance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Romance
Formats AvailablePaperback, eBook, audiobook
4
Era 19th century
LocationLondon and Scotland
Sub-GenreRegency
Contemporary or ClassicContemporary
AwardsRomantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Historical Love and Laughter
Formats AvailablePaperback, eBook, audiobook
3
Elizabeth Hoyt Scandalous Desires 1

Elizabeth HoytScandalous Desires

£4.75

Era Georgian
LocationLondon
Sub-GenrePirate
Contemporary or ClassicContemporary
AwardsRT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Historical Romance
Formats AvailableHardback, paperback, eBook
2
Era 19th century
LocationLondon
Sub-GenreRegency
Contemporary or ClassicClassic
Awards-
Formats AvailableHardback, paperback, eBook
1
Era 19th century
LocationLondon
Sub-GenreRegency
Contemporary or ClassicClassic
Awards-
Formats AvailablePaperback, eBook

Compare the Best Historical Romance Novels

Image
1
Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice 1

Jane Austen

2
Georgette Heyer The Corinthian 1

Georgette Heyer

3
Elizabeth Hoyt Scandalous Desires 1

Elizabeth Hoyt

4
Tessa Dare A Week to Be Wicked 1

Tessa Dare

5
Diana Gabaldon Outlander 1

Diana Gabaldon

6
Emily Brontë  Wuthering Heights 1

Emily Brontë

7
Johanna Lindsey Gentle Rogue 1

Johanna Lindsey

8
Lisa Kleypas Mine Till Midnight 1

Lisa Kleypas

9
Cat Sebastian The Soldier's Scoundrel 1

Cat Sebastian

10
Beverly Jenkins Something Like Love 1

Beverly Jenkins

Name

Pride and Prejudice

The Corinthian

Scandalous Desires

A Week to Be Wicked

Outlander

Wuthering Heights

Gentle Rogue

Mine Till Midnight

The Soldier's Scoundrel

Something Like Love

Features

The Original Regency-Era Romance

A Wholesome Tale From an Acclaimed Author

Charming Pirate Meets Kind-Hearted Widow

A Fake Elopement Leads to Real Love

Danger and Desire in the Scottish Highlands

A Classic Love Story About Two Rival Families

Against All Odds, the Captain Falls for his Servant

A Seductive Story That'll Keep You Reading All Night

Opposites Attract in This Steamy Romance

A Handsome Outlaw Steals Our Heroine's Heart

Price£5.39£6.95£4.75£6.99£7.48£5.94£9.99£8.99£5.42£6.66
Era 19th century19th centuryGeorgian19th century18th century, 20th centuryVictorian19th century19th century19th century19th century
LocationLondonLondonLondonLondon and ScotlandScottish HighlandsYorkshire MoorsLondon and AmericaLondonLondonAmerica
Sub-GenreRegencyRegencyPirateRegencyTime travel-PirateRegencyRegency, LGBTQ* romanceInterracial romance
Contemporary or ClassicClassicClassicContemporaryContemporaryContemporaryClassicContemporaryContemporaryContemporaryContemporary
Awards--RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Historical RomanceRomantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Historical Love and LaughterRomance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Romance----
Formats AvailablePaperback, eBookHardback, paperback, eBookHardback, paperback, eBookPaperback, eBook, audiobookPaperback, eBook, audiobookHardback, paperback, eBook, audiobookHardback, paperback, eBook, audiobookHardback, paperback, eBookPaperback, eBook, audiobookPaperback, eBook, audiobook
Link

More Brilliant Books for You to Enjoy

More Brilliant Books for You to Enjoy

Want to spend the weekend exploring another world from the comfort of your sofa? We've got more recommendations for brilliant books that you should add to your reading list - see the links below!

Summary

We hope our buying guide and top 10 list has provided you with plenty of best-selling books to add to your reading list. Pick up one of these exciting historical romance novels and settle down with a cuppa!

Author: Roxy Pratley

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