Historical romance. People outside the romance reader community give it such a bad rap. Surely it’s all purple prose and men in billowy white shirts and ladies fainting in their corsets. And well…I have read a few of those, they are ridiculous and I love them. But historical romance has more nuance than that. You can get dark and angsty, action packed and full or intrigue, or perhaps you like paranormal element thrown in, or adventures on the high seas. For me, my favourite type of historical romances are the light hearted gonna-make-me-smile ones. They are packed with witty repartee and various shenanigans and hijinks.

With summer upon us, it’s the perfect time to get stuck into these kinds of books, so, here are are my top ten favourite historical romances that will put a smile on your face and maybe eek out a belly laugh or two.

The Perfect Rake
by Anne Gracie
#1 The Merridew Sisters series

If there’s one thing I love in a book, it’s when a previously overlooked plain Jane/wallflower heroine has the sexiest guy in the room head over heels for her…yet she has no idea. I know, I know, it’s a very specific trope (if you know of any books that have this, please let me know in the comments! I rarely come across it) but I lap it up. It’s one of the reasons I love The Perfect Rake so much. The other is because it’s light hearted and cute, some perfect easy reading.

 

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Truce
by R.L. Mathewson
#4 Neighbour from Hell series

The Neighbour from Hell series is actually contemporary romance, however, Truce the fourth book in that series harkens back to the ancestors of the characters in the previous books. It’s Mathewson’s usual brand of sarcastic, barbed humour and, as usual I loved it.

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The Perfect Wife
by Lynsay Sands
Historical romance isn’t a genre you would typically associate with slapstick and yet, here we have it: The Perfect Wife. The slapstick, slip-on-a-banana-peel side of historical romance. This book made me full out belly laugh. It’s completely ridiculous and over the top and I loved every second.

 

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Tricks of the Ton series
 by Elizabeth Michels
I first picked up MUST LOVE DUKES on a whim looking to try a new historical romance author and I immediately fell in love.  I’ve continued reading this author but this remains my favorite series because it has that fun and light hearted elements that you can expect from a historical rom com.

 

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Lady Bridget’s Diary
by Maya Rodale
#1 Keeping up with the Cavendishes series

Inspired by both Bridget Jones Diary and Pride and Prejudice this book squishes them together in a historical setting to create Lady Bridget and Lord Darcy. Bridget is kind of clumsy, new to the world of the ton and doesn’t know how to fit in, despite desperately wanting to find her place. Darcy is the perfect English gentleman, aloof, with impeccable manners and the ability to look down his gorgeous nose at everyone else. Need I say more? It’s hilarious and delicious…

 

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A Duke in Shining Armor
by Loretta Chase
#1 Difficult Dukes series

Let me tell you about this book…we have one wallflower, voted the most boring girl in the ton…we have a wedding where said heroine, the bride, gets a little tipsy before the trip down the altar and decides to climb out the window to get away. Only to be pursued by the best man, a duke of course, with the nickname Dis-Grace. There are plenty of set ups for funny antics and we, as the reader, get to enjoy them.

 

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Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake
by Sarah Maclean
#1 Love by Numbers series

This is one of my favourite historical romance books. There’s something so human and relatable about Callie. No matter what Maclean writes, and she writes some amazing books, her modern super competent paragons of womanhood heroines are what I aspire to be, but will never quite reach. They have lost a little of Callie’s fallible humanity. And boy, is Callie fallible often in hilarious ways. The mixture of romance, laughs and the very understandable aspirational motif of this book has it firmly stacked on my favourites shelf.

 

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Lord Holt Takes a Bride
by Vivienne Lorret
#1 Mating Habits of Scoundrels series

Francesca has long been a fan of Vivienne Lorret, but for me [Suzanne] this is my first ever book from her. And boy, have I been missing out! A book where a group of ladies accidentally kidnap the hero…I’m all for it. This was a great mix of physical comedy and wit and I now have a new author’s back list to delve in to.

 

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Girl Meets Duke series
by Tessa Dare

Pick a Tessa Dare book…any Tessa Dare book and you will find a witty romances that you transform you into that weirdo on the bus that chuckles to themselves. The Girl Meets Duke series is Dare’s latest offering to the historical romance genre and it’s a doozy. Smart and funny, with heroines who know exactly what they are about, it’s perfect for the modern romance reader.

 

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Bridgerton series
by Julia Quinn

If you want a series that will leave your heart brimming with the warm fuzzies, then you have to try the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. It’s a finished series about a group of siblings, with each book following the romance of one of the Bridgerton brood. Although you will inevitably have your favourites in this series, each book is packed with warmth and humour and leave you longing to be part of the loving embrace of the Bridgerton family.

Also…there’s soon to be a Netflix series! I am both excited and nervous as hell to see my favourite fictional family depicted on screen. But, whether it turns out to awful or amazing, I know I will always adore the source material

 

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 What are historical romances bring a smile to your face?

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Top Ten Historical Romances to make you smile
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Amy R

I’ve only read 2 and 9 so I’ll be adding to my wishlist. I’ve never really thought about the historicals I’ve read making me laugh but the Girl Meets Duke series is definitely one (sham sandwiches).

Timitra

Thank you for the list Suzanne! I bought #10 can’t wait to read it!

Elizabeth

Great list! I would also include Katie Macalister, Manda Collins, as well as others from Lynsay Sands and Loretta Chase

Sue G.

Anything by Sabrina Jeffries. Excellent writing, lots of angst, great banter. Females are usually strong and sassy.

A newer author I have found is Kate Bateman. She writes stories that include actual historical events into them.