My 5 favourite historical romances

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This is a retelling of the Illiad set in Ancient Greece and exploring the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. Interwoven with gods, goddesses and magic, at its core this is a romance of truly epic proportions. If you know the mythology, you know to brace yourself for tears and heartbreak.

 

 

The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan

This Young Adult novel takes place in a medieval village, and tells the story of Raven, a deaf orphan who the villagers think is mad, and Marnie, a widowed young girl, befriends him. She realises that his ‘madness’ actually comes from a lack of understanding of speech, and together they create a form of sign language. Their blossoming love – and peace in each other’s company even when the world is against them – caught my heart immediately. I used to get this book from the library over and over when I was a teenager. I’ve read it more times than I can count.

Daughter of Venice by Donna Jo Napoli

Another book that I used to check out of the library over and over. This is set in Venice in 1592, where Donata is a noble girl stifled by convention, who dresses as a boy to explore the city. She finds her way to the Jewish district, and meets a boy called Noe, who works in publishing. This book was a huge inspiration for the 1854 storyline in The Next Together, where my character Katy dresses up as a boy so she can go adventuring too!

 
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho 

This was only very recently published, and I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know ever since. Set in a magical Regency England, this is the perfect mix of the magical regency London of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and Georgette Heyer’s shamelessly trope-filled romances. The whole book make me squirm with delight – it has everything from UNICORNS to GIANT FURIOUS MERMAIDS to CLOUD FLYING. Just – I want to tell you about every scene, because every scene is a wonder.
If you’re looking for more diverse fantasy, then this is the place to look. Both Zacharias and Prunella are POC, and the plot revolves around a Caribbean island, with another central WOC character.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

This is set in Victorian England, and tells the story of Sue, a thief, and Maud, the noble lady she is trying to rob. Their lives are tied together in unexpected ways, made even more complicated when they fall in love. Full of twists, romance and betrayal, I promise you that once you start this story you won’t be able to put it down.

Originally posted at Nicole has read…

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the twice Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series, as well as the dyslexia-friendly novella The Starlight Watchmaker and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. Her upcoming release is The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker. She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient.  She has written articles for numerous publications, including the GuardianBuzzfeed, Den of GeekThe Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2020. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

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