Best Victorian Romances!
My Victorian list features romances set in the Victorian era, generally from 1837 (the year Victoria became Queen) to 1901 (the year of her death). The common perception of the period is that the Victorians were “prudish, hypocritical, stuffy and narrow-minded”. But these perceptions are not always accurate, particularly when the British characters were traveling and learning much about other cultures, as you will see in these romances. See the list.
For those of you who didn’t know, as a part of my research for my new Clan Donald Saga, I spent the last three weeks in the Western Isles of Scotland, from Skye in the north to the Mull of Kintyre in the south to Arran and Bute in the Firth of Clyde. Today the "Western Isles"are the Outer Hebrides, but in the 13th century, the setting for Bound by Honor, the next book in the series, the Western Isles were all the isles west of Scotland's mainland. See more.
What I'm Writing Now...
Castle Coeffin on the Isle of Lismore was built between 1200 and 1250 AD to guard the sea passages between Scotland's western isles. The castle became one of the strongholds of the MacDougalls, the Lords of Lorn, the enemies of the Macdonalds, the Lords of the Isles. Both clans were descended from the Norse-Gael Somerled who forged the Kingdom of the Isles. (You can read his story in the award-winning story, Summer Warrior, book 1 in the Clan Donald Saga.)
See the book on my website.
Lismore Isle became a point of contention between the two clans in the late 13th century. Alexander Macdonald, heir to the Lordship, fell in love with and married Juliana MacDougall. Her dowry was to be Lismore Isle where Castle Coeffin then stood. But Alexander MacDougall, the MacDougall clan chief, reneged on his promise and denied the dowry.
Ultimately, King Edward I of England would decide for the Macdonalds. You'll be able to read about it in the story I am writing now, Bound by Honor, coming later this year.
See a description.
Best Scottish Historical Romances!
Geddes MacGregor once wrote, “No one in Scotland can escape from the past. It is everywhere, haunting like a ghost.” Scotland’s past is the subject of this list, romance novels set in Scotland, most in that magical part of Scotland called the Highlands. Some have a Scot as hero or heroine. The best are set deep in Scotland’s history.
See the list here: https://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/2021/05/best-scottish-historical-romances.html
Best Irish Historical Romances!
Best Irish Historical Romances! I first developed this list for a friend of Irish descent who loves Irish historical romances. Since then, I have updated this list each year as I have come to love stories that feature Ireland and/or Irish heroes and heroines. The books on this list cover all time periods. Some transcend typical historical romance as they bring to life heartrending tales of the Irish fight for freedom from English tyranny and/or the wonderful Irish people who survived much hardship to help make great their adoptive countries.
If you’re looking for stories of the Emerald Isle or handsome Irish hunks, or worthy Irish heroines, you will find them here. All these have been rated 4 or 5 stars by me.
If you consider that my work is writing historical novels, then I suppose my “pet at work” can be one of my characters, no? My real life pooch, Cody, a wirehaired pointing griffon sleeps much of the day at my side but these days, in my mind, I am often striding across the cliffs of 13th century Ulster, Ireland with a wolfhound named “Finn” trotting at my side.
I am writing Bound by Honor, the second in the Clan Donald Saga, many scenes for which are set in Dunseverick and Dunluce Castles in Ireland. Aine O’Cahan, the heroine has a wolfhound. At the time of my story, Ulster was controlled by the Anglo-Irish many of whom were aligned with the Irish chiefs, like The O’Neill, King of Tirowen (a larger area then than modern day Tyrone).
Finn, a wonderful companion for the often lonely Aine, was named by her Finnbhear, Lord of the Fairies. He is very like the dogs described in the Icelandic sagas, such as that of Burnt Njal in which Olaf, son of an Irish princess, offers his friend Gunnar a hound from Ireland:
“… it is part of his nature that he has man’s wit, and he will bay at every man whom he knows to be thy foe, but never at thy friends. He can see, too, in any man’s face whether he means thee well or ill, and he will lay down his life to be true to thee.”
Finn was a gift from Aine’s father, Cumee O’Cahan, who was Chief of the Name of O’Cahan, Lord of Ciannacht, and senior subking to the King of Tirowen, a friend of Richard de Burgh, the “Red Earl” of Ulster.
While Aine is very fond of the seabirds who nest on the cliffs near Dunseverick Castle, Finn is indifferent to them. Since Finn is always by Aine’s side, he keeps me company, too, as I live and breathe along with her in medieval Ireland!
Who doesn’t love a good pirate or privateer story? All that capturing, swashbuckling and romancing on the high seas—oh yes! Gets my blood boiling just thinking about it. Here’s my list of those I have rated 4 or 5 stars. Some do not have pirates as such, but may have a swashbuckling sea captain or a privateer. In almost every case, part of the story takes place on the high seas. See the list HERE.
A Spellbinding Tale!
Feeling the chill of winter? How about diving into Summer Warrior, the unforgettable story of Somerled, the Norse-Gael who forged the Kingdom of the Isles and won the heart of a Norse princess. It's Scotland before it was Scotland. See it here and read an excerpt.
Best Viking Romances!
Every now and then I love a good Viking Romance. Not fantasy, not paranormal, just straight up historical romance from the time of the raiding Northmen. The Viking Age was that part of the medieval period from the end of the 8th century to the middle of the 11th century, although there are Norsemen still around beyond that. It was an age of valiant and sometimes ruthless warriors and raiders.
There’s nothing like a Viking raid and a strapping tall warrior to get your blood boiling, right? Well, of course, it must be well done and we want a strong heroine to give the guy some grief. And a little history thrown in doesn’t hurt either. If you like ‘em, here’s a list of those I’ve rated 4 and 5 stars!
It’s that time of year when I share my favorite heroes and heroines from the novels I have rated 5-stars. Noble men who overcome tortured pasts, flaws and the odds against them to pursue love and heroines who persist against great obstacles to be with the man to whom they would give their heart—strong, intelligent women of character. Every one a worthy hero and heroine. The best are set deep in history. Here are my favorites, my Christmas gift to you! This just might be your next year’s reading list! See it here.