Looking for a historical setting that’s primed for romance? One, maybe, with a young and charismatic monarch on the throne; or maybe a monarch who has an eye for the ladies. Maybe you want an era where it’s the dawn of a new day and anything seems possible? Wild things, like opening the theaters after years of disuse, and putting women on the legitimate stage, perhaps? How about a vibrant and bawdy Court filled with Cavaliers and courtesans, peers and actresses? Long for an age of swashbuckling pirates and the Puritans who love them? Look no further than the English Restoration. Films like The Libertine with Johnny Depp or Restoration with Robert Downey, Jr. deliver on the big screen, but Restoration-set romance novels have all of that and a happy ending. Interested? Read on.
Sabrina Jeffries fans are in for a treat with a reworked reissue of By Love Unveiled, originally published under her Deborah Martin pseudonym. Marianne Winchelsea, daughter of a baronet, is suspected of plotting to kill Charles II and must don a disguise and flee for her life. Garrett Lyon, the Earl of Falkham, sees that Marianne is more than meets the eye, but can she trust him with her heart?
Judith James plunges readers into the heart of the Merry Monarch’s inner circle with Libertine’s Kiss, inspired by real life poet John Wilmot, whose scandalous writings made him a seventeenth century rock star. William DeVeres, a brilliant and debauched poet, unexpectedly encounters Elizabeth Walters, the Puritan woman who saved his life years ago. Though Will is hell-bent on self destruction, Elizabeth knows there is another side to the man whose true nature she has never forgotten.
Another James title, The King’s Courtesan, focuses on two characters who don’t find the Merry Monarch’s Court merry at all. Captain Robert Nichols, a soldier on the wrong side of the war, did not get the girl in Libertine’s Kiss and has lost much with the restoration of the monarchy. Hope Matthews, the king’s own mistress, stands to lose everything when Charles puts her aside in favor of another.
Forced to wed by royal command, Hope and Robert must learn how to see themselves and each other in a different light before they can find a love no one can command.
Jeane Westin introduces a charming rogue and a spirited lady in Lady Anne’s Dangerous Man. Lady Anne Gascoigne escapes her fiance’s plan to barter her virtue in exchange for royal favors. Notorious highwayman John Gilbert escapes the hangman’s noose—but not the debt of honor he owes to Anne’s father. John must keep Anne safe until her father can arrange another betrothal, but how safe can she be in the company of such a dangerous man?
Both Anne and John must find the strength to fight for what they really want in life and in love. Ms. Westin’s deft use of historical details to accent the love story makes for an intoxicating tale readers won’t soon forget.
What are your favorite Restoration romances?
Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.