Aug 10 2012 9:30am

If You Like Eloisa James, Then You’ll Like _______ ?

A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa JamesWe Eloisa James fans got a nice slew of books from her recently (the Happily Ever After historicals based on fairy tales) so, really, we shouldn’t be greedy. And at the end of the month, we’ll get The Ugly Duchess.

But does that stop me from whining about wanting more? Nope.

I’m looking for suggestions to tide me over. Why I read James:

  1. Humor (sometimes sly, sometimes obvious)
  2. Fun dialogue
  3. Strong, quirky characters

With those three requirements in mind I have a few of my own ideas for my fellow Eloisa James fans. Let’s start with the obvious:

Northanger Abbey by Jane AustenJane Austen. I mean the Amazing Jane herself and not the current wave of Mr. Darcy takes a Vampire Lover (although I do recommend Shannon Hale’s Austenland, a fluffy, fun contemporary). For a change of pace, maybe let someone else read the Austens to you. Northanger Abbey, which was never one of my favorites, turns out to be a hysterically funny audiobook.

Georgette Heyer. That suggestion about audiobooks holds for her too. The dialogue of Cotillion comes alive when read by Phyllida Nash.

Loretta Chase. You’ve reading Chase already, aren’t you? If you haven’t, stop reading this and get started.

And yeah, Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn, just to get the other obvious names out there.

As I began to think more on possible recommendations, I came up with a names that don’t seem like obvious fits—because they aren’t. Except when I read these books, I was reminded of Eloisa James.

Soulless by Gail CarrigerGail Carriger’s Umbrella Protectorate series. She writes science fiction steampunk Victorians with werewolves and vampires. At first glance the magical setting and cast of characters doesn’t seem particularly Jamesian. But her grouchy hero and starched heroine have a James-like vibe, especially when they insult each other. The world, with all of its supernatural influences, is based on historical Britain. The other item on my must-have checklist, the humor, fits as well.

The real leap: Lois McMaster Bujold’s science fiction fantasy Miles Vorkosigan series, especially the later books, when Miles settles down, somewhat. Her book A Civil Contract is dedicated to “For Jane, Charlotte, Georgette, and Dorothy—long may they rule.” (And I’d bet my extensive Balogh collection she means Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Georgette Heyer, and Dorothy Dunnett) In that book especially, the dialogue and quirky characters remind me of the James’ style. Miles’s cousin, the lazy Ivan, would fit any funny historical novel to a tee.

I welcome any and all ideas of books that have the wry humor and dialogue of a good Eloisa James. I’m ready for a new glom.


Kate Rothwell writes romance using her own name and the pseudonym Summer Devon. She lives in Connecticut with four men (three of whom are her sons). You can out more about her at and

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Mary Beth Bass
1. marybeth
Ellen Kushner's splendid mannerpunk trilogy, Swordspoint, The Fall of the Kings and The Privilege of the Sword is filled with wit, fabulous characters who are good, bad and in-between (lots of in-between), gorgeous writing, and big swoon-worthy love.
Cathryn Cade
2. Cathryn Cade
Eloisa James and Loretta Chase are my 2 favorite historical authors.

I recently discovered Meredith Duran's 'A Lady's Lesson in Scandal' at Powell's Books, Portland OR, via rec from a fellow writer. Love this Pygmalion story, deeply layered and witty. Will read more.

Cathryn Cade
Cathryn Cade
3. Jenny K
Eloisa James is one of my all-time favorites. I started reading Loretta Chase and Susan Elizabeth Phillips years ago because they were on her reading list. Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn are on my always-read booklist. Add to that Connie Brockway, Christina Dodd, and Anne Gracie, and maybe you'll have enough to read until Ms. James' next one.
4. KateRothwell
Jenny K, great suggestions.
Marybeth, I've heard of Kushner but never read her -- so YAY! a new possible glom. I've also never read or heard the word "mannerpunk"

I am so there. Ready. Now.
Cathryn Cade
5. Ora
I love Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn and Loretta Chase. I love reading Elilzabeth Hoyt.
When I was thinking a humor in romance the first author I that came to mind was Tessa Dare. She has some very funny scenes. The first chapter in A Night to Surrender is a perfect example of what some men think is an appropriate means to fix a problem when you, while laughing at the scene, think OMG I hope no one gets hurt.
I do have to say while I am impatiently waiting for her book, it is also going to be very hard to decide what book I want to read first since there are 4 books being released the same day that I have been looking forward to. It is kind of frustrating when some of my favorite authors pick the same day to release books.
Cathryn Cade
6. Natalie L.
The Dorothy in question in the dedication for A Civil Campaign is Dorothy L. Sayers, actually.
Cathryn Cade
7. Gail Ingis
OK Kate, in answer to your blog, I read, finally, Jane Austen and wanted to shake Mr. Darcy, hard. But Sherry Thomas has us panting for more. Her Ravishing the Heiress, has all the attributes noted above, says my hubby Tom who is an avid romance reader. I read it too, out loud to both of us.
8. keen23
I think I have to recommend The Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey. There are six books (so far?) in the series, the female characters aren't shrinking violets, and there's a definate edge to the humor. Start with The Fairy Godmother, it's the first in the series, and probably the strongest.

Katie MacAlister, when not writing about dragons (who are so alpha that they piss me off), does some pretty funny modern "romance" novels. A Hard Day's Knight is kind of awesome, as is Blow Me Down. Her historical romance series, the Noble series, also has some humor as well.
9. KateRothwell
Ora! of course. Elizabeth Hoyt = another name I've heard and never read. Thanks for the recommendation. BTW, if there are too many good books out on the same day, blame the publishers, who are the ones to schedule releases. You should also blame publishers for bad covers or deceptive cover copy. (Naturally, if the copy and cover is great, must be the author's work.)

Natalie, if I got the wrong Dorothy I guess that means I have to give up a few of the Balogh in my collection--but not all of them because I bet (again) I got the other names right. I think I'll fork over a couple of Bedwyn books. I didn't love every book in the Simply series.

Gail, not love Mr. Darcy? Scandalous. But I suppose it is possible, even with well-meaning, intelligent people.

Keene, I've read a couple of Lackey books but dont' know that series. Thanks for the rec! And Katie MacAlister is a great suggestion.

Thanks for the ideas. I read about a book a day and was picking through the books I couldn't finish before, so this really is a big help.
10. KateRothwell
Cathryn Cade, you're the second person to recommend that Duran book--and that's a great trope. I'm buying it.
Cathryn Cade
11. SaraLindsey
One of the things Eloisa does so well -- so well, in fact, that you don't realize she's doing it -- is multiple POVs (point of view), which builds a wonderful sense of intimacy within the world of the book. Catherine Coulter also does this, and she's very funny. If you haven't read her Sherbrooke Brides series, you might enjoy them.

For humor, fun dialogue and quirky characters, I second the Tessa Dare rec. I'll also throw out Kieran Kramer, Vicky Dreiling, Sarah MacLean, and Suzanne Enoch.
12. KateRothwell
You're right, Sara. Her voice subtly changes for each character. Good point.
Cathryn Cade
13. KylieZee
Kate, since you like SF with manners and a great story, try Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden series.

I also like Grace Burrowes for a nice historical romance.
Cathryn Cade
14. Sherry M.
I picked up my first Sharon Lee/Steve Miller book (Local Custom) because it had blurbs from both Anne McCaffrey and Mary Balogh. How could I not read it?
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