Last month we published the first of a series of posts leading up to AAR’s Annual Reader Poll for the best of romance published for the first time in 2015. Each post will focus on one of the Annual Poll categories (see here for last year’s winners) The first post featured the best of Romantic Suspense, and readers had a lot of great recommendations for books we should read.

Next up in this series is the Best Historical Romance NOT set in the U.K. (in other words, every place but England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland).

Sherry Thomas won in last year’s poll for My Beautiful Enemy. I used the same strategy as last time, and did a series of power searches at AAR to see which non-U.K. historical romances first published in 2015 had received grades of B- or higher by AAR reviewers. This search was a bit harder than the one for Romantic Suspense, as historical romance appears under a large number of different categories in the power search function. The following titles all appeared through various combinations of categories:

I haven’t read any of these books, but am currently reading one I’d definitely vote for, Lauren Willig’s last in the Pink Carnation series, The Lure of the Moonflower. The historical portion of the book is set in 1807 in Portugal and at long last features as heroine none other than Jane Wooliston (the Pink Carnation).

Other than that, this isn’t a category I read very frequently – unless a historical romance happens to be set in Greece or Egypt. As a result, I rarely vote in this category. This time I’d like to give it a try, and am certain I’m missing many great romances that fit this category. I asked my fellow AAR staff members for their suggestions, including both books they’ve already read in 2015, and ones they’re looking forward to for the remainder of the year, and they came up with some great suggestions, including ones actually reviewed at AAR that I missed!

Lee commented that this is a “hard category to find titles that fit.  But I came up with two: Home by Morning by Kaki Warner takes place in the Midwest and Colorado and some DC thrown in too.  It’s the concluding book in her Runaway Brides/Heroes of Heartbreak Creek series.  And we find out what happens to all the characters in the final pages.” Lee also noted that, “the last of the Pink Carnation books, The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig, looks to be set in Portugal.”

Caroline said that “Carla Kelly has a Spanish Brand book out (U.S. Southwest).” (NOTE: A quick search of Amazon revealed that the new book by Carla Kelly is Paloma and the Horse Traders).

Maggie came up with three recommendations, noting first that she “gave The Bootleggers Daughter by Lauri Robinson a five star review on Goodreads.” Her second recommendation, also earning a five star review from her at Goodreads, is Flame Tree Road by Shona Patel, set in  early 20th century India. Maggie’s final recommendation is Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist, which she gave a B+ to in a midweek mini here.

Caz commented, “I’ve given a B- to Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey by Lilian Marek which is set in Assyria and Constantinople.” Caz also wrote that, “I just finished reading The Lure of the Moonflower (Lauren Willig) andli loved it. I’ll be rating it highly, so that’s definitely one for your list.”

Lynn notes that, “A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley would actually fit the bill. I’m not sure why the review has it listed as taking place in France and UK. There are some scenes in UK, but the bulk of the book takes place in France, with the historical characters taking a roadtrip from France to Rome.”

So with five months remaining in the publishing year, those are our recommendations to date for Best Historical Romance NOT set in the U.K. I’m sure you have many more recommendations, and we’re hoping you’ll share your thoughts here.


Dabney Grinnan
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Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.