Meet Reviewer Caz Owen
Caz’s Top 10 Romance List
About Me Favorite Romance Novels

I’ve always been an avid reader. As a child, I was always either reading – or writing – stories, and by the age of eleven, when I’d run through the kids’ section of the local library (probably twice!) ended up asking my English teacher for advice as to what to read next. Back then, there were no YA or “teen” books; and she presented me with a long list of suggestions which included novels by Jean Plaidy, Norah Lofts, Anya Seton, Victoria Holt and others.

That was it. I got hooked on historical fiction and romance and have never looked back.

I have a houseful of books and still can’t resist a bookshop, but the advent of the Kindle has, fortunately, meant that I no longer have to look for a bigger house in which to put them all! I still like ‘dead-tree’ books, and often will have both that AND an electronic copy of the books I really love, but there’s no denying that the convenience and portability of my trusty Kindle has made a big difference to my reading habits.

Historicals are my first love, although I do occasionally read in other romance genres. I suppose the thing that attracts to romantic novels overall is the way that a truly skilled author can make me care about their protagonists and really get under their skin and into their heads as the relationship develops. I can happily read a book where not very much happens, provided the characterisation is good and there’s a real spark of romantic tension between the leads. Add in a well-researched historical element, regardless of period, and I’m in book-heaven.

I live in the UK, near the east coast with Mr Caz and my two Cazlets who are, at time of writing, ten and thirteen, and both avid readers. (Oh, and not forgetting the cat! ) I’m a musician by training and a teacher by profession (of music and foreign languages).

Absolute Favorites

A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant
A Splendid Defiance by Stella Riley
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran

Favorite Classic

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Emma by Jane Austen
Vilette by Charlotte Bronte

Personal Reading Tastes Favorites by Sub-Genre

What I’m a sucker for in a book: A hero with a tortured past and a smart mouth; marriages of convenience; friends who become lovers; humour and snappy dialogue; dowdy but intelligent heroines who don’t have to turn into butterflies to win the love of the hero.

What I don’t particularly care for in a book: Stories in which the character development is sacrificed for the sake of the plot and in which relationship development is replaced with insta-lust; the very obvious “Big Misunderstanding” which drags on too long; courtesan heroines; very young heroines (although I made an exception in the case of Marian’s Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly).

What drives me absolutely nuts in a book: I’m going to be brutally honest and say Americanisms! I read mostly European Historicals, the majority of which are set in the UK. We don’t have fall, we have autumn; we don’t have sidewalks, we have pavements; we have curtains (not drapes); we write TO someone and have a couple OF something; water comes out of a tap (not a faucet) and we would never ask if someone wanted us to fix them a plate. – end rant

Because I read mostly historicals, the other thing that drives me nuts is characters who behave as though they’re from the 21st century, despite being dressed in breeches and gowns. Part of the fun – for me – of reading this genre is that there are certain conventions that have to be observed, and if an author is going to throw them out of the window, they might as well have written a contemporary.

“Feisty, independent” heroines where feisty and independent = “stupid and stubborn for the sake of it”

Favorite Romance Authors

All-Time Favorite Romance Authors

Meredith Duran
Sherry Thomas
Cecilia Grant
Georgette Heyer
Stella Riley
Carla Kelly
Grace Burrowes
Mary Balogh

Biggest Tear Jerker

The Christmas Spirit by Elisabeth Fairchild

Best Discovery/Buried Treasure Authors

Barbara Metzger. Seriously, the woman writes fabulous romance and boy, can she bring the funny. Try Wedded Bliss and/or A Worthy Wife and you’ll see what I mean!

My Biggest Glom

Carla Kelly
Elisabeth Fairchild
Meredith Duran
Sherry Thomas
Edith Layton


Frontier or American Historical:

Gone With the Wind (what else?!)

European Historical:

A Splendid Defiance by Stella Riley
The Parfit Knight by Stella Riley
A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
In For a Penny by Rose Lerner
An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser

Traditional Regency:

Venetia by Georgette Heyer
Fallen Angel by Charlotte Louise Dolan
The Plumed Bonnet by Mary Balogh


Awaken to Pleasure by Nalini Singh

Category Romance:

The Disgraceful Mr Ravenshurst / The Lord and the Wayward Lady, both M&B Historicals by Louise Allen.

Favorite Characters Favorites by Plot Type

Favorite Hero

Justin Ambrose, A Splendid Defiance by Stella Riley
Viscount Sanburne, Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran
Major David Lancaster, The Bargain by Mary Jo Putney
Cpt. Raynold Durant, Captain Durant’s Countess by Maggie Robinson
Lord Rival, The Fortune Hunter by Diane Farr

Favorite Heroine

Lydia Boyce, Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran
Kate Maxwell, The Black Madonna by Stella Riley
Serena Barton, The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

Most Tortured Hero

Reginald Davenport, The Rake by Mary Jo Putney
Lord Dain, Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Strongest Heroine

Jessica Trent, Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Alys Weston, The Rake by Mary Jo Putney

Favorite Couple

Ambersley and Rosalind, The Parfit Knight by Stella Riley
Justin and Abby, A Splendid Defiance by Stella Riley
Hugo and Serena, The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
Reggie and Alys, The Rake by Mary Jo Putney
Ian and Augusta, The Bridegroom Wore Plaid by Grace Burrowes

Best Villain

Helena Chesterfield, A Little Deception by Beverley Eikli
Lionel, Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh


The Emperor Conspiracy by Michelle Diener
Heart of the Tiger by Lynn Kerstan


Wedded Bliss / A Worthy Wife by Barbara Metzger are regencies that are both perfectly in period and also hilarious.
Nearly a Lady by Alissa Johnson


After the Kiss by Karen Ranney
A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant

Favorites by Mood

Comfort Reads:

A Splendid Defiance by Stella Riley
The Marigold Chain by Stella Riley
The Ideal Wife by Mary Balogh
A Bride for His Convenience by Edith Layton


Most Disappointing Book

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James. The first part was absolutely superb, but it took a real nose-dive once the H&H were separated.

Worst Books

Matilda’s Song by Jo-Ann Ainsworth. It was so bad, I couldn’t finish it, which is a rarity for me.

Purple Prose-iest Book

So far, this is Stephanie Laurens’ The Lady Risks All in which the sex scenes were written in such purple prose as to be almost black!

Authors I Have Given Up On

Isabella Bradford. I read all three of her Wylder Sisters books hoping they would get better. They didn’t.

Authors Others Love That I Don’t

I was underwhelmed by Stephanie Laurens, but then I haven’t read very many of her books.

Most Annoying Lead Character

Diana Wylder in When the Duke Found Love
Caroline Montague in How to Tame a Wilful Wife
I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that!

Non-Romance Favorites

Favorite Author

Dorothy Dunnett
Sharon Penman
Jean Plaidy
Terry Pratchett

Favorite Book

The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman
The Black Madonna by Stella Riley

Favorite Classic Novel

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Middlemarch by George Elliot
Lady Audley’s Secret by M. E Braddon
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Favorite Mystery

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Quincunx by Charles Palliser

Favorite YA Book

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I Coriander by Sally Gardiner

Favorite SF/Horror/Fantasy

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The Trouble with Lichen by John Wyndham
Small Gods by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Book Most Often Reread

A Splendid Defiance by Stella Riley
The Marigold Chain by Stella Riley
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Emma by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The first four Poldark novels by Winston Graham

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