Meet Publisher/Senior Reviewer/Ombudswoman Lynn Spencer
Lynn’s Top 10 Romance List
About Me Favorite Romance Novels

Like the other reviewers here, I have spent most of my life sitting behind the covers of a book and thus traveling across time and around the world. I’ve loved historical fiction and mysteries since I was a child, and as I got older, my mother let me read some of her romantic suspense and gothic novels. Summer afternoons spent poring over Victoria Holt, Mary Higgins Clark and Phyllis Whitney novels opened up a new world for me of heroines who could have fun, go through all manner of adventures, and fall in love.

In high school I discovered historicals and traditional regencies at camp. I was put off at the time (and still am, on occasion) by the “clinch” covers on many novels, so I did not venture far beyond the world of Harlequin Historicals and the occasional discreet stepback until I discovered Roberta Gellis’ Roselynde Chronicles my last year in college. After that discovery, my time spent haunting used bookstores increased exponentially.

Today, I am an attorney in the Washington DC metro area, a place rather far removed from the Virginia mountains where I grew up. I still have very eclectic reading tastes, but prefer historicals, romantic suspense and mystery novels on the whole. Nonfiction books on history and politics, gothic novels and regencies also take up plenty of space in my TBR pile, though. I love reading, writing and generally chatting about books with people, so I welcome the chance to be a reviewer at AAR. When I’m not working or reading, I enjoy hiking, surfing the internet and goofing off with my two beloved cats.

Absolute Favorites

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Favorite Classic

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Personal Reading Tastes Favorites by Sub-Genre

What I’m a sucker for in a book: “Different” settings (i.e. not England or the Old West), especially Russia/Eastern Europe, the 16th-18th centuries, long, meaty historicals loaded with period detail, characters who grow and change throughout a book, a touch of mystery or the supernatural, characters outside of the usual lord/lady/cowboy rut, witty repartee, strong secondary characters, gothics, and first-person point of view.

What I don’t particularly care for in a book: “Wallpaper” history (unless it’s a good comedy), bedroom doors thrown too far open, the obligatory baby-studded epilogue, the insistence on shorter novels (I realize this is more an editor quirk than an author quirk but I still don’t like it), amnesia, overly cutesy titles, falling in love with the boss plots, and I-hate-you-no-I-love-you plots.

What drives me absolutely nuts in a book: Shoddy historical research/lots of historical errors, lust dressed up as love, one person daring the other person to kiss him or her, heroines who keep trying to run away from the hero, romances at improbable/inappropriate times (i.e falling for some hunk when your beloved husband is barely cold in the ground), characters who have a “burgeoning” anything , Dukes of Slut, “child” heroines, “Taming of the Shrew” plots, spineless, and “clinging vine” heroines (especially if they’re supposed to be leaders or professionals).

Favorite Romance Authors

All-Time Favorite Romance Authors

Julia Quinn
Nora Roberts
Roberta Gellis

Best Discovery/Buried Treasure Authors

Bronwyn Williams (historicals only)

My Biggest Glom

Julia Quinn
Cynthia Harrod-Eagles


Frontier or American Historical:

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer
Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke
Rosewood by Candace Camp

European Historical:

Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor
Lord of the Night by Susan Wiggs
Gypsy Baron by Mary Daheim
Bridgerton Family series by Julia Quinn
The Blood of Roses by Marsha Canham

Traditional Regency:

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
Isabella by Janet Grace
The Emerald Necklace by Diana Brown


Tapestry by Maura Seger
Child of Awe by Kathryn Lynn Davis
A Falcon’s Heart by Jayel Wylie
Roselynde by Roberta Gellis

Alternate Reality:

In Death series by J.D. Robb


A Rose for Maggie by Kathleen Korbel
Break the Night by Anne Stuart
Fear Familiar series by Caroline Burnes

Favorite Characters Favorites by Plot Type

Favorite Hero

Christy Morrell, To Love and to Cherish by Patricia Gaffney

Favorite Heroine

Penelope Featherington, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Augusta Ballinger, Rendezvous by Amanda Quick

Most Tortured Hero

Charles Fraser, Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant
Gideon Westbrook, Ravished by Amanda Quick

Strongest Heroine

Melanie Fraser, Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant
Augusta Ballinger, Rendezvous by Amanda Quick

Favorite Couple

Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Charles and Melanie Fraser, Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant

Best Villain

Sebastien de Saint Vallier, Bliss by Judy Cuevas
Daniel de Ribard, Rightfully His by Tracy Grant

Cabin or Road:

The Cockermouth Mail by Dinah Dean


Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant
Be Buried in the Rain by Barbara Michaels


How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn
Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich


A Dove at Midnight by Rexanne Becnel

Favorites by Mood

Comfort Reads:

Any earlier novels by Amanda Quick or Susan Wiggs
Anything by Julia Quinn

Most-Hanky Reads:

To Love and to Cherish by Patricia Gaffney

Guilty Pleasure:

Velvet quartet by Jude Deveraux
No Gentle Love by Rebecca Brandewyne


Most Disappointing Book

The Inheritance by Joan Johnston

Worst Books

All the Sweet Tomorrows by Bertrice Small
Amarantha by Melanie Jackson

Purple Prose-iest Book

Anything by Cassie Edwards

Authors I Have Given Up On

Patricia Gaffney
Karen Harper
Jude Deveraux

Authors Others Love That I Don’t

Bertrice Small
Susan Johnson
Linda Howard

Most Annoying Lead Character

Mellyora MacAdin, Come the Morning by Shannon Drake

Non-Romance Favorites

Favorite Author

William Shakespeare
Leo Tolstoy
Jane Austen
Barbara Tuchman

Favorite Book

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Favorite Classic Novel

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Emily of New Moon trilogy by L.M. Montgomery

Favorite Mystery

Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie King
The Unkindness of Ravens by Ruth Rendell

Favorite Fantasy

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Beloved Exile by Parke Godwin

Favorite Women’s Fiction

The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Favorite YA Book

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Step to the Music by Phyllis Whitney
Susannah by Candice F. Ransom

Favorite Set of Connected Books

Morland Dynasty series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Book Most Often Reread

Anything by L.M. Montgomery
Child of Awe by Kathryn Lynn Davis
Too Deep for Tears by Kathryn Lynn Davis

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