In my latest book, Encore, both of the main characters are widowed, so I became fascinated with all sorts of ideas about loss and redemption and second chances while I was writing it. I also love reading about widowed characters, because it provides such a rich backstory—did they love their dead spouse? Hate them? Kill them? Here are a few of my personal favorites, followed by a great list of suggestions from other readers and writers:
A Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh – OMG this book! The heroine was 19 when she married a much older man. She is widowed and so completely tormented by this Really Terrible Thing she did when she was a younger woman. Classic Balogh angst and passion ensues. The hero, Edgar, is one of my favorite stand-up-guy Dudley Do-Right heroes ever. His goodness never seems cloying or self-motivated—and he’s a powerhouse in the sack. (And when he lets the heroine take the lead in bed? Ohmygodgoreadthisbook.)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Well, I guess this sort of pushes the boundaries of widower for most of the book, but EVENTUALLY he’s a widow, amirite? I suppose I try to shove Jane Eyre into every discussion because, well, she’s simply the best. Jane is one of my favorite characters in all of literature because her goodness is never dogmatic. She just IS good. But also questioning and desperate and hopeful, and just so damned human. I love how these two bring each other to life in such completely different ways.
The Preacher’s Promise by Piper Huguley – Loved the quiet strong widower in this one (and the frisky schoolteacher who comes from the north to throw his world into turmoil). Huguley is so great at creating a sense of time/place—I could practically taste the dust in my mouth—as well as characters who felt so real I wanted to go to this town to meet them.
Seduction by Amanda Quick – The Devil! My palms got tingly just re-reading the synopsis of this over on Goodreads. I think I need a re-read soon.
When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn – by far my favorite Bridgerton—probably because it was the steamiest.
And now from our intrepid scouts in the field (i.e. Twitter), here are a slew of other recommendations!
Maureen @handsfullmama – Patricia (Meg) Cabot Kiss the Bride.
KJ Charles @kj_charles – The Salisbury Key by Harper Fox has a brilliantly done just-bereaved hero whose lover killed self. And, in het A Dream Defiant, Susannah Fraser – widow and one of very few black Regency heroes I’ve seen.
Olivia Waite @O_Waite – Heroine of Rose Lerner’s first Lively St. Lemeston book, Sweet Disorder, is a widow and I know she’ll have other recs!
Theresa Romain @TheresaRomain – Loretta Chase’s Lord Perfect (Benedict Carsington) is a widower, I think. Also, heroine of Kristan Higgins’s contemp The Next Best Thing is a widow and I luuuurve her. It is one of my favorite romances ever. Somehow makes me both laugh and uglycry.
Thanks so much for having me at AAR!
Megan Mulry writes sexy, stylish, romantic fiction. Her first book, A Royal Pain, was an NPR Best Book of 2012 and USA Today bestseller. Before discovering her passion for romance novels, she worked in magazine publishing and finance. After many years in New York, Boston, London, and Chicago, she now lives with her family in Florida. Her latest book is Encore.