AAR Mini-Polls: Top Tens

Top Ten British Historical & Eurasion Historical Titles

June 2, 2008

Top Ten British Historical Romances

1 Lord of Scoundrels 1995 Hot Loretta Chase
2 Dreaming of You 1994 Hot Lisa Kleypas
3 Devil in Winter 2006 Hot Lisa Kleypas
4 Romancing Mister Bridgerton 2002 Warm Julia Quinn
5 Slightly Dangerous 2004 Warm Mary Balogh
6 The Viscount Who Loved Me 2000 Warm Julia Quinn
7 Ravished 1992 Warm Amanda Quick
8 A Summer To Remember 2002 Warm Mary Balogh
9 Lord Perfect 2006 Hot Loretta Chase
10 The Rake 1998 Subtle Mary Jo Putney

Your top ten British historicals represent both serious and funny romances. They include books published over 16 years ago, to one book published in 2006. Notably, no romances published in either 2007 or 2008 made it into the top ten.

All ten of the books earned a place in our 2007 Top 100 Poll. It’s no surprise that Loretta Chase’s 1995 Lord of Scoundrels placed first in this mini-poll, after ending up the top book for the past three Top 100 Polls. In second place in both this mini-poll and the 2007 Top 100 Poll is Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas, published back in 1994. These books, published well over a decade ago, have had remarkable staying power in the hearts of romance readers.

Devil in Winter, published in 2006, was the second book for Lisa Kleypas in the top ten, placing third in the poll. The book was named the top European Historical in the AAR Annual Poll for 2006 releases, and Sebastian (St. Vincent) and Evie Jenner were named as the best hero and heroine in that poll.

Two of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series books were among your top ten British historicals. In fourth place was the 2002 release, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (16h in the 2007 Top 100 Poll), while The Viscount Who Loved Me (10th in the 2007 Top 100 Poll), published in 2000, landed in sixth place. Each of these books received several mentions in AAR Annual Polls. The former received honorable mentions in the Annual Reader’s Poll for Favorite Funny and Best European Historical, while Penelope was named the Best Heroine and Colin and Penelope the Best Couple. The latter was named the Favorite Funny (of 2000 releases), and received honorable mentions as the Favorite European Historical and for its heroine, Kate Sheffield.

Mary Balogh also had two titles in the top ten. Her 2004 release, Slightly Dangerous, finished in fifth place, while A Summer to Remember, published in 2002, finished in eighth place. Slightly Dangerous – 6th in the 2007 Top 100 Poll – was named the Best European Historical of 2004 releases, while Wulfric was named the Best Hero in that year’s Annual Reader’s Poll. A Summer to Remember – 20th in the Top 100 Poll – received honorable mentions as Best Romance and Best European Historical of 2002 releases.

Amanda Quick had one book in the top ten; Ravished, a 1992 release, ended up in seventh place.

Loretta Chase’s 2006 release, Lord Perfect, ended up in ninth place in the mini-poll. This book garnered Best Cabin/Road Romance and Best couple for Bathsheba and Benedict, and also earned honorable mention in the Best Romance and Best European Historical categories for 2006-published books.

In tenth place was Mary Jo Putney’s 1998 release, The Rake. The book was a re-write of The Rake and the Reformer, a trad “Super Regency” originally published in 1989. The re-write landed in 68th place in our most recent Top 100 Romances poll. It ranked 75th in the 2004 poll, 15th in the 2000 poll, and 22nd in the 1998 poll.

Top Ten Eurasian Historical Romances

Over the years, the AAR forums have hosted a number of discussions decrying the excessive number of historical romances set in the U.K., and the need for more romances set in other locations. Out of these discussions came an idea to create a mini-poll that focused solely on your favorite historical romances with a Eurasian setting. Unfortunately, the results of this poll were less than we’d hoped for.

Far fewer readers participated in this poll than in the other two polls. And when they did participate, many readers only voted for one or two books, rather than the full ten that we saw in the other polls. We also had to disqualify a number of titles that were set in such non-Eurasian locales as Australia, the United States, or totally in England. This left us with a top ten set in Egypt, the Middle East, India, France, Italy, and the Soviet Union. Your top 10 Eurasian Historicals have a wide publication range, going all the way back to 1926 for one title, up to one 2008 release.

1 As You Desire 1997 Connie Brockway
2 Mr. Impossible 2005 Loretta Chase
3 Silk and Secrets 1992 Mary Jo Putney
4 The Spymaster’s Lady 2008 Joanna Bourne
5 Veils of Silk 1992 Mary Jo Putney
6 Devil’s Cub 1932 Georgette Heyer
7 These Old Shades 1926 Georgette Heyer
8 The Music of the Night 2005 Lydia Joyce
9 The Far Pavilions 1978 M.M. Kaye
10 The Bronze Horseman 2004 Paullina Simons

Romances set in Egypt landed the top two spots in the poll. Connie Brockway’s As You Desire was listed as your top Eurasian historical romance. This 1997 release placed 25th in the 2007 Top 100 Poll at AAR. In the AAR Reader Poll for 1997 releases, it was voted the Most Luscious Love Story. It also received honorable mention as Favorite Romance. Harry and Desdemona received honorable mention for Favorite Couple, while Harry was named Favorite Hero.

In second place in the poll is Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible, which placed 12th in the 2007 Top 100 Poll. This 2005 release garnered numerous awards in theAAR Annual Reader’s Poll, including Best Romance, Best Cabin/Road Romance, Best European Historical, and Best Hero. Rupert and Daphne were named the Best Couple, and Daphne received honorable mention as the Best Heroine.

Mary Jo Putney’s Silk and Secrets, set in Bokhara, placed third in the poll, while Veils of Silk, set in India and Central Asia, placed fifth.

The most recent entry, Joana Bourne’s 2008 The Spymaster’s Lady, placed fourth in the poll. This book takes place in France in the early 1800s. Two substantially older books by Georgette Heyer – Devil’s Cub and These Old Shades – placed sixth and seventh. Each of these books is partially set in France, qualifying them, marginally, for a place in this poll.

Lydia Joyce’s Venetian-set The Music of The Night placed eighth in the poll. This 2005 release was named the Best Buried Treasure in the AAR Annual Reader’s Poll.

In ninth place is M.M. Kaye’s India set novel, The Far Pavillions. Rounding out the top ten is Paulina Simons’ The Bronze Horseman. This 2001 release introduced romance readers to Tania and Alexander, and received honorable mention as the Most Hanky-Read book in AAR’s Annual poll.

Please check back on Wednesday for results in the Top Ten Contemporary Romances poll. In the meantime, we hope you’ll comment about the results of these two mini-polls on our Potpourri Forum.


Lee Brewer, LinnieGayl, and Cindy Smith

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