Lola’s Ramblings: Reading Books in a New to Me Genre – Historical Romance

Posted December 10, 2015 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 32 Comments


Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

This year I participated in the Bookish resolution Challenge and I challenged myself to read more historical romances and (cozy) mysteries. Both are genres where up till this year I read none to very little books in. It’s always a bit daunting to start a new genre, so I wanted to talk about my experiences with trying out two new genres. Always when starting a new genre it takes quite some books before you get a good feel for what you like in the genre. I think that I am not there yet with these genres, but I did learn a bit already and I do know that I will continue reading books in these genres.

New to me genre: Historical Romances

ImmersedWhile I love romance novels of all kinds, I never read many books in the historical genre. I love history and find it very interesting to learn more about historical events, but for some reason it never appealed to me to actually read this genre. This year I finally decided to change that and give the historical romance genre a try. My first experience with this genre was pretty positive, I first read two 4 stars books. Both had enough of the historical aspect to give me a feel for the genre.

The Mine which was my first historical romance this year wasn’t set as far back which was great to get introduced to this genre. Things are different to the current time, but not too different. then I read In for a Penny which was a more traditional historical romance. I had a bit of trouble with some of the words used and it could be a bit confusing at times, but this gave me a good feel for historical romances. Then I read an erotic historical romance, which almost doesn’t feel like a historical book as there wasn’t much focus on the historical element. This gave me insight in how much it differences there are within this genre and how there aret historical romance do less with the actual historical setting and others that focus more on that. I think I prefer historical romances with more focus on the historical setting that make me feel like I am actually there.

in for a pennyAfter that I read A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal which made me realize I would like to read more historical romances set in the early years of colonizing the america’s. I took a course in american history and that time period always appealed to me the whole going to the new world aspect of it and the exploring the new country. So another win. Then I read The Rogue You Know which was a DNF, so I also had a miss in this genre. I should’ve started with the first book in that series and this book didn’t really do it for me, I do have the first book in this series now so I will give that one a try eventually. Then I read Immersed which is probably my favourite historical romance so far as the setting was awesome and she intermingled steampunk, paranormal, historical and romance elements in one book and it worked. The setting of muddy chicago was fascinating and it was a total win for me. I also read the sequel and while I liked that less, I do think it’s a great series to try out. Ihave multiple mroe historical romances that I own and haven’t read yet, so enough to read more in this genre.

What I learned about what I like in Historical Romances

So what I learned this year is that historical romance is definitely a genre I want to read more books in, but it’s still a bit hard to find my way in this genre. I haven’t read a 5 star book in this genre yet, but I have read 3 books that I really enjoyed with a 4 star rating, then there also were two 3 stars and a DNF. Not a too good of a track record, but seeing as I am still finding my way I am okay with that. I know I probably enjoy books with more focus on the historical setting the best as I like learning more about the history of the place and see the story intermingle with actual events of that time. Learning interesting tidbits from that time is always a plus. I have a bit trouble with the slang or words in historical romance books, but I am hoping I’ll get used to that once I read more books in this genre.

Historical Romances I Read this year

With Immersed being my favourite historical romance book I read this year.

Have your tried to read books in a new to you genre this year? If yes which genre and how did it go?

What do you like about Historical Romances? Any books you would recommend me?


32 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: Reading Books in a New to Me Genre – Historical Romance

  1. I’ve been reading romance books for about 20 years. I started out with Historicals because my mother brought over a huge box of 50 books for me to read that she didn’t want. Before romance books I read nothing but horror. I got tired of historicals and ventured into other genres and read all kinds of romance books until I found Paranormals and have stuck with those for a long time because I’ve found I like those the best.
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    • It’s been the other way around for me, when I was a kid I read some horror books and contemporary romances, then I only read paranormal romances for a long time and then went back to contemporary romances as well. And only now I am branching out into the other romance genres.

  2. I’m actually not a historical romance person. Unless it has circus in it (e.g. Water for Elephants), though, “Unless it has circus in it,” is probably my motto for all genres lol. Or paranormal aspects.

    The end of last year/beginning of this year for me was kind of all about reading new genres and discovering what I liked as I had fallen out of reading for a couple years during college and wasn’t even sure what I liked anymore. I still try to read outside my genre comfort zone sometimes, but, at this point, I know what I like, so that’s what I read. But if the mood strikes me for something different or something catches my interest, I go for it!

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the historical romance genre though and figuring out what you like! If anything, I think I’d be into the 1920s in the US. The Prohibition Era always fascinated me, but I don’t know much about it.
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    • I haven’t read many books with a circus, at the moment I can only remember a cozy mystery I read earlier this year that had a circus. I believe that every genre probably has some books that I enjoy, although I do have a few genres that always be my favourites. So I like to step outside my comfort zone and see what other genres are like, so I know what I like and don’t in those genres as well.

      The Prohibition era is also a time period that sounds fun to read about. I think the more recent time periods are those I will enjoy reading about. The time is close enough that I can relate and still so different.

  3. It’s so neat that your resolution helped you find a favorite period of time in historical romances you enjoy, Lola. I’m definitely a fan of HR’s. 🙂 I did read a new-to-me genre this year, as you know, when I read Immersed. Steampunk was a genre that I was mildly interested in but had stayed away from since I wasn’t sure I’d like it. I was well pleased with my introduction to the genre and hope to read more. 🙂
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    • It’s fun to try a new to you genre and find out if it works for you. I definitely plan to stick with reading HR’s, although it might be a while before I really find my way in this genre.
      I haven’t read much steampunk myself yet, that’s another genre I have to read more books in. If you want to give more steampunk a try I would recommend Susan Kaye Quinn her Dharian Affairs series, I’ve only read the first book so far, but I realy enjoyed it.

  4. it can always be interesting to delve into a new genre. I am thrilled you are slowly getting into Historical Romance and sorry to hear that you haven’t a five star read yet because there are many books that could do that for ya….I hope. Here are some of my favorite books that I think you would like to try out.
    1. The Secret by Julia Garwood (I would recommend Garwood for anyone wanting to fall madly in love with historical romance…she does so good with her historical’s)
    2. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn—This is a favorite and Quinn is so entertaining and easy to get into.
    3. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
    4. Never Seduce A scot by Maya Banks
    5. This Is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland.
    6. The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (although its in the middle of the series, but this is my favorite book by this author….although any historical by this author is amazing!!
    7. Outlaw Hearts by Rosanne Bittner—-if you are interested in westerns….this is one of the best books you could ever try out.
    If you want more than that I have many more on my recommendations at my site. I love historical romance…its my favorite genre to read especially since I am like you…I love history and there are so many books I have read over the years that have opened my eyes to different cultures in various time periods; and it can be so fun to learn more.
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    • I am mostly just requesting historical romances off netgalley that catch my eye and as I’ve only read a few I don’t doubt that once I find my way in the genre I will eventually read a 5 star, but I’ve had some good 4 stars reads so that’s good.

      Thanks for the recomendations! I’ll check these out and see if they are for me. Some of the titles or authors do sound familiar.

      I love history and the combination of romance and history is such a fun one. I definitely look forward to learn more about the differen time periods. And I am hopign to read even mroe historical romances next year :).

      • I can understand that. I do know that Rosanne Bittner is on netgalley…and she is great. I hadn’t read her until this year but she is at the top of my list of favorite authors to read. I do hope you get a five star soon. I hear ya about the mix of history and romance. I love it because when an author writes a story right…you can learn so much and still get a great love story at the same time. Hope you get to try out some of my recommendations!!

        • I’ve added most of your recommendations to my to-read list, they all sound good! Yes I love a good story, romance and learn new things at the same time. It’s a great combination!

    • I might eventually branch into historical fiction, but as I like to read books with some romance in them I think historical romance is a better fit for me. I haven’t read any books set during wars yet, I usually avoid those as they make me sad, but I do see how it make for an interesting setting.

  5. I’m a mega history buff, so Historical romance was my first introduction into the romance world. I love a good historical romance that focuses on the historical setting and the elements. Although the wording can indeed be confusing at times. You may want to find a copy of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World. It’s a brilliant book for introducing people to the Regency era and the slang found in most Regency and Victorian era romances. It will also tell you a bit about their clothing and carriages and things from daily life.

    As for new-to-me genres, I’m slowly working my way into the romantic thriller genre. I’ve read a lot of romantic suspense, but the thrillers are more intense. I’m just hoping they’re not too gory. I don’t handle gory very well.
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    • I think Paranormal Romance and contemporayr romance where my introduction to the romance genre and it’s only now that i am branchign ou to historical romance and romantic suspense.

      The wording can be a bit confusing when new to this genre. I think I will get used to it when I read mroe, but for now it’s still a bit confusing. I’ll look up that book you mentioned. I really like it when the historical setign comes into plat.

      I am slowly startinf with the romantic suspense genre and am making that an official goal for next year to read more in that genre. I am not sure if the thrillers would be for me, although that’s mostly because I don’t like gory details, but as you mention you don’t handle that well either, I might eventually branch out into the thrillers as well.

  6. I think it’s great that you tried two new to you genres. Historical Romance is one of my favorite genres, but I don’t like all of it. I’ve figured out what I like and look for it now, but I spent part of this year being adventurous and trying new to me authors.

    The genres that I tried lately are contemporary romance and steampunk romance. I’ve avoided Contemporary Romance for a long time b/c I thought it would be boring, but then I really loved small town and kept going.
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    • I also don’t like all of it, from what I’ve seen so far, but there are definitely good books as well. I just have to find out what I like and look for. It’s ncie to be adventurous when it comes to reading. I have a top ten new to me authors list scheduled for later this month and when I set that up I wa ssusprised how many new to me authors I’ve read, let’s say more than half of the total didn’t make the list.

      When I was younger I really liked contemporary romance books, then I went through a fantasy only phase and then when I came back to contemporary romance I wondered why I stayed away for so long as I love the genre. Just like every genre it has it good and it’s less good books, but overall definitely one of my favourite genres. Steampunk is a genre I haven’t branched out in a lot, but I do want to. I’ve read a few great books in the genre though.

  7. Oh, Lola, you must read Libba Bray’s THE DIVINERS – although I must admit I am not such a huge fan of historical romance, that book was the one, beautiful exception. The historical setting is fully immersive, and there is a gorgeous romance and even a horror/fantasy element to it, which truly only served to enhance the loveliness for me. It’s the sort of book that pulls you into its world. I think you will adore it. xx
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  8. I adore historical romance, but I am also so very picky about them. I’m not as picky with contemporary romance for some reason. So I can understand how difficult it is to find you way in this new to you genre. I highly recommend Julia Quinn. Her Bridgerton series is wonderful, but I would start with What Happens in London. It;s light and funny and gives you a feel for how she writes. I also love Tessa Dare and Julie Garwood (although her books are a bit dated but not in a terrible way).
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    • Another blogger also recommended Julia Quinn, so I guess I’ll have to check out one of her books soon. I’ll her Bridgerton series to my to-read list :). It’s been hard to fidn my way in this genre, but I am enjoying the books I’ve read so far. Let’s hope I can read even more historical romances next year!
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  9. I definitely love historical mysteries and had found myself with books like The Alientist by Caleb Carr – so awesome! – and stuff like The Sherlockian, the Dante Club, the Dracula Dossier. And then I read paranormal mystery romances set in the 19th century by Jordan L. Hawk and liked it so I’m looking for more books like that 🙂
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  10. I’ve never been much of a fan of historical romances. I’m not sure that I’ve ever read any. I have said that I want to try more cozy mysteries. I’ve read so many reviews this year that have caught my eye. From what I’ve been told about historical romances, it is all about finding the historical period that you like. The 20’s are different from Victorian are different from some of the others (I don’t even know the others). Good luck on finding something you like.
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    • I am really enjoying the cozy mystery genre so far and the covers are so cute. I talk more about cozy mysteries this week.
      From what I’ve read so far the historical periods do influence the book, so I think ther eis some truth to that statement when it comes to historical romances. I haven’t quite found my time period yet, but I am hoping next year I can read a few more books in this genre.

  11. Historical romances are my favorites 😀 There are some really amazing ones out there. Maybe historical fiction is more your calling since it focuses more on the history aspects? Deeanne Gist is really fantastic. I read hers that are based on the Chicago World Fair and it was pretty interesting. They’re more the history/setting with light romance to them.

    Jo Goodman is also really good for early US. Westerny type reads. I’ve really enjoyed them. They’re kind of slow rambling reads with great characters. 😀 Hers are historical romances not fiction.
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  12. Tamburlaine

    Try Daphne Du Maurier’s books. She is best known for REBECCA (a few film versions exist as well). But she gets the history right and the characters are compelling. I fell in love with her books back in the 60s/70s and went through them like a mouse thru cheese on year!

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