What to Read: Diverse Historical Romance


There has been a lot of talk about diversity in romance and based on the list of RITA 2018 finalists it seems that the lack of diversity is especially glaring with regard to historical romance. While there is an abundance of white, UK-set, aristo-focused, cishet historical romances, there are very few romances that present the stories of common people, queer people, people in time periods and places other than Victorian England.

I have read some diverse historicals though not nearly enough, and loved them all. I tried to collect my recommendations in a list and added more diverse historicals suggested by romance Twitter.

The list is divided in two - my personal favourites followed authors recommended by other romance readers on Twitter. You can find reviews of my recommendations on the blog. 

My recommendations 
(Title links to first book in the series, it's Amazon affiliates link)

KJ Charles - Author of historical and paranormal queer romances, there is the occasional aristo but most of her MCs are common people, some are POC (An Unseen Attraction - one MC is half-Indian; Wanted, A Gentleman - one MC is a Black freed slave)

My favourite series of hers is Society of Gentlemen and my most favourite book is The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal - historical romance with paranromal/horror elements about a ghost hunter and his partner in crime and in love

Cat Sebastian - Author of historical queer romances. I've only read It Takes Two to Tumble about a sea captain and an vicar coming together raising his kids. Her latest release is on my TBR list, Unmasked by a Marquess, m/enby romance. The Turner series is another m/m historical romances series.

Joanna Chambers - Author of m/m historical romance, my favourite is the Enlightenment series. A Gathering Storm is m/m romance with one MC who is a scientist and the other is a land steward and half-Romani.

Sandra Schwab - Author of historical romances, both m/f and m/m. The Return of the Earl is a m/m romance between a reluctant new earl and his stablemaster. She also has a series of m/f romances, Eagle's Honor, set in Roman times.

Tess Bowery - Author of Treading the Boards, a series of queer historical romances - m/m, f/f/m, m/genederfluid MC (both are Black)

Alyssa Cole - WOC author of The Loyal League, as series of m/f romances set during the Civil War featuring characters of colour

Molly O'Keefe - author of Into the Wild, a series of historical romances set in the aftermath of the Civil War in the US

Rose Lerner - author of Lively St. Lemeston series of historical romances about common people, book 2, True Pretenses, has Jewish hero. My favourite is book 3, Listen to the Moon about a valet and maid finding happiness together.

EE Ottoman - trans author of The Doctor's Discretion, historical romance with one trans MC and one Black MC set in late 19c New York. Next in the series will be another trans romance.

Recommended on Twitter 

(Title links to first book in the series, it's Amazon affiliates link)

Hamilton's Batallionanthology of m/m, m/f Jewish and f/f historical romance novellas by Rose Lerner, Alyssa Cole and Courtney Milan

The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Anthology by Kianna Alexander, Lena Hart, Piper Huguley and Alyssa Cole - ownvoices historical romances with Black and mixed race characters

Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology by Kianna Alexander, Lena Hart, Piper and Alyssa Cole 

Lydia San Andres - author of m/f historical romance series set in the Caribbean islands, A Summer for Scandal (currently on sale for $1.99)

Jeannie Lin - WOC author of Tang Dynasty, series of historical romances set in China

Mia West - author of queer historical series about the court of King Arthur, Sons of Britain

Elizabeth Kingston - author of Welsh Blade, m/f series of Medieval romances

Jennifer Hallock - author of Sugar Sun series of m/f historical romance set in the Philippines with characters of colour

Mimi Milan - WOC author of The Jericho Resistance series of m/f sweet historical romances with Mexican American characters

Piper Huguley - WOC author of inspirational m/f historical romances with Black MCs, Home to Milford College series

Beverly Jenkins - WOC author of many historical romance series with Black MCs, Old West series

Vanessa Riley - WOC author of Regency romances with Black and mixed race characters, Advertisements for Love series

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance is a series of historical and contemporary romances with Black MCs

Kianna Alexander - WOC of sweet (no on page sex) historical romances with Black characters, The Roses of Ridgeway series 

Lena Hart - WOC author of Hearts at War series of historical romances with heroines of colour (Book 1, Native American heroine,  it' s currently free)

P. J. Dean - WOC author of Love Vanquishes All series of interracial historical romances with heroines of colour

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