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5 Romantic Historical Reads for When You're Wishing You Lived in a Jane Austen Novel

I’ve been thinking about what my life would be like if I lived in a Jane Austen novel. Maybe it’s the influence of Samantha Hastings’s recently pubbed The Last Word, or maybe I’ve just been getting a little tired of fast-paced NYC. Life just seems so much simpler and lovelier during Regency/Victorian era England (although we all know the realities of Jane Austen’s world were not exactly pretty). But that’s what fiction is for, right? If you’re looking for a little historical escape, try these five swoonworthy romances for guaranteed grand balls, country walks, and a lot of tea.

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The Last Word by Samantha Hastings

Where one story ends, another begins.

1861. Miss Lucinda Leavitt is shocked when she learns the author of her favorite serialized novel has died before completing the story. Determined to learn how it ends, Lucinda reluctantly enlists the help of her father’s young business partner, Mr. David Randall, to track down the reclusive author’s former whereabouts.

David is a successful young businessman, but is overwhelmed by his workload. He wants to prove himself to his late father, as well as to himself. He doesn’t have the time, nor the interest, for this endeavor, but Lucinda is not the type to take no for an answer.

Their search for the elusive Mrs. Smith and the rightful ending to her novel leads Lucinda and David around the country, but the truths they discover about themselves—and each other—are anything but fictional.

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Gone by Nightfall by Dee Garretson

On the eve of revolution, Charlotte has to protect her family and flee Russia before it’s too late.

It’s 1918, and Charlotte Mason is determined to make a life for herself in czarist Russia. When her mother dies, Charlotte is forced to put her plans to go to medical school aside to care for her unruly siblings. Then a handsome new tutor arrives. Charlotte has high hopes that he’ll stay, freeing her up to follow her dreams of becoming a doctor in the United States. But there’s more to Dmitri that meets the eye.

Just when she thinks she can get her life back, Russia descends into revolution and chaos. Now, not only does Charlotte need to leave Russia, she needs to get her siblings out too—and fast.

Can Charlotte flee Russia, keep her siblings safe, and uncover Dmitri’s many secrets before she runs out of time?

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Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

In which plans for a season without romance are unapologetically foiled.

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She's much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she's determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana's traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

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These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

The only thing more dangerous than a gentleman with deadly superpowers is falling in love with one.

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they're not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.

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All Is Fair by Dee Garretson

A young lady is pulled out of school and into a secret wartime mission with a dashing American spy.

When Lady Mina Tretheway receives a telegram at boarding school, she doesn’t want to read it. In 1918, with war raging, she dreads telegrams, knowing they never bring good news.

At first she doesn’t understand the cryptic message. Then she realizes it’s written in code, and the message leads her home to Hallington Manor. When Lord Andrew Graham appears with a dashing young American, Lucas Mueller, Mina learns that the two of them must work together on dangerous project for the war effort.

Thinking Mina is just a spoiled aristocrat, Lucas tries to complete the project alone, fearing her inexperience will give them away. But when the project goes very wrong, Mina and Lucas are thrown together to complete the mission before more soldiers disappear into the darkness of war.

Share some of your swoony historical faves in the comments!

Author spotlight

Erin Siu

Book lover, music geek, Californian. Always falling for books about multicultural experiences, family relationships, and first love.

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