Historical Romance 101: Favorite Time Periods

Welcome to another segment of Historical Romance 101. Today we will be discussing time periods, what we love about them and share some personal favorites. Please join in and visit the other fabulous ladies : Jennifer @ Feminist Fairy Tales, Amanda @On A Book Bender, and Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook


So Today I have an exciting topic for you all…Time Periods. Now this aspect is what makes historical romance so unique and how much variety you can see in historical romance. Its one of the main reasons I love it so much. Because there is so much you can find in this genre to suit your wants and/or needs.  There are so many great time periods that an author can write a story in. There is so much more out there than just Regency (which has become the most popular and most well known over the past few years) but in this post, I want to share that there is so much diverstiy in historical romance and share my passion for the various time periods that you can come to love as I have. It helps that a few of my beginning authors, like Johanna Lindsey and Kathleen Woodiwiss explored in various time periods and these authors dug deep into research and there are many authors like them you researched for a long while to bring about a great romance in a time period that isn’t largely well known, and you learn many things along the way. Such as historical events, culture, misconceptions, and the style of living in that time period. So below I am going to share my favorite time periods (which is quite a list) but I feel like its necessary to show how much deeper you can dig into this genre and explore your way into the era’s of history.


This time period can go from, the early 1800’s.  This era is by FAR the most popular, and even though there are many aspects of this era that I like, I do believe its over done at times. But I did want to mention this one, because some of my top favorite books that take place in this era are on my list. Which I would like to share with you. This is a world of rakes, scandals, balls and fancy gowns.


This Era was during Queen Victoria of England’s reign during years 1830 to 1901. This was well known as a time period of peace, science and technical advancement and industrial reforms, and strict social behaviors. I love this period because of the sense of growth of culture and new ideas happen. There is quite a bit that authors can work with for this era and since it is a long period of time, longer than Regency….it has a sense of richness and culture that we can relate with even in our modern era.


This area covers the discovery of the American Colonies, this covers from when Columbus first discovered the Americas, to the beginnings of the war for American Independence. This does cover quite a long period of time. But what a period to discover and create inspirational romances with. This is quite a unique period, because we the growth and strength of those that traveled to the America’s to start fresh. This period was full of challenges and strife for many. Petals On The River, is my favorite story from Woodiwiss. Its charming, sweet and tender. Its a bit more lighter than her other books, but is still just as vibrant in historical context as the others, and this pair does face some conflict of their own but I love seeing them fight together.

French Revolution 

This era deals with conflict and upheavel that happen in France. It was a horrible time for many, and was carried on by Napolean. This creates a unique time period for a romance to be built on. This adds a level of conflict whether by the main set up of the story or influence on one or both characters.

Stewart Era of Scotland

Now I have a special fondness for this time period, but its also not the easiest to read. There is much violence, battles, and loss that happened during this time period. The Scots were fighting for their freedoms, and there was also much conflict between clans and the royals at the time. This is also a long stretch of time from the 1300’s to the 1700’s. There are quite a few of great romances that take place in this time period and love learning about this era and the strong people that dwelled in this time.


This period is between 400 A.D  and the mid 1400’s. Its also known as the Middle Ages. This is a wonderful time period to read in, I love the whole Knights and Ladies….fighting with swords and shields and living in castles. So fun. I love the history and culture that we see happen in this theme.

Anglo Saxon

This was a turmultous time in Europe when the romans left, and many groups of people banded together known as Anglo and Saxon’s to protect themselves against picts, pirates and raiders. There is something so passionate about this time period that I love read romance in. I blame it all on Kathleen Woodiwiss upon discovering The Wolf and the Dove which is a truly remarkable romance.  The author did great research on this book, and I loved learning about this time period. Ever since I have been hooked and grab romances in this time period.


This time period is more well known as the “Robin Hood” time. This deals with a time when there was a series of wars to overthrow the Holy Land from the muslims. But not set in England….set in the middle easte in the late 1100’s. I really have enjoyed this setting, because its pretty inspiring at times, I blame it on my first McCall book, that introduced me to this time period. A time that I knew little about except for what you read in school history books which quite frankly romance authors do a much better job of portraying this time.


This era was dealing with House of Plantagenets which King Henry II founded and thus followed an period of Kings that ruled in the twelfth century. This period of time is from the 1130’s-1399. I love and adore this time period, and its rich in culture.This is a time period that any romance reader can fall in love with. Because there aren’t a ton of wars and battles going on. Its one of the more quieter time periods of British  and Scottish history, and you just get the rich culture and passion from the time. What’s not to love??!!

The Renaissance

This is such a beautiful time period to read in, the culture, style of clothing and the development of the arts. Its one of the most creative time periods. And is great to read a romance in. There is so much I have learned just by reading the historical context of this period.

Ancient Civilization–Greece and Italy 

Now this is a time period that I haven’t had the chance to read much of, but what I have read so far I have really enjoyed. This is a bit different, but I love it. I have always had a fascination with this culture, and so any time I have a chance to pick up a book that takes place in this era…I jump at it. The first book I tried out was “To Burn” now, I didn’t put it on my favorites list because I didn’t like the story all that much. But I loved the historical context of it, and I wanted to find books to love and I did. Those you have read Kate Quinn know exactly what I am talking about.


I have read only a few books in this time period, but I have loved it. It is such a beautiful set up for a romance. I plan on reading more of these this year since its definitely a time I haven’t read enough of. But here are some of my favorites that I have loved.

Civil War and Reconstruction 

This is a intense era of American History, many were killed and many were torn apart by the side they lived on….families, friends and even lovers. This was a difficult time, but also a time of passion and fighting for what you believed in. Seeing the strength and determination of those that were left behind when it was over to rebuild what was destroyed in a brutal war. Rose and Ashes In The Wind were my first books in the time period. But both authors did a great job. In Fact, Leigh Greenwood did some good research. Because in the Seven Brides series he did, we see how the civil war influenced all brothers in different ways. He shows (yes this romance author is a man–cool right??) their reactions that felt so real and how the reconstruction was very challenging.


This time period took place between 700-1066. This is also one of my favorite time periods and themes to read in romance. I do wish it was way more popular though, this time was very different. It was a time of raids and colonization of the  isles and europe. This is also the formation of major medieval history of Scandanavia, Britain, Ireland and the rest of Europe. What introduced me first was Fires of Winter and the whole family saga here. Now these books, none of them are easy to read. They aren’t lighthearted and fun, because quite frankly, the time period was NEVER lighthearted or fun. Johanna Lindsey is one of those authors, that researched, delved and portrays these stories on a realistic point of view. But Fires of Winter took my breath away in many moments. Its a angsty romance, because we have a powerful viking, who is given a gift by his father….a captive. Brenna isn’t shy—she knows how to fight with weapons, independent and passionate for freedom. But you see how much she changes, in many good ways, she finds a new family and a new life that she loves. This is what made me fall in love with this time period. Is seeing how people adapted to new situations, how tough and reslient they were back then. They lived rich and full lives, but very different lives compared to the modern day society now.

Twitter Chat Reminder

On April 26th 9PM EST, we will be doing a #HistRom101 twitter chat. I can’t recommend enough how much y’all need to join in on this. One its so fun chatting with each other about historical romance!!! Every time we do this…we always have a blast.


So as part of Historical Romance 101—we are offering a giveaway. There will be five winners. 1 Grand Prize winner, 2 Runners Up and 2 Second Runners Up. One entry per day per person through April. Winners must live in U.S.

24 thoughts on “Historical Romance 101: Favorite Time Periods

  1. I love history, all different time periods. I’ve just started reading more HR, but haven’t really sought out specific time periods. I think I’d enjoy any of those, but the Medieval doesn’t. I’d definitely like to make my way through them all.

    1. oh that is great that you just started reading HR because there is so many time periods you can choose from to read especially since its a genre in romance that has been around the longest. I do like Medieval quite a bit though, but like I mentioned here, there are many others to choose from if its not your favorite. 🙂

  2. Amazing and comprehensive list, Renee! I’ve bookmarked it for future reference when I need to explore new time periods (and get recommendations). 😀

    1. Thank hun!!! Great you bookmarked….blushing a little. 🙂 There are way more than I mentioned here, but these are my go to. Its always fun to add some diversity in historical romance. I enjoy regency but I feel like its so overdone, that I need a breather from it. So loving this month!!!

  3. There really are so many amazing time periods. I should give other time periods a try. It’s not that I actively dislike the other ones, I just tend to prefer Regency, Medieval, and Victorian. I love Prince Charming by Julie Garwood, but sometimes I totally forget about it. I think because it’s mostly set in America and not England.

    1. They are FUN!! Well I do think Regency and Victorian are mostly done by current authors. Its why I have started reading some older books because I have been wanting something more. Prince Charming is wonderful, I listed it under Victorian, because it started in England. Have you read Come The Spring and For The Roses? Those are wonderful too.

  4. You did an AMAZING job with this list. 🙂 I’m going to have to come back and go through it to add some books to my wish list! I was just saying over at On a Book Bender that I wanted to research some Civil War era romances and you’ve already done it for me.

    Also, great new design! I had to double check I was in the right place. 🙂

    1. Thank you Stephanie!!! You definitely should explore more Civil War romances. They are really wonderful. Johanna Lindsey and Heather Graham have some great ones. But also historicalromancewriters.com have a great list too. If you want something more comprehensive.

      haha…yeah I have been debating what kind of design I wanted ever since I switched over to self hosted. Since its just me doing the design, I finally found one I really love. Don’t worry….I plan on this one being the permanent one. So great having you stop by.

  5. Sadly my two favorite eras are rarely seen in historical-romances these days and those ers are Medieval and Civil War. I do agree that the 1800’s are way past done and that I think that such romances are favorites of modern day authors. Still, I adore historical fiction from any era and honestly I don’t have much to complain about when it comes to this genre! Great topic!

    1. oh I KNOW!! What is with all the REGENCY!! Some days I just want to scream, I get so sick of it. Its all avon does now. Its why I really like publishing houses like Harequin and Sourcebooks who do more than just Regency. I am thinking of just reading bodice rippers again hehe since they offer way more variety in settings and time periods than recent releases. And I don’t like how so many HR seem so contemporary. I like a story that is realistic to the time. But that is what publishing houses push authors for now adays. I love Medieval and Civil War though. I haven’t read enough Civil War to satisfy me hehe What is your favorite civil war one? I really love Lindsey’s the most.

  6. So many recommendations! I can tell my wishlist is getting bigger already. I love that you emphasized the super popular Regency/Victorian periods, but also focused on some less popular ones. I definitely want to read more Renaissance, Antebellum-era romances.

    1. Thanks!!! Good to know I was able to add to your wishlist. Yeah I did, mostly because they are the most popular and wanted to at least mention those. But I love the less known ones. Antebellum is so FUN!! I just love it.

  7. What a fantastic and informative post. I love a good historical read, but I find I gravitate to the more modern times. I really love Civil War Era books and turn of the twentieth century, but I also like a good Colonial read as well.

    1. oh yes there are so many!!! Most modern day authors don’t write that much into all these time periods so it can be very surprising. But I love having a variety. I tend to get stuck in a rut when reading too much regency. hehe

  8. I knew there were a lot of time periods, but seeing them al listed here, makes me realize how many there really are. And how little of these I’ve read so far. I always have been interested in American history, so i would like to read a few more historical romances set there. Oh and the antebellum period is such an interesting time period in history, I really want to read some books that take place there. And the colonization era is also a time period I want to read more about. And I never realized there are even historical romances about vikings and ancient civilization. Great post!

    1. oh yes there are some fantastic books I could recommend if you ever want to try some of those out!!! Love the colonial and antebellum time periods. So fun to read it, Its probably why I love westerns so much, because it gets me away from the regency which is super popular now and I love having a variety to read.

  9. I didn’t realise that there was such a diversity of time periods. It’s probably because I mainly read books set during the Regency, Victorian and Edwardian eras, although I have read a few Medieval and Viking books. I hope you don’t mind if I make an observation, but The Devil in Winter is set in 1843 and Lord of Wicked Intentions in 1859 and so both fall into the Victorian era as Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837.

    1. Oh yes…it is quite crazy right?? I like the Regency and Victorian era’s but I tend to get a bit bored if I read them too much. I guess its what most modern authors write now a day. So I like to venture out and explore other settings and time periods. Have you ever read much civil war or antebellum? you would like those I think.

      1. Renee, I tend to read books set in those eras because, living in the UK, those are periods of history I’m familiar with. I do have Cindy Nord’s book, No Greater Glory which is set during the American Civil War. I also have books by Alison Stuart and Stella Riley which are set during the English Civil War.

  10. I agree about the variety in HR because of time periods and geographical settings. I really am not picky about that and I don’t have a favorite. I’ve read mostly Regency b/c that is what has been popular, but I will pick up any period romance. American Frontier whether its age of discovery, colonial or western is always a hit. Medieval England, Scotland and France were my first love as I cut my teeth on Jean Plaidy novels. But I’ve enjoyed Russian, Asian, Classical/Roman, and even Caveman eras. And it’s great reading more modern eras like WWI, post-war, Roaring Twenties, and WWII stuff. I’ve had fun with a few Fab Fifties and Sixties stuff, too.

    I’ve only read a handful in your lists up there, but I will get to them eventually. 😉

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