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Historical Fiction

The Best Queer Historical Romances

Rachel Brittain

Contributing Editor

Rachel is a writer from Arkansas, most at home surrounded by forests and animals much like a Disney Princess. She spends most of her time writing stories and playing around in imaginary worlds. You can follow her writing at Twitter and Instagram: @rachelsbrittain

Avon Books

Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is Rob, the charismatic criminal who’s blackmailing her. As they flee across the country—stopping to pick pockets, drink to excess, and rescue injured cats—they discover more true joy than either has felt in ages. But when the truth of Rob’s past catches up to him, they must decide if they’re willing to reshape their lives to forge a future together.

There’s been a boom of LGBTQ romance in recent years, as well there should be, and queer historical romance is no exception. Jane Austen was among my first favorite authors, so you know I enjoy a good period romance, and it’s incredible to see the growing diversity in the historical romance genre. Though, as well all know, that could always use some more work. (Insert most recent migraine-inducing romance book industry drama here.) But these books are the perfect escape from all that, full of diverse characters and all the representation you so crave. These stories feature sapphic love stories, polyamorous triads, trans and nonbinary characters, and gay and bisexual men. Does it get any better than that?

From Regency romance that would make any Bridgerton fan swoon to star-crossed wartime lovers falling for the enemy, these eight queer historical romances have a little something for everybody. You really can’t go wrong. Whether you’re looking for M/F, F/F, M/M, MFM, or some other variation, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here. So take a break from the worries of today with these transporting stories of yesteryear. Go ahead, let a dashing duke or scintillating nightclub singer sweep you off your feet, why don’t you? You deserve it.

Queer Historical Romance Novels

A Lady for a Duke Book Cover

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

The author of Something Fabulous returns with another queer historical romance in A Lady for a Duke. Viola Caroll didn’t die at Waterloo, but everything thinks she did. Her presumed death provided the perfect opportunity for her to finally live as herself. But it also meant losing her wealth, her title, and her closest friend, Justin de Vere, Duke of Gracewood. Reunited years later, Viola finds Justin completely changed by grief over the friend he thought he lost forever. But now that Viola is back in his life, old feelings resurface and new passions come to light.

The Perks of Loving a Wallflower Book Cover

Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley

This Regency romance is perfect for fans of Bridgerton. Tommy is a master of disguise, who can as easily pull off the look of a high-society lady as an old man. When she’s recruited by a certain Miss Philippa York to track down and decode a missing manuscript, it’s all she can do not to let her crush show. And when Philippa, who’s never believed in love, finds her heart beating a little faster for this clever grifter, she realizes maybe she was only waiting for the right person to sweep her off her feet.

That Could Be Enough Book Cover

That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole

This novella, originally published as part of a trio of historical romance novellas in Hamilton’s Battalion, follows a maid named Mercy Alston working for Eliza Hamilton, whose past heartbreaks have hardened her heart to love. But when a vivacious and fiercely independent dressmaker shows up for an interview in her grandfather’s stead, Mercy finds resolve against opening up her heart tested by Andromeda and her flirtatious advances. Described as “angsty but fluffy,” this historical novella will give you all the feels.

The Pursuit Of... Book Cover

The Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan

Though they attempted to kill each other the first time they met and are fighting on opposite sides of a war, John and Henry find themselves making the same 500-mile journey together. And they’re definitely not falling in love. After all, what would a Black American soldier, invalided out at Yorktown, and a British deserter have in common? It soon becomes clear that they share more than either of them initially think.

Heart and Hand Book Cover

Heart and Hand by Rebel Carter

A mail-order bride finds her happily ever after with two husbands in this polyamorous historical romance. When Julie answers an newspaper ad seeking a teacher and a bride for not one, but two husbands, she decides to leave the tedium of New York society behind and seek out a new adventure. Ex-Union soldiers Forrest Wickes and William Barnes have shared everything since the war, including their desire to find a wife. In order to get their happy ending, they’ll have to figure out how to negotiate life as a trio and help this debutante survive life on the frontier.

In the Shadow of the Past Book Cover

In the Shadow of the Past by J.E. Leak

Falling for the wrong person can be deadly when you’re a spy, something Kathryn Hammond knows all too well. As a nightclub singer working for the OSS in secret, she chafes at having to work dead-end missions stateside while the war rages in Europe. But when a reporter looking into her father’s death comes digging, probing Kathryn’s connections with the mob, their lives — and loves — become a lot more complicated and dangerous than they could’ve imagined.

Two Wings to Fly Away Book Cover

Two Wings to Fly Away by Penny Mickelbury

Genie Oliver’s dress shop might look like an ordinary business, but it is actually a front for the Underground Railroad. She’s been helping enslaved people escape ever since she escaped enslavement herself. Reluctant heiress Abby Read runs a boarding house just down the street, partially to escape the high society life and partially because she has no intention of ever marrying a man. But when the daughter of Abby’s free Black servant is kidnapped by rogue slave catchers, she finds help in the unlikeliest of places: the dressmaker just down the street. At first brought together by necessity, the two soon find themselves drawn together by so much more as they work to save a girl from a horrific fate.

The Hellion's Waltz Book Cover

The Hellion’s Waltz by Olivia Waite

After losing their family piano shop to a conman in London, Sophie Roseingrave moves with her father to start over in a new town. But she’s not about to let anyone cross her again, and she suspects silk-weaver Maddie Crewe is up to something. And she’s not wrong. Maddie only needs one more big score to fund the weaver’s union for good, and she has her sights set on an easy mark. The last thing she needs is a suspicious piano teacher getting in her way. But if Maddie can’t convince her to mind her own business, maybe she can seduce her to the cause.