Clearly part of the appeal of Netflix’s hit series Bridgerton, based on the novels by Julia Quinn, is that it is a romance– that is, the show is based on adult romance novels, so things get steamy. YA books aren’t romance novels, but if you want books that have that Regency era feel (and perhaps a more PG or PG-13 romance), check out our recommendations below.
Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey
Like Anstey’s debut Love, Lies and Spies, Duels and Deception is a light-hearted Regency romance that will keep you vastly amused if you like spirited girls and swoon-worthy guys in historical fiction. The novel is, in some senses, ridiculous. The dialogue seems a bit overdone with the author’s attempts to make it period, and the action is certainly on the absurd end (kidnappings and conspiracies and scandals, oh my!). To top it off, the whole plot is incredibly predictable. And yet…it’s just so.much.fun.
A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
When Miss Georgianna Fitzwilliam’s parents become frustrated with her out-of-control science experiments and unladylike behavior, they send her to England’s most notorious reformatory school. None of them know that Stranje House is more than a school for Regency England’s rich and powerful young ladies. It’s a front for an organization that trains girls of unusual talents to serve their country as scientists, diplomats, and spies, and Georgianna is about to become entangled in some dangerous plots. A School for Unusual Girls is a wonderfully imagined story of romance and adventure the will appear to fans historical fiction with strong female leads.
I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend by Cora Harrison
I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend is precisely the type of book one would probably expect it to be from the title, a light and fun YA read about a young girl who dabbles in intrigue and romance because she’s Jane Austen’s best friend (and Jane Austen even as a teenagers has a sharp wit and keen eyes). The book is just the thing for someone looking for some delightfully fluffy entertainment, with spunky female protagonists and some eighteenth century heartthrobs.
Keeping the Castle by Patrick Kindl
Seventeen-year-old Althea’s ancestor built his dream home, a castle, on the cliffs of Yorkshire. Weather and a poor foundation, however, have wreaked havoc upon the building and penniless Althea and her mother can do little to save it. Their one hope lies in Althea’s making a good marriage, but few suitable men live in the area—until the arrival of Lord Boring and his party. Althea accordingly sets her mind to win Lord Boring’s heart (and his wealth), but his friend Mr. Fredericks has an awful habit of ruining all her plans.
Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix
Lady Truthful must disguise herself as a man in order to go on an adventure to locate her missing emerald. Nix combines Regency romance with magic in this imaginative tale.
You can also read my discussion post on what I liked about Bridgerton even more than the romance!
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