Historical Romance 101: What Makes Sparks Fly & Favorite Couples

Historical Romance 101Today’s topic will be on one of my favorite things when discussing historical romance…the couples that come together and what makes that happen. Come and see what the others think as well: Jennifer @ Feminist Fairy Tales, Amanda @ On A Book Bender and Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook

So there are many things that make a great couple, or seeing some fabulous chemistry. It can add up to a number of factors, At times its a obvious attraction between the two, or it could be they practically hate or despise one another but you know what they say hate and love are divided by a thin line, which makes it possible for hatred or not liking to someone to turning into a powerful connection (which I will list a couple example of those below, of where couple start out not liking each other, but by the end of the story have one of the most intense connections you have ever seen). Or it could be just finding something in common, and building on that. Sometimes it making each other better and loving one another in different ways and finding that balance. So below I am going to list quite a few examples of my favorite couples, couples that I still love and how they connected and why it made a impression.

1. Harry and Emmeline from Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke

Then He Kissed Her

Harry and Emmeline are quite the pair, and their story is very emotional at times. This is a story that is a “opposites attract” theme. Harry is quite the rake, not caring one whit about propriety or rules of any kind. Emmeline loves the rules, she can’t see any other way of living until she meets Harry. At first Emmeline doesn’t like Harry too much, but there is a spark between them. This is a very sweet and light hearted romance, even though the story is a mistress turned wife, there isn’t too much bedroom scenes involved, but we see a witty and playful bond form.

“Harry – “No plovers no pigeons no snipe. No oysters mussels clams or whole lobsters. No artichokes no savouries no cheese.” He paused for breath then went on “Nothing too rich nothing too highly seasoned. And never more than one glass of wine. Did I miss any no-noes ”

Emma – She sighed. “When it comes to my work I do wish you would be serious.”

Harry – “I am serious ” he assured her. “After reading this I understand why women have such tiny waists and go about fainting all the time. I thought it was corsets but no. You’re all hungry .”

2. Derek and Kelsey from Say You Love Me by Johanna Lindsey

Say You Love Me

I cannot say how much I adore Derek and Kelsey and I still love re reading their story. Its just as good as the first time I read it. This is a story of the heroine being put in the horrible position and Derek comes swooping in and saves her from a fate worse than death. Now Kelsey is no doormat, she is strong in her own way, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her family and those she loves. They are one of my favorites because of how their relationship gets tested and they become stronger because of it.

“You know, my Uncle Anthony had a good point tonight at dinner. I really don’t dare risk getting you angry with me–ever.”

Kelsey grinned. “Your uncle was being silly. Shooting husbands doesn’t really run in my family. Now, tossing them into fireplaces is another matter.”

Derek laughed, pulled her into his arms. “I’ll remember that luv. but I don’t plan to ever make you angry with me. Madly in love with me is how i’ll be keeping you.”

3. Regina and Marcus from To Pleasure A Prince by Sabrina Jeffries

To Pleasure A Prince

Their relationship starts out with plenty of misunderstandings, but its one of those that is deeply moving. Seriously I re read this one last week and I needed my tissues. Their relationship gets tested and they definitely have that spark that is swoon worthy from the very beginning, They are both tormented which is probably why they connect to each other so well.

“But you’re my idiot. And I will never let you go, do you hear?”

“Good. Because if you do, I will loose the dragon.” His breathing grew labored “I’ll send him..flying over the countryside…until he finds you..and drags you back to me. Hold on, my love. Hold on to the dragon. Because I will never let you go.”

4. Jack and Olivia from Between The Devil and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Between The Devil and Desire

Jack and Olivia’s story is quite compelling and they are the sort of pair you can’t ever forget. Jack and Olivia come from opposite sides of the “tracks”. This couple has the type of story that makes you feel like your falling in love for the first time again. Its emotional, raw, and tender. There isn’t a story like this one that can compare.

“I don’t care,” Livy stated emphatically. “I don’t care if our marriage is nullified. As for our
children, they will be loved and they will be taught to laugh at society’s rules when they don’t suit them. They will have your strength of conviction, Jack, and your mother’s strength of purpose. We will all honor her. She was a remarkable woman. I wish I’d had an opportunity to know her. She gave me something very precious. “I love you, Jack Dodger. I love you with all my heart and soul. If I must live with you without benefit of marriage, so be it. I shall do it with no regrets and with an amazing amount of pride that you’ve chosen me to stand at your side. And when I go to hell, I shall gladly dance with you.”

5. Winslow and Eleanor from Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen

Lord And Lady Spy

Winslow and Eleanor is similar to the movie “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” only BETTER!!! I mean really this is a phenomenal story of deception and secret and two people that are both spies and don’t know the truth about each other despite the fact they work for the same boss. And do they ever have fireworks….you could get blown away with these two.

“We’re married. No one is worried about your virtue.

6. Daniel and Mercedes from Her Highness and the Highlander by Tracey Anne Warren

Her Highness and the Highlander

Daniel and Mercedes is a endearing couple, when they find each other, even though there is much that keeps them from having a life together, their story is about fighting for each other and the love they have. It has that very strong poignant feel to it, and you see how strong they feel for each other.

They’d both spoken of beauty tonight, but nothing was as beautiful as this, nothing was as powerful or as soulful as this kiss. Even if she lived to be a very old woman, she knew she would never find anything as special or divine as being held in his arms, the night spread around them like a blissful sea.

7. Aislinn and Wulfgar from Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss

The Wolf and the Dove

Wulfgar and Aislinn’s story starts out with Aislinn hating Wulfar…its a bit of a angsty romance, but they do get tested here. It has a medieval setting, and the reason they are one of my favorite couples is because they just capture your heart. Ever since I first read this I fell in love with these two. Because their road is rough and not easy in any way, deals with difficult issues that were true back in that time period and the characters are realistic to the time period and the culture, and their relationship is intense and riveting.

“Do I perceive a softening in your heart for me, damoiselle?” He laughed at her scowl. “Beware maid. I will tell you true. After you will come another and then another. There are no strings that can tether me to any woman. So guard your heart.”
“My lord, you greatly exaggerate your appeal,” she replied indignantly. “If I fell anything for you, ’tis hatred. You are the enemy and you are to be despised as such.”
“Indeed?” He smiled slowly into her eyes.
“Then tell me, damoiselle, do you always kiss the enemy so warmly?”

8. Eve and Aubrey from Bride Enchanted by Edith Layton

Bride Enchanted

This is my favorite book by this author, and she does has quite a few good ones, but this pair is still my favorite after all this time. It does have a bit of a fantasy feel to it. But the setting is historical with characters that are true to that time. This couple is different, because the hero (Aubrey) is Fae, and as such women have a certain reaction to him, but Eve even though she feels that draw and spark to him, she also sees him for who he really is which no other has ever done. Their bond is the one I can still remember even after all these years since I read it.

9. Dallas and Cordelia from Texas Glory by Lorraine Heath

Texas Glory 2

Dallas and Cordelia I mentioned in one of the previous posts, but this is one of those romances that is highly underrated. They are my favorite couple, Dallas is so romantic at times even when he doesn’t think he is. He is very practical at times, but with Cordelia he is so different. There is some misunderstanding and character flaws that keep them from having a great beginning. I will say that if I had to choose any couple as my top favorite Dallas and Cordelia would rank at the top. Their story is powerful and emotional in a way you don’t see at first…but trust me this is the type of love story you will need a box of tissues. Their relationship gets tested in the worst way but they come out with their bond to each other stronger than ever.

“You were my dream, Dee. I just didn’t know it. The part of me that I was always searching for.

10. Rafe and Emmeline from High country Bride by Linda Lael Miller

High Country Bride old cover

Rafe and Emmeline is one the best books written by this author, and it involves a family of brothers, with a sneaky father and a lovely housekeeper who is practically the mother to these boys. Rafe is the oldest, and Emmeline is his mail order bride. Emmeline has a past, a past that test the bounds of their marriage. oh and from the very beginning we see high intensity to their emotions and what lovely sparks from beginning to end.

11. Nicholas and Charlotte from Beauty and the Spy by Gayle Callen

Beauty and the Spy

Nicholas and Charlotte start out a bit rough, with the hero kidnapping Charlotte…but her life is in danger so he has good reason. But this is one of the best spy romances I have ever had the opportunity to read. I love this couple because once they come together, they are like one…you see how they balance each other out and what a sensual read. This is quite a beautiful story.

12. Silence and Mickey from Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt

Scandalous Desires

Silence and Mickey’s romance is quite different than most other love stories you see. I found it to be unique and original. I love how it develops and the way they get tested….very witty and engaging and provoking.

“Why?” he whispered as he leaned over her, supported on one arm. “Why must ye be the one that haunts me dreams? I’ve seen ye weepin’ night after bloody night since the day I sent ye from me palace with yer dress half undone. If I had it to do over again, I’d cut me own right hand off rather than hurt ye so. Will ye never be able to forgive me, Silence love?”

“I already have,” she replied, cradling his cheek in her hand. “Long, long ago.”

13. Nathaniel and Alexandra from Of Noble Birth by Brenda Novak

Of Noble Birth

Nathaniel and Alexandra’s story is quite precious and full of adventure and passion on the “high seas”…as far as nautical romances go this is one of the best. As far as I can tell Brenda Novak has only written this one historical (I thin she has written one other but not sure), and wow is she talented at creating characters that come to life off of the pages. There are some secrets involved that add a certain conflict to their relationship, but after you finish reading it is one of the most memorable love stories.

15. Gilles and Emma from Lord of the Keep by Ann Lawrence

Lord Of the Keep

This pair is quite remarkable and its a bit of a may-december themed romance. The hero is quite older than our heroine, but both have tormented pasts, both lonely and both find a powerful connection to each other. From the first moment you see how drawn they are to each other, and the age difference doesn’t matter to the heroine…she sees Gilles for the honorable man that he is, and he is still in his prime and treats her with care and gentleness and respect…which in a previous relationship where she was treated with cruelty and deception. It’s a heartwarming romance that gets tested in ways you never see coming.

16. Evie and Sebastian from Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Devil In Winter

Evie and Sebastian are my favorite couple from this author, their story is just wonderful, romantic and what true love really is and how it can make a person more. I loved seeing the changes in Evie and Sebastian as they start to form a close bond to each other, the bantering between them is fun but you see even from the first few pages the attraction and sparks.

“I want to fill every part of you, breathe the air from your lungs and leave my handprints on your soul. I want to give you more pleasure than you can bear.”

17. Gabriel and Samantha from Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros

Your Until Dawn

The hero is scarred and blind, and Samantha is hired to help him, and we find that this is one of the most enchanting love stories and this couple is one you don’t want to miss out on. Gabriel is stubborn and high handed and Samantha is determined to help him no matter what he does or says. I love how tenacious she is to stand by him no matter what. She loves him for who he is, and his blindness she fully accepts as part of him.

You asked me once if I would still love you when your lips were puckered with age and your eyes were
faded. I can assure you that I will still love you when I have only the strength (and the scant teeth) left to
gum those puckered lips. I shall love you when your bones are sharp enough to pierce my fragile flesh. I
shall love you when the light in my own eyes fades for good and yours is the last sweet face I see.
Because I am and ever shall be…yours

18. Anthony and Kate from The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

The Viscount Who Loved Me

You know even though many of the stories from this author I love and really I adore every couple…but there is something so fresh and endearing about Anthony and Kate’s story. These characters are quite charming and stubborn and just perfect for one another…one aspect I truly adored about this one is seeing how well they compliment each other. Their interactions are quite entertaining and what sharp wit they both have.

“Listen to me,” his voice even and intense,”and listen well, because I’m only going to say this once. I desire you. I burn for you. I can’t sleep at night for wanting you. Even when I didn’t like you, I lusted for you. It’s the most maddening thing, beguiling, damnable thing, but there it is. And if I’m to hear one more word of nonsense from your lips, I’m going to have to tie you to the bed bloody bed and have my way with you a hundred different ways, until you finally get it through your silly skull that you are the most beautiful and desirable woman in England, and if anyone else doesn’t see that they’re bloody fools.”

19. Charles and Louise from The Beast by Judith Ivory

Beast

Charlies and Louise is a story that is for any romance lover….there is quite of bit of confict…emotional and dramatic at times, and very stimulating. This couple is a favorite for me because they have some rough patches to get through before they ever have a chance for a HEA. Its not a easy road and I loved seeing them finally get what they deserve. In my mind even though they both make mistakes it seemed to be realistic in certain ways…where no one can be perfect, and sometimes mistakes can turn in a way of making something good and special happen when you don’t expect it to.

20. Dare and Georgiana from The Rake by Suzanne Enoch

The Rake

Well Dare and Georgiana are quite the pair….the best book this author has ever written…and one of her first but just classic. Their story starts out with a gamble of a dare of sorts….but what fun they are. The bantering and playfulness, the sensuality and witty and if you like the lighthearted romance feel this is for you. (If you are a Julia Quinn fan than you need to try this one out for size)!!!

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re unbearably rude?” she returned, facing him again.

“Why, yes. You have on several occasions, as I recall. If you care to apologize for that, however, I’ll be happy to escort you wherever you wish to go.”

A flush crept up her cheeks, coloring her delicate, ivory skin. “I will never apologize to you,” she snapped. “And you may go straight to Hades.”

He hadn’t expected her to apologize, yet he couldn’t help suggesting it every so often. “Very well. Upstairs, first door on the left. I’ll be in Hades, if you should require my services.”

15 thoughts on “Historical Romance 101: What Makes Sparks Fly & Favorite Couples

  1. I just added so many of these to my TBR. I do love Anthony and Kate. It’s been years since i last read it, but I love the scene where Kate gets stung by a bee and Anthony freaks out. It just shows so much of who Anthony is. And of course the Pall Mall Scene.

    Evie and St. Vincent are on my list, too. Just love those two together.

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  2. I read The Viscount Who Loved Me for the first time a couple of weeks ago (I know, late to that party) and I thought the back-and-forth between Anthony and Kate was FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC. So intense but strangely amusing all at the same time. I’m so glad to see if made your list!

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    • so glad you loved it!!! It is a pretty great book…have you read the other books in the series? I love the wit and humor in her stories, and her style of writing is very engaging. Not many authors like Julia Quinn.

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  3. So many books on here that I have forgotten about. I remember enjoying The Rake, Beast, To Pleasure a Prince, and Between the Devil & Desire. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with Kate/Anthony, Harry/Emma, or Gabriel/Samantha.

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