Hi there fellow coffee addicts and winos! Continuing on from my previous post exulting “The Standards” of historical romance, today we cover a new category of wonderful books and authors: a category I refer to as “The Comedians”. While these historical romance authors all possess the ability to make you swoon with their amazing characterizations and intriguing stories, they can also make me laugh my butt off, and that is truly something I NEED in my life. Some of these ladies are quirky and witty with the perfectly placed sarcastic quip, while others put their characters in the funniest situations that make you flip the pages faster to see how everything will play out. Without further ado, here are my favorite hilarious historical romance authors.
This list would be incomplete if she wasn’t on it. From the first chapter of the first book I read by this extremely talented woman, I had to put my drink down in order to avoid spilling it because I was literally laughing out loud. Now, we are quite accustomed to responding LOL when we are smirking or smile on social media, but I truly laughed out loud to Ms. Dare. Other reads by this author have proven that the first book I read wasn’t a fluke: she truly is as funny as I originally thought, but I am always looking for that Tessa Dare book I haven’t read yet that will bring a smile to my face.
My Recommendation: “Any Duchess Will Do”
An ingenious take on “Pygmalion” or “My Fair Lady” with a heroine that just doesn’t quit, this book is what won me over to Ms. Dare. Situational humor, witty dialogue, and wonderful characters who are true to themselves are what set this gem apart from many historical romances.
A relatively new author, but she has cemented herself as one of my favorites with her first trilogy: The Disgraceful Dukes. I can pinpoint the exact moment Ms. Bell cemented herself in my heart. It was when her heroine, at a dinner party, in a dress too small for her bosom, comes bursting out of her dress to everyone’s dismay. I laughed so loud and told so many people about this book after that scene… Brava, Ms. Bell, brava. And trust me, it is way funnier in the book than I could possibly explain. The rest of the book made me laugh and swoon, and the subsequent books in the series (which I devoured) solidified my love for Ms. Bell’s writing. Yep; I am a devoted fan and made it my goal to see her whenever possible at RT to tell her how much I loved her. Sue me. We all have favorites, and Lenora Bell is one of my tops. Her stories are all some spin on something you are familiar with. The first is a Bachelor-type retelling of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. The second is “Wizard of Oz”, and the third “Alice in Wonderland” AND she has a Jane Eyre/ Mary Poppins mash-up on the way. Yay!
My Recommendation: How the Duke Was Won
The original Golden Heart winner and retelling of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This is the one with the bosom-busting scene and a particularly enchanting plot. What more can I say? I love it.
Wit is the name of the game with Ms. Quinn. Sarcasm and intelligence are her tools, and she wields them with particular skill. Personally, I think Julia Quinn is the author I would like to go out for a drink with, if only to hear her chitter-chatter all night. Because it would be funny. Like Lucille from “Arrested Development” funny. (If Lucille isn’t your favorite, you are wrong.) At RT, she went off on a tangent on vaccines that had the audience in stitches. Vaccines, people. I like to think I’m smart. For my day job, I teach gifted kids all day and put them in their egotistical places here and there, as needed. (They tend to think a lot of themselves and their own intelligence.) But, I think that Julia Quinn is smarter than me. And that’s ok, because I will keep reading her books and laughing and smirking.
My Recommendation: Just Like Heaven
A terrible violinist, some chocolate cake, and a great marriage of wit, verbal sparring, and extraordinary chemistry make this one an absolute winner. Of course, there are many many examples of amazing stories from Ms. Quinn (heard of the Bridgertons?), but this one has a special flair that I love.
There I was, clicking along, reading a nice historical romance that made me giggle here and there, turning pages with desperate intensity when all of a sudden, I finished a chapter and gasped… I put the book down, laughing out loud. “Oh no, she didn’t!” I exclaimed. “What?!” my kids who were visiting my room over lunch asked. “Just a very well-written plot” I explained, dying to get back to my book while cursing the bell that would make me wait. That, my friends, is Valerie Bowman. Her series, The Playful Brides, perfectly describes her style, and it makes me happy. Each one is a take on a different famous story, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it unless you looked it up. Why? You will be so engrossed in the plot of whatever it is you are reading that you won’t recognize that you’ve seen it somewhere before. Another author who won my additional love with her personality at RT, Valerie (we are on a first name basis…at least in my head) is totally down-to-earth and approachable. So, if you want irresistible situational comedy and great banter, check her out now!
My Recommendation: Never Trust a Pirate
The book that made me gasp. This twisty, fun plot is impossible to put down. A little bit “Scarlet Pimpernel”, a little bit “Mr. and Ms. Smith”, this one is so smart and enjoyable, you will feel like you spent some time at a great movie when it is all over.
There’s another Bell on this list that is making waves in the historical romance community! (Maybe there’s something in the name… I do love Kristen Bell also.. hmm) The first book I read from Kimberly Bell put her on my radar as someone who is willing to do almost anything in her historical romance with one of the most sexually liberated heroines I have ever read in a historical. Then, she blew me away with her next book. Situational humor and kick-ass heroines are Kimberly Bell’s calling cards. I absolutely LOVE her women. Can’t even… A definite rising star in the historical romance genre, Kimberly Bell is one to keep her eye on. I, for one, cannot wait until the second book in her current duology comes out.
My Recommendation: The Importance of Being Scandalous
One of the most original and real sister relationships I’ve ever read in a romance novel, let alone a historical. The boy next door is not supposed to marry the scandalized girl he’s been writing letters to for a decade, and now she’s engaged. Looks like she’s gonna have to pull out all the stops to get her fiance to call off the wedding… Y’all. I read this so fast. Snappy dialogue, hilarious situations, super-sexy times; this is one you need to check out.
I have read some other great funny authors this year that I’d like to mention: Lara Temple, Jenni Fletcher, Stacy Reid, Maggie Robinson, and Emily Larkin. What books have made you literally laugh out loud? I would LOVE the recommendations… I can always use a comedy in my life. Stay tuned for Part 3! The Edgy Ladies of Historical Romance