Fall in Love: The 20 Best Romance Authors Like Catherine Cookson

With more than 100 books to her name, Catherine Cookson was a prolific writer of historical fiction with unforgettable romances. Her 1968 novel, The Round Tower, is responsible for her rise to international fame. She was one of the most popular authors of the twentieth century, and for good reason.

Fall in Love: The 20 Best Romance Authors Like Catherine Cookson

All About Catherine Cookson

Catherine Cookson was born and raised in England where she enjoyed a modest life. She began writing at age forty-four to help her mental health. While her books were categorized as romance, she disliked this classification, claiming her novels were more about history than love.

Readers couldn’t get enough of her well-researched novels. In fact, she held the title of being the most borrowed author in public libraries in the U.K. for seventeen years until her death at ninety-one.

If you can’t get enough of Catherine Cookson, here are twenty similar authors you’re sure to love.

Top Authors Like Catherine Cookson

Dilly Court

Fortune's Daughter: The spellbinding summer 2021 book from the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller (The Rockwood Chronicles, Book 1)

Dilly Court writes historical romance and family sagas. She has three series and twenty-nine standalone novels to date with more released each year. Court also writes under the name Lily Baxter, where she focuses on sweeping novels set during World War II.

Fans love her easy-to-read style, her well-developed characters, and the immersive descriptions of historical settings.

Check out Fortune’s Daughter, the first book in her most recent series, The Rockwood Chronicles, here.

Grace Thompson

Goodbye to Dreams

Grace Thompson is a Welsh author of saga/romance novels. She has five series, including the much-acclaimed Pendragon Island novels and over twenty standalone novels. Many of her books are set in the 1900s, adding a historical twist to many of her sagas.

Readers love the way she can invoke an era and how she layers intricate twists and turns among large, family-based casts. 

Check out Goodbye to Dreams, book one of The Owen Sisters Family Sagas, here.

Val Wood

Winter’s Daughter: An unputdownable historical novel of triumph over adversity from the Sunday Times bestselling author

Val Wood’s novel The Hungry Tide won the Catherine Cookson prize for fiction, making her a no-brainer for Cookson fans. A best-selling author, she’s written over twenty-five novels to date, all set in or around the East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull.

Writing a combination of sagas and historical fiction, all with a touch of romance, fans love her strong female characters and compelling stories.

Find her latest novel, Winter’s Daughter, a breathtaking Victorian saga, here.

AnneMarie Brear

A Distant Horizon (The Distant Series Book 1)

AnneMarie Brear is a prolific author of thirty-five historical romance novels. She has four series, including Kitty McKenzie (three books), the Marsh Sagas (four books), Market Stall Girl (two books), and Distant (three books). Her books feature a range of historical eras, including the 1800s and 1900s. 

Fans love her strong female characters, heartwarming plots, and writing that draws them in from page one.

You can find A Distant Horizon, the first book in her most recent series, Distant, here.

Nell Harte

The Little Orphan's Christmas Miracle

A relatively new author, Nell Harte has written twelve Victorian romance novels to date. She’s fascinated by history and enjoys telling stories about members of the working class who survived in the challenging conditions of Victorian England.

Readers enjoy her interesting characters, plot twists, and believable portrayals of surviving poverty.

Check out her latest book, The Little Orphan’s Christmas Miracle, here.

Catrin Collier


Welsh novelist Catrin Collier is known and loved for her historical romance books . She also writes under several pen names, including Caro French and Katherine John. Most of her books are written in series. Her first series, Hearts of Gold, has ten novels, and her most recent series, Glyndwr, has three books.

With over thirty books so far, fans love her easy-to-love characters, unique historical settings, and memorable romances.

Get started with Hearts of Gold, the first book in her sweeping ten-part series here.

Josephine Cox

Don’t Cry Alone

Josephine wrote more than sixty novels, most of them historical romances or family sagas with romance. Fear not, as her books will continue with co-writer Gilly Middleton. 

She wrote two short series (Queenie Sagas and the Emma Grady Trilogy) and published several novels under her pen name Jane Brindle.

Fans enjoy her moving and emotional stories as well as her unforgettable couples.

Check out one of her most popular books, Don’t Cry Alone, here.

Barbara Taylor Bradford

A Man of Honor (Harte Family Saga Book 8)

Barbara Taylor Bradford was a success from her first book, A Woman of Substance, which was published in 1979 and stayed on the New York Times Bestseller List for forty-three weeks. Ten of her books, including Voice of the Heart, have been turned into TV films or series. 

Her historical romance novels are loved because of their saga-like plots and immersive settings.

Start reading A Man of Honour, the long-awaited prequel to the bestseller A Woman of Substance, here.

Iris Gower

The Shoemaker's Daughter (The Cordwainers: 1): A heart-warming and moving Welsh saga of determination you won’t be able to stop reading…

Iris Gower wrote more than thirty historical romance novels, many of them set in Wales. She wrote several series, including The Cordwainers and Firebird, along with nearly twenty standalone books.

Fans enjoy her captivating writing style, strong female protagonists, and evocative descriptions.

You can find The Shoemaker’s Daughter, the first book in her bestselling Cordwainers series, here.

Charlotte Bingham

Debutantes: (Debutantes: 1): a delightful and stylish saga focusing on the battle for love, power, money and privilege from bestselling author Charlotte Bingham

With nearly forty historical romance novels to her name, Charlotte Bingham has mastered the art of a sweeping historical saga with rich romance. She penned several duologies (including Nightingale) and dozens of standalone books. Her novels are consistently bestsellers in the U.K.

Readers love her rich settings, complex characters, and historical settings.

Check out Debutantes, the first book in her Debutantes duology, here.

Audrey Howard

The Silence of Strangers

Audrey Howard wrote over thirty historical romance novels, including three duologies and one trilogy, all set in the 1800s or 1900s. Many of the settings are places she lived in, including Liverpool and Lancashire.

The Juniper Bush, published in 1988, won the Romantic Novel of the Year award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association. 

Fans adore the way she captures life in historical times and her easy-to-read writing style.

Check out The Silence of Strangers, the first book in The Townley Saga, here.

Catherine Gaskin

Sara Dane: The sweeping Australian historical family saga

Irish-Australian historical romance novelist Catherine Gaskin wrote over twenty novels. One book, the much-acclaimed Sara Dane, sold over two million copies and became an Australian mini-series.

She had a relatively short writing career, with all her books being published between 1947 and 1988.

Her books, all standalones, are loved for their interesting settings, complex characters, and powerful romances.

You can find her international bestseller, Sara Dane, a sweeping Australian family saga, here.

Margaret Dickinson

The Poacher's Daughter

Margaret Dickinson has written over thirty historical romance novels, many set during wartime. An author for more than fifty years, most of her books are set in her home county of Lincolnshire. 

She’s written several series, including the most recent Maitland Trilogy, and consistently publishes one book a year.

Readers enjoy her historical wartime settings, strong female leads, and rich family dramas.

You can find her latest novel, The Poacher’s Daughter, here.

Freda Lightfoot

House of Angels

Known for her saga-like historical romance books, Freda Lightfoot has written over fifty novels, including several published under her pen name Marion Carr. 

She writes a combination of standalones and series, including Champion Street Market, The Manchester Sagas, and The Poor House Lane.

Fans love her fresh settings, the way she incorporates romances, and how she portrays historical elements.

Check out one of her best books, House of Angels, here.

Christine Marion Fraser


Christine Marion Fraser saw huge success in Scotland, outselling even the great Catherine Cookson. She published an impressive twenty-six novels in just eighteen years, all of them historical romances.

Her most well-loved series is Rhanna, which consists of eight novels. She also wrote the Kings Croft, Noble, and Kinvara series. 

Readers enjoy her realistic characters, Scottish settings, and breathtaking descriptions.

Find book one, Rhanna, of the Rhanna series here.

Lena Kennedy


Author of historical romance novels, Lena Kennedy set all of her books in or around the East End of London where she lived. She wrote a total of sixteen novels, eight of which were published after her death in 1986.

All of her books were standalones, starting with her debut novel Maggie, which was accepted for publication when Kennedy was sixty-seven years old. 

Her novels are known for their realistic portrayals of the East End, characters that come to life on the page, and being a joy to read again and again.

You can find her debut novel, Maggie, here.

Maeve Binchy

Light a Penny Candle (Famous Firsts)

Maeve Binchy loved writing romance novels set in her home country of Ireland. Beloved by readers around the world, her books were translated into thirty-seven languages and sold over forty million copies.

She authored sixteen novels and several short story collections. Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, launched her into instant success. All her novels are standalones.

Fans love her relatable characters, entertaining plots, and easy-to-read writing style.

Check out Light a Penny Candle, the book that started it all, here.

Georgette Heyer

These Old Shades

Most well-known for her Regency romance novels, Georgette Heyer was a reclusive author who never granted interviews or made public appearances. She also wrote historical romance and mystery novels.

Many consider Heyer the mother of Regency romance. She kept meticulous notes to ensure accuracy and that her readers understood the time period and setting.

Readers enjoy the authenticity of her voice, the fantastic heroines, and the fun nature of her novels.

You can find These Old Shades, the first book in the Alastair-Audley quartet, here.

Victoria Holt

The Shivering Sands

Victoria Holt, born Eleanor Alice Burford, is one of the most prolific authors on this list with over 180 books published under eight pen names. Her pen names include Eleanor Burford, Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy, Elbur Ford, Kathleen Kellow, Ellalice Tate, Anna Percival, and Philippa Carr.

She wrote both standalones and series, including Queens of England (Jean Plaidy), Plantagenet Saga (Jean Plaidy), and Daughters of England (Philippa Carr).

Known for writing in several genres, including historical romance, her books are loved for their unique voices, strong characters, and impressive historical representations.

Check out The Shivering Sands, a Victoria Holt standalone, here.

Danielle Steel

Without a Trace: A Novel

Arguably the most published author of her time, Danielle Steel has written over 190 books with more released every year. 

Her books, which include romance and historical romance, are consistently bestsellers. Her adult novels (she has also written several children’s books) are standalones. 

Fans adore her writing style, believable characters, and memorable romances.

Find Without A Trace, one of her most recent novels, here.


What genre is Catherine Cookson?

All of her books are fiction, with many falling under historical fiction or historical romance.

Which is the best Catherine Cookson book?

It’s difficult to choose the best book, as all explore protagonists who come from poverty and overcome challenging circumstances (with a little help from love). One novel that showcases her signature style well is The Dwelling Place.

How many of Catherine Cookson’s books were turned into films?

A whopping 23 of her books were adapted into feature films, including The Black Candle, The Cinder Path, and The Black Velvet Gown.

How many Mallen books are there?

Catherine Cookson wrote three books in the Mallen series, a multigenerational family saga. Book one is The Mallen Streak, book two is The Mallen Girl, and book three is The Mallen Litter. You can find the trilogy on Amazon.

What is the order of Catherine Cookson’s books?

Most of her novels are standalones, so they can be read in any order. She also wrote five series: the Bill Bailey series, the Hamiltons series, the Mallen series, the Mary Ann series, and the Tilly series. The rest of Catherine Cookson’s books can be read in any order, but many fans prefer to read them in order of publication, starting with Kate Hannigan.

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Natalie Gasper
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