Catherine Coulter is a popular American novelist from Texas, most famous for her blending of romance, suspense, and often history in her novels.
Having a master’s degree in History from Boston College, and a history of unpublished writing, it was her rage at a bad book and an ambition to one up it, that led her to follow a career as an author.
Her first novel The Autumn Countess was published by Penguin in 1978 and by 1982 she was earning enough from writing to quit her job and follow her dream of being a full-time novelist.
This led to a prolific career writing over 50 books, 42 of which have been labeled New York Times Best Sellers.
Particularly of note are her novels The Cove and The Maze, the former being her first to earn a New York Times bestseller, and the latter selling over 1 million copies earning a nine-week stint at the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
She has published a book almost every year since the eighties, usually alternating between romance and suspense each year.
Coulter’s book series, as mentioned, generally alternate between suspense thrillers such as her FBI series, which usually center around investigations into murder, and historical romance such as the Night Fire Trilogy, or Sherbrooke Series, following the trepidations of romance usually set within Coulter’s demonstrable knowledge of history.
Those who enjoy classically thrilling detective novels will also enjoy the works of Dot Hutchison, while those who enjoy historical romances may also enjoy Tessa Dare or Julia Quinn.
Keep reading to see which books and authors you should check out should you enjoy Coulter’s work (see also “Authors Like Mo Hayder“).
Books By Catherine Coulter
You can generally, with exceptions, split Coulter’s work into either historical romance or detective/suspense fiction.
For example, the Bride series is typical of what you can expect in Coulter’s historical romances. They generally center around the Sherbrooke siblings, a band of eloping brothers who are your typical dashing Byronic hero.
If you like classics such as Wuthering Heights, these novels are effectively more readable, fast-paced, and a little more tongue-in-cheek in their themes.
They also often end with happy endings, in both senses of the word, and leave you feeling full of romantic fantasy at the end.
The interesting thing about Coulter is her continuity of themes, while her tone and style of romance writing doesn’t change too much, the historical settings do.
If you want something a little more rugged, the Viking era series are great, while the Night trilogy takes us to the simmering heat of Regency England, a place of refined romance.
In comparison, Coulter’s ‘An FBI Thriller’ series takes a much different tone. In the classic detective fiction style, Coulter writes with nuance, creating absorbing suspense, interesting plots that are full of twists, and mysteries that are not predictable.
Her ability to switch between romance and suspense has birthed the series that earned her the most acclaim, taking her ability to write interpersonal relationships and adding in a dash of intrigue, a touch of darkness, and a whole lot of mystery.
Authors Like Catherine Coulter
If you enjoy Coulter’s historical romances, you can’t really go wrong with Tessa Dare. She is also a best-selling author of over 25 historical romances. They are very similar to Coulter’s books, full of humor and warmth.
Dare does focus on the Regency period, ideal for those who enjoyed Coulter’s Night Trilogy, but worth a try if you like the Bride series too.
Many would argue that Dare is a little bit more steamy if you enjoy those more, and probably a little less historically accurate at time
The Duchess Deal
If you enjoy the Sherbrooke brothers, you will like The Duke of Ashbury, who needs an heir after returning from war.
Falling for seamstress Emma Gladstone they create rules within their marriage of convenience but soon fall into a classic Regency love story – breaking boundaries to get their hands on each other.
If you want something a little more steamy than Coulter’s nuanced relationships, which places more emphasis on a steamy love affair than a historically accurate love story, Dare is worth a try.
Dare also takes a non-conventional approach to characters, often allowing them to be more relatable by being a little modern.
- Regency period
- More steamy than Coulter
- Non-conventional historical characters
- Not so historically accurate
Themes: regency, sensuality, historical fantasy, breaking social norms
You may have heard of Julia Quinn due to her historical romance fame from Bridgerton, but her Two Dukes of Wyndham series is wildly overlooked, especially if you enjoy Coulter’s inter-relationship dialogue.
The Lost Duke of Wyndham / Mr. Cavendish, I Presume?
The two books tell the same story but from two separate characters, two rivaling dukes. The first book tells us Thomas’ story, the current Duke, and his Duchess, Grace Eversleigh.
Thomas Audley, a highwayman comes into their life with some interesting evidence of being the Duke of Wyndham himself. The two books tell each side of the same story as they both fight for Lady Cavendish’s hand.
People love Coulter because she can tell a romantic story well through dialogue and interpersonal relationships.
This book is similar, it remains as humorous and ticklish as Coulter’s successful Bride series without all the sultry stuff some readers dislike.
Not only historically accurate but pretty believable, yet remains non-conventional for the genre.
- Historically accurate
- Regency period
- Different take on the genre
- As the second book essentially retells the first, many don’t enjoy this nuance.
Themes: regency era, historical, romance
Dot Hutchison was mainly famed for writing a young-adult retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, until she wrote an adult thriller, The Butterfly Garden, an FBI novel that is similar to Coulter’s.
If you enjoy FBI thrillers that continue into a series, Hutchison’s FBI thriller series is worth checking out for something a little darker.
The Butterfly Garden
The first story in the series is of beauty and horror. The Butterfly Garden is a place where young women are kidnapped and kept, tattooed intricately to resemble butterflies.
Two FBI agents are enlightened to the Garden when Maya escapes, their only source of information about the goings-on in the garden – but is she really a victim? Thus starts the series of darker FBI cases to indulge any reader.
This story is dark, not for the faint-hearted, but is a classic FBI thriller like Coulters.
It can resemble The Cove greatly, while there isn’t a clear murder, but a conspiracy, there is a female heroine whose character is left for the reader to judge, and an elusive area full of dark secrets.
Like Coulter the mystery is unpredictable, the characters remarkable, and twists galore, as well as FBI intrigue. The story’s framework is similar to many of Coulter’s works, but the tone is darker.
- Interesting and unpredictable characters
- Secret area to be infiltrated
- Cool FBI characters
- Much darker than Coulter’s works.
Themes: FBI, mystery, female heroine, dark
Coulter is a very prolific writer, writing a book nearly every year, with her works commonly alternating between thrillers and historical romances.
The breadth of her work and everyman tone means that she is a great way to get into both genres, allowing you to figure out where you want to go next.
As you can see the list of historical romance and FBI thrillers is quite a long one, and there are many to explore that are similar to Coulter’s works in many ways.
Whether you want a romance novel that is a little more steamy than Coulters, or one that expands on her great character writing, both Tessa Dare and Julia Quinn are worth looking into.
Equally, if you enjoyed Coulter’s FBI thrillers, but want something more dark, has female agents, and plenty of intriguing characters and plot twists, Hutchison’s FBI thrillers are worth a look.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Catherine Coulter Still Writing?
Having written over 50 novels, and reaching the age of 80, many would expect Coulter to slow down her output.
Her last book came out in 2021, so we can assume, without news otherwise, that she is writing another novel – but there is no official word on this.
Coulter still updates her social media regularly, as well as writing newsletters, happily communicating with her readers.
How Does Catherine Coulter Write?
Coulter is commonly asked about her writing regime due to how prolifically she writes herself. Having been a full-time writer since the 80s, she certainly has her routine down.
In various interviews, she states that she sits down to write every morning at 6.30 AM, starts writing at 7.30 AM, and usually finishes writing around 11-11.30 AM.
She used to alternate writing historical romance and her FBI thrillers, but now mainly focuses on updating her FBI series with modern stories.
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