When it comes to historical romance novels, there are so many themes and factors an author needs to get right to keep the story faithful and honest while still remaining appealing to modern audiences, and this is something Courtney Milan excels at.
While Milan is most well known for her historical pieces including some of her most famous books such as Unveiled and Unlocked which are part of her Victorian Turner series, she has also dabbled in more modern romance stories recently in her Cyclone series of books.
The most recent of which is “Trade Me” which was released in 2015 and has already been praised as one of her finest works to date.
While historical romance novels are certainly nothing new in the world of literature, what is a lot rarer is finding an author who can balance an educated awareness of the context they are writing in, and a gripping romantic narrative that captivates the reader’s attention, which is why Courtney Milan is so beloved.
If you can’t get enough of Milan’s gripping Victorian Turner series of books or the courtly romantic conspiracies that occur in the Brothers Sinister series in books like “The Governess Affair” and “The Duchess War”, the good news is there are many other historical romance authors who have written stories just as gripping that you need to check out.
Courtney Milan Books
Milan has three sets of book series that are all based around romance, but all take place in their own unique setting with different contexts surrounding them. These series are:
The Brothers Sinister Series
The Governess Affair (2011)
A relationship blooms between a former governess and the right-hand man of a duke who is originally assigned to hunt her down in this rivals-to-lovers epic Victorian tale.
The Duchess War (2012)
A story with themes of Victorian classism and prejudice where a working-class woman with a dark and mysterious past is obsessed over by a rich and aristocratic duke who decides to marry her.
The Countess Conspiracy (2013)
When a ‘man of science’ learns of a genius experiment thought up by a poor and disillusioned widow, what ensues is a gripping story of passion, lies, and deception.
The Suffragette Scandal (2014)
A man sent to hunt down a leading suffragette quickly becomes fascinated by her, and her passion for the cause.
Talk Sweetly To Me (2014)
A Victorian gentleman tries his best to get closer to Rose Sweetly, a mathematical genius who prefers to keep to herself but still dreams of wonder and adventure.
The Turner Series
As a deceiving aristocrat and a privileged woman feud over who should rightfully become the duke, feelings of anger and frustration soon turn into an awkward relationship between two people who have completely different ways of life.
When a former lover decides to make up for his wicked treatment of a woman headed for spinsterhood, what ensues is a story of regret, guilt, and new beginnings.
A secret courtesan is caught off guard when the bombastic and classy moralist she was sent to hunt down quickly swoons her, much to the dismay of her colleagues and family.
After a magistrate threatens to imprison a courtroom witness, he comes to understand the mistake he has made when learning that the two have more in common than initially thought.
The Cyclone Series
Trade Me (2015)
A poor student finds the opportunity of a lifetime after running into the rich owner of Cyclone Industries Blake Reynolds in this modern tale of balancing business and pleasure.
Hold Me (2016)
Maria Lopez doesn’t know that the charismatic and rich guy she’s been talking to on her blog is actually Jay Thalang, someone she despises in her everyday life, but who she comes to admire.
Milan also has a few standalone novels in her catalog including A Right Honorable Gentleman and The Lady Always Wins, however, she always retains the captivating romance plots that she’s so beloved for.
Authors Like Courtney Milan
Since the 1980s, Judith McNaught has been writing some of the most captivating and thrilling historical romance novels with a great selection of stories to get stuck into if you’re looking for similar themes that are included in Milan’s work.
One of McNaught’s most popular novels, A Kingdom of Dreams, has been praised by some as the best historical romance novel ever written.
Set in 16th century Scotland during an age of reformation and religious tensions, headstrong beauty Jennifer Merrick has a chance encounter with “The Wolf”, an Englishman who should be her sworn enemy, but becomes someone she comes to admire.
Similar to Milan, many of McNaught’s stories feature a female protagonist forming an unlikely relationship with someone she should oppose, with loyalty, betrayal, and pride all becoming signature themes.
Just like Milan, McNaught knows her history and ensures to keep the setting and context as faithful as possible, such as in The Governess Affair where the epic romance tale is surrounded by the accepted norms of Victorian society such as manners, attitudes on infidelity, and what it means to be a gentleman.
While McNaught, therefore, shares many of the themes that make romance novels so enticing, she also likes to focus more on unrelenting and taboo lovers and love between people who should, for all intents and purposes, despise one another.
- Faithful to the historical context
- Excellent plot twists make each story very unpredictable
- Intriguing focus on taboo lovers
- Many books contain very lengthy descriptions and long inner monologues
Themes: Societal expectations, loyalty, taboo romance
Jennifer Ashley loves to write her characters as mentally unhinged, twisted, and even psychotic in some cases, but still manages to keep them intriguing and relatable enough to where we can eventually root for the romance they build with the other characters.
Nowhere does Ashley’s superb writing shine more than in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, a dark and sensual tale of a dangerous and corrupted man who our main protagonist can’t help but feel drawn to.
The Devilish Lord Will is another gripping romance set in 18th-century Scotland where Josette, on the hunt for a stash of gold, teams up with the devious and deceptive Will Mackenzie, a man many call the devil himself.
Ashley tends to lean to the darker side of romance in her novels, and while there is less emphasis on historical events and context, there is a much greater focus on the psychology of love which becomes incredibly compelling because of how manipulative and devious Ashley likes to write her characters.
- Compelling twisted characters who are still relatable and interesting
- Great emphasis on the psychology of romance
- A darker take on historical romance
- Lack of focus on historical accuracy and context
- Much less sensuality and passionate scenes
Themes: Manipulation, obsession, deceit, honesty within relationships
Very well known for her outstanding Outlander series of books, Diana Gabaldon has made a name for herself writing historical romance novels that also incorporate other genres including mystery, adventure, and even science fiction and fantasy.
This blending of genres puts an exciting twist on the historical romance books that Milan made so popular.
Take Voyager for example, a sensual and intense story about two lovers who try to reunite by jumping between different time periods while surviving the chaos and opposition they face along the way.
While Gabaldon is a master at weaving fantastical and futuristic ideas into her books, she still manages to make each period, whether it’s the American Revolution in The Fiery Cross or an 18th-century war-torn Scotland in Outlander, feel as vibrant and authentic as possible.
While Gabaldon’s idea of romance might be a little less grounded and more romanticized than Milan’s, if you still want to experience a thrilling historical romance with some experimental elements thrown in, try out Gabaldon’s novels, especially her gripping Outlander series.
- A fascinating blend of historical romance and sci-fi
- In-depth detail on the period and context
- Always keeps the focus primarily on romance
- Violence can be very graphic and doesn’t always relate to the story
Themes: Unrelenting love, hope, companionship, trust
There’s no doubt that when it comes to authentic and gripping historical tales of romance, Courtney Milan is the queen of this type of writing, however, there are still many authors who have put their own personal twist on this popular genre that is definitely worth checking out.
If you’re looking for a romantic period piece with twisted, dark, but also compelling characters, or stories that blend romance with other genres entirely to make the narrative a little more fantastical and imaginary, there are so many great historical romance authors similar to Courtney Milan that you can choose from.
Frequently Asked Question
Is Courtney Milan Still Writing?
Courtney Milan is currently wrapping up her Worth Saga of books with a final installment set to come out in 2023 and is working on the second installment of her new The Wedgeford Trials series with The Duke Who Didn’t being the first installment.
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