Sexiest Regency Romances: Bodice-Rippers That Go All the Way

Sexiest Regency Romances: Bodice-Rippers That Go All the Way


Ever since Colin Firth emerged from Pemberley’s lake in the TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, I’ve had a soft spot for Regency romances. So, I’ve compiled a list of favorites that daringly raise the temperature beyond the usual, more constrained Regency-era reads. From estranged couples, best friends who learn to see each other in a different light and Napoleonic-era spies on opposing sides to pleasure house owners and the men who lust after them, these steamy reads offer something for every reader.

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    1. The Slightest Provocation

    Kit Stanstell and his estranged wife Mary haven’t set eyes on each other for nine years–but when they finally do, sparks fly. As passions ignite, they have to work together to uncover a conspiracy that could bring Britain to its knees. Sexy, sweet and political, this is one novel I can reread over and over.

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    2. When He Was Wicked

    When it comes to Regency romance, no one does it better than Julia Quinn. Her Bridgerton series–each installment featuring a different Bridgerton sibling and the object of his or her affection–has a hero and heroine for every reader, but my favorite will always be Francesca Bridgerton and Michael Stirling. Rakish Michael has loved Francesca ever since he met her… right before she married his best friend. Now that she’s a widow, can he persuade her to look beyond his reputation?

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    3. Mistress of Pleasure

    Maybelle de Maitenon wants independence and vows to avoid matrimony at all costs. Unlike her grandmother–once a famed courtesan, now the owner of an establishment that instructs rich men in the art of love–she refuses to be dependent on men. But, when the Duke of Rutherford catches her eye, she thinks she could be persuaded into a harmless affair–until he enrolls in her grandmother’s academy, intent on stealing her heart, as well.

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    4. The Lady Most Likely…

    Three of the hottest voices in historical romance, one story and a whole lot of flirting: The Earl of Briary needs a wife, so his sister holds a house party, inviting the most charming young ladies society has to offer. This is really three love stories in one, as two of his friends come along for the ride, and each of them falls for one of the female guests.

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    5. Simply Scandalous

    Kate Pearce’s House of Pleasure series isn’t for the faint-hearted, but if you like your bodice-rippers less than vanilla, then no one does it better. Here, battle-scarred Richard Ross plans to lick his war wounds in the comfort of his stepmother’s upscale bawdy house and forget the love of his life who died in his arms–only to encounter her, very much alive, in the Pleasure House.

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    6. Duchess By Night

    Harriet is a widow who refuses to resign herself to a lifetime of loneliness. When she attends Lord Strange’s decadent masquerade ball dressed as a man, she is drawn into a bohemian atmosphere where anything goes–but will she make it out without losing her heart? Well, it wouldn’t be any fun if she did, would it?


  1. Regency Romance books dumbfound critics and irritate realists. Why, then, are they so popular today?

    Consider that novels set in Regency England (1811-1820) feature a privileged world among royalty, where material needs are determined by birthright and romance flourishes in clandestine environments.

    Much has changed since the days of Jane Austen, whose prim and proper courtships dragged on for hundreds of pages with no one giving it up. Today, daring exploits and push-the-envelope stylistic devices fill their pages with all the drama and tension typical of mainstream America. No writer is required to adhere to the stifling rules established by the time in which Austen penned her world-renowned words. Making characters behave in a manner prohibited in their long-ago realm may seem an anachronism, but audacious plots provide an innovative environment.

    These exciting, independent titles for 2015 remain true to the genre yet deserve a high mark for originality:

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