Phyl's 16 Phavorite Romance Novels

Jessica suggested that today, Oct. 16, we honor what would have been the 90th birthday of Kathleen Winsor, the author of Forever Amber, a classic romance first published in 1944, that some probably consider a forerunner of the modern romance novel. (I confess that I've never read this book, although I have heard of it.) Jessica credits Maili for the idea of challenge in honor of Ms. Winsor that is for us to list our top 16 romance reads of all time.

This was not an easy thing. I'd rather list at least 25. But after some thought, these are the ones that continue to stick with me (i.e. I actually remember what they were about) or I turn to when I want to re-read something familiar.

16. Parting Gifts by Lorraine Heath
15. The Price of Desire by Jo Goodman
14. An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley
13. To Die For by Linda Howard
12. Heart Thief by Robin D. Owens
11. My False Heart by Liz Carlyle
10. The Temporary Wife by Mary Balogh
9. Tapestry by Karen Ranney
8. The Outsider by Penelope Williamson
7. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
6. The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie
5. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale
4. Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
3. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
2. Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla Kelly
1. Heartless by Mary Balogh

The books above were the only ones of the 16 that I could find without tearing my closet apart. Plus I know at least 2 of them are on loan to a friend and one I own as an e-book.
Bonus picture! These are some of the ones I would have liked to have on the list. I found them while I was looking for the ones above.


  1. Wouldn't I love to sit down with you and compare keeper shelves! I'm re-reading Beverley's "An Unwilling Bride" right now ... why is "An Arranged Marriage", Nicholas and Eleanor's story, more to your top 16 liking? I have Balogh on my list too. There's a cracktastic review of The Temporary Wife over at All About Romance :)

    Janet W

  2. It's clear I have to read Balough - and SOON!! Great list. I thought about MADNESS for my list, too.

  3. I love AUB, too, Janet. I think what I admire about AAM is the way Beverley took a most distasteful start and created a believable way for Nicholas & Eleanor to have a genuine happy ending. I think it's wonderful writing, although I grant you it's not the most "romantic" book.

    And Carolyn, if you do read Balogh, read her older stuff. While I still read her, I find her newer stuff repetitive. Her old stuff was risky and very emotional. Some, like Heartless, are a tad dark. And as Janet said, one of the best reviews ever written is the one at AAR about TTW.

  4. Hiiiiiii Phyl! I love that you did pictures of your keepers! I felt more of a connection with your favorites by seeing them in your house. love it!

    And we have so many fave authors in common, i was this.close to putting Shattered Rainbows on my list too, the kaleidascope! So awesome!

    I don't have super found memories of Heartless though, sorry :( But I haven't read it since I a teenager, I just remember being very disturbed by what was done to her to make her not pure on purpose.

  5. You can join our new club, called "I wish Kathleen Winsor had been born on Halloween!" I would have had an easier time listing 31 books; as it was, even limiting myself to one title per author, I struggled far too much with my list.

    We overlap by several authors, but not titles; in most cases, I could swap my title for yours and still be happy with that list. I'm really enjoying looking at all these lists and adding to my TBR mountain.

  6. Thanks, Lusty Reader! I'm glad you liked my pictures--I thought the Iron in the 2nd picture was appropriate for my blog, lol. Anyhow, I have another friend who also did not like Heartless, and I can understand why.

    SonomaLass--Love the idea for the club. I'm definitely in! And I know what you mean about swapping titles by the same author. In some cases it was really hard to pick a specific title. It's so great to read all these lists and have my choices affirmed.

  7. There are a number of books on your list that could have just as easily have made mine -
    Parting Gifts - isn't it wonderful????
    The Price of Desire - I love her books!
    My False Heart - I've been with her since that one!
    Tapestry - Oh yes!! The first romance to make me cry.
    The Outside - wonderful book - and movie!!
    Flowers From the Storm - I loved this one.
    Heartless - loved this one too!

    And we have the 3 books in common.
    So now I'm going to simply HAVE to read the others that I haven't read.

  8. And honestly, there were several on YOUR list Kristie, that could have made mine (well, except Broken Wing, lol). Interesting how that's true for several of the lists I read today. I think the cream really does rise to the top.

  9. Fab list. I love it! Thanks for participating, and I love the photo of the books.

  10. Love the list, love the site. I'll visit often now I've found it,
    All the VERY best,

  11. You're welcome, Robin. I'm a huge fan of your Heart Mate books.

    Thank YOU, Jessica. Great idea. May we do it again next year?

    Thanks Simone! I appreciate it.

  12. I really need to read Lord of Scoundrels. I seriously think I am the only romance reader on the planet who has not yet read it!

  13. Really? You haven't read LoS? Now you're going to have these really high expectations, too! I hope you do read it someday and let all of us know what you think. I hope it lives up to your expectations!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Paint Chip Challenge 2015

TBR Day. The Villa / Nora Roberts. 2001

TBR Day. Lord of Danger / Anne Stuart. 1997