Romance and Me: Historical Romances – The Foreign Edition

Filed in featured , Jeannie Lin , Romance and Me , The Latin Lover Posted on September 19, 2012 @ 3:00 pm 7 comments

Hey Everyone!

We have discussed different aspects of historical romances: our favourite eras, what we like the most about this genre, why we read HR novels, we have even discussed gladiators, HR pet peeves and erotic historical romances but there is something we haven’t talked about yet, and that is foreign or exotic historical romances.

About 99% of historical romance novels are set in England, in smaller part France or Scotland, a couple are even set in North America (and one or two in Ancient Egypt), but historical romances set outside of these usual locations are few and far and between. Can you think of any which take place in South America? Africa? Asia? Australia? Oceania? Or we don’t even have to go that far, any historical romances set in other European countries such as Spain, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Denmark or Austria? All had (and some of them even have today) monarchies so aristocracy was/is a given, location could be considered interesting and exciting since fewer people might have any knowledge (least personal) of these countries so they might enjoy getting to discover an unknown country and its customs thanks to a novel. But no. Never came across any historical romance novels set in other parts of Europe than the most popular triumvirate of England, Scotland and France (and to be technical the first 2 could be simply called UK and then we’d only have 2 locations…). 

So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I came across and glimpsed the cover of Jeannie Lin’s My Fair Concubine. A historical romance set in Ancient China! Wow, that was something unheard of for me. So while I had some trepidation (due to never having read any HR set oustide of Europe/Northern America I was worried I would feel lost among the local traditions and exotic settings) I was also very curious and excited. So I jumped in and couldn’t be more grateful for that moment of bravery and my adventurous spirit because not only have I discovered an exciting new world I also acquired a new favourite HR author.

So if you are a bit bored with the usual dukes and countesses (because though we can never get enough of them sometimes one just craves a bit of variety) try an exotic historical romance set in foreign, far away lands, beside the romance you’ll also get a wonderful virtual travel! 😉

So now I’m on the lookout for more foreign HR novels, do tell me,

Do you like to read historical romance novels set in rather unusual places?

Any great exotic/foreign HR books you could recommend?

I would love to read stories set in India, Arab countries (because though sheikhs seem to be a popular choice for heroes in contemporary romances somehow HRs don’t abound with stories set there), China, really, anywhere around the globe!

ps. I found this lists on Goodreads when I searched for Historical Romances set in exotic locations, but I would be grateful for more recommendations!

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

Share This Post

Subscribe and stay up-to-date

Via E-Mail:

Follow us via RSS, twitter and facebook:


Join the Discussion
  • draconismoi September 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I recently read a YA historical fantasy romance set in a putative India. It was pretty awesome. But since it was YA, the romance didn’t get very far. Which I know could be a problem for you.

  • JenM September 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Both of these have English lead characters but are set in exotic locations. Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel was set mainly in what would be Turkey and Syria and was very good. I also highly recommend Not Quite A Husband by Sherry Thomas which is set in India, and is an amazing and emotional story ( and the Kindle version is selling for $3.99).

    Also, I haven’t read it but Carrie Lofty has a historical called Song of Seduction that is set in Germany, I believe and features a music composer.

  • Izz September 20, 2012 at 12:46 am

    My very first historical romance was Captive Bride by Johanna Lindsey. This story mostly takes place in the Arabian desert, it absolutely got me hooked. The story was not perfect but it’s so good that made me craving more hisorical fiction. After that I searched about historical romance and found more about this kind of books.

  • Susan September 20, 2012 at 3:07 am

    I think the overabundance of Anglo-centric romances, especially Regencies, is more of a recent phenomenon. I’m going to date myself here, but I grew up reading those sweeping historical romances/sagas, many of which were set in more “exotic” locales. The books definitely qualify as Old Skool, many are out of print, but some are definitely worth getting your hands on.

    Some of my favorite books were set in Russia. Without digging through my boxes, some Russian books that come to mind are Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’s Kirov Saga, Johanna Lindsey’s You Belong to Me, Danielle Steele’s Zoya, Susan Johnson’s Seized by Love, Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Forever in Your Embrace, Brenda Joyce’s Splendor, Constance Heaven’s The House of Kuragin, Heir to Kuragin, and The Astrov Legacy, and (my favorites) Ira Morris’s The Fortune Hunter and The Troika Belle.

    Carola Dunn’s The Black Sheep’s Daughter (a trad Regency partially set in South America).

    Diane Pearson’s Csardas—Germany/Hungary.

    For India—Victoria Holt’s The Peacock Fan, MM Kaye’s The Far Pavilions, and Valerie Fitzgerald’s Zemindar (a truly wonderful book about the Mutiny).

    Virginia Henley’s Seduced (Ceylon, partly).

    Taylor Caldwell’s The Arm and the Darkness (France—not really a romance, but a great saga).

    Rosalind Laker’s Banners of Silk (France), The Golden Tulip (Holland), and others.

    Jane Aiken Hodge’s Greek Wedding (Greece), The Adventurers (Germany/France), The Winding Stair (Portugal), Shadow of a Lady (Italy), and others.

    Sandra Shulman’s The Florentine (Renaissance Florence).

    If you don’t want Old Skool, there are always Paullina Simons’s books (Russia), Deeana Raybourn’s Dark Road to Darjeeling (India), Meredith Duran’s The Duke of Shadows (India), and Susanna Fraser’s The Sergeant’s Lady (Spain. I know I’ve read some other books set in Spain during the Peninsular War, but I’m drawing a blank).

    (Sorry for the long post, Stella, but I’m blaming YOU for asking the question!)

  • LSUReader September 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Much of the Sherry Thomas book, Not Quite a Husband, takes place in India, though the h/h are British.

    Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible has an Egyptian setting.

    Collen Gleason’s Gardella Chronicles (which really is historical paranormal) have a general British setting, but the second and third books take place in Italy.

    Zoe Archer’s Blades of the Rose (again, historical paranormal) features settings like Mongolia, Egypt and Canada.

  • aurian September 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    O yes Susan, I also read all of those great sagas! And Stella, those are many hundreds of pages thick, not to be read in one single evening. You could perhaps read some older Bertrice Small. Her heroines travel a lot, and end up in harems and such. She is my very favourite author.

  • Susan September 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    This past weekend, I read a bunch of trad Regencies (instead of doing some desperately needed housecleaning). Unintentionally, I picked up two that were set in Russia: Lord Buckingham’s Bride by Sandra Heath and The Storybook Hero by Andrea Pickens.

    And I thought of a couple more books to add to the list: Silk and Secrets by Mary Jo Putney is set in the Middle East, The Castle of the Wolf by Sandra Schwab is set in Bavaria, and Muffled Drum (m/m) by Erastes is set in Bohemia.

Previous Post
Next Post
Luvo designed by Internet Marketing In conjunction with Template Wordpress , R4 DS , Best SUV.