If you want to see where romance’s roots are, these authors are a good place to start.
Loretta Chase—Lord of Scoundrels
Realizing her attraction to the Marquess of Dain despite her opinion that he is an amoral cad, tough-minded Jessica Trent is scandalized when they are seen in a compro-mising position, and she vows to make him preserve her reputation. Chase is still writing historical romances that capture the heart.
Jude Deveraux—A Knight in Shining Armor
Thoroughly modern Dougless Montgomery meets her sixteenth-century hero who carries her heart away in this time travel classic. Deveraux began with her great Montgomery/Taggert family historical sagas and now is known for her contemporary romances as well as mysteries. Try Sweet Liar.
Gillian is a mere child when her family is torn apart by a ruthless British ruler and his minions. Now a beautiful young woman, she finds the key to resolving her past in a pair of handsome Scottish chieftains. Garwood started out with historicals but recently is known much more for her contemporary titles featuring the Buchanan family. Start with Heartbreaker.
Georgette Heyer—Grand Sophy
Sophy has found herself parked with her aunt’s family in Berkeley Square. Charles, the Ombersleys' heir, has only one thought - to marry her off and rid the family of her meddlesome ways. Commonly thought to be the first modern historical romance writer, Heyer inspired many of today’s authors.
Laura Kinsale—Flowers from the Storm
The Duke of Jervaulx was brilliant and dangerous. Considered dissolute, reckless, and extravagant, he was transparently referred to as the 'D of J' in scandal sheets, where he and his various exploits featured with frequency. But sometimes the most womanizing rake can be irresistible, and even his most casual attentions fascinated the sheltered Maddy Timms. Some consider this to be the greatest romance of all time. You be the judge!
Stephanie Laurens—Devil’s Bride
When Devil, the most infamous member of the Cynster family, is caught in a compromising position with plucky governess Honoria Wetherby, he astonishes the entire town by offering his hand in marriage. Could Honoria’s passion for Devil cause her to embrace the enchanting peril of a lifelong adventure of the heart? Laurens’ books about the Cynster Family and Bastion Club are known for their witty dialog and fabulous rakes-turned-husbands.
Johanna Lindsey—Gentle Rogue
Georgina Anderson boards the Maiden Anne disguised as a cabin boy, never dreaming she'll be forced into intimate servitude at the whim of the ship's irrepressible captain, James Mallory. Mallory sees through her masquerade but is enchanted by the high-spirited lady, so he plays along with her ruse...at first. The first in Lindsey’s Malory family novels is a winner! Lindsey also wrote many westerns and a few futuristic stories. The women are feisty and the men are strong and dashing. A more recent favorite: Let Love Find You.
Debbie Macomber—Out of the Rain
Dash Davenport's feelings against marriage are further complicated by his profession as a divorce attorney and his own failed relationship. Macomber’s original romances were written for serial subscriptions and are still being reprinted today. Her newer novels are shelved in regular fiction as they focus more on modern women and the challenges they face in life than on the romance plot.
Judith McNaught—Whitney, My Love
Whitney is bargained away by her bankrupt father to the handsome, arrogant duke. Outraged, she defies her new lord. But even as his smoldering passion seduces her into a gathering storm of desire, Whitney will not relinquish her dream of perfect love. McNaught’s novels are full of grand passion and beautiful scenes between the hero and heroine.
From the cozy confines of a tiny seaside village to the glittering crush of a fashionable London soiree comes an enthralling tale of a thoroughly mismatched couple poised to discover the rapture of love. Quick is the historical pen name of Jayne Ann Krentz. Try also her Arcane Society Novels, written across all 3 of her names. Start with Second Sight.
Nora Roberts—Jewels of Sun
Determined to re-evaluate her life, an American takes refuge in an Irish cottage and discovers hope for the future in the study of the past, helped by an Irishman with uncommon understanding. Roberts is a very prolific author who writes contemporary romances, some featuring slight paranormal or suspenseful elements. In recent years she has also penned a fantasy trilogy and a new one releases in 2020. Her sci-fi mystery “In Death” series featuring a long relationship between the main detective Eve Dallas and gazillionaire Rourke, is penned under the name J.D. Robb.
Kathleen Woodiwiss—So Worthy My Love
They were bitter enemies caught in a dangerous tide that swept through Elizabeth's England. Maxim swore vengeance on those who had stolen his title and lands...and branded him a traitor to the Crown. Elise found herself the innocent prisoner of the marquess, her family's most hated foe. Thus began a battle of wit and will between two people so perfectly matched that they could only fall in love. The mother of modern romance, Woodiwiss’ “bodice-ripper” novels feature heroines who are not always willing at the beginning but fall in love with the strong heroes by the end. They are rich in setting. A few of her stories are set in Colonial and Civil War era America.