Western Romances
July 8, 2014 3:35 PM   Subscribe

I've been wanting to read some good romances lately in the western genre. Any suggestions?

I'd love any suggestions for either romance novels that are a cut above the usual, or genre/literary westerns with some good romance amongst the action. I'd prefer novels that are well-written, with some sort of complexity to them (of plot, of characterization, of whatever), not set in the present day.
posted by warble to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oh god hands down Lonesome Dove. There is some great romance in there, not the least of which is the platonic love between the two main characters, Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call. And McMurtry is truly one of our American treasures: that man can craft a sentence.
posted by The Michael The at 5:17 PM on July 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Have you checked Smart Bitches, Trashy Books?

Candace Camp wrote some under the pen name Lisa Gregory and contemporary ones in the 80's under the name Kristen James.
posted by brujita at 6:05 PM on July 8, 2014

I've really enjoyed Ellen Recknor's books, including Me and the Boys and Prophet Annie. Great female characters and she can write.
posted by OolooKitty at 6:10 PM on July 8, 2014

Seconding Lonesome Dove, it's an American classic everyone should read!
posted by mareli at 6:10 PM on July 8, 2014

Seconding Lonesome Dove, which is Louis L'Amour's most famous book. You can pick up almost any book by Louis L'Amour, and it will be a mix of spaghetti western / romance novel. Many of his books are short (150pgs). His books are engaging and easy to consume. He might not be high literature, but his work is well written with some sort of complexity. Check him out.
posted by Flood at 6:10 PM on July 8, 2014

Excuse me??? Lonesome Dove is Larry McMurtry. Be still mah heart.

Anything by Lorraine Heath is wonderful. Yes, she transplants English noblemen to the West. Never you mind that. She has a background in psychology, so she knows how to drag the tension and separation and longing out until you can't stand it anymore. Dreamy. I loved Texas Destiny and Never Love A Cowboy, each of which have related books in a series.

Leigh Greenwood -- who is actually a guy -- has written some good ones, too. I like Violet, which is more "Denver in the 1870s" but has a lot of silver rush flavor to it.
posted by Madamina at 6:26 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Tho not exactly western genre, both Horse Whisperer and Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans take place in Montana and are both great reads with romantic subplots.

And don't miss Lonesome Dove. Just seeing it mentioned makes me want to read it again so I can spend some quality time immersed in an epic story. It is one of my favorite books ever.
posted by zoel at 6:56 PM on July 8, 2014

In the romance category, try Penelope Williamson - The Outsider is the one that comes to mind as a definite cut above the usual. Also Outcast by Emily Carmichael is not bad.
posted by gudrun at 8:05 PM on July 8, 2014

Left field suggestion: How do you feel about the Australian outback? Because Thorn Birds, Thorn Birds, Thorn Birds.
posted by book 'em dano at 8:18 PM on July 8, 2014

Response by poster: I'd be into the Australian outback. And I used to read Louis L'Amour growing up, and always loved him - any particular novels you'd recommend of his, that stand out in the romance department?

Apparently I need to read Lonesome Dove!
posted by warble at 8:42 PM on July 8, 2014

Oh man, The Thorn Birds... I was around 13 or 14 when the TV mini-series based on this novel was broadcast in the US. It was basically a prime-time soap opera, not the kind of thing a teenager would be interested in really, but it was pretty hyped at the the time and my mom was into it, being fan of Richard Chamberlain. So being the kind of kid who read everything and anything I could get my hands on, I got a hold of the novel and read it. Turns out, the TV version was a very watered-down adaptation of the novel, which is pretty damn steamy in parts. After I finished it, I passed it on to my friends at school, and still remember laughing with my best friend reading the "sexy" passages out loud (quietly!) when I stayed over at her house. Good times.

Anyway, my mom, who doesn't speak English very well and doesn't read books in English at all, asked me one day if I'd read The Thorn Birds. I said yes. Then she asked me if I understood everything that was in it. I immediately understood where she was going with the interrogation and told her nope, some of the stuff had gone over my head (not!). Her golfing friends had probably told her that the novel wasn't really meant for kids my age. I've never gotten around to asking her if she believed me then or not!

So yeah, The Thorn Birds. If it's romance you want, it's romance you'll get!
posted by misozaki at 1:18 AM on July 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's is a public library's list of recommended Westerns writers. It includes a list of people who write Western romance.
posted by gudrun at 5:04 AM on July 9, 2014

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