Bookfilter: I have just finished the Outlander Series, what next please?
September 19, 2014 4:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm having an Outlander series reading hangover, I loved it. I'm looking for some historical fiction romance.

I need something that has some steamy scenes (really, my DH is away) but enough plot development that I still feel good about reading it. Diana Gabaldon nailed this.

Lots of forums say the next read is Into the Wilderness series by Sara Donati but people seem to have a love/hate with it. Goodreads has not answered this for me, neither has librarything.

This is my first of the genre, before that I was reading fantasy for a couple of years. I like Name of the Wind, Game of Thrones, and Robert Jordan to a point. Thanks so much
posted by ibakecake to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Are you looking for stuff that is "historical" romance (period romances, i guess? stuff in historical settings) or stuff with legit historical secondary plotlines? Because for the former, books/series by Jude Devereaux and Judith McNaught and whatnot are usually a fairly good read.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:43 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ahhh, welcome, fellow Outlander convert :) Get yourself over to the Fanfare threads and catch up on the show if you haven't already!

I'm one of those love/hate people with Sara Donati's series, despite a brief, Gabaldon-sanctioned appearance by Claire and Jamie in one of them. I mean, they're decent enough vacation reading, but they're nowhere near the immersive experience of Outlander. (confession: the only other series with which I've developed as strong an attachment to the characters and world is probably Harry Potter. It's hard to find other creations of that caliber.)

One recommendation is maybe Jo Graham. I started with Hand of Isis, which I think is still my favorite, but she has a few other in the same sort of continuity, including Black Ships and Stealing Fire, and I think technically Hand of Isis goes in between those. Can't remember for sure. But they're about interesting historical periods and characters, with a few (not always heterosexual so FYI if that would for any reason bother you) sexy scenes. But Gabaldon she ain't.

There's also always the Earth's Children series by Jean Auel. This is VERY historical -- prehistoric, in fact -- but the series is... interesting. The author clearly researched a lot about flora and fauna at the time, and various ancient cultures and technologies, and the first book does a decent job of blending those with a really interesting story line, but then the remaining books basically become softcore caveman porn interspersed with pages-long descriptions of plantlife. Which may or may not be what you're looking for, but if you're interesting in hearing all about prehistoric flint knapping and Neandertals vs Homo Sapiens and also Conveniently Intelligent and Inventive Cavelady Discovers Oral Sex With Hot Cavedude, that's an option for you too. (I'd say maybe at least the first two, maybe three are worth getting through, but they pretty sharply drop off after that and become redundant)
posted by olinerd at 5:14 PM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh, actually, I also recommend this series about The Boudica (if you don't know of her, you should, because she is a badass). Much more historical fiction than it is romance, but I really, really enjoyed it.
posted by olinerd at 5:19 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dorothy Dennett's Lymond series isn't as consistently steamy, but checks those boxes for me when I have an Outlander hangover!
posted by zinful at 5:23 PM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Green Darkness received mixed reviews, but I enjoyed it. Not sure it'll be quite steamy enough for you, however.
posted by salvia at 5:32 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Dunnett books mentioned above are indeed not very steamy, but if you like Game of Thrones they tick the "intense intrigue" box. The first one is almost pornographically over the top in terms of political machinations and daring (anti)heroes. They're SO good.
posted by selfnoise at 5:34 PM on September 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Alllll your Philippa Gregory, at least up to the point where there started to be witches (don't get me started); Other Boleyn Girl is honestly awesome if you are into that. I also like Anya Seton for historical romance, esp. Katherine (swoon).

For steamier stuff: The Bronze Horseman trilogy. First one is set during the Siege of Leningrad and I loooooved it.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:03 PM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Through a Glass Darkly is the only book I've found that hit my Outlander nerve completely.

Different in tone, but I also love, love, love everything Deanna Raybourn has written. She has a series of Victorian mysteries and a few one-off books set in the 20s. Great characters, well researched history (though not as tome-like in the history than Gabaldon), and her writing voice is really engaging. The steamy scenes are implied, not explicit, but she manages to make a Victorian hand touch pretty racy.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 4:48 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Knight Errant series hit that Outlander spot for me. It's a time travel romance take on the war of the roses.
posted by okieangel at 6:31 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you read the Lord John spinoff books and novellas? There's also novellas about Roger's father, Jamie and Older Ian in France, Michael Murray, Older Joan ( Marsali's sister) and the Comte St. Germain.

I like the Roberta Gellis medieval ( some of which are mysteries set in a brothel )Napoleonic war (Regency refers to Jane Austen style books, which these aren't) and mythological books too.
posted by brujita at 7:37 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Outlander is probably my favorite series, and I went through a long series of middling to terrible romance novels in high school trying to find something that hit the spot. It's hard, so I'm watching this thread like a hawk.

I didn't like Donati's work. I wanted to, as Into the Wilderness has a cameo from Jaime and Claire, but it was a slog to get through. It just never clicks for me.

Judith McNaught is lovely, if a little treacly at times. If you like the fish-out-of-water aspect of Outlander, Lynn Kurland's A Dance Through Time features a modern* woman winding up in 1311 Scotland. If you're looking for general romance novels suggestions, Jennifer Cruisie's Bet Me is a must, must, must read. If you like plain ol' time travel, Michael Criton's Timeline is interesting and I enjoyed it.
posted by Torosaurus at 9:40 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thank you all so much! I'm going to keep this open for a bit for fun.
posted by ibakecake at 11:50 AM on September 20, 2014

What a good question - I've had the same problem. I first read Outlander for a book club about 6 years ago and I ended up reading ALL the books at that time instead of just the first one. I'm reading them now for the third time before I get to the new one that was just released.

I second Through a Glass Darkly - I read that about 20 years ago and loved it, and was very excited when Outlander hit the same notes.

I also read Juliet Marillier's Sevenwater series at the recommendation of some other AskMeFi question, which I can't find at the moment. I really liked that series but it was pretty hard to find the books.

Another author that does it for me is Orson Scott Card. Of course, he's famous for Ender's Game which takes place in space in the future, but he also writes in the past. My absolute favorite book (before I read Outlander) has always been Enchantment, a modern retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale set in Russia. And I also really like Pastwatch, a story of future people who look back at the past to see if they can spot critical points of change and then go back to "fix" them. And of course the Alvin Maker series, a story about the beginnings of settlement in the American West if the tales of charms and folk magic were really true.
posted by CathyG at 10:31 AM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

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