Starter Guide: 5 Lisa Kleypas Regency Romances to Begin With

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Lisa Kleypas is a bestselling, award-winning author of over thirty romance novels. While she’s written a handful of amazing contemporaries, she’s mostly known as a historical romance powerhouse focusing on the traditional Regency period. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-one and hasn’t stopped since. Her stories have pushed the boundaries of what to include in a historical romance novel, including one of the first Regency romances with a working-class hero and honest, sensitive depictions of mental illness. I dare you to pick up one of her books and read it without quickly working your way through her backlist. Actually, I take that dare back. Her backlist is amazing! Please read on! But if you are wondering where to start or which Kleypas romance to read next, here are a few suggestions: 

If you’re intrigued by a Regency romance with a working-class hero try Dreaming of You.

This is a historical romance cult classic and with good reason! Second in the Gamblers of Craven’s series, Dreaming of You is often called the first historical romance to feature a working-class hero. In a sea of dukes and earls, Derek Craven grew up in the slums of London to become a wealthy head of the most fashionable gambling house. Meanwhile Sara Fielding is living a prim and proper country life, while secretly writing scandalous romantic novels. She wanders into Derek Craven’s world in pursuit of “research”. Their bond is instant, but he believes himself too far below her in status to act on his love. This book is a little bonkers. Also it was written in the early 90s and has some problematic elements, such as the jealous other woman trope. But it was ground breaking for historical romance at the time. And it’s both capital R Romantic and capital S Sexy. 

If you’re a stickler for starting at the beginning of a series read Secrets of a Summer Night.

This is the first in Kleypas’s popular Wallflowers series. The series follows four friends Annabelle, Lillian, Daisy, and Evie who are navigating the London ton in Regency times and all flailing in their own ways. The self-proclaimed wallflowers agree to work together to find each of them husbands. Annabelle is first. She’s both confident and beautiful, but doesn’t have a dowry. With her family going over the waterfall of financial ruin, Annabelle’s only hope is find a rich husband. She’s got her eye set on one Earl, in particular. She has great chemistry with another man, the wealthy entrepreneur Simon Hunt. But unfortunately, she’s snobby enough to look down on him for not being a peer and he only wants her as his mistress, not his wife. This starts to change as fate, with some help from the other wallflowers, keep throwing them together. Come for the funny friendship scenes, stay for Annabelle and Simon’s witty banter and swoonworthy smooches. And get ready for the rest of this sweet series! 

If you like romance novels with animals and/or broody war heroes pick up Love in the Afternoon.

Love in the Afternoon is book 5 in the Hathaways series that follows different siblings from an eccentric English family. They are all delightful, but this is my favorite (of the series and of all of Lisa Kleypas’s novels). Beatrix Hathaway is the baby of the family and perhaps the most unconventional. She’s a “classic beauty” but loves the outdoors and animals more than balls or sewing in sitting rooms. She’s long given up on the idea of falling in love. But then Captain Christopher Phelan comes home from battle. He was engaged to her best friend, Pru, but Beatrix has been the one writing letters under Pru’s name to him throughout the war. He’s a changed man, determined to find the woman he’s fallen in love with through letters. This story is a bit darker than some of Kleypas’s other novels, but it handles Christopher’s trauma with so much sensitivity. And Beatrix’s animal companions add some much-needed moments of levity and humor. 

If you love when heroines have super specific interests and a desire to be independent read Devil in Spring.

Other than the Hathaways, Lisa Kleypas has one other big family series – the Ravenels. Unlike other proper young ladies, Pandora Ravenel has no interest in finding a husband. Instead, she wasn’t to create a new board game business. However, after she’s accidentally compromised she finds herself with two options: marriage or scandal. Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent has avoided marriage for years. But he becomes determined to win Pandora over and suggests a marriage of convenience where she can continue with her business pursuits. She agrees not knowing he plans to use the convenience of living together to turn their marriage into one with intimacy and passion. And both become surprised by the depth of their feelings that grow, especially when Pandora’s business adversaries put the pair in danger. 

If you enjoy reading about shy heroines and roguish heroes find Devil in Winter

Despite having a similar title to the Ravenel novel, this is the third book in the previously mentioned Wallflower series. When I texted two friends who also love Lisa Kleypas they both enthusiastically called Devil in Winter their favorite. I’m embarrassed to admit I hadn’t read it yet, but quickly downloaded it on my Kindle. And I see why it is so beloved. Evangeline is the quietest, shyest friend in the Wallflowers. And she’s about to become very wealthy when her inheritance arrives. To gain independence and keep the money away from her shady relatives, she must marry. So, she approaches Sebastian, a viscount with a scandalous reputation with a proposal. But one of her conditions is no lovemaking after their wedding night. This is a romance novel – and a Lisa Kleypas one at that — so I’ll let you all imagine how long this arrangement lasts. 

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9 thoughts on “Starter Guide: 5 Lisa Kleypas Regency Romances to Begin With”

  1. I’ve read all of these and many others of Lisa Kleypas’s; and I’ve enjoyed them all. But my favourite has to be Devil in Winter! I love the relationship between Sebastian and Evangeline. And I was also very happy to get a bit of them in Devil in Spring. I also adores the Ravenels’ stories.

  2. Denise Dagenais

    I just finished reading Again the Magic. took me 6 hours to read lived it and its soo my style of books. but looking forward to reading many more.

  3. ernice Schiro

    lisa kleypas wallflowers series the absolute best ,my favorite is devil in winter i love sebastian and evie, also then read devil in spring its their son then devils daughter their daughter ,but first read cold hearted rake to begin the ravenal series !!!!i have read just about all her books ,shes my favorite author, and i reread them every couple mknths

  4. Binnie Syril Braunstein

    The first Kleypas novel I ever read was Devil in Winter. I then began reading every othe book (and novella) she had written. Loved the series that were cited. The connection between Devil in Winter and Devil in Spring was neat. BTW – Kleypas also writes contemporary romance. I highly recommend her Travis Family series.

  5. DEVIL IN SPRING is my most favorite Lisa Kleypas and romance book! This story brought me so much JOY in angsty 2020. It’s basically a tale of two people who were happily tripping along living their own lives … then accidentally met and GAME OVER. They didn’t need each other, they wanted each other. I adored the heroine Pandora with her ADHD, Gabriel’s strategic courtship of her, and the wit and chemistry between them … SIGH …
    Oh, and, of course, Pandora’s pirate-like, uninhibited approach to kissing and intimacy was both entertaining and admirable.

  6. Michael ransom

    Yes I love the wallflower series followed by the Ravenels series but do start with AGAIN THE MAGIC. It starts the wallflower series thats leads to other great books

  7. She is my favorite romance writer, the best there is for witty dialogue. I love the Hathaway series, a family headed by a gypsy. I frankly get upset when I see lists of “bests” in romance and Kleypas is excluded. She faithfully respects the restraints of the Regency period but introduces modern sensibilities.

    1. Sallie Henshaw

      Devil in Winter is my favorite of hers too. I have the whole Wallflower series as audiobooks, and I relisten to it all the time. I’ve been slowly reading the rest of her books as they become available on my library app, and they’re just so fun. I really love the humor she brings to her books

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