If You Like….
April 10th, 2012

Apologies! The dog ate my homework– or, in this case, the computer ate my “If You Like” post. This is a reconstruction of the post that was supposed to have gone up yesterday. Sadly, the internet gremlins ate it, so this is what I remember of it.

Lora wanted to know about romances set in the 1920s or around World War II. They’re surprisingly elusive, but if you look hard enough you can find….

— Eva Ibbotsen’s canon. We can quibble over whether her books are romance or YA (I’d put them in the former category), but, either way, they’re wonderful and they cover that entire stretch of time. There’s A Company of Swans, set just before World War I; A Countess Below Stairs, set after World War I; and The Morning Gift, set during World War II (warning: this one will make you cry!).

— L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside. Once again, we’re in YA territory (as well as World War I Canada), but I defy you not to go all goosebump-y when Ken calls Rilla “Rilla-MY-Rilla”.

— Paullina Simons’ The Bronze Horseman, set in Russia during World War II.

— Susan Isaacs’s Shining Through, about a spunky secretary undercover in World War II Berlin. (This book was the major inspiration for my Orchid Affair.)

— For oldies but goodies, there are Jude Deveraux’s The Awakening (1920s) and The Princess (World War II).

— LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory is also World War II era.

Do you have any other 1914-1945 set romances to recommend?



14 Responses to “If You Like….”

  1. Georgia says:

    “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day”is not a romance, but it is very sweet. There are two (not-romance) series I like set in that time frame, Rhys Bowen’s hillarious Her Royal Spyness mysteries, and Maisie Dobbs. And there is the classic and ever unfolding “A Dance to the Music of Time” that reflects so much of the time.

  2. Ooh, there’s basically the entire Emilie Loring oeuvre. At least 15 of her books are set during WW2, and another 15 between the wars.

    But they’re SO cheesy…read with caution. Some are good, some are most definitely not.

  3. Caroline says:

    On the family saga (with a hefty dose of romance thrown in) side is Penny Vincenzi’s “Spoils of Time” series. There are three books starting with “No Angel” which is turn of the century England (covering WWI), then “Something Dangerous” that goes through WWII and slightly beyond, and finally “Into Temptation” that ends in the 1960s. It’s a great series!

  4. Also — the latter part of Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series falls during WW1 and WW2. Books 5-7 fall in that era, but I’d recommend going back to Dawn’s Early Light. It starts at the Revolutionary War and so you can follow the family through all the generations!

  5. Joanne M. says:

    I would add The Blue Castle with the other L. M. Montgomery book you have listed. :)

  6. Susan w. cox says:

    It’s been years since I read it, but I think Susan Howatch’s “Penmarric” is set in that time period.

  7. Loramir says:

    Thanks for taking my suggestion! I’ve read some LM Montgomery (I adore the first 3 or so Anne books, but always start to lose interest after that) but never read Rilla of Ingleside. I’ve been meaning to check out Eva Ibbotsen too – YA is fine with me!

    My own recommendation is a book I grabbed mostly at random from the library once, Anthony Capella’s The Wedding Officer. It’s not strictly romance, but it’s a great story that takes place in WII Naples.

    I love regency romances, but I wish more “mainstream” romance writers would realize there ARE other equally, if not MORE, interesting eras of history out there.

  8. jeffrey says:

    I finally got around to reading Rilla of Ingleside, to finish out the entire Anne of Green Gables series.

    L.M. Montgomery is simply one of my all-time favorite authors and the story is a roller-coaster of feelings from extreme despair to exalted joy.

    Nobody manipulates the reader’s emotions quite like L.M. Montgomery except possibly Louisa May Alcott.

    You’d have to have a stone-cold heart not to fall in love with Rilla!

  9. Pat says:

    Okay, here are some of my favorites for that post WWI era. . Both the Joe Sandilands and the Laetitia Talbot series by Barbara Cleverly. Love them.
    The Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd.Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver series. Suzanne Arruda’s Jade Del Cameron series. These are all mystery series, some are light, some with romance, all worth reading if that time period fascinates you as much as it does me. I did not list goodies such as Maisie Dobbs or Her Royal Spyness since they’ve been recommended already.

  10. Sarah says:

    I absolutely loveed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which is set during WWII. It isn’t strictly a romance, but it’s in there. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it being written in the form of letters, but it works somehow.

  11. SusanN says:

    The captcha code (or Lauren’s “dog”) ate my first comment, so I’m trying again–in abbreviated fashion.

    Maybe Lynne Sheene’s The Last Time I Saw Paris or Rosalind Laker’s This Shining Land.

    Otherwise, I’m drawing a blank on true WW2 romance novels. Plenty of war/espionage novels w/ romance elements (Waugh, Wouk, Shute, Myrer, McEwan, Jones, etc.) For the espionage types, there’s always Helen McInnes (Above Suspicion, While Still We Live).

    BTW, if anyone’s put off reading Isaac’s Shining Through based on bad memories from the movie, please give it a chance.

  12. Olivia says:

    Don’t forget Ibbotson’s “A Song For Summer” that takes place in the 40’s

    I just finished and LOVED “The Haunting of Maddy Clare” by Simone St. James. So wonderful!!

  13. Am7 says:

    If you recommend Rilla, you really need to recommend Rainbow Valley where you are introduced to most of the characters in Rilla. (Plus its adorable and wonderful in its own respect)
    Also Nancy Mitford
    and I Capture the Castle
    maybe also Georgette Heyer’s mysteries
    and some Agatha Christie

  14. Diane H. says:

    I come VERY late, but here are some I enjoyed:
    Sarah Harrison’s The Flowers of the Field (WWI) and a Flower That’s Free (tween wars) – she has a third coming August 2014 to round it out – The Wildflower Path.
    Phillip Rock’s trilogy from 1914 to the Jazz Age: The Passing Bells, Circles of Time and A a future Arrived.
    Virginia Coffman’s Veronique (French Revolution)
    Velda Johnston’s The House on the Left Bank (1870 Paris)
    Connie Willis’ time travel books:
    Black Out & All Clear (WWII & present day Oxford – not our present day, but sometime in the future).


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