Last update 16-September 2016.
I love reading academic studies of the romance genre. One of the most accessible is Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance.
A Natural History of the Romance Novel offers useful ways to look at the structure of romance novels.
The Woman’s Historical Novel: British Women Writers, 1900-2000 doesn’t go into genre Romance, but offers some useful historical background and critique.
Empowerment versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels features essays on various Romance sub-genres.
Women Constructing Men: Female Novelists and Their Male Characters, 1750-2000 looks at what is says on the tin: male characters written by women.
One of my main influences in the genre is romance writer Laura Kinsale, who has some of the most cracktastic–and emotionally compelling–books I’ve ever read.
Carla Kelly fostered my love of the so-called “beta hero,” sometimes known as the “nice guy.”
Jo Beverley is another consistent favorite author: A Most Unsuitable Man features class issues along with the romance, Christmas Angel is a truly excellent Marriage of Convenience novel, and Forbidden includes that rarity, a virgin hero.
Pam Rosenthal writes complex and sexy historicals:
Connie Brockway is just plain fun. I love her sense of humor.
Loretta Chase is an expert at witty banter.
This classic Chase novel mingles humor and deft twists on tropes of historical romance: Lord of Scoundrels
Meredith Duran is a newer favorite:
Sherry Thomas is a great prose stylist who also writes wonderful mysteries:
Elizabeth Hoyt has several series out now, but these were her first books: