Giveaways,  Reading,  Regency

Conversion Kit

Risky Regencies Blog Party! Comment on this post to get the chance to win a copy of Megan Frampton’s A Singular Lady. And don’t forget to enter the Treasure Hunt, too!

It’s a question that comes up over and over again on romance reader message boards, at booksignings, anywhere romance readers are likely to get into discussion: If you could choose just one book for a non-romance reader to read, which one would it be?

So I pose the question to you, only more specifically: If you could pick just one Regency romance to give to an interested, non-romance reading friend, which one would it be? And why?

Would it be Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen? Do you think Austen is ‘cheating’ since it’s a literary classic? Or would you dig out The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer from your keeper pile?
Perhaps you’d press a copy of Flowers From The Storm by Laura Kinsale into her hands (preferably the new un-Fabio edition). Or maybe you’d withdraw a Carla Kelly from the rare book vault, maybe Reforming Lord Ragsdale (my favorite) or Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand, but only if your friend handed over some stocks or the deed to her house to make sure she’d return them.

Since I’m writing this, and don’t have to choose just one, I’d pick either Mary Balogh’s The Notorious Rake or Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. Both are filled with passion, incredible, compelling characters, a believable, deep romance and page-turning drama.

So . . . what’s your pick? And why? And have you ever done it, and with what success?

Thanks for playing!


P.S. Don’t forget you can still comment on any of the previous posts this week to win books by other Risky Regencies. Also, be sure to enter the Treasure Hunt for the Grand Prize!

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16 years ago

For me it would be MJP’s Shattered Rainbows. It’s such a powerful story and so full of period detail. But I might sneak P&P into the bag as well *vbg*.

Elena Greene
16 years ago

Shattered Rainbows is one of my favorite MJP’s, too. Along with The Rake and the Reformer (re-released as The Rake); I can never decide which I like better.

I like all your suggestions, too, Megan. I use different books based on whom I’m trying to convert.

Flowers for the Storm did the trick with my ski buddy, who is now reading some of the other authors I’ve recommended.

Elena 🙂

16 years ago

This issue actually came up for me over Christmas, when I gave a friend Eloisa James’ Duchess in Love and Julia Quinn’s Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. (She really loved the JQ but hasn’t read Duchess in Love yet.)She is a huge Austen fan though, so I feel sure she’ll be one of us soon:)

If I were trying to hook someone on trads (or riskies) I’d give them Mary Balogh’s The Famous Heroine or Jo Beverly’s Emily and the Dark Angel or Dierdre and Don Juan. My sister and I still talk about the Daffodil Dandy as if he were a real person….

16 years ago

I agree with Elena. It depends upon the person you’re going to introduce to Regency Romance.

I will say, however, that my most spectacular success in this area did involve Lord of Scoundrels. The friend to whom I gave this book, now haunts bookstores (new, since she lives in NYC and there don’t seem to be any romance friendly UBSs there), reads Regency historicals voraciously and has included traditional regencies in her diet (to cleanse her palate, she says).

I’m thinking about loaning Mr. Impossible to another interested friend.

Thanks for question, Megan. And thanks, Loretta, for the books.

Cara King
16 years ago

When I was first dating this guy I really liked, I told him he’d have to read some Regency romances so he could understand what I wrote. I gave him Joan Smith’s “Sweet and Twenty,” Sheila Simonson’s “Lady Elizabeth’s Comet,” a Heyer (I suspect “Venetia,” but I’m not sure), and a Kasey Michaels (one with a mystery, though I don’t recall which one.)

He didn’t like the Michaels — he found the mystery too easy to solve, thus ruining the whole story for him — but he loved the other three, and became an enthusiastic Regency reader.

So…reader, I married him. 🙂


Keira Soleore
16 years ago

I adore Mary Balogh’s books. I myself was enticed into reading Regencies with Mary Balogh, and I have successfully “converted” two of my friends into life-long Regency fans with MB.

So, my recommendation would be MB’s Simply Unforgettable. It’s the start of a new series, which means, that delicious impatient waiting for the arrival of the next book after devouring this one. And I cannot get Luscious, er, Lucius Marshall out of my mind, because Lucius and MacFadyen are inextricably linked in that major part of my brain reserved for Regencies.

Elena Greene
16 years ago

Cara, that is the best conversion story ever!
Elena 🙂

16 years ago

Why, I was once converted to reading Regencies by my girlfriend! What an amazing coincidence!

I must admit I’ve only given Regencies to non-romance readers a couple of times, but it was pretty successful both times. The first was LADY ELIZABETH’S COMET by Sheila Simonson, and the second was MY LADY GAMESTER by an author whose name escapes me at the moment.


16 years ago

Loretta Chase is one of my all time favorites. The person who could remain indifferent to Mr. Impossible must be made of steel.
Or for that matter to any of her works…

Cara and Todd,
Didn’t you meet on a game show called Who Wants to Marry Mr. Darcy?

mandacoll, who also loves Flowers from the Storm…

16 years ago

I’d give them Devil’s Bride by Stepanie Laurens. The book was a page turner for me and Devil and Honoria are the perfect couple. Actually, all of the Cynster men and their stories are memorable to me and ones I’d recommend to a friend.

Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

Hmmm, that’s what I need–a man who is convertible. 🙂 So tell us, Cara, where di you find Todd???

I have a non-romance reading friend I gave LORD OF SCOUNDRELS to once, and she thought it was boring!!! Heresy!!! 🙂

I agree that it’s important to take into account what they usually read, and try to match that taste with the right romance. Sometimes they just need to be taught that not all genre fiction is built the same…

16 years ago

Good point, Amanda. Just where does one find a convertible male, Cara? Where are they when they are lounging in their natural habitat? Do they look like other men or do they share certain characteristics that make them easy to spot? Inquiring minds want to know!

Cara King
16 years ago

Actually, I found him when we both were in a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” at Caltech. 🙂 He was very earnest — or at least, he was a very good Ernest — so I laid a trap for him, baited with Jane Austen and Sheila Simonson, and he fell into the trap.

Actually, doing plays at Caltech turned out to be a very good way for me to find someone suitable… I had thought of going into science, but went into writing… Todd had thought about going into writing, but had gone into science… And we both love the theater and are amateur actors. So I found a good place to locate smart, well-educated guys who have a creative/artistic side.


Kristie (J)
16 years ago

My choice would be Lisa Kleypas’s Dreaming of You. And soon I’m hoping Nicole, Cindy and Bam will agree with me

Pam P.
16 years ago

So hard to pick just one, if I have to, I’m in agreement with Lord of Scoundrels. I’m on a reader group and the majority convinced the few who hadn’t read it yet to do so – of course they loved it, though one person did not, so I will now tell her to read Mr. Impossible, like said above, how could you resist Rupert.

Almost every book mentioned is at the top of my alltime list; I debated about choosing as the one: Dreaming of You, The Rake and the Reformer and one not mentioned, Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory. I love those deeper, emotional and character-driven stories. For someone who really favors lighter books, definitely Mr. Impossible and Julia Quinn.

Pam P.
16 years ago

Cara, I agree – yours is the best conversion story.

16 years ago

Carla Kelly’s Summer Campaign was the traditional Regency that showed me what they could be like. No frivolous society or London ton in this book.

Instead, it’s got an illegitimate heroine, a wounded soldier hero, and the very real battle taking place at the hero’s home. It completely blew me away.

(Don’t consider me for this particular contest, because I already have this book.)

16 years ago

My choice would be different depending on the reader too. Most probably it would be a book by Mary Balogh, or Georgette Heyer or maybe “Then Came You” or “Dreaming of You” by Lisa Kleypas. Maybe it could be Lord of Scoundrels too, or “Winter Garden” by Adele Ashworth.

Cara King
16 years ago

When I am trying to convert a non-romance reader, I do tend to give different books than I do to readers of other kinds of romance. For instance, with non-romance readers I try to find books with interesting historical details, and not a lot of, er….hm, how to put this without seeming critical…without a lot of the traditional “romance” language.

I’d probably go the opposite way when trying to convert a contemp romance reader to Regencies!


16 years ago

I’d give them Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels because it is one of my favorite books.

16 years ago

The acid test for me is, did I like the book enough to give it to my sister to read. The Regency romances I have given to her have all been Mary Balogh. In fact, I just recently handed her Simply Unforgettable. So, I vote for that one.

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