The best historical romance books featuring shy heroines

Written by Silke, updated 07 Aug 2023

There is more than meets the eye... Do you love romance books where the quiet and unassuming girl gets the guy? We have put together a list of the best romantic and erotic fiction books that feature shy heroines in historical settings.

  • #1 The Devil in Winter (The Wallflowers, #3) - Lisa Kleypas

    The Devil in Winter (The Wallflowers, #3) - Lisa Kleypas

    regency historical abuse bad boys enemies to lovers

    Four young ladies enter London society and band together to each find a husband. Has the third "Wallflower" now met her match?

    A Devil's Bargain

    Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

    Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name.. more

  • #2 Saving Grace - Julie Garwood

    Saving Grace - Julie Garwood

    historical abuse alpha male arranged/forced marriage regency

    When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she possessed a strength of will that impressed all who looked past her golden-haired beauty. Yet when King John demanded that she remarry and selected a bridegroom for her—it seemed she must acquiesce, until her beloved foster brother suggested she wed his friend, the handsome Scottish warrior Gabriel MacBain.

    At first Johanna was shy, but as Gabriel tenderly revealed the splendid pleasures they would share, she came to suspect that she was falling in love with her gruff new husband.. more

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  • #3 Honor's Splendour - Julie Garwood

    Honor's Splendour - Julie Garwood

    historical pregnancy enemies to lovers regency highlander

    In the feuding English court, gentle Lady Madelyne suffered the cruel whims of her ruthless brother, Baron Louddon. Then, in vengeance for a bitter crime, Baron Duncan of Wexton—the Wolf—unleashed his warriors against Louddon's main. Exquisite Madelyne was the prize he catured...but when he gazed upon the proud beauty, he pledged to protect her with his life. In his rough-hewn castle, Duncan proved true to his honor. But when at last their noble passion conquered them both, she surrendered with all her soul. Now, for love, Madelyne would stand bravely as her Lord, the powerful Wolf who fought for... Honor's Splendour.. more

  • #4 Guilty Pleasures (Guilty Series) - Laura Lee Guhrke

    Guilty Pleasures (Guilty Series) - Laura Lee Guhrke

    western historical tortured hero shy heroine virgin heroine

    For prim and shy Daphne Wade, the sweetest guilty pleasure of all is secretly watching her employer, the Duke of Tremore, as he works the excavation site on his English estate. Anthony hired Daphne to restore the priceless treasures he has been digging up, but it's hard for a woman to keep her mind on her work when her devastatingly handsome employer keeps taking his shirt off.. more

  • #5 An English Bride in Scotland - Lynsay Sands

    An English Bride in Scotland - Lynsay Sands

    historical shy heroine arranged/forced marriage virgin heroine marriage of convenience

    The first in a new historical series set in the Highlands of Scotland, from Lynsay Sands, the New York Times bestselling author of the Argeneau vampire series and countless historical romances.. more

  • #6 Lady Gallant - Suzanne Robinson

    Lady Gallant - Suzanne Robinson

    historical tortured heroine bad boys regency mystery


    The ladies of the palace called Nora Becket "mouse." But beneath her shy, artless ways hid the heart of a lioness. A daring spy in Queen Mary's court, she risked her life to rescue the innocent from a terrible fate. Yet it was Nora who needed rescuing when cutthroats attacked her--and when Christian de Rivers, a lusty, sword-wielding rogue, swept her out of harm's way ... and into his arms.


    As magnificent and mesmerizing as a hawk, Christian both frightened and excited Nora, even as he pursued her with a single-minded passion that left her longing to be caught.. more

  • #7 Romancing Mister Bridgerton - Julia Quinn

    Romancing Mister Bridgerton - Julia Quinn

    regency historical victorian mystery virgin heroine

    Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend's brother for... well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret... and fears she doesn't know him at all.

    Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone's preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can't seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph.. more

  • #8 Promises Prevail - Sarah McCarty

    Promises Prevail - Sarah McCarty

    erotic romance historical curvy heroine possessive hero marriage of convenience

    Wyoming Territory 1870 Widowed and barren, Jenna sees the newborn left on her doorstep as a priceless gift worthy of any sacrifice. She knows she'll need a husband to keep the baby, but nothing prepares her for the man who offers. Big and dark, simmering with a deadly intensity, Clint McKinnely could put fear into the devil. He certainly strikes fear into her. But Jenna soon discovers that the man behind the reputation is the one man she longs to trust. A hard man burned out by the choices he's made, Clint is looking for a reason to go on. He finds one in Jenna Hennessy. Lushly plump, sweet and shy, she calls to him on every level.. more

  • #9 The Sheriff and the Innocent Housekeeper - Lynda Chance

    The Sheriff and the Innocent Housekeeper - Lynda Chance

    western historical shy heroine men in uniform age gap

    When Becky Hamilton is orphaned at the tender age of fourteen, she comes to live with her aunt in Waco and begins work cooking and cleaning for the town’s brooding young sheriff. Mesmerized immediately with his raw masculinity and sinewy strength, her fascination turns to love as the years pass and his honest integrity is revealed.

    Jake Cooper manages to ignore his pretty, little orphaned housekeeper for three long years. But when she begins a subtle metamorphosis from girl to woman, he can’t control his consuming need for her any longer.. more

  • #10 Lord Of Danger - Anne Stuart

    Lord Of Danger - Anne Stuart

    regency historical tortured hero curvy heroine dark romance

    Half-sister to Richard the Fair, Alys has been schooled in the sheltered ways of the convent, far from the treachery and intrigue of castle life. Until she is taken from the cloister and brought to a place filled with secrets. Here she is to meet her future husband, a man some call a monster. His name is Simon of Navarre, a powerful and mysterious lord practiced in the black arts. This sensual stranger both terrifies her and fascinates her...and sets her heart burning with an unfamiliar fire.

    Jaded by war, no longer able to believe in human goodness, Simon has turned toward the realm of darkness.. more

  • #11 The Dark Highlander - Karen Marie Moning

    The Dark Highlander - Karen Marie Moning

    fantasy time travel historical paranormal tortured hero

    "I am Dageus MacKeltar, a man with one good conscience and thirteen bad ones, driven to sate my darkest desires...
    "From his penthouse lair high above Manhattan, Dageus looks out over a glittering city that calls to the darkness within him. A sixteenth-century Scot trapped between worlds, he is fighting a losing battle with the thirteen Druids who possess his soul, dooming him to an eternity of sexual pursuit. When Chloe Zanders, student of antiquities, is drawn into his world, she finds the insatiable alpha male an irresistible lure.Before long, she is caught up in an ancient prophecy that will sweep her back into time to medieval Scotland.. more

  • #12 Ransom (Highlands' Lairds #2) - Julie Garwood

    Ransom (Highlands' Lairds #2) - Julie Garwood

    historical strong heroine possessive hero mystery virgin heroine

    In the dark days after the death of Richard the Lionhearted, lives and lands would fall into upheaval at the hands of a power-hungry British ruler and his violent minions. One victim of the scourge is innocent Gillian, who is a mere child when the cruel and ambitious Baron Alford slaughters her father and tears her family apart. Alford, determined to recover a jeweled box for the despotic King John, is furious when the precious treasure slips through his fingers—only to be lost for more than a decade.

    Now a beautiful young woman, Gillian finds the key to resolving her past in handsome Scottish chieftains Ramsey Sinclair and Brodick Buchanan.. more

  • #13 Never Seduce a Scot - Maya Banks

    Never Seduce a Scot - Maya Banks

    historical medieval arranged/forced marriage enemies to lovers marriage of convenience

    Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but outsiders consider her “touched.” Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn’t speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Content with her life of seclusion, Eveline has taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft. But when an arranged marriage into a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, Eveline accepts her duty—unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful that his new bride can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled that he stirs her deepest passions.. more

  • #14 Annie's Song - Catherine Anderson

    Annie's Song - Catherine Anderson

    historical cowboys virgin heroine arranged/forced marriage abuse

    Annie Trimble lives in a solitary world that no one enters or understands. As delicate and beautiful as the tender blossoms of the Oregon spring, she is shunned by a town that misinterprets her affliction. But cruelty cannot destroy the love Annie holds in her heart.

    Alex Montgomery is horrified to learn his wild younger brother forced himself on a helpless "idiot girl." Tormented by guilt, Alex agrees to marry her and raise the babe she carries as his own. But he never dreams he will grow to cherish his lovely, mute, and misjudged Annie; her childlike innocence, her womanly charms and the wondrous way she views her world.. more

  • #15 Silver Lining - Maggie Osborne

    Silver Lining - Maggie Osborne

    western historical erotic romance cheating strong heroine

    As scruffy and rootless as the other prospectors searching for gold in the Rockies, Low Down wanted nothing in return for nursing a raggedy bunch through the pox. But when pressed to reveal her heart's wish, she admits, "I want a baby." Not a husband, not a forced marriage to the proud man who drew the scratched marble and became honor bound to marry her. To be sure, Max McCord was easy on the eyes, but he loved another woman and dreamed of a different life. Yet they agreed to a temporary marriage that could end only in disaster.. more

  • #16 The Masquerade - Brenda Joyce

    The Masquerade - Brenda Joyce

    possessive hero virgin heroine regency historical shy heroine

    On the evening of her first masquerade, shy Elizabeth Anne Fitzgerald is stunned by Tyrell de Warenne's whispered suggestion of a midnight rendezvous in the gardens. Lizzie has secretly worshiped the unattainable lord for years. When fortune takes a maddening turn, she is prevented from meeting Tyrell. But Lizzie cannot foresee that that night is only the beginning ...

    Tyrell de Warenne is shocked when, two years later, Lizzie arrives on his doorstep with a child she claims is his. He remembers her well --- and knows that he could not possible be the father. What is this game she is playing. more

  • #17 The Chieftain - Margaret Mallory

    The Chieftain - Margaret Mallory

    historical suspense alpha male medieval highlander

    Connor, chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat, holds the fate of his people in his hands. Rival clans are plotting to take over his lands, and duty determines whom he will fight, trust . . . even marry. Seeking guidance, Connor turns to Ilysa, a young lass with the gift of foresight, who reveals an approaching danger-and a passion that burns only for him. But the warrior must make a powerful marriage alliance, and Ilysa's bloodline is far too humble.

    With her powers to heal and see evil where others cannot, beautiful Ilysa dresses plainly, speaks softly, and loves her chieftain from afar.. more

  • #18 When a Scot Ties the Knot - Tessa Dare

    When a Scot Ties the Knot - Tessa Dare

    regency historical highlander shy heroine virgin heroine

    On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

    A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.. more

  • #19 To Wed in Texas - Jodi Thomas

    To Wed in Texas - Jodi Thomas

    historical cowboys marriage of convenience plain heroine western

    Reverend Daniel McLain desperately needs help in bringing guidance and peace to the mid-19th-century Western town of Jefferson, Tex., and with twin toddlers running him ragged, he can't get focused. He appeals to his late wife's family and expects the assistance of an elderly aunt. Instead, poor family relation and spinster Karlee Whitworth arrives. Although Karlee only adds to the chaos of the household and can't even boil water, she is wonderful with Daniel's daughters, so he asks her to stay.. more

  • #20 To Kiss In the Shadows - Lynn Kurland

    To Kiss In the Shadows - Lynn Kurland

    historical paranormal medieval fantasy shy heroine

    Lianna of Grasleigh spends all her days weaving tapestries of dragons and shadows, avoiding the intrigues of court, and trying desperately with needle and thread to recapture the beauty she has lost. She dreams of a fearless knight to rescue her from the king's stern wardship...

    Jason of Artane is determined to leave his past behind and pursue a noble quest, but his plans take a different turn when he crosses paths with a mysterious young woman. His life changes when he see her true self and pulls her out of the shadows and into his heart. more