The Winsor Top Sixteen

Okay, so it’s no longer October 16th. But some of us tend to be a little behind the times (two hundred years behind the times, for the most part, so if I’m only five days late, I feel I’m doing well). There’s been a flurry of activity across the Web as bloggers list their top sixteen romance novels in honor of the birthday of Kathleen Winsor, author of Forever Amber, on October 16th. You can find a sampling of the lists on Romantic Times and Racy Romance Reviews.

Since I’m writing this in rather a hurry, mine are in no particular order (and some might have been either promoted or demoted had there been more time for reflection). They may not all be shelved in the romance section, but what they do have in common is a strong emotional impact and the power to keep me up reading until the wee hours of the morning.

So with all the caveats out of the way, here’s my List Of the Moment:

Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Trade Wind, by M.M. Kaye
Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery
The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley
Almost Heaven, by Judith McNaught
The Nonesuch, by Georgette Heyer
Evelina, by Fanny Burney
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Nine Coaches Waiting, by Mary Stewart
Secrets of a Summer Night, by Lisa Kleypas
Royal Passion, by Jennifer Blake
A Company of Swans, by Eva Ibbotsen
Through a Glass Darkly, by Karleen Koen
Paradise, by Judith McNaught
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith

What are your top sixteen?


  1. Victoria Janssen on October 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Yay, another Ibbotson fan!

  2. Jessica on October 21, 2009 at 2:24 pm


    Thank you for participating. You know, Paradise was on my draft list, and I took it off.

    It has been really fun to see what everyone has chosen. Opened my eyes to many new authors and titles.

    And you might be interested to know that a perusal of the many lists out there suggests a preponderance of historical romance titles. Now sure why, but it is interesting.


  3. Chartreuse on October 21, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    -Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
    -Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase
    -Gaudy Night, by Dorothy L. Sayers
    -The Crocodile on the Sandbank, by Elizabeth Peters
    -The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, by Lauren Willig
    -Persuasion, by Jane Austen
    -A Summer to Remember, by Mary Balogh
    -Mr. Impossible, by Loretta Chase
    -The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, by Lauren Willig
    -The Defiant Hero, by Suzanne Brockmann
    -Devil’s Bride, by Stephanie Laurens
    -How to Marry a Marquis, by Julia Quinn
    -As You Desire, by Connie Brockway
    -The Viscount Who Loved Me, by Julia Quinn
    -Slightly Dangerous, by Mary Balogh
    -Miss Jacobson’s Journey, by Carola Dunn

  4. Liz on October 21, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    -Mask of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig
    -Sex, Murder and a Double Latte by Kyra Davis
    -The Oracle Glass by Judith Merkle Riley
    -Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer
    -Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
    -Daughter of the Game by Tracey Grant
    -Shadow of the Moon by MM Kaye
    -Broken Vessel by Kate Ross
    -Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig
    -Trade Wind by MM Kaye
    -Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
    -And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander
    -Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer
    -My Husband’s Sweethearts by Bridget Asher
    -The Awakening by Kate Chopin
    -Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
    -Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas
    -The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

    I know I have some repeat authors, but they’re so addictive!!

  5. Loramir on October 21, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Nice to see some love for Persuasion 🙂 It’s often neglected in the shadow of P&P. Also Robin McKinley! Her books would probably make up my entire top 16. If anybody enjoys authors’ blogs, hers is a great one (

  6. Cho on October 22, 2009 at 9:18 am

    In no particular order…

    ~Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

    ~Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

    ~Crown Duel/Court Duel, by Sherwood Smith

    ~What Happens in London, by Julia Quinn

    ~Secret for a Nightingale, by Victoria Holt

    ~Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte (because it so counts!)

    ~the Anne of Green Gables series, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

    ~The Secret History of the Pink Carnation series, by Lauren Willig

    ~Everything and the Moon, by Julia Quinn

    ~Beauty Sleep, by Cameron Dokey

    ~Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean

    ~Sorcery and Cecelia series, by Caroline Stervermer & Patricia C. Wrede

    ~the Betsy series, by Maud Hart Lovelace (romance when she’s older, so it still counts!)

    ~Beauty, by Robin McKinley

    ~The Hollow Kingdom series, by Clare B. Dunkle

    ~Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier

    I have tons of other favorite romances and books, however, so this is a very small sampling 😉

  7. Debra Callaway on October 22, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Only 16? How can I limit it to so few? I really enjoyed Forever Amber and with your 5 so far and Gone With the Wind, Johanna Lindsey’ 9 Malory novels, Jillian Hunter’s 5 Boscastles and the Angelique series by Anne Golon as well as Nora Robert’s Chesapeake Bay 4 as only a few of the romance novels I have read over and over again. How could I choose?

  8. Claire on October 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I love A Company of Swans! One of my all time favorites.

    I can’t limit my list to sixteen, so I won’t try!

  9. Sheila on October 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    So many great books–I tend to go for authors, esp those who write in series. The Pink books, of course. The Golden Chronicles by Patricia veryan, especially Cherished
    Enemy. Anything by Marion Chesney.These Old Shades, by Georgette Heyer: my intro to romance, and still a super read. GWTW, as we call it here in Georgia. Rebecca, by DuMaurier.Dragonfly in Amber, by Gabaldon. These would total more than 16. Now I have to find some of the others you all have listed, What fun…anything to fill in the time till Blood Lily comes out….

  10. Catherine L. on October 24, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Hard to narrow down but here are some that have to make the cut for me:

    1.) Seduction of the Crimson Rose – Lauren Willig
    2.) The Secret History of the Pink Carnation – Lauren Willig
    3.) The Deception of the Emerald Ring – Lauren Willig
    4.) Slightly Tempted – Mary Balogh
    5.) Duchess By Night – Eloisa James
    6.) What Happens in London – Julia Quinn
    7.) The Viscount Who Loved Me – Julia Quinn
    8.) First Comes Marriage – Mary Balogh
    9.) This Duchess of Mine – Eloisa James
    10.) How to Marry a Marquis – Julia Quinn
    11.) The Scarlet Pimpernel (series)- Orczy
    12.) Persuasion – Austen
    13.) Northhanger Abbey – Austen
    14.) Sense & Sensibility – Austen
    15.) Much Ado About Nothing – Shakespeare
    16.) All remaining Lauren Willig & Eloisa James Novels.

    I tried to throw in as many specific beloved books as I could. Plus I threw in the names of a couple of Authors who, whenever I come across something I haven’t yet read from them, will purchase the publication in a heartbeat, confident that I will love it!

  11. Susan Taylor on October 28, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    No one mentioned “Katherine” by Anya Seton or “Desiree” by Ann Marie Selinko–two of my absolute favorites!

    And “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger is an amazing romance–quirky and modern.

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