Merry (and not so merry widows): A guest post by Megan Mulry

In my latest book, Encore, both of the main characters are widowed, so I became fascinated with all sorts of ideas about loss and redemption and second chances while I was writing it. I also love reading about widowed characters, because it provides such a rich backstory—did they love their dead spouse? Hate them? Kill them? Here are a few of my personal favorites, followed by a great list of suggestions from other readers and writers:

A Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh – OMG this book! The heroine was 19 when she married a much older man. She is widowed and so completely tormented by this Really Terrible Thing she did when she was a younger woman. Classic Balogh angst and passion ensues. The hero, Edgar, is one of my favorite stand-up-guy Dudley Do-Right heroes ever. His goodness never seems cloying or self-motivated—and he’s a powerhouse in the sack. (And when he lets the heroine take the lead in bed? Ohmygodgoreadthisbook.)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Well, I guess this sort of pushes the boundaries of widower for most of the book, but EVENTUALLY he’s a widow, amirite? I suppose I try to shove Jane Eyre into every discussion because, well, she’s simply the best. Jane is one of my favorite characters in all of literature because her goodness is never dogmatic. She just IS good. But also questioning and desperate and hopeful, and just so damned human. I love how these two bring each other to life in such completely different ways.

The Preacher’s Promise by Piper Huguley – Loved the quiet strong widower in this one (and the frisky schoolteacher who comes from the north to throw his world into turmoil). Huguley is so great at creating a sense of time/place—I could practically taste the dust in my mouth—as well as characters who felt so real I wanted to go to this town to meet them.

Seduction by Amanda Quick – The Devil! My palms got tingly just re-reading the synopsis of this over on Goodreads. I think I need a re-read soon.

When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn – by far my favorite Bridgerton—probably because it was the steamiest.


And now from our intrepid scouts in the field (i.e. Twitter), here are a slew of other recommendations!

Maureen ‏@handsfullmama – Patricia (Meg) Cabot Kiss the Bride.

KJ Charles ‏@kj_charles  – The Salisbury Key by Harper Fox has a brilliantly done just-bereaved hero whose lover killed self. And, in het A Dream Defiant, Susannah Fraser – widow and one of very few black Regency heroes I’ve seen.

Olivia Waite ‏@O_Waite – Heroine of Rose Lerner’s first Lively St. Lemeston book, Sweet Disorder, is a widow and I know she’ll have other recs!

Theresa Romain ‏@TheresaRomain – Loretta Chase’s Lord Perfect (Benedict Carsington) is a widower, I think. Also, heroine of Kristan Higgins’s contemp The Next Best Thing is a widow and I luuuurve her. It is one of my favorite romances ever. Somehow makes me both laugh and uglycry.

Thanks so much for having me at AAR!

IMG_9757Megan Mulry writes sexy, stylish, romantic fiction. Her first book, A Royal Pain, was an NPR Best Book of 2012 and USA Today bestseller. Before discovering her passion for romance novels, she worked in magazine publishing and finance. After many years in New York, Boston, London, and Chicago, she now lives with her family in Florida. Her latest book is Encore.


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03/11/2016 5:44 pm

Candice Hern has a great (Merry Widows) series starting with , “”In the Thrill of the Night””.

Tory Ferrera
Tory Ferrera
03/07/2016 3:29 pm

What a lovely topic for a blog/article! I saw all my favorite titles on that theme mentioned and got some great recommendations for new reads. Thank you!

03/02/2016 11:26 pm

Mary Stewart’s “”Madam, Will You Talk”” would be my hands-down, all-time favorite for widows. Widowers are more common (especially in Gothics), so don’t stand out as much for me. One that I do recall really liking was “”The Tiger’s Woman”” by Celeste deBlasis.

03/02/2016 7:04 pm

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley
Lady Sophia’s Lover by Lisa Kleypas
The Gamble by LaVyrle Spencer

The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins

03/02/2016 6:51 pm

More widows:
Mary Balogh, “”A Certain Magic””
Mary Balogh, “”Irresistible””
Mary Balogh, “”The Last Waltz””
Mary Balogh, “”Tempting Harriet””
Cecilia Grant, “”A Lady Awakened””

What I like about the books I’ve listed is that the heroine’s widowhood plays an important role in their character and her relationships — it is not done simply as a means for a 21st C author to allow her Regency heroine to have sex with the hero.

03/02/2016 6:35 pm

Duke of Sin by Adele Ashworth
Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh
Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh
Knave’s Wager by Loretta Chase
Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase
Where the Wind Blows by Caroline Fyffe
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
The Last Renegade by Jo Goodman
A Taste of Heaven by Alexis Harrington
A Rogue in Texas by Lorraine Heath
Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt
Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt
To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt
Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt
Black Silk by Judy Cuevas/Judith Ivory
Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory
Taming of the Duke by Eloisa James
Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi
Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer
His Secondhand Wife by Cheryl St John
The Tenderfoot Bride by Cheryl St John
The Lone Texan by Jodi Thomas
Two Texas Hearts by Jodi Thomas
When a Texan Gambles by Jodi Thomas

03/02/2016 11:58 am

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas
Married for Christmas by Noelle Adams (widower)
Tempting Harriet by Mary Balogh
The Golden Touch by Sharon and Tom Curtis
Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee
Loving Evangeline by Linda Howard
Make Me Yours by Betina Krahn
Secret Admirer by Susan Napier
Madam, Will You Talk by Mary Stewart
Undone by His Touch by Annie West
Rio Grande Wedding by Ruth Wind
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (widower)
Till Next We Meet by Karen Ranney
Without Words by Ellen O’Connell
An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser
Luring Lucy by Lori Foster

Dabney Grinnan
Dabney Grinnan
Reply to  Paola
03/02/2016 2:16 pm

Till Next We Meet is such a great book! Thanks for reminding me of it!

03/02/2016 9:39 am

Yes, Jane Eyre was an upstanding character, even though she had to go through a LOT to get to her happy ever after.

Dabney Grinnan
Dabney Grinnan
03/02/2016 9:24 am

I love this plot line.

Some other second chance for widows and widower stories I adore:

Julia Quinn’s The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever.

Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s Dream a Little Dream.

Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie.

Julie Anne Long’s What I Did for a Duke.

Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Raven Prince.

Lorraine Heath’s Between the Devil and Desire.