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Customer Discussions > Romance forum

Looking for GREAT books that are not so steamy

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Showing 1-25 of 31 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 14, 2012 5:53:28 PM PDT
Chellb says:
What I'm looking for may be impossible to find, but I knew if anyone could help it would be you experts. I'm not looking for the Harlequin or whatever company's "Sweet Romance" line. Some of those are just not worth the time to read. I'm looking for your suggestions of what you think were best of the best books, but tamer. I'm pretty new to reading romance novels, so chances are pretty good that I haven't read it yet.
I am not interested in PNR. I am a fan of historicals. I do like Christian fiction, but that does not always fall in to the "best of the best" category that I'm looking for. I haven't read many of the popular names, but I have read a few. Just to give you an idea of what I like, here are some that I've read and enjoyed (but would have enjoyed more with less steam):
Honor's Splendor, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, The Bride by Garwood, Lord Perfect, The Duke and I, When Love is Enough by Laura Landon.
Hoping you all will be able to help me create a huge TBR pile. Thanks for any sugggestions.
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In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2012 6:07:48 PM PDT
There are many suggestions I could make but I'll narrow it down. I recommend you read Lisa Kleypas's wallflower series The first is Secrets of a Summer Night (The Wallflowers, Book 1). I strongly recommend you read them in order. She has great character development and you really get drawn into the relationships. Happy reading!

Posted on May 14, 2012 7:13:24 PM PDT
neon moon says:
georgette heyer-my favorite is Convenient Marriage
francine rivers-i likeSarina
Rebellion & In From The Cold: MacGregors by nora roberts
The Raider by jude deveraux-her older ones are good
Almost Heaven by judith mcnaught
carla kelly-i've only read Daughter of Fortune, but i own quite a few more.
jill barnett-Just A Kiss Away is a good one
amanda quick-Rendezvous is one of my favorites

i can list many others; most of these authors, if i recall correctly, don't have really any steam. amanda quick does have some, as does judith mcnaught, but i honestly can't recall the scenes.

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2012 7:25:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 14, 2012 7:37:32 PM PDT
Agnes says:
One book that might be of interest to you is L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle. There are no bedroom scenes and the closest it gets to being steamy is maybe a kiss. Technically, the book is most often categorized as a teen read, but I can easily see adults enjoying it as well (plus, a lot of people have been mentioning it within these threads, which reminded me of how much I liked it). There is one thing that might be a negative to you, though. The main character does not believe in God. This is kind of thrown out of nowhere and put into the story (and it could easily have been left out). I did recommend this book some years ago to someone, and the moment they reached the part with the main character saying she didn't believe in God, they refused to read the rest of the book. I didn't like this particular aspect of the book (and it's just the one sentence), but I liked the rest of the book anyway.

Cockermouth Mail (Regency Romance) by Dinah Dean - There are no steamy scenes to be found here. The book has wonderful and funny characters. There's a great, damaged hero and an excellent heroine - in a way, the heroine reminds me of Jane Eyre (and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a clean read and is also one of my favorites. If you haven't read it yet, it comes highly recommended). Like Jane, she's quiet, but not shy. It's more like still 'waters run deep,' and when she does say something, it's insightful. I love this book, and it is one of the cheapest available by this author.

This is all I ask by Lynn Kurland - This one does have some steamy scenes. It would have been a great book had it not been for the final message about beauty, but I think you might like this one based on the books you've read.

If you've never tried anything by Jane Austen, you might want to give her a go. Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility are my favorites, followed by Pride and Prejudice (this last one is usually the favorite of every one else). With Austen, expect some wonderful subtle humor, great dialogue, a clean read, and some great heroes and heroines. The one thing that gets some people is that they find the book a little difficult to read and that there are a lot of characters to keep up with. I, for one, love her books. Also, a suggestion that has little to do with books (well, maybe a little), there have been some excellent movie adaptations of Jane Austen's books. They're a treat to watch for any romance lover, and come highly recommended as well.

Now, I've read a few things by Julie Garwood, and I still think Ransom is her best book, but, be forewarned, it has steamy scenes (but not to the extent of other romances).

And, this one's really different from all of the others mentioned, but Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody, Book 1) by Elizabeth Peters mixes romance, a mystery, and Egypt. It's a fun, clean read. And it's kind of a cozy mystery. I think it's a fun book, and you technically don't have to continue with the series. You can read the first book and stop there if you want.

Posted on May 14, 2012 10:36:59 PM PDT
neon moon says:
kasey michaels-some of hers are steamy, some not so much. The Passion of an Angel (Hqn Romance) is a good one.
lynsay sands writes humorous historical, although they do have some spice. The Key
mary balogh-the books that i've read by her haven't had an especially strong heat factor. Longing (Topaz historical romances)
jeanne williams-definitely no steam in her books, just romance and history. The Longest Road and The Island Harp are my favorites.
meredith duran is a new discovery for me, as is tessa dare. they are both good writers.

Posted on May 14, 2012 11:08:56 PM PDT
read4fun says:
The Mudlark by Delle Jacobs
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
Sugarplum Surprises (Signet Regency Romance) or any other by Elisabeth Fairchild
If you like funny ones, any by Barbara Metzger . My favorite by her is Miss Treadwell's Talent (Signet Regency Romance)

Posted on May 15, 2012 7:39:31 AM PDT
Vasbie says:
I have really enjoyed Kristan Higgins' books and they all have behind closed doors love scenes. My favorite is probablyAll I Ever Wanted (Hqn).

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2012 9:01:23 AM PDT
Nils says:
I love Elizabeth Reyes for this reason. She writes romance, and it's not closed doors, but it's very sweet and always loving. Highly recommend this author. Romero (The Moreno Brothers) is my favorite, but it is a series.

Posted on May 15, 2012 9:18:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2012 10:00:54 AM PDT
LaVyrle Spencer: Morning Glory (the BEST!), The Endearment, November Of The Heart, The Gamble, Hummingbird etc are some of her great historicals and she also wrote some very good contemporaries.

Patricia Veryan: OOP but many libraries have them. She wrote clever, rollicking, fun, historically rich Georgian and Regency adventures. All closed door.

Traditional Regencies - aside from Georgette Heyer who was the pioneer (who started writing these in the 1920s) these were most popular from the 70s to 90s and were published mostly by Signet, Fawcett, HQ though some more are now being published. The older ones are being re-published as e-books by Intermix (Signet), Belgrave House etc. They used to be shorter than regular historicals (but those have been getting shorter and shorter) and more dependent on wit. Most have no or very little on page sex. Georgette Heyer, Barbara Metzger, Carla Kelly, Joan Smith, Joan Wolf, Dinah Dean, Sheila Simeon, Diane Farr, Emma Jensen and early books by Mary Balogh (though even her later ones aren't very steamy - all sex is intrinsic to the plot) , Loretta Chase, Mary J Putney, Jo Beverly and Edith Layton.

This a great site for them - it breaks them down by themes and authors and many have mini reviews/ratings:

Posted on May 15, 2012 4:41:03 PM PDT
All About Romance (AAR) has sensuality rating to their books. I have found it very helpful. Go to reviews, next power search and choose sensuality rating.

I second Morning Glory and other LaVyrle Spencer's books. Also Carla Kelly's books.

Posted on May 15, 2012 5:24:19 PM PDT
I second the Kristen Higgens suggestion, some of her books fall more on the side of chick lit rather than romance and in one or two of them she doesn't successfully pull off the romance (IMO).

You can't go past Julia Quinn for historical romace. I suggest starting with the Bridgertons the first one is The Duke and I (Bridgerton Series, Book 1) (there are sex scenes but generally tasteful enough and they overtake the books)

I also second the Lynn Kurland rec, she is my queen of time travel and her bedroom stuff remains behind closed doors too.

I'm glad you started this thread i'm getting pretty sick of constant sex scenes in books, i generally skip those pages, not because i'm a prude but because i get so involved with the characters i feel like they're my friends and i don't want to watch my friends having sex... lol

Posted on May 15, 2012 5:42:13 PM PDT
Puck says:
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Posted on May 15, 2012 6:40:42 PM PDT
Chellb says:
Wow, thanks everyone for all of the recommendations and websites. I knew I could count on you ladies for ideas. I will have to make a special tab on my TBR for these. I'll have plenty to read for a long while. Keep them coming and thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2012 7:07:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2012 7:11:04 PM PDT
Agnes says:
Note: Betty Everdene is the author of When Two Women die. This is considered self-promotion, which Amazon prohibits on threads other than those specifically devoted to authors.

Posted on May 15, 2012 7:37:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2012 7:40:14 PM PDT
NReads says:
Hi Chellb,

Judith McNaught and Lisa Kleypas are two authors who writes exquisite historical romances. They are great storytellers and their books are always filled with great characters, plot, and storyline. Their books contains sexual scenes, but are not erotic or distasteful and are more tame IMO. Also, the sex scenes do not override the story. Some of my fave historical romance from these authors are:

Lisa Kleypas:
Dreaming of You (Gamblers)
The Devil in Winter (The Wallflowers, Book 3)
Married By Morning
Seduce Me At Sunrise (The Hathaways)

Judith McNaught:
Something Wonderful
Once and Always
Almost Heaven

*FYI: Judith McNaught's historical romances are not available as Kindle editions yet, only paperback. I truly hope that will be corrected soon because I would love to own all her books on my Kindle :]

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2012 8:00:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2012 8:05:05 PM PDT
I just finished my third Julie Klassen novel - "The Silent Governess", "The Girl in the Gatehouse", "The Maid of Fairbourn Hall" - and found them well written, fully developed stories, with an overall romantic theme and a lot else going for them. They're also totally clean. If you like Jane Austen (which you should, btw!), you'll want to read Georgette Heyer too - also clean - and 2 by Shannon Winslow: "The Darcys of Pemberley" (PG) and "For Myself Alone" (G). All these are historicals. I love romance, but not the Harlequin type, so our tastes sound similar. Happy reading!

Posted on May 16, 2012 1:09:48 AM PDT
neon moon says:
ooh. how could i forget mary stewart and madeleine brent? i'm getting forgetful in my older age.
for mary stewart, This Rough Magic], [[ASIN:B004WJRUF8 Touch Not the Cat], and The Ivy Tree are a good place to start, although i like all of them.
for madeleine brent, again, they are all good. my favorites are Tregaron's Daughter, The Long Masquerade, The Capricorn stone and Stranger at Wildings. there are only 5 more by this author, and, honestly, i had to really restrain myself from selecting all of them as my favorites.

In reply to an earlier post on May 25, 2012 8:50:19 PM PDT
SM Johnson,

i just tried to read The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen (based on your recs for this author) and found it to be rather long winded, so i skipped to the end to find out much to my surprise that there was supposed to be a spark between two characters that i must have completely missed (although to be fair i didn't really see much of a spark between the h and anyone else either). So before i invested in reading the 'guts' of the book i looked up the reviews and found that a few people were annoyed with the fact that it turned into a christian book ... Are all her books like that? because i'm not into christian fiction. Also, are they romances? or are they historical fiction with a little bit of romance on the side?

Posted on May 25, 2012 9:31:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 25, 2012 9:32:25 PM PDT
tealadytoo says:
Royal Renegade, a Traditional Regency Romance Novel (Regency Escapades)
I just finished this. Interesting story, VERY likeable h, properly heroic H, no wild bedroom scenes.

Posted on May 26, 2012 10:46:21 AM PDT
Don't know how old you are so don't know if you would recognize these authors. Wonderful writers. Really good plots, great characters, romance but no sex. It doesn't matter tho because the writing is so good that you enjoy the heck out of the books. Anything by Georgette Heyer, who wrote about 7 myteries and a bunch of hist. Mary Stewart books were wonderful until the last two or three. Helem McGinnis wrote about espionage and love. All of these books were written when publishers had editors who did such great proofreading that I don't remember a single mistake. Please try them. I have gone onto read books with sex in them and enjoyed them very much but I am not interested in a book with a lot of sex and a tiny plot. Let me know what you think.

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2012 2:59:45 PM PDT
I haven't read this one (The Apothecary's Daughter) yet. Just the 3 others I mentioned by Julie Klassen. They had an overarching romance, but not only romance. They also had a subtle Christian outlook (which I didn't mind). The plots are fairly complex, probably what you describe as long-winded. Try Georgette Heyer - more strictly romance, but still clean.

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2012 3:26:54 PM PDT
TDF says:
I would Suggest you try this new author I found. Her books books are funny and sweet with a good story line. I like how she gives you this insight into what the characters are thinking and it's downright funny!!

Love and Lattes by Heather ThurmeierLove and Lattes (A Meadow Ridge Romance)
Love on Landing by Heather ThurmeierLove on Landing (A Meadow Ridge Romance)
Bunny hills and bikinis by Heather ThurmeierBunny Hills and Bikinis

I love finding new authors whose books are economical fun to discover. I would also try:

Life, love and a polar bear tattoo by Heather WardellLife, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo
Seven Exes are Eight too many by Heather WardellSeven Exes Are Eight Too Many

The bitch-proof suit by De-Ann BlackThe BITCH-PROOF SUIT (Irish Romantic Comedy)

All really good reads and not smut!

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2012 5:22:36 AM PDT
bklver says:
I believe that author's name is spelled Helen MacInnes, for those interested.

Posted on May 27, 2012 6:14:24 AM PDT
Thanks for the right spelling of MacInnes. I couldn't find a book by her in my pile. I enjoyed all of her books. They are on the money about politics even tho they were written years ago.

Posted on May 27, 2012 8:58:59 AM PDT
The Weaver Takes a Wife Simply excellent.

Pamela Morsi is grand for the heat level you are looking for... Courting Miss Hattie
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Discussion in:  Romance forum
Participants:  20
Total posts:  31
Initial post:  May 14, 2012
Latest post:  May 30, 2012

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