Jennifer McQuiston is undoubtedly my favorite historical romance author. However, I feel we should get this out of the way right now.
Jennifer McQuiston is no longer writing.
There I said it. You can hate me now, and then let’s move on.
Why Jennifer McQuiston is My Favorite Historical Romance Author
Jennifer McQuiston wrote her first historical romance novel because she wondered what The Hangover would be like as a historical romance novel.
(You love her already, too, don’t you?)
McQuiston taught me two things: historical romance doesn’t need to be all about dukes and duchesses, and heroines are not damsels in distress.
If you’re familiar with this blog, you’ll know I write historical romance, so when I discovered McQuiston’s books, it was like I had just discovered historical romance was not at all what I had imagined. Her books stepped outside the ballroom and showed 1800s England for what it was: a breeding ground for scientific discovery.
Let’s Talk Science in Romance Novels
McQuiston is a veterinarian and infectious disease researcher. The last I knew she worked at the CDC, so if you’re looking for a good time, follow her on Facebook. TRUST ME. I believe it’s because of her scientific background that her books are so full of refreshing aspects of 19th century science.
It is not in your face science, so don’t get put off. Her books are very much historical romance at its best. The science in nuanced. Instead of our characters dancing through the ever-anticipated ballroom, McQuiston slips in a little bit of science to have the characters popping from the page and suddenly it’s real life.
I get car sick. Not just any car sick, but the kind that makes my husband dread even running errands with me. I once suffered through the car sickness to READ in the car because I HAD TO finish a McQuiston book. That’s how real the characters were to me. I needed to find out what happened!
Headstrong Heroines in Historical Romance
Julia Quinn and Tessa Dare first introduced me to the headstrong heroine, but McQuiston was like hold my beer.
Let’s use my favorite book of hers as an example. Summer is For Lovers features the ultimate headstrong heroine, Caroline Tolbertson.
Here’s the tagline for the book:
When a spirited young woman is determined to break Society’s rules, all a gentleman can do is lend a hand…or more.
Caroline Tolbertson is a swimmer, and this book takes place in Brighton, England. Back in the 1800s when this book is set, women used bathing machines so they wouldn’t be seen in a compromising state by the opposite sex. Caroline Tolbertson does not use bathing machines, fellow readers.
Cue violins and the timpani. It’s getting hot in here.
This is the book I read in the car despite massive motion sickness, and I don’t do spoilers but I’ll say this: the ending will having you wanting to BE as strong as Caroline. That’s how headstrong she is.
Final Thoughts on Jennifer McQuiston
I have a single unread Jennifer McQuiston book on my Kindle. It will probably forever stay that way. As long as I have one more book from her to read, the world be just that much better for it.