17 Jewish Regency Romance Novels to Read if You Love 'Bridgerton' – Kveller
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17 Jewish Regency Romance Novels to Read if You Love ‘Bridgerton’

The only thing better than "Bridgerton"? "Bridgerton" with Jews!

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via Netflix

Have you already binged the first few episodes of “Bridgerton” season three in one sitting? Are you experiencing withdrawal symptoms? (Dropping only four episodes of the latest season is a crime and Netflix should be prosecuted.) 

Like many others, we at Kveller are looking for ways to stay in the whimsical world of the ton. However, what we realized is that the only thing better than “Bridgerton” is “Bridgerton” with Jews! 

While neither the show nor books have any Jewish representation, the Jewish population of London during the Regency Era had really full lives. While there were no Jews in the aristocracy — you needed to be Anglican to inherit a title — London’s Sephardic community held balls, conducted courtships and lived on estates like many of the characters in your favorite Regency romances. 

While the number of authors who delve into the lives of Regency-period Jews are few, the selection of these historical romances are diverse and devourable. Because the Duke of Hastings could only be sexier as an NJB, here are the best Jewish Regency romance novels to cure your “Bridgerton” addiction. 

“Once Upon the East End” Series by Felicia Grossman

Felicia Grossman’s latest series reimagines classic fairytales as Jewish Regency romances, because there are never enough Jewish women rocking ball gowns.  

The first installation of the series, 2023’s “Marry me at Midnight,” is a Cinderella retelling set in 1832. Isabelle Lira is in a rush to find a husband — me too, girl. 

Following her dad’s death, men seem only to be interested in her because of her family’s fortune, so she needs to find someone outside her social circle. To find her happily ever after, she hosts a series of parties for London’s eligible Jewish bachelors. Isabelle hires synagogue custodian Aaron Ellenberg to sniff out the phonies, but the pair soon realize that maybe their perfect match has been there all along. 

Grossman recently released the second book in the series, a “Beauty and the Beast” adaptation called “Wake Me Most Wickedly,” which meets the steamy expectations its title suggests.  

“True Pretenses” by Rose Lerner

The second novel of the Lively St. Lemeston series, Rose Lerner deliveres a sexy love triangle between a bride-to-be, her betrothed and his brother. 

Lydia Reeve must find a husband ASAP because she needs control of her dowry to continue her charity work. Conman Ash Cohen — who hides his true identity and his Judaism — sets his brother, Rafe, up with Lydia. 

However, in this Jewish Georgian version of “the Vampire Diaries,” the small town heiress begins to fall for the wrong brother. YIKES.

Ash must come to terms with his identity and the secrets he has kept about it, and reckon with whether he can take his brother’s happiness to claim his own. 

“Miss Jacobson’s Journey” by Carola Dunn

Miriam Jacobson is no lady. She ditched the marriage mart and the man her parents chose to become her husband to instead travel across Europe with her physician uncle. 

When he dies and the Napoleonic Wars break out, however, she decides that perhaps it is time to go home. With no funds and no passage back to England, Miriam accepts a secret mission from the Rothschild family to travel through the dangers of Spain and France. 

To complete her mission and help England’s status in the war, she must endure her irritating traveling companions: a bigoted aristocrat and a mysterious fellow Jew with a familiar face who won’t explain his grudge against her. You’ll fall in love with the wacky dynamic of Miriam’s band of misfits as they romp around Europe as the least likely heroes of the Napoleonic Wars. 

“The Meyersons of Meryton” by Mirta Trupp

“Pride and Prejudice” is a staple to historical romance readers. Drama? Check. Sexual tension? Check. A film adaption with Colin Firth in a wet shirt? You betcha. 

Describing her books for those “who like a little Yiddishkeit with their Period Drama,” Trupp includes Jewish characters into the world Jane Austen created, adding more feisty characters into the story and making readers question all the truths universally acknowledged. 

When the Meyerson family — who are connected with the Rothschild family in London — comes to Meryton, their actions pose a threat to the engagement of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. 

The Meyersons have a disastrous dinner at Longbourn, the Bennets’ estate, and the family finds that the rabbi and Mr. Bennet have disappeared. This, coupled with an unannounced appearance by the Wickhams makes Lizzie question whether she even wants to be Mrs. Darcy. 

Any Austen lover will love returning to these characters and meeting their new Jewish companions. 

“The Couriers” series by Nita Abrams

Nita Abrams’ five-novel “The Couriers” series is a must-read for anyone looking for a side of swashbuckling, mysterious adventure with their romance. 

“A Question of Honor” follows Captain Richard Drayton as he’s tasked with finding the mole giving away England’s secrets to the French. 

His sister’s governess, Rachel Maitland Ross, is the distraction Richard knows will be brutal to ignore. He is certain she has a secret, even though she matches up perfectly to the role of a governess and quickly becomes beloved by the household. He becomes determined to sniff out whatever she’s been hiding: her Jewish identity. 

After saving her from kidnappers, Richard also saves Julia after being caught in a compromising position. He agrees to marry her, but Julia must refuse; she is not willing to expose herself as a Jew.

“Me and Georgette” by D.B. Schaefer

A love letter to Regency romances, Schaefer created probably the first Jewish historical time traveling romance. 

Devorah Asher, like many of the readers of this article, loves Georgette Heyer novels (even though she was a huge antisemite). Despite being intelligent and beautiful, she can’t seem to make a shidduch (match)likely because of the Georgette Heyer thing. 

After screwing up her chances with the perfect man by falling off a chair during their conversation, Devorah wakes up in Heyer’s world of Regency romances. It’s the save from embarrassment everyone’s always dreamed of. 

She quickly becomes enmeshed into this early 19th century world and meets the wealthy and handsome Duke of Ravenscroft who realizes that she is Jewish. The Duke wants to set Devorah up with his Jewish tenant, Jonathan Whyteman, but also hopes to use her as a way to fend off fortune hunter Lady Albinia Brinkburn.

Devorah begins to fall for Jonathan while the world believes that she and the Duke are a love match. Her only problem is that she is from 200 years in the future. Devorah must figure out her very messy timeline and decide whether her future will take place in the present or the past. 

If you’re a lover of fizzy comedy, fake dating tropes and new takes on the historical romance genre, “Me and Georgette” is the book for you. 

“The Fictitious Marquis” by Alina Adams

It can’t be a Regency romance list without a marriage of convenience plot! Alina Adams’ “The Fictitious Marquis” is believed to be the first historical Jewish romance novel and it stands up to time. 

Lady Julia Highsmith understands the severity of people learning about her being a crypto-Jew. She already ended her engagement with her love six months previously out of fear he’d find out and needs her dowry for her cousins to escape France.

She agrees to marry criminal Jamie Lowell so she can receive her money and passes Jamie off as a member of the aristocracy. Their marriage is a sham… until she begins to question if it isn’t. 

“Sailor’s Delight” by Rose Lerner

An interfaith, queer romance with loads of spice and pining, Rose Lerner does it all in “Sailor’s Delight.”

Modest Jewish bookkeeper Elie Benezet is overworked, underpaid and needs to take a nap — preach. He doesn’t have time for his burgeoning crush on his client, Royal Navy sailing master Augustus Brine. 

Augustus is everything Elie wants in a man… except that he’s engaged to someone else. After years of waiting, Augustus can marry his childhood sweetheart, only if Elie files the paperwork.

Elie can’t find the time to send in the paperwork — he’s too busy preparing for the High Holidays, dealing with shenanigans from other clients and matchmaking efforts from his pushy family. 

Plus, he is tortured by the flirty sailing master, who decided to rent the room down the hall before the wedding. Augustus invites Elie to the public baths, shaves shirtless and makes Elie feel that perhaps he doesn’t want to get married after all.  

“An Open Heart” by Caroline Warfield

Esther Bauman is looking for The One. She wants someone open-minded enough to expand their social circle outside their tight knit community, interested in maintaining their Jewish traditions, but also passionate enough to make her swoon. 

Enter Adam Halevy, the protege of Esther’s banker father. He’s not what Esther is looking for — quite the opposite actually. He wants a homemaker who will live a traditional lifestyle with him and will not stray from expectations. However, he cannot stop thinking of bold and brash Esther. 

“An Open Heart” has all the feel-good moments of contemporary Jewish romances like Shabbat services and a ketubah signing while remaining fully grounded in the 19th century. For grumpy-sunshine lovers, you’ll love the banter between Esther and Adam and their palpable chemistry. 

While all romance novels demand a happily ever after, “An Open Heart” does describe the antisemitism and social ostracization that Jews experienced, especially in high society. It also is a small history lesson on the many accomplishments of the Regency Jewish community. 

“Margins of Love” by Sara Adrien

As one of the few Regency romances with Ashkenazi representation, “Margins of Love” delivers a strong star-crossed romance between a secret Jew and the debutante who loves him. 

Feivel “Fave” Pearler made a name for himself as the best jeweler of the ton, but no one knows of his Judaism. Aristocrat Rachel Newman is willing to lose everything to be with him — until a blackmailer jeopardizes everything they’ve hoped for. 

Between stolen kisses, their love story is sizzling with passion, but incredibly tender-hearted as the pair fights for their happily ever after. You’ll be crying like a baby once you’re done. 

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