#BuyThisBook: Lauren Willig schools us on must-reads for historical romance lovers on your list

The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation ChristmasEarlier this month, we chatted up Lauren Willig about her latest release, The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas, and the historical romance course she's teaching at Yale. If you're shaking the tree for gift ideas for the romance reader you love, here's a recap and buy links for a few of the books in Willig's syllabus:

Northanger Abbey"We opened the class with Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which tackles the seminal question of the relationship between novel and reader," Willig said. It's one of Austen's earliest works, but it wasn't published until after her death. Crumbling castles, cryptic messages, paternal tyranny, and a wry send-up of literary fops of the day.

The Flame and the FlowerAfter due respect to the mother of the Regency romance, Georgette Heyer, the class moved on to Kathleen E Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower. The moment Willig mentioned it, I found myself up in the mulberry tree in our front yard in Wisconsin, circa 1974. I clearly remember seeing this book on a turning wire rack near the front door of the Onalaska Public Library. I consumed it like I was on a desert island with a chocolate cake and returned the next day for The Wolf and the Dove. It was my transition summer to "grown up books" and formed a concept of what romance novels are in my mind.

Lord of Scoundrels"Using Woodiwiss as our bridge to the American romance tradition, we examined 'old school' writers McNaught and Lindsey before moving on to Kleypas, Quinn, James, and the more outrĂ© takes on the genre, including Regency gothic, Regency vampires, and Chick Lit," said Willig. "We had papers ranging from the Christological imagery in Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels to boxing as metaphor in Heyer’s Regency Buck. Their ingenuity and insights forever changed the way I look at several well-known texts."

Read the rest of our interview with Lauren Willig.

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