25 Books Similar to Outlander

This is an old open book depicting the columns and ruins of an old Roman city.

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series whisked Claire, a combat nurse, back in time to 1743 Scotland. The historical saga had romance, political strife, drama, witch trials, and sex. Yes, there is steam coming off the pages in these books and went on to heat up televisions around the globe.

Thus, we’ve put together 25 more titles that involve kilts, time travel, or at least historical (swooning) romance. We’re making your heartache in Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea, terrifying you with Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred, giving you that Viking touch with Larissa Brown’s Beautiful Wreck, and steaming up the bedclothes with Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series.

So get your historical fans and smelling salts ready as we dive into 25 hot and historical tales.

Table of Contents

The Winter Sea

The Winter Sea (The Scottish series)

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  • Author: Susanna Kearsley
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time Travel
  • Awards: Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award (2010)
  • Published: 2008
  • Books: Book 1 of the Slains Series

Carrie McClelland investigates the 1708 Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers’ attempt at putting exiled James Stewart back on the throne. To write her (hopefully) next bestselling novel, she settles down at Slains Castle. But as she writes, she slowly begins to realize that her fiction tale may actually be fact.

This time-traveling story is narrated on two timelines, one of which is heartbreaking. However, this is an excellent choice for readers wanting romance and Scottish history intertwined. While the second book in the series, The Firebird, is not set in Scotland, Jacobite history is also involved. The sex in these books is more kiss and fade-out than explicit.

The Lost Queen Trilogy

The Lost Queen: A Novel (1)

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  • Author: Signe Pike
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
  • Awards: Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018, Library Journal Fall/Winter 2018 Best Debut
  • First Book Published:
  • Books: 3 – The Lost Queen, The Forgotten Kingdom, and one more to be published in 2023

Languoreth, a future queen, and her twin brother Lailoken are raised in the old ways of Scotland. But these are being lost as a new faith called Christianity barrels in. As the Anglo Saxons attack the twins’ homeland, Languoreth finds love with the warrior Maelgwn. But, alas, Languoreth is betrothed to another, a son of a Christian king.

Signe Pike’s series is inspired by Myrddin’s (Merlin) twin sister, a sixth-century queen of Scotland. Set in the area around what is now Glasgow, the world is painted with a rich brush. There are great battles, magic, politics, and clashing faiths.

Brothers Sinister Series

The Duchess War (The Brothers Sinister) (Volume 2)

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  • Author: Courtney Milan
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Regency Romance
  • Awards: RT Reviewers Choice Award (2012, 2014), All About Romance Reader Award (2013, 2014)
  • First Book Published: 2012
  • Books: 4 – begins with The Duchess War

Miss Minerva Lane is quite content as a wallflower. She was the center of attention once, and she ended up having to change her name. The last thing Minerva needs is the attention of a duke. But the attention of Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is what she gets.

The beta hero and intelligent heroine is a combination her fans adore and feel the series is fun and sexy. Oh yes, there is sex. Thankfully, Milan is careful to avoid tropes such as “too stupid to live” or conflict that a short conversation could have easily solved.

At the Water’s Edge

At the Water's Edge: A Novel

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  • Author: Sara Gruen
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
  • Awards: None found
  • Published: 2015
  • Book: 1

1942, after a rather disgraceful New Year’s Event appearance, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are financially cut off by Elli’s father. Trying to regain his father’s esteem, Ellis sets forth to hunt the Loch Ness monster, a feat his father failed to achieve. Ellis and Maddie set off with their friend Hank to Scotland. But while the men hunt a mythical beast, Maddie is left alone to navigate a land at war.

This is not so much a sexy-times read and a story about a woman in an abusive marriage trying to find her feet. The myth of Loch Ness and the war act as a background to Maddie’s tale of transformation.

A Knight in Shining Armor

A Knight in Shining Armor

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  • Author: Jude Deveraux
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Time Travel
  • Awards: All About Romance Read Award (1998, 2000, 2004, 2007)
  • Published: 1989
  • Books: Thirteenth book in the Montgomery / Taggert Series

Dougless Montgomery’s boyfriend abandons her on the grounds of a church in rural England.  Upset, she longs for a knight in shining armor, and Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, appears. It is a shock to them both, as according to his tombstone he died way back in 1564.

This is a fan favorite of Deveraux’s many titles. It is a lighthearted sexy-times tale of lovers separated and brought together (and rinse and repeat) through time travel.  There is history and laughs and, for some, a few damp-eyed moments.

Destiny Series

Destiny's Embrace (Destiny Trilogy)

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  • Author: Beverly Jenkins
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Awards: Romantic times Reviewers’ Choice Award (2016), Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award (2017)
  • First Book Published: 2013
  • Books: 3 – Destiny’s Embrace, Destiny’s Surrender, Destiny’s Captive

19th-century, Mariah Cooper, originally a seamstress, flees her suffocating life. She finds work in California as a housekeeper for rancher Logan Yates. The pair bicker to both of their amusement, creating sexual tension. But their budding relationship is jeopardized when Mariah’s former lover arrives at Yates’ ranch.

Readers adored Mariah, a strong woman character who doesn’t suffer nonsense and has great wit. The banter between her and Logan is thoroughly enjoyable. Jenkins also ensures that the minor characters are a delight, too. There is an excellent reason Beverly Jenkins is a highly read author.

Veil of Time

Veil of Time

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  • Author: Claire R. McDougall
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time Travel
  • Awards: None found
  • Published: 2014
  • Books: 1

Maggie’s life has fallen apart. Her marriage is over after her daughter died of an epileptic seizure, the same condition that plagues Maggie. With her son away at school, Maggie escapes to a cottage near Dunadd, the former royal seat of Scotland. But when she awakes, Dunadd is no longer a ruin, and the walls shelter an entire village. Is it a dream, or will she be allowed to stay?

Readers enjoyed the well-researched 8th-century life, the way epilepsy was depicted, and the dream-like quality of Claire’s adventure. While there are similarities to Outlander, it is its own story with different pacing and feel. There is one major sex scene, but the rest are more alluded to than depicted.

The Pingkang Li Mysteries

The Pingkang Li Mysteries Complete Collection

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  • Author: Jeannie Lin
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Mysteries
  • Awards: None found for this series
  • First Book Published: 2013
  • Books: 3 – The Lotus Palace, The Jade Temptress, The Hidden Moon

In the Pingkang Li, the city’s pleasure quarter, imperial scholars and bureaucrats come to be with courtesans and Lotus Palace homes the most beautiful of them all. Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of these sought-out women, however; not that she minds, content with the quieter life. But fate brings her and gambling playboy aristocrat Bai Huang together as they attempt to solve a mystery.


A historical romance that takes readers out of the Western setting and into China, 874 AD. Readers felt for Yue-ying and her difficult past and admired her strength. Nor is Bai Huang all that he first appears, either. Mystery lovers, please do note the romance is what takes center stage in this sensual tale.

Earth’s Children Series

The Clan of the Cave Bear: Earth's Children, Book One

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  • Author: Jean M. Auel
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
  • Awards: Numerous nominations
  • First Book Published: 1980
  • Books: 6 – begins with The Clan of the Cave Bear

The historical series takes readers back to prehistoric times where Neanderthals are bringing up a girl named Ayla (human). However, she is thought to be ugly, being blond, and blue-eyed. As she grows up, her intelligence outshines the rest of the clan. Their leader begins to view her as a threat to his authority. His hatred for her results in brutality, but Ayla is a survivor.

The Clan of the Cave Bear is a famous series full of sex but is also highly researched. Auel, a member of Mensa, consulted many experts and dragged her husband on a survival course which resulted in them spending the night in the snow. The series was written over a span of thirty years. Interestingly, some of the science questioned when the first book was released, such as a human being able to be impregnated by a Neanderthal, has proven to be true. 

Kindred

Kindred

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  • Author: Octavia E. Butler
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Time Travel
  • Awards: Nominated for a Locus
  • Published: 1979
  • Books: 1

Time travel is more romantic when you are white. If you are Black it can be deadly. Twenty-six-year-old Dana is wrenched from her love and modern California life and plunged into antebellum Maryland. She arrives in time to save a white boy from drowning and is rewarded with a shotgun thrust in her face. She is saved by being whisked back into the modern age, but only temporarily.

Butler doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of the slave era, creating a horror novel of a sort. But Butler isn’t making up supernatural villains, simply transporting a modern Black woman into the ugly history of the United States. Butler’s genius is in how she explores the characters’ mental states, adding depth to this time-traveling tale. A brilliant read.

Wilderness Series

Into the Wilderness: A Novel

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  • Author: Sara Donati
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Awards: RT Reviewers Choice Award (1998)
  • First Book Published: 1998
  • Books: 6 – begins with Into the Wilderness

In December 1792, Elizabeth Middleton abandoned her comfortable English estate to teach in a remote New York mountain village. Her decision upsets her family, and she soon makes enemies with a local slave owner. In the meantime, she grows closer to the Mohawk Nation, especially Nathanial Bonner, a white man the Native Americans call Between-Two-Lives.

Many readers consider this the American frontier version of the Outlander series. Sara Donati even thanks Diana Gabaldon in the acknowledgments of Into the Wilderness. It is also inspired by James Fenimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans.” Thus, Nathaniel Bonner is supposed to be the son of Cora and Hawkeye (played by Daniel Day-Lewis in the film).

Beautiful Wreck

Beautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown (2014-01-15)

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  • Author: Larissa Brown
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Time Travel
  • Awards: None found
  • Published: 2015
  • Books: 1, but there are two others set in the same “world”

Ginn is a romantic living in a futuristic Iceland where tech provides the only escape from the daily grind as nature has been obliterated. Ginn is a designer for ancient Viking virtual worlds. But something goes wrong with a project, and she time travels back to the 10th century and finds herself at a Viking farm. There she meets Heirik, the leader who is feared as his birthmark is considered a curse.

This novel’s strength is in the historical setting, not the futuristic one. The story comes alive once readers are whisked back to a time when Iceland had forests. The scenery is lush, Viking daily life is beautifully detailed, and the romance is emotional. Ginn’s grit, strength, and loyalty are admirable, and Heirik is delicious, too.

Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic

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  • Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Awards: Locus (2021)
  • Published: 2020
  • Books: 1

It’s the 1950’s and Noemí Taboada, a debutante that adores lipstick and gowns, never thought of herself as a rescuer. But she’s intelligent and made of stern stuff, so she doesn’t back down when she receives a letter from her cousin begging to be saved. Thus, Noemí sets off to High Place, an abode full of secrets deep in the Mexican countryside which her cousin now calls home.

This story’s setting was inspired by Real del Monte, a British mining town in Mexico. This atmospheric and character-driven tale is full of mystery, colonialism, horror, racism, eugenics, and a little bit of botany. A historical read to give you a break from the romance.

A Dance Through Time

A Dance Through Time (Macleod Family)

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  • Author: Lynn Kurland
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Awards: None found for this series.
  • First Book Published: 1996
  • Books: 10 – begins with A Dance Through Time

Elizabeth Smith is living in New York City in 1996. Her fiancé is a wet blanket, and her writing career is stalled. She longs for the type of adventure and heroes that she creates in her unpublished novels. But a nap on the beach leaves her to wake up in a forest in fourteenth-century Scotland near the castle of James MacLeod.

Time travel and kilts are back, although the sex here is slightly on the lighter side, description-wise. Fans love the MacLeod clan, who all eventually find love. The books in this series do not have to be read in order; the stories are stand-alone, although it might help to read the first to get a grip on the setting.

Once Upon a Scandal

To Love a Scandalous Duke (Once Upon A Scandal) (Volume 1)

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  • Author:  Liana De La Rosa
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
  • Awards: Nominated
  • First Book Published: 2017
  • Books: 4 – begins with To Love a Scandalous Duke

Declan Sinclair is living in exile when he learns of his brother’s murder. This unfortunate event leaves Declan as the new Duke of Darington. Declan believes he knows who is responsible and vows to ruin him. His plan brings him to the acquaintance of Lady Alethea Swinton. Is he willing to destroy the family of the woman he is growing to love?

Murder, scandal, and love, a tale as old as time. There is a brooding hero and a witty heroine providing enough spice and spark between the pair.

Highlander Series

Beyond The Highland Mist

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  • Author: Karen Marie Moning
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Fantasy, Time Travel
  • Awards: RT Reviewers Choice Award (1999, 2002), Rita Award (2001), All About Romance Reader Award (2001)
  • First Book Published: 1999
  • Books: 8 – begins with Beyond the Highland Mist

Adrienne de Simone was living her life in modern-day Seattle when a fairy whisks her to sixteenth-century Scotland to catch the eye of Hawk, a Scottish battlefield legend. Adrienne marries him out of sheer survival and is resolved not to let him touch her. But soon passion blooms in them both.

Highlander sexy times are here. Think Outlander with the meddlesome and pesky fae. Readers of Moning’s dark, adventurous (yet sexy) Fever series should be warned, however, that this series is all about romance and is written in a completely different tone. The Highlander books are steamy fun.

Agnes Moor’s Wild Knight

Agnes Moor's Wild Knight

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  • Author: Alyssa Cole
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Awards:  None found for this title
  • Published: 2014
  • Books: 1

Based on an actual historical event: Agnes Moor is well aware that her place in James IV court is to primarily feature as part of his “exotics.” Gareth, a Scottish Highland lord, is smitten with Agnes. When the king announces the prize to this year’s jousting tournament is a kiss from Agnes, Gareth knows he must win.

Yes, historical-based interracial Highlander love. Nor is Agnes a slave, but an actual lady in waiting and a sort-of-spy and advisor for the king. Thus, she has agency and is free to give her heart to whom she chooses. A great read for history and romance lovers alike.

Rebellion

Rebellion (The MacGregors)

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  • Author: Nora Roberts
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Awards: RT Reviewers Choice Award (1988)
  • Published: 1988
  • Books: Book 6 in The MacGregors Series

Nora Roberts goes back in time to 1745 for this book in her MacGregors series. Serena MacGregor has always detested the English since a band of Englishmen hurt her mother. Thus, Serena does not have any interest in her brother’s friend Brigham Langston. But as time passes, Serena’s loathing begins to falter, and entirely new emotion begins to take hold.

Nora Roberts is typically a contemporary writer, so this is only one of her two historical romances. But Outlander fans seem to find Rebellion the perfect catnip. Readers also enjoyed that it was the heroine who was the Scottish main character for once.

The Dragon Earl

The Dragon Earl by Jade Lee (2008-09-01)

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  • Author: Jade Lee
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Awards: None found
  • Published: 2008
  • Books: Book 4 of The Regency Rags to Riches Series

Jacob Cato found sanctuary in a temple after his family was killed. Evelyn has been raised to marry the Earl of Warhaven. But her wedding to Christopher is interrupted by three monks, one of whom is white. It is revealed that Christopher was only the heir if Jacob was dead and Jacob is very much alive. Now Evelyn doesn’t know what to do.

Sex, drama, and martial arts fighting skills are all present in this historical romance. No time traveling, though, not that readers seem to mind. While the novel is part of a series, the story is stand-alone and can be read out of order.

The Montgomerys and Armstrongs Series

Never Seduce a Scot (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs) (Book Club Edition) by Maya Banks (2012-08-02)

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  • Author: Maya Banks
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Awards: None found for this series
  • First Book Published: 2012
  • Books: 3 – Never Seduce a Scot, Highlander Most Wanted, Highland Ever After

Eveline Armstrong is called “touched” by outsiders, but her clan loves her, nonetheless. But her true secret is that she cannot hear, hence her silence, although she can lip read. She feels duty-bound to her clan to go through with the arranged marriage to Graeme Montgomery, a member of a rival clan. Thus, she is surprised to discover there is an actual attraction to the man.

Back to men in kilts. There is a blooming romance between the married couple that is put to the test as their clans reignite their rivalry. Readers adored the main characters and the drama.

Celtic Brooch Series

The Ruby Brooch: Time Travel Romance (The Celtic Brooch)

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  • Author: Katherine Lowry Logan
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Time Travel
  • Awards: None found
  • First Book Published: 2012
  • Books: 11 – begins with The Ruby Brooch

A 21st-century paramedic, Kit MacKlenna, learns that her dead parents actually found her on their doorstep. There are few clues to her past, including a ruby brooch, which whisks Kit back to 1852 Independence, Missouri. There she meets lawyer Cullen Montgomery, a Scotsman bound for San Francisco.

Outlander set on the Oregon Trail. Fans love the well-researched setting as well as the headstrong main characters. In addition, the audiobook version narrated by Teri Schnaubelt is given high praise.

Genna & Judah Series

A Wish After Midnight

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  • Author: Zetta Elliot
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Time Travel, YA
  • Awards: None found
  • First Book Published: 2009
  • Books: 2 – A Wish After Midnight, The Door at the Crossroads

Genna longs to leave her impoverished drug-infested surroundings. To her surprise, her wish comes true when she is whisked off to 1863 Brooklyn. Now she is a runaway slave girl who bears the marks of being lashed.

This story is closer to Octavia Butler’s Kindred than Outlander, but the time travel element is there. Readers love Elliot’s prose and Genna’s voice. A great historical read.

A Summer for Scandal

A Summer for Scandal (Arroyo Blanco Book 1)

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  • Author: Lydia San Andres
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Awards: None found
  • Published: 2015
  • Books: 1 with a novella Christmas spin-off

Arroyo Blanco, 1911: Emilia Cruz didn’t know the journalist Ruben would be in attendance when she accepted her sister’s invitation to the boating party. Nor did she enjoy listening to the man’s less than complimentary thoughts on the sexy serial she secretly pens under a pseudonym. But Ruben is determined to find the identity of the serial he and his readers love to disparage.

This book’s romance has been compared more to Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy than Outlander. Nonetheless, this historical romance set in the Caribbean is charming and has a suffrage-supporting heroine. Readers loved the way the main characters bickered and the quirky small town.

Caught by the Scot

Caught by the Scot (Made to Marry)

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  • Author: Karen Hawkins
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Awards: None found
  • Published: 2017
  • Books: 1

Faced with losing his inheritance if he does not marry, Conner Douglas plans to propose to spinster and mousy friend Theodora Cumberbatch-Snowe. To his shock, the “mousy” woman had run off with a farmer. But Conner is not so easily put off and vows to find her and change her mind.

Scottish highlander meets his match with spunky Thea. There is plenty of witty banter and antics for readers to enjoy in this fun “bodice ripper” of a historical romance. 

Zorro

Zorro

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  • Author: Isabel Allende
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Awards: Award-winning author, but not for this title
  • Published: 2005
  • Books: 1


This is the story of how Diego de la Vega became the famous masked man we know of today. It begins with Diego is sixteen and sent to Spain. The country is hurting from Napoleonic rule, and soon Diego has joined the underground resistance, La Justicia. Eventually, he returns to the Americas to reclaim what it rightfully is and seek justice for those that cannot fight.

While this tale has a touch of romance, it is more of a historical adventure tale. There are pirates to fight, duels, and daring rescues. A great origin story for “The Fox” to add to the myths and legends.  

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