Classic Romance - Which One First? Jude Deveraux Edition

Classic Romance: Which One First?Jude Deveraux is one of the classic names in historical romance, and is one of the first authors I glommed when I discovered romance. I still re-read her books, but for someone who is curious about Deverax’s books, which one would you recommend first?

Knight In Shining Armor CoverKnight in Shining Armor is among her most-beloved titles, and one of the best time-travel romances I’ve ever read. I never understood why the heroine’s shopping spree only included formal clothing in that one scene (though I still think wool challis skirts are the HEIGHT of posh fashion because of that scene).

But then there’s also Wishes, where there’s almost two heroines – one, the cranky ass old lady who is sent back to earth to repent and learn from her life’s mistakes by helping a lonely woman find happiness in historical Chandler, Colorado. I love that one, too, especially the scene with the People magazines.

So many beloved romances people still talk about were written by Deveraux.

The thing is, once you learn her shtick (Marry the one who can tell the twins apart!) the reading can get monotonous. But holy smoke, do I still look back and sigh happily thinking about some of her books – and her novellas. There’s one in the anthology A Gift of Love, called “Just Curious,” where the hero tricks the heroine into spending a weekend with him by saying he needs a last minute bridesmaid and she fits the dress. I love that story. I think I’ve read it sixty times and I’m not even exaggerating.

What about you? Which is your favorite? Which Jude Deveraux book should a curious reader staring at a mountain of backlist start with, and why? Which one first?

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  1. 1

    I keep very few books after reading them – but I kept KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR.  My English grandmother lived near a town called Ashburton (referenced in the book).  After reading KISA, I sat in the historic church and soaked up the atmosphere (I somewhat hoped that one of the effigies would come to life).

    KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR is a timeless classic.

  2. 2
    ShellBell says:

    My absolute favourite medieval book is Jude Deveraux’s The Black Lyon. I think it may have been one of the first books she wrote.

    I also thoroughly enjoyed the first two books of Jude Deveraux’s Velvet series: The Velvet Promise and Highland Velvet. Other good reads are Twin of Ice, Just Curious (novella), The Enchanted Land, Sweet Liar (contemporary) and Wishes

  3. 3
    Overquoted says:

    I would not say start with Remembrance, but for some reason, it’s one of my favorites. I think maybe I just like tragic romances.

    I think either The Velvet series or The Raider is a good beginning.

  4. 4
    Morphidae says:

    Sweet Liar is in my top 10 books of all time. I can’t help but love a book with a book shopping spree.

  5. 5
    Nadia says:

    I have to read inter-related or series books in order, HAVE TO, so with her I’d have to start at the beginning to know the whole Montgomery-Taggert chain of relationships.  I haven’t any of her books written in the past decade or so, but devoured her 80’s and early 90’s books.  I have fond memories of The Raider and Mountain Laurel, the Twin of Fire/Ice books, and Sweet Liar, but I haven’t read them since published and couldn’t tell you if they stand the test of time.

  6. 6
    Reneesance says:

    I’m pretty sure The Raider was my first romance novel. I know that Jude Deveraux was my first very favorite author and I read all of her stuff.  For many years she was my primary auto buy.  I still love the Raider as well as Wishes and Sweet Liar.  Actually I think the shopping spree in Sweet Liar is my favorite of all scenes in her books.

  7. 7
    Anna Bowling says:

    I’m another who has to read related books in order, so I’d say either The Black Lyon or The Velvet Promise to start with. The Velvet quartet remain my favorite Deveraux ever.

  8. 8
    Asia M says:

    Thanks for the titles! I’m kind of new to Jude Deveraux, having loved KiSA (which I reviewed here, btw) and not so much High Tide, so it’s nice to be recommended where to go next…

  9. 9
    Helen says:

    I loved Wishes!

  10. 10
    Jennifer Tobin says:

    The Raider also The Princess.  I love the dancing around gum chewing scene.  I came to Deveraux somewhat late which meant there were lots of them out there for me when I discovered her.

  11. 11
    Michelle C. says:

    I think the Velvet Promise is the best one to start with. It’s one of my alltime favorites. Though Gavin could be a bit of a schmuck, I rooted for Judith the entire book.

  12. 12
    Hellion says:

    I would definitely start with The Raider. *LOL* The scene where he finally confesses to the heroine HE’S the Raider, and they’re looking down at the town and another Raider *rides* through the town in front of them—PRICELESS.

    I also adored The Princess (for the bubblegum scene mentioned); and The Awakening (for a scene at the end where the heroine is driving the race car that belongs to the hero—it’s just such a vivid scene of how far the heroine has come).

  13. 13

    The Raider was one of the first of her books that I read, and I enjoyed it immensely.  Don’t know how it would stand up all these years later, but I feel fairly safe recommending it.

  14. 14
    e_bookpushers says:

    My recommendation to start would be SWEET LIAR

  15. 15
    chrocs says:

    The Velvet Quartet and The Black Lyon. I liked her medievals a lot more than her westerns.

  16. 16
    sandra says:

    To each her own.  My first and last Jude Devereux novel was COUNTERFEIT LADY, which I considered to be the WORST novel ever written, which meant she was the worst author on earth.  I have since discovered an even worst romance (WHITNEY MY LOVE which should have been called WITLESS MY LOVE.)  I don’t recall the name of the author, but it wasn’t JD.  Anyway, someone who could write an abomination like COUNTERFEIT LADY is on my permanent Avoild Like The Plague list.  Spamword is future83, as in “If Jude Devereux writes 83 novels in future, and each and every one of them wins the Pulizer Prize for literature, I still won’t read them.”

  17. 17
    Kristi says:

    Love her. Start with Velvet to get a good handle on her historicals. Black Lyon would be next. Then move to Rememberance, one of my favorites. I bawled during the middle an named my cats after Callie and Tallis. Sweet Liar I love to reread.

    All the ones you mentioned are great thou. I love that novella.

  18. 18
    Lil says:

    I read KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR some years ago and it still makes me smile happily every time I think of it.

  19. 19
    cleo says:

    Jude Deveraux was my first romance author – before discovering her I just read books kind of randomly, and didn’t pay much attention to who wrote them.  I eventually gave up on her (too many WTF plots and asshole heroes, plus the whole Montgomery twin thing) and moved on to Amanda Quick and Jennifer Cruisie.  But I have very fond memories of reading her. 

    I’d start with her time travels – Knight in Shining Armor or Legend. I agree that Remembrance probably isn’t one to start with, but I enjoyed it – in all of its weird, sprawling, ranty splendor.

    I also remember liking The Princess – the setting is sort of unusual for her – I think it’s set in the 50s.  I still love the corset/girdle scene.

    She has many that I would not start with – like The Taming (my 19 year old self kind of skipped over the rape and the angst and loved it, but I doubt that it holds up well) and The Dutchess – even my younger self was appalled by the WTF plot and the asshole hero.

  20. 20
    Evaine says:

    The Velvet quartet is still amongst my favorite of favorites.  I go back to it every so often for comfort reads.  ๐Ÿ™‚  My favorite is Highland Velvet which I must have read a good 20 times by now.  *LOL*  I’m in love with Stephen, what can I tell you!  I seriously still laugh out loud when I read these books – that’s the big charm for me.  Hot romance, hot men and many good chuckles. 

    I HATED A Knight in Shining Armor, and I think it started my disenchantment with Jude’s later books.  I found that her novels after that one began to lose their charm for me and today, I’ll pass right by a new title of hers.  Sad that.  ๐Ÿ™

  21. 21
    Lorelie says:

    Jude Deveraux is my favorite Old Skool author. Because i think she’s one of the authors who was the bridge between Old & New.

    My favorites: The Duchess—a rich American heiress goes to Scotland because her family wants her to marry aristocracy. Set in the late 1800s (heroine has Worth gowns). Its got all these things that read as cliches, but a) they’re oh-so-subtly flipped and b) they weren’t cliches when the book was written.

    Second: The Invitation, which is actually three novellas. The first heroine is a daredevil pilot in the 1930s (!!!) and the hero is younger than her. How can you NOT love that? Come to think of it, I love one of the other novellas in there too, the one in first person. And I NEVER love first person.

    I’ve bought The Duchess & The Invitation in digital, even though the paper’s sitting on my shelves.

    Dammit. I think I need to re-read The Invitation. And I have revisions to do today!

  22. 22
    MarieC says:

    I loved KISA. But my favorites from JD is still the Velvet Series.

  23. 23
    sb says:

    Sweet Liar was one of my favorite contemporary Devereaux books.

    Of her historicals, The Heiress or Knight in Shining Armor were two of my favorites.

  24. 24
    Chelsea says:

    I’ve only ever read A Knight in Shining Armor and I don’t know how it compares to her others, but I liked it quite a bit.

  25. 25
    WandaSue says:

    I’m in the minority here—along with Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux’s (bad) writing gives me a twitch that won’t leave me the rest of the day.

  26. 26
    Donna says:

    “You’re the Black Lyon all over!”
    OMG, how do I remember that line after THIRTY years???
    I loved the Montegomerys. Raine Montegomery made me swoon. And Miles plopping Elizabeth’s ass on the tarts. And all those kids. And Stephen flipping his kilt. As much as I enjoyed her later books, the Velvet books will always be my favorites.

  27. 27
    Karen says:

    Jude Deveraux was my mom’s favorite author when I was growing up and I think I read Wishes in the fifth grade (with the “sex parts” paperclipped together—Mom thought it was too good of a story not to share and I was a very good reader…)

    I think my favorites have got to be Twin of Ice/Twin of Fire and The Raider.  And now I need to go re-read the Velvets!  I loved the Taggarts/Montgomeries and wish that more authors would/could do the whole family tree.

    I have to say that I didn’t really like KISA—the ending just didn’t quite work for me as a true HEA (but I feel that way about a lot of time travel books).

  28. 28
    LMG says:

    I would also say strat with the Velvet quartet and Black Lyon.  I haven’t read them since I first discovered them in the early 90s, but the scene in Highland Velvet where the hero puts his hand on the heroine’s leg in public after he’s learned how sensitive her leg are is still one of my favorites.

  29. 29
    Reading100 says:

    I read Sweet Liar on the floor of my parents’ office (near my mom’s tower of romances) over and over in my early teens, so I have a deep affection for that book. I never really got into any of the other Montgomery books. This was definitely a “tell the twins apart book” but I thought it was HOT-T-T-T!

    I also read, multiple times, the time travel on where she was a chef (Onions) and then went back to the West in a wedding dress… or something. What was the name of that one? It was my pre-Min “learn to love your body” book.

    I haven’t read A Knight… but I do have a vacation coming up! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. 30
    JamiSings says:

    I liked KISA until the end of the book. Then I hated it.

    Wishes is the only one that stuck with me that I like.

    I totally forgot the whole “the one who can tell the twins apart” thing. I think that’s because I read so few by her and only encountered that once. Where the mystery writer goes on a cattle drive or other ranch hand experience and she has hot sex with the widower cowboy but he dumps her and his twin brother keeps pushing the cowboy to get with her just because she can tell them and the cowboy’s twin sons apart.

  31. 31
    cleo says:

    @reading100 – the time travel you’re talking about is Legend.  I liked that one too

  32. 32
    Nicole says:

    SWEET LIAR!!! 

    It is my favorite Deveraux.  Mike is sweet to Samantha; he’s NICE to her, he’s FUNNY (marry the one that’s FUNNY should be the motto) and he’s still a guy – he doesn’t have a clue sometimes, he can get jealous, he thinks up ways to wear down Samantha’s defenses (in good ways, of course).

    And Sam’s not a bad character either; a lot of Mary Jane types in JDs books, but Sam’s got issues and is likable anyway.

    I always recommend this one first.

  33. 33
    Nicole says:

    @Reading100:  Legend!  I liked that one too.  It was my first Deveraux.  Timetravels are the best!! But later I decided the hero in the book was a bit of an asshat. ๐Ÿ˜‰  However, some of those scenes… MMMmmmm!
    And I was very glad when later Cole got his own book.

  34. 34
    rebyj says:

    Wild Orchids made me cry and I’m a hardass that never tears up from a book!! It’s on my keeper shelf.

  35. 35
    Kara says:

    The Duchess is my absolute favorite Jude book. It works as a stand alone, for one thing. Claire Willoughby is a kick ass heroine for another.

    The Heiress is also a great read to start with.

  36. 36
    Deb G. says:

    I CANNOT believe that no one has yet mentioned The Conquest. It’s a tie with Knight in Shining Armor – if I could meld Zared, the awesome heroine of Conquest, into KISA, it would be the perfect book. I have issues with what a terrible pushover the KISA heroine is, and even though I love the book, I often want to smack the bitch. The Conquest, on the other hand – she’s feisty! she’s a fighter! OK, she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but that’s what being raised in the midst of a blood feud will do to you. I also love the hero of this one. Technically, I think the Conquest is the sequel to The Taming, but is worlds better.

    Also, I liked the Mulberry Tree, which has a pretty strange plotline – dumpy woman married to a millionaire is disinherited when he dies, and it’s up to her to discover the mystery of his early life (while losing tons of weight, getting her nose done, and turning out looking like a hottie).

    There are plenty of awful Jude Deverauxs, though. And I’ve never made it through her Taggert series – there are simply too many interrelated books. And I hated the Duchess – the characters were all too bizarre for my tastes.

  37. 37
    Amanda Blair says:

    Ugh, I hated A Knight in Shining Armor.  The ending was just…not for me I think.  This probably should have gone under the what romance novels do people love that you hate post a couple days ago.

  38. 38
    cleo says:

    I keep coming back to this thread.  I’m not sure that I’d like JD if I picked her books up now, as opposed to picking her up in the 90s, when she stood out as one of the single title authors who wrote less-rapey heroes, so it’s hard to figure out what to recommend to a newbie.

    If you’re wondering IF you should try JD, as opposed to which one you should try first, here’s my JD 101.  As someone else said, she’s a transitional author, from old skool to new skool.  She’s much, much less old skool than Joanna Lindsay, but more old skool than, say, Amanda Quick.  She’s not very rapey (I think the only JD I’ve read with a rape is The Taming, which I don’t recommend), but her heroes often have asshole-ish tendencies and control issues.  If you like the sweeping plots, purple prose, and sparring hero and heroine of old skool romance, JD is your gal.

  39. 39
    roserita says:

    I read a lot of JD’s books back when I was reading historicals—just stopped and haven’t gone back—but the only one I still have that I reread is a novella called Change of heart from a an anthology called Holiday of love.  The main characters were a couple of kids; I often wondered how they turned out as adults.

  40. 40
    Anika says:

    Of the historicals I liked Twin of Ice and Twin of Fire. I remember one set in the highlands where someone and her sister-in-law was kidnapped, the sis was raped and jumped to her death – wtf? Then the heroine was released by the rapist’s brother who had fallen in love with sis. wtf? Kind of put me off the rest of her historicals.

    Of JD’s newer books the only one I really like is Remembrance. I found the newer romances seemed really depressing, there were too many assholey men.

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