The best books for Tudor fans

Who am I?

By day, I am a freelance grant writer for impactful nonprofits…but by night I indulge a passion for the Tudor era I have harbored since I was eight years old and my parents let me stay up late to watch The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R. My Seymour Saga took me deep into one of the era’s central families – and now I am working on my follow up Regina trilogy, exploring Elizabeth’s journey from bastard to icon. I also run a blog where I post interesting takes on the Tudors – I need somewhere to share all the fascinating tidbits I can’t cram into my books!

I wrote...

Jane the Quene

By Janet Ambrosi Wertman,

Book cover of Jane the Quene

What is my book about?

England. 1535. Jane Seymour is 27 years old and increasingly desperate to marry and secure her place in the world. Meanwhile, King Henry VIII is 45 and increasingly desperate for an heir. As Henry begins to fear he is cursed, Jane’s honesty and innocence conjure in him the hope of redemption.

Thomas Cromwell, an ambitious clerk whose political prowess keeps the King's changing desires satisfied, engineers the plot that ends with Jane becoming the King's third wife. For Jane, who believes herself virtuous and her actions justified, miscarriages early in her marriage shake her confidence. How can a woman who has committed no wrong bear the guilt of how she unseated her predecessor?

The books I picked & why

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Autobiography of Henry VIII

By Margaret George,

Book cover of Autobiography of Henry VIII

Why this book?

The book is unique, written from Henry’s point of view, with notes from his fool, Will Somers, that help the reader separate what really happened from Henry’s own (kinda crazy) interpretations. Yes, at 950 pages, it’s a behemoth – but Henry himself was larger than life and his story really does need that long to be told fully. 

Wolf Hall

By Hilary Mantel,

Book cover of Wolf Hall

Why this book?

Another long book, all the better to get you immersed in the story. I admit, it took me about thirty pages to get used to the author’s style (present tense, close third point of view) but once I did, I knew it was the perfect choice to convey Cromwell’s constant scrutiny of his every thought and gesture. I loved the sequels too, but you gotta start somewhere!

The Six Wives of Henry VIII

By Alison Weir,

Book cover of The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Why this book?

This is non-fiction that reads as smoothly as fiction (except it’s all true); there is also a “sequel” about his children that is well worth a read. Lately, Weir has been writing novels set in the period, but I don’t like her fiction nearly as much as I love her non-fiction!

The Other Boleyn Girl

By Philippa Gregory,

Book cover of The Other Boleyn Girl

Why this book?

Sigh. No list of compelling Tudor fiction can be complete without Philippa Gregory, whose books are a guilty pleasure for many of us. They generally have a great concept and moments where the writing sings (when she’s “on”, she’s really “on”), though they are a little like junk food: you know they're not really good for you, but you eat them anyway. I found this one the best of the bunch.

Elizabeth I

By Anne Somerset,

Book cover of Elizabeth I

Why this book?

To be honest, I realized I was at the end of the list and all the books I mentioned were centered around Henry VIII and his era! Elizabeth was just as important and interesting as her crazy father, perhaps even more so. This book is more non-fiction, but again beautifully readable. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and Thomas Cromwell?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and Thomas Cromwell.

King Henry VIII Explore 27 books about King Henry VIII
Anne Boleyn Explore 10 books about Anne Boleyn
Thomas Cromwell Explore 6 books about Thomas Cromwell

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Tombland, Fatal Vision, and Arundel if you like this list.