The best books if you like historical fiction about royalty

Diana Giovinazzo Author Of Antoinette's Sister
By Diana Giovinazzo

Who am I?

We have all grown up with the notion that being princess or a queen is a fantasy to aspire to. In writing Antoinette's Sister, I wanted to explore if that fantasy was attainable or if royalty had the same struggles as the rest of us commoners. As the long-time co-host of the Wine, Women and Words Literary podcast I have had the pleasure of reading and interviewing a number of authors who also explored this concept.


I wrote...

Antoinette's Sister

By Diana Giovinazzo,

Book cover of Antoinette's Sister

What is my book about?

Antoinette’s Sister is the story of Queen Maria Carolina of The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. When she is forced, by her domineering mother, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria to marry King Ferdinand she is beside herself with grief. The King is rumored to be a dimwit who would rather play games than rule his country. Taking control of the kingdom, she finds a steady balance between ruling and family until the unthinkable happens. As the French Revolution breaks out, Maria Carolina is on the verge of losing her favorite sister, Marie Antionette, and finds herself face-to-face with the world’s most cunning general, Napoleon Bonaparte.

The books I picked & why

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The Other Boleyn Girl

By Philippa Gregory,

Book cover of The Other Boleyn Girl

Why this book?

You always remember your first. This was the book that started my fascination with the pressures of being a queen, it also started my fascination with the Tudor monarchy. We all know the tragic story of Anne Boleyn but to have it told from the perspective of her sister was so refreshing. 

The Other Boleyn Girl

By Philippa Gregory,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Other Boleyn Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*A stunning brand new unabridged recording*

The acclaimed international bestseller of the Tudor court, during the years of Henry VIII's pursuit of Anne Boleyn - and the revolutionary sequence of events that followed.

1521. Young Mary Boleyn arrives at court, maid in waiting and favourite to Queen Katherine of Aragon.

Yet Mary catches the eye of the capricious king and - propelled by the ambitions of the powerful Boleyn family - she betrays her queen, and takes her place as Henry VIII's new mistress.

But while Mary is in childbed, a rival comes to court - her sister Anne, a…


Island Queen

By Vanessa Riley,

Book cover of Island Queen

Why this book?

I love Vanessa’s writing style. Through her novel, we learn about Dolly Kirwan Thomas, a former slave who rose to be the most powerful woman in the Caribbean. Through this book, we get to see another side of the 18th century and the harsh realities of colonialism, and one woman’s journey to rise above it.

Island Queen

By Vanessa Riley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Island Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"Riveting and transformative, evocative and immersive...by turns vibrant and bold and wise, discovering Dorothy's story is a singular pleasure."--The New York Times

A remarkable, sweeping historical novel based on the incredible true life story of Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, a free Black woman who rose from slavery to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful landowners in the colonial West Indies.

Born into slavery on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, Doll bought her freedom-and that of her sister and her mother-from her Irish planter father and built a legacy of wealth and power as an entrepreneur, merchant, hotelier, and…


The Moon In The Palace

By Weina Dai Randel,

Book cover of The Moon In The Palace

Why this book?

People in history are remembered as being larger than life. Likewise, people are either characterized as villains or heroes but to the extreme. There are many stories about Empress Wu, but Weina Dai Randel was able to demystify her and make her a relatable human whose story can still inspire us.

The Moon In The Palace

By Weina Dai Randel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moon In The Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Randel's gorgeous debut novel seductively pulls back the curtain to reveal the heartbreaking world of...China."-Stephanie Dray, NYT bestselling Author of America's First Daughter
A thrilling work of historical fiction, bringing romance, intrigue, and the unexpected rise of an Empress to intoxicating life under the inscrutable moon.
In Tang Dynasty China, a concubine at the palace learns quickly that there are many ways to capture the Emperor's attention. Many hope to lure in the One Above All with their beauty. Some present him with fantastic gifts, such as jade pendants and scrolls of calligraphy, while others rely on their knowledge of…


The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire

By Allison Pataki,

Book cover of The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire

Why this book?

Everyone knows about Josephine Bonaparte but what about the woman who came before, Desiree Clary? While the future Queen of Sweden was Napoleon’s first love, she eventually finds herself at odds with one of the greatest generals. I loved reading about another side of the French Revolution and what Napoleon was like before he was famous.

The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire

By Allison Pataki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queen's Fortune as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sweeping novel about the extraordinary woman who captured Napoleon’s heart, created a dynasty, and changed the course of history—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor's Wife, The Accidental Empress, and Sisi

“I absolutely loved The Queen’s Fortune, the fascinating, little-known story of Desiree Clary—the woman Napoleon left for Josephine—who ultimately triumphed and became queen of Sweden.”—Martha Hall Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls

As the French revolution ravages the country, Desiree Clary is faced with the life-altering truth that the world she has known and loved is gone and it’s fallen on her…


The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

By C.W. Gortner,

Book cover of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

Why this book?

There are some books that stick with you, years after you read them, and The Confessions of Catherine Medici is one such book. Being the Queen of France might sound good on paper but the struggles that Catherine went through. There is delicious court drama and a woman coming into her own.

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

By C.W. Gortner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Confessions of Catherine de Medici as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is a dramatic, epic novel of an all-too-human woman whose strength and passion propelled her into the center of grand events. Meticulously-researched, this engrossing novel offers a fresh portrait of a queen who has too often been portrayed as a villain. Bravo Mr. Gortner!”—Sandra Gulland, author of The Josephine B Trilogy and Mistress of the Sun 

The truth is, not one of us is innocent. We all have sins to confess. So reveals Catherine de Medici, the last legitimate descendant of her family’s illustrious line. Expelled from her native Florence, Catherine is betrothed to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in France, empresses, and South America?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, empresses, and South America.

France Explore 690 books about France
Empresses Explore 14 books about empresses
South America Explore 29 books about South America

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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