100 books like A Woman of Noble Wit

By Rosemary Griggs,

Here are 100 books that A Woman of Noble Wit fans have personally recommended if you like A Woman of Noble Wit. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Hamnet

Flora Johnston Author Of The Paris Peacemakers

From my list on historical fiction books with a new take on a famous event.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by stories from the past. I worked for many years in museums and heritage, telling Scotland’s stories through exhibitions and nonfiction publications, but I was always drawn to the question best answered through historical fiction – what did that feel like? Well-researched historical fiction can take us right into the lives of people who lived through the dramatic events we read about in academic books. I found that each of the novels on my list transported me to a different time and place, and I hope you enjoy them, too.

Flora's book list on historical fiction books with a new take on a famous event

Flora Johnston Why did Flora love this book?

Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, right? Yes, but why? This wonderful book manages to tell the story of the writing of perhaps the world’s most famous play without mentioning the playwright by name once.

I loved the way the writer focused on his wife and children, and through their stories shows us not only the world that Shakespeare came from but how he became the writer he was. Oh, and if you like a book that will make you cry this really is the one. I’ve rarely read such a powerful description of grief.

By Maggie O'Farrell,

Why should I read it?

35 authors picked Hamnet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION - THE NO. 1 BESTSELLER 2021
'Richly sensuous... something special' The Sunday Times
'A thing of shimmering wonder' David Mitchell

TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART.

On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London.

Neither…


Book cover of A Column of Fire

Jim Carr Author Of Yesterdays

From my list on wars over the ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love history and languages from the first time my school classes opened my eyes to them and it has stayed with me ever since. Learning Latin helped me to understand how these people talked and how they thought and expressed themselves. It didn’t matter what, whether the daily lives of Romans and how they built their empire. It has coloured my thinking, and helped me in writing all my books that take place during the past, whether in Roman life or medieval warfare.

Jim's book list on wars over the ages

Jim Carr Why did Jim love this book?

Like Ken Follett’s other books on medieval England, A Column of Fire is easy to read. The plot runs smoothly and quickly in a way that keeps you glued to the book until you finish it. This time he zeros in on the religious turmoil that gripped Tudor England on the death of Queen Mary. Elizabeth’s ascension was challenged by Catholics who wanted to see Mary, Queen of Scots as the rightful heir to the throne, as well as by the king of Spain, who had another score to settle when he sent a massive armada to conquer England. 

A Column of Fire is a novel but it doesn’t stop Follett, a former journalist with a passion for accuracy, from peeking into the lives of even minor characters into corners I was not aware of. I like Follett’s writing style – easy to read, fast-paced with one new character after…

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Column of Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Absorbing . . . impossible to resist." -The Washington Post

As Europe erupts, can one young spy protect his queen? #1 New York Times bestselling author Ken Follett takes us deep into the treacherous world of powerful monarchs, intrigue, murder, and treason with his magnificent new epic, A Column of Fire.

In 1558, the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and love.

Ned Willard wants nothing more than to…


Book cover of Forsaking All Other

Tony Riches Author Of Drake - Tudor Corsair

From my list on historical fiction about the Elizabethans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born within sight of Pembroke Castle, birthplace of Henry Tudor, who later became King Henry VII and began the Tudor Dynasty, so I’ve always had an interest in his story. I found several biographies, but no novels which brought the truth of his story to life. The idea for the Tudor Trilogy occurred to me when I realised Henry Tudor could be born in book one, ‘come of age’ in book two, and rule England as king in book three. Since then, I’ve continued to follow the Tudor ‘thread’ all the way from Owen Tudor’s first meeting with Catherine of Valois, and culminating with the Elizabethan Series.

Tony's book list on historical fiction about the Elizabethans

Tony Riches Why did Tony love this book?

This well-researched story of duty, honour, and love is an exploration of Elizabethan marriage and religious and intolerance highlights how women were a way of advancing the land, wealth, and influence the status of their families. I liked the accomplished storytelling and the use of historical details of the clothing, food, and domestic routine of a Tudor household to bring the period to life.

By Catherine Meyrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forsaking All Other as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Love is no game for women; the price is far too high.

England 1585.

Bess Stoughton, waiting woman to the well-connected Lady Allingbourne, has discovered that her father is arranging for her to marry an elderly neighbour. Normally obedient Bess rebels and wrests from her father a year to find a husband more to her liking.

Edmund Wyard, a taciturn and scarred veteran of England's campaign in Ireland, is attempting to ignore the pressure from his family to find a suitable wife as he prepares to join the Earl of Leicester's army in the Netherlands.

Although Bess and Edmund are…


Book cover of The Most Dangerous Enemy

Tony Riches Author Of Drake - Tudor Corsair

From my list on historical fiction about the Elizabethans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born within sight of Pembroke Castle, birthplace of Henry Tudor, who later became King Henry VII and began the Tudor Dynasty, so I’ve always had an interest in his story. I found several biographies, but no novels which brought the truth of his story to life. The idea for the Tudor Trilogy occurred to me when I realised Henry Tudor could be born in book one, ‘come of age’ in book two, and rule England as king in book three. Since then, I’ve continued to follow the Tudor ‘thread’ all the way from Owen Tudor’s first meeting with Catherine of Valois, and culminating with the Elizabethan Series.

Tony's book list on historical fiction about the Elizabethans

Tony Riches Why did Tony love this book?

The third book of The Elizabeth of England Chronicles has Elizabeth finally becoming Queen of England and trying to unite a divided country. A Protestant queen surrounded by Catholic kings, all she has to do is marry well and secure the succession. Gemma Lawrence has a talent for developing convincing characters and evoking a compelling sense of time and place.

By G. Lawrence,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Most Dangerous Enemy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The witty, wily princess, Elizabeth Tudor has survived the turmoil of her formative years, and finally, is now Queen of England. Rising to the throne on a wave of popularity, Elizabeth is keen to avoid the mistakes of her siblings, and bring England to a new sense of unity and hope. But in the first two years of her reign, Elizabeth will be tested as in no other. She is seen as scandalous for her faith and sex in the courts of Europe. Untested in power and authority, Elizabeth must use all the weapons at her disposal to survive as…


Book cover of Prize for the Fire

Leslie K. Simmons Author Of Red Clay, Running Waters

From my list on little known people in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in Philadelphia, History was in the air I breathed. Reading about my surroundings led me to want to understand the times and the ways people lived in the past. The Classics inspired a love for the cadence of language (especially 19th C lit). Visiting local museums and historic places added fuel to my passion for Historical Fiction. I believe we learn best from history and the human experience through empathy and putting ourselves in other’s shoes, which Historical Fiction is able to do by introducing us to a fascinating array of characters, places and times—real and imagined.

Leslie's book list on little known people in history

Leslie K. Simmons Why did Leslie love this book?

Beautifully written and masterfully crafted, the story of Anne Askew, the real central character in Prize for the Fire, brings us to the brink of understanding the power of belief and commitment in a medieval world turned up-side-down by politics and religion.

To the brink, but it would be impossible to get closer than that to Anne’s personal core principles she would rather die for than not relinquish. Questions about faith, fidelity, and fealty are woven across Anne’s short life, exposing the chasm between conviction and practice in the world controlled by fear of power and doctrine.

By Rilla Askew,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Prize for the Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lincolnshire, 1537. Amid England's religious turmoil, fifteen-year-old Anne Askew is forced to take her dead sister's place in an arranged marriage. The witty, well-educated gentleman's daughter is determined to free herself from her abusive husband, harsh in-laws, and the cruel strictures of her married life. But this is the England of Henry VIII, where religion and politics are dangerously entangled. A young woman of Anne's fierce independence, Reformist faith, uncanny command of plainspoken scripture, and-not least-connections to Queen Katheryn Parr's court cannot long escape official notice, or censure.

In a deft blend of history and imagination, award-winning novelist Rilla Askew…


Book cover of Wolf Hall

Charlotte Gray Author Of Passionate Mothers, Powerful Sons: The Lives of Jennie Jerome Churchill and Sara Delano Roosevelt

From my list on history books by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I recall my younger self looking at the reading lists on Oxford University history courses, and asking, “Where are all the women?” I have always wanted to know what it was like to be there, in any century up to the present. How did families form and pass on their values, what did people wear and eat, when (and if) children learned to read, and what were people’s daily routines? Political, military, and economic history is important, but I have flourished in the social history trenches. I discovered women writers and historians have more acute antennae for the details I wanted, even when writing about wars and dynasties.

Charlotte's book list on history books by women

Charlotte Gray Why did Charlotte love this book?

Yes, I know this is a novel, but Mantel’s historical research is impeccable and no one has done more to bring to light the shadowy, intrigue-filled court of Henry VIII. Mantel explores the intersection of political power and personal ambition as she traces the career of Thomas Cromwell, a rags-to-riches courtier.

I could almost taste the food, smell the decay, and touch the damp walls of the buildings. She took me deep into the consciousness of the unlikeable yet sympathetic and lonely main character, as he serves his monarch and defeats his enemies.

The drama is gripping.

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked Wolf Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Man Booker Prize Shortlisted for the the Orange Prize Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award

`Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good' Daily Mail

'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with…


Book cover of Bring Up the Bodies

Ken Parejko Author Of Kasia's Story

From my list on the conflict between personal spirituality and religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was during the epistemological craziness around the year 2000 that I christened myself a truth warrior. I was already a scientist. Yet I knew there were other important truths, not of the mind but of the heart, truths we discover and marvel over in the realm of art. So as a biology professor I was granted a sabbatical to write the second of three of my novels, about Pliny the Elder. It is through literature, some of my own making, that I find new ways of seeing and experiencing the world: and of discovering and validating what is true, and what is not.

Ken's book list on the conflict between personal spirituality and religion

Ken Parejko Why did Ken love this book?

Though I did enjoy the earlier Wolf Hall I found Bring Up the Bodies more readable and compelling.

Hilary Mantel paints intimate word pictures of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and especially Thomas Cromwell, struggling to make his way through the minefield of political intrigue at Henry’s court. Though it is against almost every principle he holds dear, Cromwell charts a course which one step at a time ultimately brings Anne Boleyn down.

Finding himself in an almost impossible situation, he agonizes over every decision, looking at it from many sides: legal, political, ethical, spiritual, and religious. Meanwhile not far in the background we see the Church’s Pope Clement trying desperately, like Oz’s man behind the curtain, to control events.

Mantel’s genius was her ability to transform dry history into compelling, character-driven stories.

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Bring Up the Bodies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Man Booker Prize

The second book in Hilary Mantel's award-winning Wolf Hall trilogy, with a stunning new cover design to celebrate the publication of the much anticipated The Mirror and the Light

An astounding literary accomplishment, Bring Up the Bodies is the story of this most terrifying moment of history, by one of our greatest living novelists.

'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian

Bring Up the Bodies unlocks the darkly glittering court of Henry VIII, where Thomas Cromwell is now chief minister. With Henry captivated by plain Jane Seymour and rumours of Anne Boleyn's faithlessness whispered by…


Book cover of The Other Boleyn Girl

Jessica Disciacca Author Of Witches of Triora: The Vessel

From my list on taking you on a magical journey through time and space.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing for years and reading forever. Fantasy books have always been my number one go-to as far as genres. I loved how they would teleport me to a new world, allowing me to leave behind reality. The characters became my friends. The worlds became my home. I couldn’t get enough and still can’t. As I got older, my imagination never stopped. I was constantly creating dreamworld and character plots in my head. Eventually, I started writing, needing the characters to stop talking. The only way to do that was to get them on paper. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop.

Jessica's book list on taking you on a magical journey through time and space

Jessica Disciacca Why did Jessica love this book?

This story made me fall in love and then hate my lover all in the same breath. The mixture of history and fiction led me on a roller coaster of emotions.

I loved how Anne was so strong and knew how to get what she wanted and work her way through a world built by men for men, yet, in the end, her inability to birth a male heir was her downfall. The king framed her in order to remove her from the throne and move on to the next youngest thing. I was enraged!

This book makes me so angry, but I couldn’t stop reading Gregory’s work after this one. It totally hooked me and forced me to buy all her books written about this specific timeframe. 

By Philippa Gregory,

Why should I read it?

10 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…


Book cover of All the King's Cooks: The Tudor Kitchens of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace

Kirsten Claiden-Yardley Author Of The Man Behind the Tudors: Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk

From my list on everyday life in Tudor England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and historic buildings consultant with a longstanding interest in 15th and 16th century England. In addition to my own work on memorials, funerals, and the Howard family, I have worked as a researcher and consultant for television and books, including being a production researcher for the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall. 

Kirsten's book list on everyday life in Tudor England

Kirsten Claiden-Yardley Why did Kirsten love this book?

Peter Brears takes us ‘below stairs’ at the court of Henry VIII and into the kitchens that fed and waited on up to 1000 people a day. Structured around the different rooms that made up the kitchen, he details the food and drink that was being produced and gives a snapshot of the ordinary people working there. The book is nicely illustrated with sketches of Tudor implements and methods of cooking. For anyone who wants to try eating like a Tudor, the book concludes with a selection of recipes, all of which have been trialed in the kitchens at Hampton Court and adapted for the modern kitchen.

By Peter Brears,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All the King's Cooks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Possibly the first industrial complex to be operated in England, the kitchens at Hampton Court Palace were highly organised and built to feed the whole of King Henry VIII''s household. Brears traces their history & functions in this illustrated volume.'


Book cover of Foundation

Bill Thompson Author Of Callie

From my list on kick off a great series.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my decades in the corporate world, I traveled extensively and spent months in England, where I became a devoted Anglophile. I am privileged to have met Queen Elizabeth II and Philip, and to have attended a knighting at Westminster. English history fascinates me, but so do gripping spy thrillers occurring in European and Middle Eastern settings. There’s nothing better than finishing a satisfying first book in a series—fiction or not--and deciding to ration the remaining ones so you can savor the experience a little longer! 

Bill's book list on kick off a great series

Bill Thompson Why did Bill love this book?

Peter Ackroyd has written several wonderful books about London, the Thames, and aspects of English life, but this six-volume series (the last to come in 2023) is the best and most comprehensive I’ve found. It’s a delightful trip through history, not only covering the politics of the times but giving insight into the daily lives of people from one era to the next, how towns became cities, infrastructure and the system of government developed. The page counts are daunting, but don’t be dissuaded—nobody can make history come alive better than Ackroyd.

By Peter Ackroyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Foundation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book in Peter Ackroyd's history of England series, which has since been followed up with two more installments, Tudors and Rebellion.

In Foundation, the chronicler of London and of its river, the Thames, takes us from the primeval forests of England's prehistory to the death, in 1509, of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. He guides us from the building of Stonehenge to the founding of the two great glories of medieval England: common law and the cathedrals. He shows us glimpses of the country's most distant past--a Neolithic stirrup found in a grave, a Roman fort, a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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