62 books like Blood and Roses

By Helen Castor,

Here are 62 books that Blood and Roses fans have personally recommended if you like Blood and Roses. 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 Medieval Bodies: Life, Death and Art in the Middle Ages

Hana Videen Author Of The Deorhord: An Old English Bestiary

From my list on books with a unique perspective of the medieval past.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in medieval history comes from a love of language. My favourite Old English word is wordhord, which refers to a poet’s mental stockpile of words and phrases. My word hoarding (and sharing) started with tweeting the Old English word of the day in 2013. This spread to other social media platforms, a blog, an app, and now two books. I have a PhD in English from King’s College London (my thesis was on blood in Old English, even though blood actually makes me squeamish). I enjoy histories that make me think about the past from a different perspective.

Hana's book list on books with a unique perspective of the medieval past

Hana Videen Why did Hana love this book?

This book is filled with fascinating facts about medieval medicine, surgery, humoural theory, disease, and diagnosis. But what is surprising is how many other aspects of the Middle Ages are covered through the theme of bodies.

We learn about strange creatures like blemmyae (who have no heads and faces in their chests) and cynocephali (dog-headed people), saints and relics, race relations and politics, manuscript manufacture, religion, literature, travel, eating habits, love, sexuality, and gender identity.

I love how the chapters are organized by body part, from head to feet, a clever approach I have never seen in a history book before. Hartnell demonstrates how the medieval past is "an uncanny place at once startlingly different from and strangely familiar to our own."

By Jack Hartnell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Medieval Bodies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just like us, medieval men and women worried about growing old, got blisters and indigestion, fell in love, and had children. And yet their lives were full of miraculous and richly metaphorical experiences radically different from our own, unfolding in a world where deadly wounds might be healed overnight by divine intervention, or where the heart of a king, plucked from his corpse, could be held aloft as a powerful symbol of political rule.

In this richly illustrated and unusual history, Jack Hartnell uncovers the fascinating ways in which people thought about, explored, and experienced their physical selves in the…


Book cover of Growing Up in Medieval London: The Experience of Childhood in History

Marion Turner Author Of Chaucer: A European Life

From my list on medieval life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Marion Turner is a Professor of English Literature at Oxford University where she teaches medieval literature. Her critically-acclaimed biography of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer was picked as a Book of the Year by the Times, the Sunday Times, the New Statesman, and the TLS, and has been hailed as ‘an absolute triumph,’ and a ‘masterpiece.’ It won the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay Prize and the English Association Beatrice White Prize, and was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize.

Marion's book list on medieval life

Marion Turner Why did Marion love this book?

I learnt so much from this book when I was writing my biography of Chaucer. It is hard to find out information about childhood in history, and yet it is impossible to try to understand a society if we don’t know how children were brought up, what games they played, how they were educated, what adolescence was like. This book tells us about all those things. You can find out about how children learnt to read, what happened to orphans, the opportunities for pre-marital sex. Looking at a wide range of historical records and literary texts, Hanawalt pieces together a remarkably complete picture of medieval childhood. Looking at causes of death, for example, tells her where male and female children spent their time and what they were likely to be doing (boys were more likely to be outside). And archaeological finds reveal what kinds of toys children played with. Fascinating…

By Barbara A. Hanawalt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Growing Up in Medieval London as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Barbara Hanawalt's acclaimed history The Ties That Bound first appeared, it was hailed for its unprecedented research and vivid re-creation of medieval life. David Levine, writing in The New York Times Book Review, called Hanawalt's book "as stimulating for the questions it asks as for the answers it provides" and he concluded that "one comes away from this stimulating book with the same sense of wonder that Thomas Hardy's Angel Clare felt [:]
'The impressionable peasant leads a larger, fuller, more dramatic life than the pachydermatous king.'"
Now, in Growing Up in Medieval London, Hanawalt again reveals the larger,…


Book cover of Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts: Twelve Journeys into the Medieval World

David Horspool Author Of Richard III: A Ruler and his Reputation

From my list on to show you why medieval isn’t an insult.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been fascinated by medieval history ever since I played hide and seek around Welsh castles as a boy. At university – a medieval invention, of course – I was able to sit at the feet of some of the finest historians of the Middle Ages, experts like Maurice Keen and Patrick Wormald. As a writer, I have tackled medieval subjects like Alfred the Great and Richard III, as well as the history of English rebellion. I have come to realise that the Middle Ages could be cruel and violent, just like our own time, but that they were also a time of extraordinary achievements that form the foundations of the world we live in.

David's book list on to show you why medieval isn’t an insult

David Horspool Why did David love this book?

One of the great thrills of researching medieval history is getting the chance to handle original documents up close, as I have had the good fortune to do a few times. Christophe de Hamel is a palaeographer, a manuscripts expert who has travelled the world to examine some of the most precious handwritten works that still survive. As his title hints, De Hamel treats these artefacts as personalities, and his no-nonsense decipherment of priceless treasures is like listening in on a wise and witty conversation.

By Christopher De Hamel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An extraordinary and beautifully illustrated exploration of the medieval world through twelve manuscripts, from one of the world's leading experts.

Winner of The Wolfson History Prize and The Duff Cooper Prize.

A San Francisco Chronicle Holiday Book Gift Guide Pick!

Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts is a captivating examination of twelve illuminated manuscripts from the medieval period. Noted authority Christopher de Hamel invites the reader into intimate conversations with these texts to explore what they tell us about nearly a thousand years of medieval history - and about the modern world, too.

In so doing, de Hamel introduces us to kings,…


Book cover of Making a Living in the Middle Ages: The People of Britain 850-1520

Marion Turner Author Of Chaucer: A European Life

From my list on medieval life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Marion Turner is a Professor of English Literature at Oxford University where she teaches medieval literature. Her critically-acclaimed biography of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer was picked as a Book of the Year by the Times, the Sunday Times, the New Statesman, and the TLS, and has been hailed as ‘an absolute triumph,’ and a ‘masterpiece.’ It won the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay Prize and the English Association Beatrice White Prize, and was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize.

Marion's book list on medieval life

Marion Turner Why did Marion love this book?

For me, this isn’t a book that I read cover to cover; it is a book that I very frequently refer to when I want information. This is my go-to book when I want to check how much a labourer was paid, and what that money would buy, for example. It is an economic history and, as such, helps you to understand the fundamentals of how medieval society worked and was put together. So you can find out not only about the life of an aristocrat, but about the life of a peasant, free or unfree, and about life in the countryside as well as life in towns or in great households. It covers almost 700 years of history, so it also demonstrates how much changed across this long and varied period – starting hundreds of years before the Norman Conquest, and ending in the reign of Henry VIII, when…

By Christopher Dyer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Making a Living in the Middle Ages as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dramatic social and economic change during the middle ages altered the lives of the people of Britain in far-reaching ways, from the structure of their families to the ways they made their livings. In this masterly book, preeminent medieval historian Christopher Dyer presents a fresh view of the British economy from the ninth to the sixteenth century and a vivid new account of medieval life. He begins his volume with the formation of towns and villages in the ninth and tenth centuries and ends with the inflation, population rise, and colonial expansion of the sixteenth century.

This is a book…


Book cover of The Song of Simon de Montfort: The Life and Death of a Medieval Revolutionary

Marc Morris Author Of The Anglo-Saxons: A History of the Beginnings of England

From my list on medieval Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell into medieval history from the moment I arrived at university, when I looked at a lecture list that included the Norman Conquest, King John and Magna Carta, Edward I – in short, the subjects of the books I have gone on to write. The attraction for me was that the medieval centuries were formative ones, shaping the countries of the British Isles and the identities of the people within them. After completing my doctorate on the thirteenth-century earls of Norfolk I was keen to broaden my horizons, and presented a TV series about castles, which was a great way to reconnect with the reality of the medieval past.

Marc's book list on medieval Britain

Marc Morris Why did Marc love this book?

I was trained as a historian of the thirteenth century, and three of my books have been on thirteenth-century topics. One of the most influential figures in this period was Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, who first befriended and then rebelled against King Henry III, reducing the king to a cipher and effectively ruling in his place. Montfort was also highly controversial, driven by a mix of high-minded altruism and personal ambition that divided people at the time and still has historians arguing to this day. Sophie Ambler tells his tale in an exciting fashion, emphasizing the violence and the drama, but this is also a book with real academic ballast. In particular, it brings out how different Montfort was by virtue of being raised in southern France during the Albigensian crusade, and why political violence in England increased in the wake of Montfort’s own bloody demise.

By Sophie Thérèse Ambler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Song of Simon de Montfort as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A biography of one of the Middle Ages' most controversial, reckless, and heroic figures

Born in France in the early thirteenth century to a crusading father of the same name, Simon de Montfort traveled to England in his adulthood, where he claimed the earldom of Leicester and ingratiated himself into King Henry III's inner circles. Initially a trusted advisor, Simon's good relationship with the king did not last. Frustrated by the increasing injustice meted out to his subjects, Simon would go on to rebel against him, marching on the king's hall at Westminster and leading England's first revolution, and imposing…


Book cover of Stalking Jack the Ripper

J.V. Hilliard Author Of The Last Keeper

From my list on fantasy that have unconventional elements.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I was published, I played Dungeons and Dragons for years. I grew up on games involving fantasy, and though my career took me into government, it stayed my passion. I’m well on my way to publishing the last two books in my four-part saga as well as venturing into Kindle Vella, and I can’t wait to see what is next for me in the realm of fantasy. When writing in the genre, it’s easy to fall into the same old tropes and utilize the same creatures. These five books are atypical in this age of overdone plots and monsters. I hope you find your next read among them.

J.V.'s book list on fantasy that have unconventional elements

J.V. Hilliard Why did J.V. love this book?

I have always been interested in the Jack the Ripper lore. If you feel the same, Stalking Jack the Ripper does not disappoint. The book follows Audrey Rose Wadsworth in Victorian-era England as she hunts Jack the Ripper. Audrey is not the typical Victorian lady. She has a passion for forensic medicine and doesn’t mind the sight of corpses. Maniscalco does a fantastic job of presenting the widely known case details while putting her own spin on it and even adding a few details.

By Kerri Maniscalco,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Stalking Jack the Ripper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

A deliciously creepy horror novel with a story line inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

This #1 New York Times bestseller and deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion.

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between…


Book cover of Eleanor de Montfort: A Rebel Countess in Medieval England

Sara M. Butler Author Of Divorce in Medieval England: From One to Two Persons in Law

From my list on women in the Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am King George III Professor in British History at the Ohio State University. While later medieval England is my specialty, I approach it through a study of the legal record. Medieval people were highly litigious – the average person ended up in court far more often than we do today, making legal records the best means to unearth information about the lives of normal people from the era.  Most of my research has been sparked by questions students have asked me in class, such as: did medieval women stay with their abusive husbands? Did medieval children have rights? What was it like to be a single woman in medieval England?

Sara's book list on women in the Middle Ages

Sara M. Butler Why did Sara love this book?

Because everyone loves a good rebel. Eleanor de Montfort was little known before Wilkinson’s fine book. She was the daughter of King John, the sister of King Henry III, and the aunt of King Edward I. She was also the wife of one of England’s most notorious rebels, Simon de Montfort, whose leadership during the period of baronial reform and rebellion (1258-67) saw him rise to become the de facto ruler of England and host of the first representative parliament. Eleanor was no shrinking violet in all of this; she actively supported her husband’s cause through recruitment of allies, strategic hospitality, caring for royal prisoners, and suing for the properties and rights of her sons and husband, even after her husband’s gruesome death and desecration at the Battle of Evesham turned her into an outlaw on the run from English authorities.

Wilkinson’s book is a pleasure to read, as she…

By Louise J. Wilkinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book deals with the remarkable life of a powerful and fiery woman at the heart of the turbulent Barons' Wars. As sister of Henry III and aunt of the future Edward I, Eleanor de Montfort was at the heart of the bloody conflict between the Crown and the English barons. At Lewes in 1264 Simon de Montfort captured the king and secured control of royal government. A woman of fiery nature, Eleanor worked tirelessly in supporting her husband's cause. She assumed responsibility for the care of the royal prisoners and she regularly dispatched luxurious gifts to Henry III and…


Book cover of The Mountbattens: The Lives and Loves of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten

Merryn Corcoran Author Of The Silent Village

From my list on for lovers of French and Italian history, romance, and mystery.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in New Zealand and now live half the year in London and the other half on the border of The French and Italian Riviera. I am fascinated by the history of the buildings and the color of the European lifestyle. I love to write novels about the past and how that past relates to scenarios of present day. I am keen to tell the untold stories of WW2 that are based on fact. Then weave them with embellishment from my own imagination.     

Merryn's book list on for lovers of French and Italian history, romance, and mystery

Merryn Corcoran Why did Merryn love this book?

My focus often wanes when I am reading a lot of historic facts, but this biography of the British titled Mountbatten couple is a riveting read. Whilst their public lives and public duties brought them accolades and respect, their private lives were totally outrageous, given the time and their close connections to the Queen of England. The book offers a wonderful descriptive prose and informative insight into life around the Royal family. Andrew Lownie is a thorough, brilliant researcher and this book definitely deserves its best-selling status. 

By Andrew Lownie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Richly entertaining... impressively well-researched' Daily Mail, Biography of the Year

The Sunday Times bestselling biography of the glamorous couple behind the modern royal family, the aunt and uncle of Prince Philip.

DICKIE MOUNTBATTEN: A major figure behind his nephew Philip's marriage to Queen Elizabeth II and instrumental in the Royal Family taking the Mountbatten name, he was Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia during World War II and the last Viceroy of India.

EDWINA MOUNTBATTEN: Once the richest woman in Britain and a playgirl who enjoyed numerous affairs, she emerged from World War II as a magnetic and talented…


Book cover of Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor

Alexandra Kulick Author Of A Roosevelt Smile

From my list on the Gilded World of the Roosevelts.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I was a child, the rumors surrounding my grandfather’s mysterious birth and upbringing have fascinated me! Left at a police station on Christmas Eve, 1923, he grew up in a New York orphanage. When he was of age, the nuns handed him a large sum of money and told him his father was FDR and his mother was a servant of the Roosevelt’s. Was it true? Was it fiction? My family has spent collective decades combing through papers in search of answers. I finally decided to take the pieces of the story we knew and knit them together with fiction to create my first novel, A Roosevelt Smile.

Alexandra's book list on the Gilded World of the Roosevelts

Alexandra Kulick Why did Alexandra love this book?

While Below Stairs might be tinged with drama, Rose shows readers the loyal, dutiful side of a lady's maid to the incredibly influential Nancy Astor.

Rose details the tumultuous yet rewarding relationship she built with Lady Astor that lasted until the day of her death in this touching story. A fun fact loosely touched on in the memoir, without specifically naming the Roosevelts, was that the Astors visited and stayed at Springwood with FDR, including the memoirist, Rose!

By Rosina Harrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1928, Rosina Harrison arrived at the illustrious household of the Astor family to take up her new position as personal maid to the infamously temperamental Lady Nancy Astor, who sat in Parliament, entertained royalty, and traveled the world. "She's not a lady as you would understand a lady" was the butler's ominous warning. But what no one expected was that the iron-willed Lady Astor was about to meet her match in the no-nonsense, whip-smart girl from the country.

For 35 years, from the parties thrown for royalty and trips across the globe, to the air raids during WWII, Rose…


Book cover of Shakespeare's Rebel

Carol M. Cram Author Of The Muse of Fire

From my list on when you’re in the mood for a spot of Shakespeare.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the theater ever since I first stepped on stage in a high school production of You Can’t Take It With You. I had one line and was hooked! And as for Shakespeare–I fell in love with the Bard when I was 13 and saw Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. My best friend and I spent hours reciting the lines (I still remember whole speeches). So, when I was looking for an artsy subject (I love the arts) for my third novel, I naturally turned to the theater. I have a Master of Arts in Drama from the University of Toronto and when I’m not writing, I run Art In Fiction, a website showcasing 1700+ novels inspired by the arts.

Carol's book list on when you’re in the mood for a spot of Shakespeare

Carol M. Cram Why did Carol love this book?

I loved this swashbuckling tale of Shakespeare’s fight master because it took me back to Elizabethan England and right on to the stage at The Globe theater. There’s plenty of action and intrigue (the main character’s not only an actor and fight master but a spy!) that inspired me when I was writing the action scenes in my book. The author fills the pages with an impressive amount of historical detail while maintaining a brisk, page-turning pace.

By C.C. Humphreys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A gripping historical adventure packed with intrigue, deception, rebellion, politics, love and war, that fans of C.J. Sansom will love.

London 1599, a city on the brink of revolution...

He is Queen Elizabeth's last, perhaps her greatest, love - Robert Deveraux, Earl of Essex. Champion jouster, dashing general...and the man that John Lawley, England's finest swordsman, most wishes to avoid. For John knows the other earl - the reckless melancholic - and has had to risk his life for him in battle one time too many.

All John wants is to be left alone to win back the heart of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in nobility, the Wars of the Roses, and the Middle Ages?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about nobility, the Wars of the Roses, and the Middle Ages.

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