100 books like Cromwell

By Antonia Fraser,

Here are 100 books that Cromwell fans have personally recommended if you like Cromwell. 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 Nine Lives Of John Ogilby

Nancy Blanton Author Of When Starlings Fly as One

From my list on Ireland in the 17th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Blanton is an American author of Irish descent. She’s written three award-winning Irish historical novels and has a fourth underway. A former journalist, her focus on the 17th century derives from a history lesson about Oliver Cromwell, weariness of Tudor stories, decades of enlightening research, and a little help from supportive friends in County Cork.

Nancy's book list on Ireland in the 17th century

Nancy Blanton Why did Nancy love this book?

While not specifically about Ireland, this is a most fascinating tale and true story about a man who started as a dancer, ran theater in Ireland, became a soldier, sea captain and so much more before he went on to publish the first road atlas in Britain. It’s the quirky details in this book that make it fun to read and quite informative about life in the 17th century.

By Alan Ereira,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nine Lives Of John Ogilby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four hundred years ago, every barrister had to dance because dancing put them in harmony with the universe. John Ogilby's first job, in 1612, was to teach them. By the 1670s, he was Charles II's Royal Cosmographer, creating beautiful measured drawings that placed roads on maps for the first time. During the intervening years, Ogilby had travelled through fire and plague, war and shipwreck; had been an impresario in Dublin, a poet in London, a soldier and sea captain, as well as a secret agent, publisher and scientific geographer. The world of his youth had been blown up and turned…


Book cover of The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates

Nancy Blanton Author Of When Starlings Fly as One

From my list on Ireland in the 17th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Blanton is an American author of Irish descent. She’s written three award-winning Irish historical novels and has a fourth underway. A former journalist, her focus on the 17th century derives from a history lesson about Oliver Cromwell, weariness of Tudor stories, decades of enlightening research, and a little help from supportive friends in County Cork.

Nancy's book list on Ireland in the 17th century

Nancy Blanton Why did Nancy love this book?

In 1631, the small fishing village of Baltimore in West Cork, Ireland, was attacked by Algerian pirates. About 100 villagers were carried away to a life of slavery. Known as “the Sack of Baltimore,” it was considered the most devastating Islamic invasion in Ireland or England. Yet, greed, politics and intrigue played major roles in the event that had little to do with pirates. Written by a journalist, this book reveals the struggles and dangers faced in by ordinary people in Early Modern times.

By Des Ekin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In June 1631 pirates from Algiers and armed troops of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, led by the notorious pirate captain Morat Rais, stormed ashore at the little harbour village of Baltimore in West Cork. They captured almost all the villagers and bore them away to a life of slavery in North Africa. The prisoners were destined for a variety of fates -- some would live out their days chained to the oars as galley slaves, while others would spend long years in the scented seclusion of the harem or within the walls of the Sultan's palace. The old city of…


Book cover of Age of Atrocity: Violence and Political Conflict in Early Modern Ireland

Nancy Blanton Author Of When Starlings Fly as One

From my list on Ireland in the 17th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Blanton is an American author of Irish descent. She’s written three award-winning Irish historical novels and has a fourth underway. A former journalist, her focus on the 17th century derives from a history lesson about Oliver Cromwell, weariness of Tudor stories, decades of enlightening research, and a little help from supportive friends in County Cork.

Nancy's book list on Ireland in the 17th century

Nancy Blanton Why did Nancy love this book?

Notorious for its violence, the 17th century is also a time of sweeping change. Change ignites resistance. When I first started researching Irish history, I was well aware of Cromwell’s march, and soon discovered much more and perhaps worse. How could people survive under constant threat and fear? How could humans justify such cruelty? This book examines several horrific events, the people and the policies that allowed them to happen—in the interest of learning from history that which we should never repeat.

By Padraig Lenihan, Clodagh Tait, David Edwards

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book examines one of the bloodiest epochs in Irish history. Part one covers the 16th century, revealing how efforts by the Tudor monarchy to curb the powers of the autonomous Irish lords degenerated into a bitter cultural and sectarian conflict characterized by summary killings and massacres. The second part pays particular attention to the 1641˜rebellion and the Confederate Wars.


Book cover of Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses

Nancy Blanton Author Of When Starlings Fly as One

From my list on Ireland in the 17th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Blanton is an American author of Irish descent. She’s written three award-winning Irish historical novels and has a fourth underway. A former journalist, her focus on the 17th century derives from a history lesson about Oliver Cromwell, weariness of Tudor stories, decades of enlightening research, and a little help from supportive friends in County Cork.

Nancy's book list on Ireland in the 17th century

Nancy Blanton Why did Nancy love this book?

Also not specifically set in Ireland, this book reveals in wonderful detail what life was like in the great manor houses of both England and Ireland. Such houses distinguished the 17th century from the age of castles and fortresses, and were lavishly constructed and furnished as tangible statements of power and wealth. You’ll learn what daily life was like from chambermaid to earl.

By Lucy Worsley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

William Cavendish was a gifted horseman, prolific womaniser and skilled diplomat. Famously defeated at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, he went into a long and miserable exile before returning to England in triumph on the restoration of King Charles II to the throne in 1660. But this is not just the story of that one remarkable man and the courtly world of King Charles I and his Cavaliers. More than that, Lucy Worsley brings to life the complex and fascinating household hierarchies of the seventeenth century, painting a picture of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, clandestine marriage and gossip. From…


Book cover of The Puritan Princess

Sara Read Author Of The Gossips' Choice

From my list on biofiction of historical women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a literary historian who works on the history of women’s reproductive bodies in the early modern era. I am also a debut novelist who has used my many years of researching the seventeenth century to bring to life the story of a seventeenth-century midwife. My own novel is not a bio fiction in the strictest sense of the term (novels with a named protagonist who was a historical figure) but it is based on the published works of two contemporary midwives, Jane Sharp (fl. 1671) and Sarah Stone who worked in the early part of the eighteenth century. I love reading works where other authors have brought to life figures I both research and teach.

Sara's book list on biofiction of historical women

Sara Read Why did Sara love this book?

This is the chance to read about a woman on the side of Cromwell and Parliament during the English civil wars. It imagines the life of Oliver Cromwell’s youngest daughter, Frances, later Lady Rich and Lady Russell (1638–1720). It describes the reign of Cromwell, life in the court of the protector, and the end of the commonwealth following her father’s death. The story is told by Frances herself and features a twist about the real fate of Cromwell’s corpse at the end.

By Miranda Malins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Power, passion and a devastating fight for the crown - discover the gripping story of Oliver Cromwell's youngest daughter. Perfect for fans of Anne O'Brien, Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory

'A powerful and superbly researched historical novel' Andrew Taylor, author of The Last Protector

1657. The youngest daughter of Oliver Cromwell, eighteen-year-old Frances is finding her place at England's new centre of power.

Following the turmoil of Civil War, a fragile sense of stability has returned to the country. Her father has risen to the unprecedented position of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, and Frances has found herself transported from…


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 The Royal Secret

Adele Jordan Author Of The Gentlewoman Spy

From my list on exciting adventure in the Renaissance.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a ghostwriter, I’m asked to turn my hand to many genres. Yet the one I keep returning to is Renaissance Adventure. Having always been a fan of adventure, in films, TV, or books, for my English Degree at Exeter University, I dedicated my dissertation to the genre, and the fascination shows no sign of fading. I love all these books, but there is one difference between these and my series. That is the heroes here are all men. Bring on more adventure in this era with women! I hope you enjoy the books on this list – they are a fantastic way to spend your evenings with your pulse racing.

Adele's book list on exciting adventure in the Renaissance

Adele Jordan Why did Adele love this book?

Andrew Taylor is known for his great mysteries set in the 1600s, but the reason I’m picking this one above his others is the power of the opening and how it draws you into this world.

We’re introduced to a house where two girls are playing with what is effectively a voodoo doll, wishing harm on their master. When something inevitably happens to the master, these girls’ simple game with the doll becomes much more wicked. Who couldn’t be drawn in by such a premise?

Like Samson and Bishop, Taylor takes the reader on an investigation through a city from a different era, but it’s the people in Taylor’s book that make the stakes of this adventure so much higher.

By Andrew Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the No.1 bestselling author of The Last Protector and The Ashes of London comes the next book in the phenomenally successful series following James Marwood and Cat Lovett during the time of King Charles II.

Over 1 Million Andrew Taylor Novels Sold! A Times Best Paperback of 2022

Two young girls plot a murder by witchcraft. Soon afterwards a government clerk dies painfully in mysterious circumstances. His colleague James Marwood is asked to investigate - but the task brings unexpected dangers.

Meanwhile, architect Cat Hakesby is working for a merchant who lives on Slaughter Street, where the air smells…


Book cover of Restoration

Joanne Limburg Author Of A Want of Kindness

From my list on bringing you closest to historical figures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an academic and non-fiction writer as well as a novelist. My favourite part of writing is the research phase, when you catch the scent of something fascinating, and hitherto unknown, and never know where it might lead you. As you’ve probably guessed from my recommendations, I have a soft spot for the quiet, unflashy, overlooked figures. Recently I’ve returned to the subject of overlooked women, although in non-fiction, in my book Letters to my Weird Sisters: On Autism and Feminism. For my next novel, I’m learning all about the bluestocking women of eighteenth-century Britain, and their attempt to create an ideal community. Perfect characters aren’t interesting to me – flawed ones are so much better.

Joanne's book list on bringing you closest to historical figures

Joanne Limburg Why did Joanne love this book?

The character at the centre of this book, the clownish and exuberant physician Merivel, is fictional, but his world revolves around the very real figure of Charles II. After Merivel cures one of the King’s favourite spaniels, Charles enlists him to marry his newest mistress – a ruse to draw his very jealous main mistress, Barbara Villiers, off the scent. Merivel receives a country estate in return and is sent to live there with his new wife, under strict instructions not to touch her. When he falls for her, he is kicked out of their home and seeks refuge with a student friend at the New Bedlam Hospital. He needs to get back into the King’s good books. Like its anti-hero, this novel is ebullient, funny, and strangely loveable.

By Rose Tremain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Robert Merivel, son of a glove maker and an aspiring physician, finds his fortunes transformed when he is given a position at the court of King Charles II. Merivel slips easily into a life of luxury and idleness, enthusiastically enjoying the women and wine of the vibrant Restoration age. But when he's called on to serve the king in an unusual role, he transgresses the one law that he is forbidden to break and is brutally cast out from his newfound paradise. Thus begins Merivel's journey to self-knowledge, which will take him down into the lowest depths of seventeenth-century society.


Book cover of As Meat Loves Salt

Jeffrey Richards Author Of We Are Only Ghosts

From my list on LGBT+ novels that haunt me (in a good way).

Why am I passionate about this?

I came of age in Oklahoma as a gay youth in the late 1970s and early 1980s, keeping myself hidden out of safety and shame. Once I was old enough to leave my small-minded town and be myself, I crashed headlong into the oncoming AIDS epidemic. It set me on a path to understanding the world and my place in it as a homosexual. I turned to reading about the lives and histories of those who came before me, to learn about their deaths and survivals in what could be an ugly, brutal world. These works continue to draw me, haunt me, and inspire me to share my story through my writing. 

Jeffrey's book list on LGBT+ novels that haunt me (in a good way)

Jeffrey Richards Why did Jeffrey love this book?

I’ve always thought of this book as a gay “bodice-ripper,” though a bit on the darker side. And it’s the darkness that haunts me still some two decades after first reading it.

The love story, if one can call it that, verges on and then outright plunges into brutal obsession between the two main male characters, and even though I knew I shouldn’t, I rooted for them.

Beyond the intensity of the relationship between the main characters, the writing, steeped in the history of the English Revolution, is wonderful–strong and brutal and raw and visceral. I’ve returned to this novel repeatedly over the years, and its impact never lessens. Truly a marvel of a novel. 

By Maria McCann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As Meat Loves Salt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Transplant Othello to the tumult of a country in social and political flux and en route to regicide -- England in the 1640s -- and render him uncertain about his sexuality, and you have the makings of Jacob Cullen, one of the most commanding characters in contemporary writing. As the book opens, Jacob is an educated, vigorous and dauntingly strong manservant in a Royalist household, who has begun to imbibe god-fearing revolutionary pamphlets. He is on the brink of marriage to his virginal sweetheart, but is unsure of his emotional needs, and in possession of a boiling point he reaches…


Book cover of Britain in Revolution: 1625-1660

Kirsteen MacKenzie Author Of The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms and the Cromwellian Union, 1643-1663

From my list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic historian who has had a passion for the wars of the three kingdoms for over three decades. I have been reading books about the civil wars in Britain and Ireland since I was ten years old. I have been a member of the re-enactment society The Sealed Knot and the Cromwell Association. I published my first monograph on the wars of the three kingdoms in 2018. The monograph views the conflict from a three kingdoms perspective through the eyes of the Scottish Covenanters and their English allies. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Kirsteen's book list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653

Kirsteen MacKenzie Why did Kirsteen love this book?

This is an integrated and detailed account of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms across Britain and Ireland, the English Republic and the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660. It is written in an engaging and lively style and concisely integrates the large body of scholarship that emerged with the new British histories in the 1990s and early 2000s.

By Austin Woolrych,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the definitive history of the English Civil War, set in its full historical context from the accession of Charles I to the Restoration of Charles II. These were the most turbulent years of British history and their reverberations have been felt down the centuries. Throughout the middle decades of the seventeenth century England, Scotland, and Ireland were convulsed by political upheaval and wracked by rebellion and civil war. The Stuart monarchy was in
abeyance for twenty years in all three kingdoms, and Charles I famously met his death on the scaffold.

Austin Woolrych breathes life back into the…


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Interested in heads of state, Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II of England?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about heads of state, Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II of England.

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