100 books like Death at the Priory

By James Ruddick,

Here are 100 books that Death at the Priory fans have personally recommended if you like Death at the Priory. 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 The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

Sarah Horowitz Author Of The Red Widow: The Scandal that Shook Paris and the Woman Behind it All

From my list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved reading about women who lived in earlier eras, whether that was through nonfiction or historical fiction. Books gave me access to worlds beyond my own and I loved thinking about what I would do in a particular situation, whether I would have made the same choices as the women I was reading about. I suppose it’s no surprise that I have a Ph.D. in history and teach European history. I love sharing my passion for the past and I hope you love the books I recommended as much as I do!

Sarah's book list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of

Sarah Horowitz Why did Sarah love this book?

Ok, so I’m cheating a little bit here. A lot of people have heard of the women Rubenhold writes about because they’re famous for being Jack the Ripper’s victims.

And for many of the women, what they did was not particularly scandalous, since Rubenhold goes a long way to show that not all of them were streetwalkers. But this book is such a beautiful and heartbreaking read. It’s a meticulous and gripping reconstruction of the lives of women we thought we knew but don’t. She brings nineteenth-century London alive in a way that few authors have – when I read the book, I felt like I was there.

By Hallie Rubenhold,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Five as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NONFICTION 2019
'An angry and important work of historical detection, calling time on the misogyny that has fed the Ripper myth. Powerful and shaming' GUARDIAN

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

Their murderer was never identified, but…


Book cover of My Blue Notebooks: The Intimate Journal of Paris's Most Beautiful and Notorious Courtesan

Sarah Horowitz Author Of The Red Widow: The Scandal that Shook Paris and the Woman Behind it All

From my list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved reading about women who lived in earlier eras, whether that was through nonfiction or historical fiction. Books gave me access to worlds beyond my own and I loved thinking about what I would do in a particular situation, whether I would have made the same choices as the women I was reading about. I suppose it’s no surprise that I have a Ph.D. in history and teach European history. I love sharing my passion for the past and I hope you love the books I recommended as much as I do!

Sarah's book list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of

Sarah Horowitz Why did Sarah love this book?

I love reading about women who had messy, complicated lives and Liane de Pougy certainly fits the bill.

Born in 1869, she was a chaos agent like no other. Soon after she got married as a teenager, she left her husband after he shot her when she was in bed with a lover. Then she went to Paris to become an actress and courtesan and became famous for her affairs with both men and women.

She was so captivating and so toxic that she inspired one lover to write multiple novels about her! After she made a fortune from her affairs, she married a prince and then, to top it all off, became a nun in the last years of her life.

Her diary is an intimate portrait of a woman who faced violence, exclusion, disappointment, but always with great bravery and an incredible zest for love, life, and adventure.

By Liane de Pougy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Blue Notebooks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating and provocative glimpse into the life of the legendary early twentieth-century courtesan--a Folies-BergFre dancer who became a princess and died a nun, details her many acquaintances including poet Max Jacob, Colette, and Marcel Proust, and vividly discusses her numerous sexual encounters with both men and women. Original.


Book cover of Venus Noire: Black Women and Colonial Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century France

Sarah Horowitz Author Of The Red Widow: The Scandal that Shook Paris and the Woman Behind it All

From my list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved reading about women who lived in earlier eras, whether that was through nonfiction or historical fiction. Books gave me access to worlds beyond my own and I loved thinking about what I would do in a particular situation, whether I would have made the same choices as the women I was reading about. I suppose it’s no surprise that I have a Ph.D. in history and teach European history. I love sharing my passion for the past and I hope you love the books I recommended as much as I do!

Sarah's book list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of

Sarah Horowitz Why did Sarah love this book?

This book had me in tears. It’s the story of Black women who lived in Paris and were scandalous not necessarily because of anything they did, but because of who they were.

Sarah Baartmann had a tragic life where she was exhibited as a sexual spectacle in the 1810s. Jeanne Duval was the mistress of the famous poet Charles Baudelaire and was vilified and blamed for all his problems – even though it’s clear that he was a hot mess. One reason that I love this book is that the author wrote it with such heart.

By Robin Mitchell, Manisha Sinha (editor), Richard S. Newman (editor) , Patrick Rael (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Even though there were relatively few people of colour in post-revolutionary France, images of and discussions about black women in particular appeared repeatedly in a variety of French cultural sectors and social milieus. In Venus Noire, Robin Mitchell shows how these literary and visual depictions of black women helped to shape the country's post-revolutionary national identity, particularly in response to the trauma of the French defeat in the Haitian Revolution.

Venus Noire explores the ramifications of this defeat by examining visual and literary representations of three black women who achieved fame in the years that followed. Sarah Baartmann, popularly known…


Book cover of The Trial of Madame Caillaux

Sarah Horowitz Author Of The Red Widow: The Scandal that Shook Paris and the Woman Behind it All

From my list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved reading about women who lived in earlier eras, whether that was through nonfiction or historical fiction. Books gave me access to worlds beyond my own and I loved thinking about what I would do in a particular situation, whether I would have made the same choices as the women I was reading about. I suppose it’s no surprise that I have a Ph.D. in history and teach European history. I love sharing my passion for the past and I hope you love the books I recommended as much as I do!

Sarah's book list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of

Sarah Horowitz Why did Sarah love this book?

Henriette Caillaux was the wife of a prominent politician who marched into the office of a newspaper editor in 1914 and shot him dead. There’s no question she pulled the trigger, but was she actually guilty of murder?

That’s the central question of this book and Berenson dives deep into the culture and society of the day to answer it. I love this book because it’s such a rich exploration of Henriette Caillaux’s life and of everyone involved in the case, from her husband to the judge.

By Edward Berenson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Early in the evening of 16 March 1914, Henriette Caillaux, the wife of a powerful French cabinet minister, paid an unexpected call on her husband's most implacable enemy, "Le Figaro" editor Gaston Calmette. Concealed inside the muff that protected her hands from the wintry cold was a Browning automatic. After murmuring a few words, she fired six shots at point-blank range. Calmette slumped to the floor, fatally wounded; office workers seized Madame Caillaux, smoking gun in hand. Four months later - just two weeks before Europe exploded into war - Caillaux stood accused of murder. So mesmerizing was the trial…


Book cover of Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life of the Legendary Nurse

Amy Gary Author Of In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown

From my list on biographies of bold women.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1990, Amy Gary discovered unpublished manuscripts and songs from Margaret Wise Brown tucked away in a trunk in the attic of Margaret’s sister’s barn. Since then, Gary has catalogued, edited, and researched all of Margaret’s writings. She has worked with several publishers to publish more than 100 of those manuscripts, which include bestsellers and Caldecott nominees.

Amy’s work on Margaret has been covered in Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, and on NPR. Her biography on Margaret, In the Great Green Room, was published by Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan, and was named a best book of the year in 2017 by Amazon.

She was formerly the Director of Publishing at Lucasfilm and headed the publishing department at Pixar Animation studios. In addition to writing, she packages books for retailers and consults with publishers. In that capacity, she has worked with Sam’s Wholesale, Books-a-Million, Sterling Publishers, and Charles Schultz Creative Associates.

Amy's book list on biographies of bold women

Amy Gary Why did Amy love this book?

I loved the way this book intertwined Florence Nightingale’s story with images of her life. It may have been written for young adults, but readers of any age will be immersed in this well-written and graphically beautiful book. Catherine Reed’s engaging story of Nightingale combating the gruesome hygienic conditions at the Crimean battlefront, going against Victorian society expectations, creating sanitary methods still used today, and earning the moniker of The Lady with the Lamp is a testament to the difference one life can make.

By Catherine Reef,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Florence Nightingale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Most people know Florence Nightingale was a compassionate and legendary nurse, but they don't know her full story. She is best known for her work during the Crimean War, when she vastly improved gruesome and deadly conditions and made nightly rounds to visit patients, becoming known around the world as the Lady with the Lamp. Her tireless and inspiring work continued after the war, and her modern methods in nursing became the defining standards still used today. Includes notes, bibliography, and index.


Book cover of Victorian Cakes: A Reminiscence With Recipes

Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada Author Of The Little Women Cookbook: Novel Takes on Classic Recipes from Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Friends

From my list on food and cooking in Victorian America.

Why are we passionate about this?

Miko and Jenne are librarians who love to eat. Their love of classic children’s literature led them to start their 36 Eggs blog, where they recreate foods and experiences from their favorite books. In 2019, they published the Little Women Cookbook, which required extensive research into the food of the Victorian era.

Jenne's book list on food and cooking in Victorian America

Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada Why did Jenne love this book?

This delightful memoir/cookbook of a girl and her sisters growing up near Chicago in the late 1800s gives us a glimpse of what kinds of things a middle-class family ate--there were trendy foods back then, just like we have now!

What’s it like? Just imagine if you took all your favorite 19th-century children's books, mashed them all together, and edited out everything except talking about cake. Oh and maybe keep in a few things about fancy outfits and picnics.

By Caroline B. King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author recalls her Victorian childhood and shares popular recipes from the 1880s for cakes, doughnuts, pastries, buns, cookies, and desserts


Book cover of Around the World in Seventy-Two Days

Tracey Jean Boisseau Author Of Sultan To Sultan - Adventures Among The Masai And Other Tribes Of East Africa

From my list on travel and exploration written by women in the Victorian Era.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historian of feminism, I am always on the lookout for sources that reveal women’s voices and interpretation of experiences often imagined as belonging primarily to men. Whether erudite travelogue, personal journey of discovery, or sensationalist narrative of adventure and exploration, books written by women traveling on their own were among the most popular writings published in the Victorian era. Often aimed at justifying the expansion of woman’s proper “sphere,” these books are perhaps even more enthralling to the contemporary reader —since they seem to defy everything we think we know about the constrained lives of women in this era. In addition to illuminating the significant roles that women played in the principal conflicts and international crises of the nineteenth century, these stories of women wading through swamps, joining military campaigns, marching across deserts, up mountains, and through contested lands often armed only with walking sticks, enormous determination, and sheer chutzpah, never fail to fascinate!

Tracey's book list on travel and exploration written by women in the Victorian Era

Tracey Jean Boisseau Why did Tracey love this book?

Bly was a brilliant investigative journalist best known in the United States for her exposé of the Women’s Lunatic Asylum based on her feigning of insanity as an undercover patient … until she became even more famous for her circumnavigation of the globe, inspired by Jules Verne’s fictional Around the World in 80 Days. Sponsored and encouraged by Joseph Pulitzer (editor of the tabloid newspaper, The New York World) and written in a witty, breezy style, Bly’s pithily-told tale upends every stereotype of fragile Victorian womanhood; her gutsy candor about her madcap race around what was supposed to be a wholly man’s world still stuns and delights!

By Nellie Bly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Around the World in Seventy-Two Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"She was part of the 'stunt girl' movement that was very important in the 1880s and 1890s as these big, mass-circulation yellow journalism papers came into the fore." -Brooke Kroeger

Around the World in Seventy-Two Days (1890) is a travel narrative by American investigative journalist Nellie Bly. Proposed as a recreation of the journey undertaken by Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), Bly's journey was covered in Joseph Pulitzer's popular newspaper the New York World, inspiring countless others to attempt to surpass her record. At the time, readers at home were encouraged to estimate…


Book cover of An Alien Heat

Timothy Moriarty Author Of Drowntown Girl

From my list on mind-blowing sci-fi-fantasy-alternate-world trilogies.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the summer of 1999, the second book in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series (The Chamber of Secrets) was published. It seemed that everyone was reading it–kids, young adults and grownups. More than that though, kids were getting excited about reading, maybe for the first time. Parents were reading it with their kids. The excitement they shared was inspiring. I thought Rowling had achieved something remarkable–something worthwhile–for a writer of fiction. It compelled me to change the story I was working ona rather violent, edgy taleinto a book for young adults. 

Timothy's book list on mind-blowing sci-fi-fantasy-alternate-world trilogies

Timothy Moriarty Why did Timothy love this book?

I love a book that makes me laugh. But if I immediately feel guilty or disturbed for laughing, if the story makes me re-examine my values page after page, that is a home run.

This – the first of the Dancers at the End of Time series of books and short stories – had me pondering the boundaries of scientific reality as well as right versus wrong while also being galactically entertained.

The (objectively awful) main characters are time- and space-hopping immortals. Virtually all-powerful, they can change their own appearance and environment at will. When one of them decides to experiment with the concept of Love…everything, and nothing, starts to change.

A vicious, delicious satire of unchecked indulgence that tests the bounds of good taste.

Book cover of The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick: Victorian Maidservant

Lydia Murdoch Author Of Daily Life of Victorian Women

From my list on Victorian women who defied stereotypes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of modern Britain with a specialty in nineteenth-century social history. I’m drawn to sources and topics that tell us about how everyday people lived and thought about their lives. One favorite part of my job is the challenge of discovering more about those groups, like working-class women or children, who weren’t the main focus of earlier histories. Since 2000, I’ve taught classes at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, on Victorian Britain, the British Empire, the First World War, and the history of childhood.

Lydia's book list on Victorian women who defied stereotypes

Lydia Murdoch Why did Lydia love this book?

This is one of the first books that I remember buying for myself in graduate school. Cullwick’s descriptions of her relationship with upper-class Arthur Munby (whom she eventually married) and the photographs of her dressed as a maid-of-all-work, a lady, a “slave,” an agricultural worker, and a valet highlight Victorian power negotiations and performativity.

Cullwick started working as a servant at the age of eight. From her diaries, I learned much about the daily lives of domestic servants: their relationships with employers, the different levels of service and employment networks, and the sheer amount of hard, physical labor that it took to run a Victorian household.

By Liz Stanley, Hannah Cullwick,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Hannah Cullwick (1833-1909) worked all her life as a maidservant, scullion, and pot-girl. In 1854 she met Arthur Munby, 'man of two worlds,' upper-class author and poet, with a lifelong obsession for lower-class women. And so began their strange and secret romance of eighteen years and marriage of thiry-six, lived largely apart. Hannah's diaries, written on Munby's suggestion, offer an obsorbing account of life 'below stairs' in Victorian England. But they reveal, too, a woman of extraordinary independence of will, whose chosen life of drudgery gave her the freedom not to 'play the Lady,' as Munby demanded. Rescued from obscurity.…


Book cover of The Sins of Jack Branson

Sydney Dell Author Of Take My Hand

From my list on LGBTQ that evoke emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a part of the LGBTQ+ community my whole life and have always been passionate about advocating for the people who identify as such. Furthermore, I have always had a fascination with emotional stories and the combination of a lack of many LGBTQ+ books with an abundance of romance and emotional thrillers out there makes it a ripe topic for stories. As a lesbian myself, it is very hard to write stories that don’t have those kinds of couples, so I tend to stick to that genre and I’m absolutely addicted to lesbian books.

Sydney's book list on LGBTQ that evoke emotions

Sydney Dell Why did Sydney love this book?

While reading this book, I was impressed by the skillful ability of the author to make me sympathize with the characters and begin rooting for them.

Their masterful execution of character development and the way I wanted to jump into the story to help make it one of the most amazing I have ever read and I would highly recommend it to those who are struggling to find a way to overcome sadness.

By David Schulze,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Schulze's depiction of the Victorian era is atmospheric and intense in conveying the persecution gay people faced." - Kirkus Review

England, 1881. Being gay is both a sin and a crime. Parents disowning their children is considered honourable. Consensual sex risks life in prison. Sodomy scandals ruin careers and reputations. Homosexuals have to choose between safety and happiness.

After an unspeakable incident gets him exiled from his idyllic Irish hometown, twenty-four-year-old Jack Branson rebuilds his life in fog-and-mould London as a house call prostitute for closeted members of the British aristocracy. His dangerous, lucrative profession makes him dependent on the…


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Interested in Victorian, Florence, and barristers?

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