100 books like Eleanor of Aquitaine

By Alison Weir,

Here are 100 books that Eleanor of Aquitaine fans have personally recommended if you like Eleanor of Aquitaine. 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 Anabasis (The Persian Expedition)

Prit Buttar Author Of The Reckoning: The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944

From my list on changed my view of history.

Why am I passionate about this?

"History can become a dull and uninteresting subject, but the stories of the past are far more interesting and inspiring than the very best fiction. These stories tell us about how our world came to be, and the paths that our predecessors travelled; and they show us that, despite the decades and centuries that separate us, they were driven and inspired by the same factors that drive and inspire us today." Prit Buttar was a doctor, first in the British Army and then a GP, until retiring in 2019. Less than a year later, he volunteered to go back to work during the current pandemic.

Prit's book list on changed my view of history

Prit Buttar Why did Prit love this book?

There’s no substitute for reading about events by someone who was there. This book is about a largely forgotten incident, when 10,000 Greek mercenaries became involved in an attempt by Cyrus the Great to seize control of the Persian Empire from his brother. When Cyrus’ bid failed, the Greeks found themselves far from home and surrounded by foes; they then marched through Mesopotamia and modern-day Turkey to the Black Sea coast, where they were able to find ships that took them home to Greece.

It’s a tale of adventure and struggle, and sheer determination not to give in. It’s also a great example of how the author of such a work can find themselves faced with the difficult task of describing their own role in events. In the second half of the work, Xenophon gives increasing prominence to his personal leadership and suggestions. Regardless of any elements of self-promotion, it’s…

By Xenophon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anabasis (The Persian Expedition) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Widely considered the most famous work of the professional soldier and writer Xenophon, “Anabasis” is a true tale of dangerous adventure in ancient Greece. Though advised not to join the army of 10,000 by his friend Socrates, Xenophon does set out with Cyrus the Great in that man’s attempt to gain the empire of Persia from his brother. When this leader is killed in battle, however, the army loses cause and direction, and the result is a ‘marching republic’ in which the remainder of the army must fight their way home. Through endless miles of hostile territory where their foes…


Book cover of This Hallowed Ground: A History of the Civil War

Prit Buttar Author Of The Reckoning: The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944

From my list on changed my view of history.

Why am I passionate about this?

"History can become a dull and uninteresting subject, but the stories of the past are far more interesting and inspiring than the very best fiction. These stories tell us about how our world came to be, and the paths that our predecessors travelled; and they show us that, despite the decades and centuries that separate us, they were driven and inspired by the same factors that drive and inspire us today." Prit Buttar was a doctor, first in the British Army and then a GP, until retiring in 2019. Less than a year later, he volunteered to go back to work during the current pandemic.

Prit's book list on changed my view of history

Prit Buttar Why did Prit love this book?

I picked up this book while on a study course in the United States – I was based in Washington DC and intended to visit some of the nearby Civil War battlefields, and decided that I needed to know more about the conflict. It was perhaps the first American history book I had read, and immediately I was struck by the very different style of writing when compared with European works.

For a single-volume account of a terrible conflict that did so much to shape the United States, this is probably unmatched. The people involved, from those in high-level political positions to the men and women caught up in the fighting, are brought to life in an unforgettable way.

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic one-volume history of the American Civil War simultaneously captures the dramatic scope and intimate experience of that epic struggle, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Bruce Catton.
 
Covering events from the prelude of the conflict to the death of Lincoln, Catton blends a gripping narrative with deep, yet unassuming, scholarship to bring the war alive on the page in an almost novelistic way. It is this gift for narrative that led contemporary critics to compare this book to War and Peace, and call it a “modern Iliad.” Now over fifty years old, This Hallowed Ground remains one of the best-loved and…


Book cover of Sunlight at Midnight: St. Petersburg and the Rise of Modern Russia

Prit Buttar Author Of The Reckoning: The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944

From my list on changed my view of history.

Why am I passionate about this?

"History can become a dull and uninteresting subject, but the stories of the past are far more interesting and inspiring than the very best fiction. These stories tell us about how our world came to be, and the paths that our predecessors travelled; and they show us that, despite the decades and centuries that separate us, they were driven and inspired by the same factors that drive and inspire us today." Prit Buttar was a doctor, first in the British Army and then a GP, until retiring in 2019. Less than a year later, he volunteered to go back to work during the current pandemic.

Prit's book list on changed my view of history

Prit Buttar Why did Prit love this book?

This is an unusual book, in that it is effectively a biography of a city – known through the years first as St Petersburg, then Petrograd, then Leningrad, and now once more St Petersburg. As he tells the story of the city that Peter the Great built in a desolate swamp, Lincoln brings together many of the different strands of Russian history and the strong-willed people who tried, with varying degrees of success, to direct that history in directions of their choosing. For anyone intending to visit St Petersburg, reading this book beforehand is an absolute must – it will make the experience of being there so much more valuable. If there is a flaw, it is that Lincoln sadly died when St Petersburg was perhaps at its lowest ebb following the end of the Soviet Union; it would be fascinating to know how he would have assessed the city…

By W. Bruce Lincoln,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For Russians, St.Petersburg has embodied power, heroism and fortitude. It has encompassed all the things that the Russians are and that they hope to become. Opulence and artistic brilliance blend with images of suffering on a monumental scale to make up the historic persona the late W. Bruce Lincoln's lavish biography of this mysterious, complex city. Climate and comfort were not what Tsar Peter the Great had in mind when he decided to build a new capital in the muddy marshes of the Neva River delta. Located 500 miles below the Arctic Circle, this area, with its foul weather, bad…


Book cover of The Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge, and India's Quest for Independence

Prit Buttar Author Of The Reckoning: The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944

From my list on changed my view of history.

Why am I passionate about this?

"History can become a dull and uninteresting subject, but the stories of the past are far more interesting and inspiring than the very best fiction. These stories tell us about how our world came to be, and the paths that our predecessors travelled; and they show us that, despite the decades and centuries that separate us, they were driven and inspired by the same factors that drive and inspire us today." Prit Buttar was a doctor, first in the British Army and then a GP, until retiring in 2019. Less than a year later, he volunteered to go back to work during the current pandemic.

Prit's book list on changed my view of history

Prit Buttar Why did Prit love this book?

If there was any single episode that doomed British rule of India, it was the Amritsar Massacre of 1919, when General Reginald Dyer ordered his men to open fire on unarmed civilians in a walled park from which there was only one exit. One of those in the park was a man named Udnam Singh, and the dreadful massacre led to Udnam spending the next 21 years patiently seeking an opportunity to assassinate Sir Michael O’Dwyer, the lieutenant-governor of Punjab who was responsible for the killing.

Any book that deals with such an emotive subject as this could easily get lost in partisan assertions on behalf of one side or the other, but Anand meticulously remains both even-handed and engaged with the human beings in her story. As an example of how to tackle such a potentially explosive topic, this book is simply outstanding.

By Anita Anand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Reads like something from a thriller...colourful, detailed and meticulously researched' Sunday Times
'Gripping from start to finish' Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads
'Remarkable and brilliantly researched non-fiction thriller...focussing on one extraordinary story that had never been properly told before' William Dalrymple, Spectator

Anita Anand tells the remarkable story of one Indian's twenty-year quest for revenge, taking him around the world in search of those he held responsible for the Amritsar massacre of 1919, which cost the lives of hundreds.

When Sir Michael O'Dwyer, the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, ordered Brigadier General Reginald Dyer to Amritsar, he wanted him…


Book cover of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Martin Walker Author Of Bruno, Chief of Police

From my list on Perigord France.

Why am I passionate about this?

Martin Walker studied history at Oxford, international relations and economics at Harvard, and spent 28 years as journalist and foreign correspondent for Britain's The Guardian newspaper. He divides his time between the USA, Britain and the Perigord region of France, where he produces his own Bergerac red wine, 'Cuvee Bruno'. Martin writes a monthly wine column and is a Grand Consul de la Vinee de Bergerac, a body founded in the year 1254 AD and dedicated to the support of the region’s wines. 

Martin's book list on Perigord France

Martin Walker Why did Martin love this book?

This may not be the most scholarly book on this extraordinary woman; but it is by far the most readable on the only woman who married both a King of France and King of England, went on Crusade to Jerusalem, and civilized feudalism by sponsoring poets and minstrels and creating the idea of romantic love.

By Marion Meade,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Marion Meade has told the story of Eleanor, wild, devious, from a thoroughly historical but different point of view: a woman's point of view." Allene Talmey, Vogue.


Book cover of The Cloistered Lady

Lee Swanson Author Of Her Dangerous Journey Home

From my list on medieval fiction with fierce female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first recollection of a fascination with medieval history occurred while watching Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood. I soon exhausted our school library’s limited selection of tales of kings and castles. Much later, a history degree and decades spent in Germany and England allowed me to delve deeply into historical research, gaining a specialized knowledge into the areas in which I was most interested. I am particularly fascinated with the lives of women, most of whom medieval chroniclers relegate to a brief mention as wives and mothers. There are clearly stories here yet to be told and I am always excited to learn of new scholarship.

Lee's book list on medieval fiction with fierce female protagonists

Lee Swanson Why did Lee love this book?

Eleanor of Aquitaine is certainly one of the most formidable women of the Middle Ages; not just because she was queen to two kings, but because she had the courage to openly defy them both.

Consequently, I raced to order Coirle Mooney’s first novel in her The Medieval Ladies series, followed quickly by the second, The Cloistered Lady. I absolutely love the author’s ability to craft vivid descriptions of time and place, especially the uncommon setting of the nunnery at Fontrevault. Joanna, Queen Eleanor’s lady-in-waiting, is a delightfully complex character.

Like Christina Kohl in my series, she is wonderfully human; but her fears and shortcomings are balanced out by her sometimes-surprising strength and compassion. I enjoyed all three novels in the series, but this one most of all.

By Coirle Mooney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An enchanting historical drama set in Medieval France! For fans of Philippa Gregory, Elizabeth Chadwick, Carol McGrath and Anne O’Brien.

Joanna and Alice are forced from dazzling court life to bleak confinement…

1173, France

Eleanor of Aquitaine has been arrested for rebelling against her husband, King Henry II of England.

Her loyal ladies-in-waiting, Alice and Joanna of Agen have fled to the nunnery at Fontrevault, where they are anxiously awaiting news of their queen.

Alice and Joanna struggle to adapt to their cramped new home at the Abbey. Each is secretly nursing a broken heart – and harbouring unholy desires.…


Book cover of Devil's Brood

Saga Hillbom Author Of Princess of Thorns

From my list on the Tudors and Plantagenets that educate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of several historical novels covering a wide range of topics, but my main interest remains 12th- to 16th-century Britain. I grew up in Sweden and have been an avid reader of classic literature and historical fiction since I was a child, and am currently studying History at the University of Oxford. When someone asks me what it is that I love about history, I tend to reply that it is all the stories. It sounds obvious, perhaps, but history is made up of countless stories that can be told in countless ways, and there is at least one story for everyone to fall in love with. 

Saga's book list on the Tudors and Plantagenets that educate

Saga Hillbom Why did Saga love this book?

The summer before starting my first year of university, I went in search of historical fiction that was accurate enough to help prepare me for the module I was going to take about medieval Britain. Meticulously researched and packed full of detail that brings historical scenery and relationships to life, Devil’s Brood was the perfect starting point. It is a book that I have read and enjoyed three or four times, and each time, I have discovered new passages that made me put the book down on my pillow and stare blankly at the wall for a few seconds, pondering what I just read. In addition, this thrilling account of the early Plantagenets is the first (albeit independent) part of a series, so if you get as hooked as I did, there’s more to be had!

By Sharon Kay Penman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A breathtaking and sweeping epic of a family at its breaking point, Devil’s Brood shows how Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine—two monumental figures once bound by all-consuming love—became the bitterest of adversaries...

A.D. 1172. Henry II’s three eldest sons conspire against him and align themselves with his greatest enemy, King Louis of France, but it’s Eleanor of Aquitaine’s involvement in the plot to overthrow her husband that proves to be the harshest betrayal. As a royal family collapses and a marriage ends in all but name, the clash between these two strong-willed and passionate souls will have far-reaching and…


Book cover of Mary Queen of Scots

Gill Arbuthnott Author Of The Amazing Life of Mary, Queen of Scots: Fact-Tastic Stories from Scotland's History

From my list on Mary Queen of Scots for people who aren't into history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was utterly uninspired by history at school—couldn’t see the point of it at all—but then I discovered Jean Plaidy’s books and realised history was about people, real people. Dorothy Dunnett propelled me headlong into a fascination with sixteenth-century Europe, a period full of larger-than-life characters and an unusually high number of strong women. Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, Catherine de Medici, Mary of Guise, Hurrem Sultan (wife of Suleiman the Magnificent): they wielded real power. And Mary Queen of Scots was so young—it makes her the perfect starting point to interest young readers in history. I hope I’ve done her story justice.

Gill's book list on Mary Queen of Scots for people who aren't into history

Gill Arbuthnott Why did Gill love this book?

I read this book many years ago, but I went back to it as my first port of call when I began to research my own book on Mary. It’s a fantastically readable, detailed, and sympathetic portrait of Mary. And the sympathetic bit was important to me. It’s almost impossible not to take sides when reading or writing about Mary, and she did make some disastrous decisions, but I keep coming back to how young she was, and that’s well illustrated here.

By Antonia Fraser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A book that will leave few readers unmoved.”–San Francisco Chronicle

She was the quintessential queen: statuesque, regal, dazzlingly beautiful. Her royal birth gave her claim to the thrones of two nations; her marriage to the young French dauphin promised to place a third glorious crown on her noble head.

Instead, Mary Stuart became the victim of her own impulsive heart, scandalizing her world with a foolish passion that would lead to abduction, rape and even murder. Betrayed by those she most trusted, she would be lured into a deadly game of power, only to lose to her envious and unforgiving…


Book cover of Mistress of the Art of Death

Susan Vaughan Author Of Primal Obsession

From my list on historical mystery with women sleuths and romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

Reading historical mysteries with a touch of romance is a delicious chocolate dessert after a day of work. I’m the author of 16 romantic suspense novels. Why not double the excitement with both romance and mystery/suspense. I began reading mysteries because my mother read them. Once I’d read all the Nancy Drews, I moved on to Erle Stanley Gardner and Agatha Christie. I wrote a few mystery manuscripts that remain in a box in the attic, but then all-grown-up me discovered romantic suspense novels and found my niche. I love throwing the hero and heroine together under extraordinary circumstances and pitting them against a clever villain.

Susan's book list on historical mystery with women sleuths and romance

Susan Vaughan Why did Susan love this book?

This book, introducing a female sleuth in Medieval England, grabbed me from the beginning.

Who would believe King Henry II would hire a female forensics expert trained in Salerno, Italy to come to the backwater town of Cambridge in 1171 to conduct an investigation? But this author makes it believable with deft characterizations and a colorful cast of characters.

Adelia’s search into the deaths of Cambridge’s Jewish population leads to high-placed secrets and danger amid the lively doings of the population. This and the other four in the series offer a rich tapestry of a fascinating time. I recommend them all.

By Ariana Franklin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Mistress of the Art of Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14.

What is this book about?

Winner of the CWA Best Historical Crime Novel of the Year

'Great fun! Franklin succeeds in vividly bringing the 12th century to life with this cracking good story' KATE MOSSE

Medieval England. A hideous murder. Enter the first female anatomist...

Adelia Aguilar is a rare thing in medieval Europe - a woman who has trained as a doctor. Her speciality is the study of corpses, a skill that must be concealed if she is to avoid accusations of witchcraft.

But in Cambridge a child has been murdered, others are disappearing, and King Henry has called upon a renowned Italian investigator…


Book cover of The Greatest Knight

Gina Detwiler Author Of The Hammer of God

From my list on the Middle Ages with medieval warrior heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for the Middle Ages began with castles. I lived in Germany for a time, where there are a lot of castles, and I got sucked into the whole romantic notion of living a castle life, though I’d probably have been more of a scullery maid than a princess. When I decided to try writing a novel, I figured castles had to be involved somehow. I started doing research on medieval subjects that would make a good book. Unfortunately, the time period I ended up choosing for my novel was the early 8th century—no castles. I spent over twenty years researching and writing my novel, so I hope I learned something. 

Gina's book list on the Middle Ages with medieval warrior heroes

Gina Detwiler Why did Gina love this book?

If I had to pick a perfect writer, Chadwick would be it. Her prose, her dialogue, her historical detail, and her characters are all pitch-perfect—it’s like she was reborn from the Middle Ages and is just reporting what she saw. This book is the first in a series about William Marshall, and if you don’t know who he is, you need to. Not only was he the greatest tournament champion ever, but an all-around exemplary soldier and statesman who saved the English crown at least a dozen times. Best of all, he lived during the most intriguing time of English history, the reign of Henry II, when the indomitable Eleanor was queen, and their four sons, Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, and John, were wrestling for the throne. (Two of my favorite movies, A Lion in Winter and Becket, also take place during this fascinating period.) William’s story has gotten lost…

By Elizabeth Chadwick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Historical fact and fiction are entwined in this engrossing story about the infamous William Marshal. He was the penniless young knight who was plucked from obscurity to become a royal favourite and went on to be described as 'the true Lancelot'. This is the fascinating fictionalised story of the jealousies, romance and conflict within the royal court that led to him becoming a forgotten hero.


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