100 books like Elizabeth I

By Anne Somerset,

Here are 100 books that Elizabeth I fans have personally recommended if you like Elizabeth I. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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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 Six Wives of Henry VIII

Janet Wertman Author Of Jane the Quene

From my list on for Tudor fans.

Why am I passionate about this?

By day, I am a freelance grant writer for impactful nonprofits…but by night I indulge a passion for the Tudor era I have harbored since I was eight years old and my parents let me stay up late to watch The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R. My Seymour Saga took me deep into one of the era’s central families – and now I am working on my follow up Regina trilogy, exploring Elizabeth’s journey from bastard to icon. I also run a blog where I post interesting takes on the Tudors – I need somewhere to share all the fascinating tidbits I can’t cram into my books!

Janet's book list on for Tudor fans

Janet Wertman Why did Janet love this book?

This is non-fiction that reads as smoothly as fiction (except it’s all true); there is also a “sequel” about his children that is well worth a read. Lately, Weir has been writing novels set in the period, but I don’t like her fiction nearly as much as I love her non-fiction!

By Alison Weir,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Six Wives of Henry VIII as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most powerful monarchs in British history, Henry VIII ruled England in unprecedented splendour.

In this remarkable composite biography, Alison Weir brings Henry's six wives vividly to life, revealing each as a distinct and compelling personality in her own right. Drawing upon the rich fund of documentary material from the Tudor period, The Six Wives of Henry VIII shows us a court where personal needs frequently influenced public events and where a life of gorgeously ritualised pleasure was shot through with ambition, treason and violence.

'At last we have the truth about Henry VIII's wives. This book is…


Book cover of The Other Boleyn Girl

Jessica Disciacca Author Of Witches of Triora: The Vessel

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

Why am I passionate about this?

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

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

Jessica Disciacca Why did Jessica love this book?

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

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

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

By Philippa Gregory,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Other Boleyn Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*A stunning brand new unabridged recording*

The acclaimed international bestseller of the Tudor court, during the years of Henry VIII's pursuit of Anne Boleyn - and the revolutionary sequence of events that followed.

1521. Young Mary Boleyn arrives at court, maid in waiting and favourite to Queen Katherine of Aragon.

Yet Mary catches the eye of the capricious king and - propelled by the ambitions of the powerful Boleyn family - she betrays her queen, and takes her place as Henry VIII's new mistress.

But while Mary is in childbed, a rival comes to court - her sister Anne, a…


Book cover of Autobiography of Henry VIII

Juliana Cummings Author Of Sleeping With the Impaler: A Historical Romance About Vlad the Impaler

From my list on historical fiction that bring real people to life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a reader and writer of historical fiction for as long as I remember. As a writer, my goal is to bring these figures from the past alive again. These were real people and I want my readers to see that they are not just photos or stories in a history book.

Juliana's book list on historical fiction that bring real people to life

Juliana Cummings Why did Juliana love this book?

I can not express how moved I was by this book. I have read extensively on Henry VIII but this book truly brought him to life. We see him not as the obese king with a fondness for the axeman, but as a smart, emotional, however somewhat egotistical, young king. We watch Henry age, fall in and out of love, and become an old man with many health problems. The characters in this book are so very real and George did a tremendous job bringing the court of Henry VIII alive for her readers.

By Margaret George,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Autobiography of Henry VIII as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A paperback edition of the fictitious memoirs of King Henry VIII, published to coincide with publication of the author's new novel, MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS AND THE ISLES.


Book cover of After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland and the Struggle for the Throne of England

Steven Veerapen Author Of Of Blood Descended: An Anthony Blanke Tudor Mystery

From my list on opening the doors of the Tudor Court.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the early modern period–the Tudors and the Stuarts–since falling in love with Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth, Henry VIII, and his wives when I was a child. I graduated from Horrible Histories as a child to lengthier nonfiction and fiction books about the era as a teenager before gaining a BA Honours, a Masters, and a PhD focussing on Elizabethan language and literature. I now teach English Literature at Strathclyde University. Because I never lost the urge to read everything I could about the Tudors and Stuarts, I began writing about them, too, and because I devour both fiction and nonfiction, I write both!

Steven's book list on opening the doors of the Tudor Court

Steven Veerapen Why did Steven love this book?

The end of the Tudor dynasty is often rushed over; as everyone knows, Elizabeth I died childless, and her throne passed to her Stuart cousin, James. Leanda de Lisle shows why this transfer of power shouldn’t be glossed over in this sumptuous nonfiction.

In this book, she explores the wild, colourful, tumultuous politicking that went on in Elizabeth’s final years and in the years immediately after her death. What results is a story of plots, murders, and spies, as politicians employed every trick (clean and dirty) to ensure the Stuarts gained the Tudor crown.

By Leanda de Lisle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Many volumes have been written about the long reign of Elizabeth I. Now, for the first time, comes a brilliant new work that focuses on the critical year her reign ended, a time in which England lost its childless queen and a Machiavellian struggle ensued to find her successor.

December 1602. After forty-four years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth is in decline. The formidable ruler whose motto is Semper eadem (I never change) has become a dithering old woman, missing teeth and wearing makeup half an inch thick. The kingdom has been weakened by the cost of war with Spain…


Book cover of Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII

Steven Veerapen Author Of Of Blood Descended: An Anthony Blanke Tudor Mystery

From my list on opening the doors of the Tudor Court.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the early modern period–the Tudors and the Stuarts–since falling in love with Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth, Henry VIII, and his wives when I was a child. I graduated from Horrible Histories as a child to lengthier nonfiction and fiction books about the era as a teenager before gaining a BA Honours, a Masters, and a PhD focussing on Elizabethan language and literature. I now teach English Literature at Strathclyde University. Because I never lost the urge to read everything I could about the Tudors and Stuarts, I began writing about them, too, and because I devour both fiction and nonfiction, I write both!

Steven's book list on opening the doors of the Tudor Court

Steven Veerapen Why did Steven love this book?

This beautifully written nonfiction book brings to life Henry VIII’s tragic fifth queen. It reveals the complexities and colour of the ageing tyrant’s court.

It’s a book packed with detail and yet so rich in narrative that I couldn’t put it down. Henry’s wives are popular figures for biography–but Russell breathes new life into his youngest, most tragic consort.

By Gareth Russell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Young and Damned and Fair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE SLIGHTLY FOXED BEST FIRST BIOGRAPHY PRIZE 2017

During one of the hottest summers on record the court of Henry VIII is embroiled, once again, in political scandal. The King's marriage to Anne of Cleves has failed, his closest adviser Thomas Cromwell is to be executed for treason and, in the countryside, an aristocratic teenager named Catherine Howard prepares to become fifth wife to the increasingly irascible, unpredictable monarch.

Her story is both a very dark fairy tale and a gripping thriller. Born into nobility and married into the royal family, Catherine was attended every waking hour by…


Book cover of Fortune's Hand: The Triumph and Tragedy of Walter Raleigh

Steven Veerapen Author Of Of Blood Descended: An Anthony Blanke Tudor Mystery

From my list on opening the doors of the Tudor Court.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the early modern period–the Tudors and the Stuarts–since falling in love with Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth, Henry VIII, and his wives when I was a child. I graduated from Horrible Histories as a child to lengthier nonfiction and fiction books about the era as a teenager before gaining a BA Honours, a Masters, and a PhD focussing on Elizabethan language and literature. I now teach English Literature at Strathclyde University. Because I never lost the urge to read everything I could about the Tudors and Stuarts, I began writing about them, too, and because I devour both fiction and nonfiction, I write both!

Steven's book list on opening the doors of the Tudor Court

Steven Veerapen Why did Steven love this book?

I was utterly haunted and captivated by this book.

Morris fictionalises the life of Sir Walter Raleigh by putting us into his shoes. We follow him on his adventures, his cruelties in Ireland, and his imprisonment in the Tower of London. Throughout, we get a sense of Raleigh, the man behind the myth: he’s a flawed, turbulent, and eventually sad and out-of-place figure, surprised and bemused to find himself a living legend.

By R.N. Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"In impressively muscular prose strongly reminiscent of Hilary Mantel, R N Morris packs the entire life of Sir Walter Raleigh into one breath-taking volume. This stunning tale grips from the first line to the last, brims with dazzling images, vivid characters, electric dialogue and unforgettable action." Peter Tonkin, author of A Verse To Murder

“This spell-binding story of Elizabeth I’s infamous favourite brings the adventurous, dangerous, and glittering world of late-Elizabethan England to life.” Steven Veerapen, author of A Dangerous Trade

Adventurer, soldier, courtier, poet, prisoner – outsider.

Drawn by ambition to Elizabeth’s court, Walter Raleigh soon becomes the queen’s…


Book cover of The Tudors in Love: Passion and Politics in the Age of England's Most Famous Dynasty

Steven Veerapen Author Of Of Blood Descended: An Anthony Blanke Tudor Mystery

From my list on opening the doors of the Tudor Court.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the early modern period–the Tudors and the Stuarts–since falling in love with Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth, Henry VIII, and his wives when I was a child. I graduated from Horrible Histories as a child to lengthier nonfiction and fiction books about the era as a teenager before gaining a BA Honours, a Masters, and a PhD focussing on Elizabethan language and literature. I now teach English Literature at Strathclyde University. Because I never lost the urge to read everything I could about the Tudors and Stuarts, I began writing about them, too, and because I devour both fiction and nonfiction, I write both!

Steven's book list on opening the doors of the Tudor Court

Steven Veerapen Why did Steven love this book?

Sarah Gristwood is one of our leading experts in Tudor history, and in this nonfiction study, she lays bare the complexities of love and passion at the Tudor court.

This is such a refreshing book because it explores both the similarities and the wild differences between ourselves and our ancestors. Gristwood provides a rich sense of what love, marriage, passion, and the performance of emotion meant to the Tudors.

One cannot quite look at Henry VIII or any of his wives in quite the same way after reading.

By Sarah Gristwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A BBC History Magazine Book of the Year

'One of the most important books to be written about the Tudors in a generation.' Tracy Borman

In this groundbreaking history, Sarah Gristwood reveals the way courtly love made and marred the Tudor dynasty. From Henry VIII declaring himself as the 'loyal and most assured servant' of Anne Boleyn to the poems lavished on Elizabeth I by her suitors, the Tudors re-enacted the roles of devoted lovers and capricious mistresses first laid out in the romances of medieval literature, but now with life-and-death consequences for the protagonists. The Tudors in Love dissects…


Book cover of A Column of Fire

Jim Carr Author Of Yesterdays

From my list on wars over the ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Jim's book list on wars over the ages

Jim Carr Why did Jim love this book?

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

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

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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

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

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

Ned Willard wants nothing more than to…


Young Queens

By Leah Redmond Chang,

Book cover of Young Queens: Three Renaissance Women and the Price of Power

Meredith K. Ray Author Of Twenty-Five Women Who Shaped the Italian Renaissance

From my list on women’s lives in the Renaissance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the lives of women in the Renaissance for as long as I can remember – growing up I devoured biographies of Lucrezia Borgia, Mary Stuart, and Elizabeth Tudor. Now, as a professor, author, and researcher, I feel lucky to have turned my passion into my profession! Along with writing about Renaissance women, I edit a series dedicated to women’s global history. I love books that explore the richness and complexity of the female experience, and which help us to understand how women in other historical eras dealt with questions of autonomy, power and gender inequality – issues that are still with us today. 

Meredith's book list on women’s lives in the Renaissance

Meredith K. Ray Why did Meredith love this book?

I really enjoyed Leah Chang’s beautifully written Young Queens. It adds a new twist to the “royal biography” genre by tracing the interconnected lives of three women – Catherine de’ Medici, Elisabeth de Valois, and Mary, Queen of Scots – from childhood into adulthood.

Chang has a gift for bringing history to life, interweaving her sources with a sweeping narrative so that you feel like you can hear these women speaking in their own voices. She shows the paradox at the heart of their lives: even at the height of power, these queens were measured by their gender and their bodies, seen as vessels for the future of the state. It’s an important counterbalance to the usual narrative of royal history.

Young Queens

By Leah Redmond Chang,

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION WATERSTONES' BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: HISTORY The boldly original, dramatic intertwined story of Catherine de' Medici, Elisabeth de Valois and Mary, Queen of Scots - three queens exercising power in a world dominated by men. 'Alluring, gripping, real: an astonishing insight into the lives of three queens' ALICE ROBERTS 'Takes us into the hearts and minds of three extraordinary women' AMANDA FOREMAN 'Conveys the vitality of the past as few books do. An enviable tour de force' SUZANNAH LIPSCOMB Catherine de' Medici, Elisabeth de Valois and Mary, Queen of Scots lived together…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Elizabeth I, King Henry VIII, and London?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Elizabeth I, King Henry VIII, and London.

Elizabeth I Explore 53 books about Elizabeth I
King Henry VIII Explore 48 books about King Henry VIII
London Explore 802 books about London