10 books like Julia Prima

By Alison Morton,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Julia Prima. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Sea Witch

By Helen Hollick,

Book cover of Sea Witch

Meet dashing Jesamiah Acorne, pirate extraordinaire. This cocky, handsome young man proves to have as many layers as an onion, and right at the center lies the traumatic experiences at the hand of his much older brother. Jesamiah has become a pirate to escape—but also because of his love of the sea. Never will he love anyone as much as he loves the sea and his ships—well, until Tiola enters his life under relatively dramatic circumstances. 

This is a book firmly grounded in research, be it of the historical context or of 18th-century ships. It is because of that foundation that Ms. Hollick’s pirate yarn grows into something utterly addictive. How fortunate that this is only the first book in the series!

Sea Witch

By Helen Hollick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Time : The Golden Age of Piracy - 1716.
The Place : The Pirate Round - from the South African Coast to the Caribbean.
Escaping the bullying of his elder half-brother, from the age of fifteen Jesamiah Acorne has been a pirate with only two loves - his ship and his freedom. But his life is to change when he and his crewmates unsuccessfully attack a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa.
He is to meet Tiola Oldstagh an insignificant girl, or so he assumes - until she rescues him from a vicious attack, and almost certain…


Rebel's Knot

By Cryssa Bazos,

Book cover of Rebel's Knot

Rebel Knot is set in 17th-century Ireland, torn apart by religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants. This is a war-ravaged Ireland, a land where hope is in short supply and peace is more of a dream than a possibility. And yet, in the midst of all that violence fragile love can flourish—even between people who belong on opposite sides of the religious fence. Ms. Bazos does a fantastic job of transporting the reader back in time, and her two main characters, Niall and Ainé, are wonderfully complex and relatable. The harshness of the times is vividly depicted—as is the growing attraction between the innocent and traumatised Ainé and her new protector, Niall. 

Rebel's Knot

By Cryssa Bazos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ireland 1652: In the desperate, final days of the English invasion . . .

A fey young woman, Áine Callaghan, is the sole survivor of an attack by English marauders. When Irish soldier Niall O'Coneill discovers his own kin slaughtered in the same massacre, he vows to hunt down the men responsible. He takes Áine under his protection and together they reach the safety of an encampment held by the Irish forces in Tipperary.

Hardly a safe haven, the camp is rife with danger and intrigue. Áine is a stranger with the old stories stirring on her tongue and rumours…


By Love Divided

By Elizabeth St.John,

Book cover of By Love Divided

I have a passion for the 17th century and this novel based on actual diaries and letters from IRL people living through the realities of the English Civil War is a favourite. Ms. St. John writes about her own ancestors, and she imbues her characters with so much life, so many contrary opinions. These are difficult times, and especially for mother Lucy St. John whose son is a through-and-through royalist while daughter Luce is head-over-heels in love with Parliamentarian John Hutchinson. Luce is utterly fascinating: intelligent and with a passion to truly reform, she never loses her humanity or her ability for compassion. This novel is a real treat for anyone desiring well-researched historical fiction – with the added benefit of having a spoonful or two of love to complicate things! 

By Love Divided

By Elizabeth St.John,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

”A fantastic read." Editor’s Choice, Historical Novel Society

London, 1630. Widowed and destitute, Lucy St.John is fighting for survival and makes a terrible choice to secure a future for her children. Worse still, her daughter Luce rejects the royal court and a wealthy arranged marriage, and falls in love with a charismatic soldier. As England tumbles toward bloody civil war, Luce’s beloved brother Allen chooses to fight for the king as a cavalier. Allen and Luce are swept up in the chaos of war as they defend their opposing causes and protect those they love.

Will war unite or divide…


A Painter in Penang

By Clare Flynn,

Book cover of A Painter in Penang

It is always fascinating when a novel has you discovering periods and countries you know little about. Ms. Flynn’s novel throws this reader straight into the complexities of post-war British Malaysia. Yes, the British are still in control, but the old world order is being challenged. While the rubber plantations remain owned by white planters, the Malays, the Chinese, and the Indians want their share and communist insurgents spread violence and fear. In the midst of all this upheaval stands Jasmine, on the cusp of womanhood. Over a period of several months, she will experience everything from first love to betrayal. She emerges somewhat wiser, somewhat bruised. But that, after all, is what growing up entails, isn’t it? 

A Painter in Penang

By Clare Flynn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Barrington hates everything about living in Kenya and longs to return to the island of Penang in British colonial Malaya where she was born. Expulsion from her Nairobi convent school offers a welcome escape – the chance to stay with her parents’ friends, Mary and Reggie Hyde-Underwood on their Penang rubber estate.

But this is 1948 and communist insurgents are embarking on a reign of terror in what becomes the Malayan Emergency. Jasmine unearths a shocking secret as her own life is put in danger. Throughout the turmoil, her one constant is her passion for painting.

From the…


Daily Life in Late Antiquity

By Kristina Sessa,

Book cover of Daily Life in Late Antiquity

This is the only book on the list that relates directly to my main topic of research, but that is a strong recommendation in itself. In truth, there are lots of books about ‘late antiquity’ (or ‘the later Roman Empire’), and many of them are very good indeed. But they also tell a familiar story in familiar ways: they discuss politics, military actions, transforming towns, and (increasingly) plague and climate change. Sessa’s book deals with all of these themes in some way, but flips the whole thing on its head. This book looks at the period from the bottom up, thinking about the lived experiences of women and children, of country-dwellers, and those who inhabited the less glamorous corners of the empire. Reading this made me think again about lots of topics that I thought I knew well. It is also accessibly written and introduces a sometimes complex period very…

Daily Life in Late Antiquity

By Kristina Sessa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daily Life in Late Antiquity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Daily Life in Late Antiquity is the first comprehensive study of lived experience in the Late Roman Empire, from c.250-600 CE. Each of the six topical chapters highlight historical 'everyday' people, spaces, and objects, whose lives operate as windows into the late ancient economy, social relations, military service, religious systems, cultural habits, and the material environment. However, it is nevertheless grounded in late ancient primary sources - many of which are available in accessible English translations - and the most recent, cutting-edge scholarship by specialists in fields such as archaeology, social history, religious studies, and environmental history. From Manichean rituals…


Urban Space and Aristocratic Power in Late Antique Rome

By Carlos Machado,

Book cover of Urban Space and Aristocratic Power in Late Antique Rome: Ad 270-535

Many histories of Rome end in the second century that period in which Edward Gibbon judged “the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous”. But there is a great deal of Roman history after that. Rome survived a great military crisis in the third century. The next generation of emperors based themselves near the frontiers to ward off future attacks. Machado’s extraordinary book tells the story of the City of Rome after the emperors had gone, returned into the hands of an aristocracy fascinated by its past but also committed to Roma Aeterna (Eternal Rome). Using statues and inscriptions and archaeology and a mass of little read ancient literature, Machado paints a vivid picture. Far from the new centres of power, the Roman aristocracy rebuilt, repaired, and steered the city through religious transformations, barbarian sacks, and beyond the fall of the western empire.

Urban Space and Aristocratic Power in Late Antique Rome

By Carlos Machado,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Urban Space and Aristocratic Power in Late Antique Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between 270 and 535 AD the city of Rome experienced dramatic changes. The once glorious imperial capital was transformed into the much humbler centre of western Christendom in a process that redefined its political importance, size, and identity. Urban Space and Aristocratic Power in Late Antique Rome examines these transformations by focusing on the city's powerful elite, the senatorial aristocracy, and exploring their involvement in a process of urban
change that would mark the end of the ancient world and the birth of the Middle Ages in the eyes of contemporaries and modern scholars. It argues that the late antique…


Daily Life in Ancient Rome

By Jerome Carcopino,

Book cover of Daily Life in Ancient Rome: The People and the City at the Height of the Empire

A historical novel has to do more than just re-tell a part of history. The author has the duty to make history come alive for the reader, even if fictionalized. That means details about daily life and customs, not just buildings and battles. This book was enormously helpful in describing everyday Roman life. What the Romans were eating and wearing in Rome, they probably also ate (as near as they could) and wore in their colonies. Here I found everything from going to the barber to going to the circus.

Daily Life in Ancient Rome

By Jerome Carcopino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daily Life in Ancient Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic book brings to life imperial Rome as it was during the second century A.D., the time of Trajan and Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and Commodus. It was a period marked by lavish displays of wealth, a dazzling cultural mix, and the advent of Christianity. The splendor and squalor of the city, the spectacles, and the day's routines are reconstructed from an immense fund of archaeological evidence and from vivid descriptions by ancient poets, satirists, letter-writers, and novelists-from Petronius to Pliny the Younger. In a new Introduction, the eminent classicist Mary Beard appraises the book's enduring-and sometimes surprising-influence and its…


Emperors and Biography

By Ronald Syme,

Book cover of Emperors and Biography

Ronald Syme was one of the greatest historians of the twentieth century, and probably the greatest Roman historian. This may seem like one for specialists only, unlike his classic Roman Revolution, but it’s got his distinctive style – florid and lapidary all at once – and is a master class in how to wring valuable information out of poor and deceptive sources.

Emperors and Biography

By Ronald Syme,

Why should I read it?

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


At the Ruin of the World

By John Henry Clay,

Book cover of At the Ruin of the World

The end of the Roman Empire in the west is a fascinating but notoriously vague saga, which often seems to be composed entirely of footnotes. In this novel John Henry Clay takes a handful of those footnotes and rebuilds mid 5th century Gaul and Italy on a grand scale. The empire is on its knees, but the aristocratic elites of the southern provinces are still living the good life on their villa estates, until all is thrown into turmoil by the invasion of Attila and his Huns. Part family drama, part broad-canvas military and political epic, the first half of the novel reaches a climax in the defeat of the Hunnic hordes by General Aetius. But in its second half the story accelerates dramatically, as Avitus, the father of the central pair of characters, leads a Romano-Gothic army from Gaul to seize power in Rome. The ramifications of Avitus’s bid…

At the Ruin of the World

By John Henry Clay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At the Ruin of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A.D. 448. The Roman Empire is crumbling.

The Emperor is weak. Countless Romans live under the rule of barbarian kings. Politicians scheme and ambitious generals vie for power.

Then from the depths of Germany arises an even darker threat: Attila, King of the Huns, gathering his hordes and determined to crush Rome once and for all.

In a time of danger and deception, where every smile conceals betrayal and every sleeve a dagger, three young people hold onto the dream that Rome can be made great once more. But as their fates collide, they find themselves forced to survive in…


Age of Conquests

By Angelos Chaniotis,

Book cover of Age of Conquests: The Greek World from Alexander to Hadrian

The later period of Greek history, after the conquests of Alexander the Great, is considerably less well known that the history of Classical Greece, but it was a fascinating period that radically changed the society and culture of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. This book covers the period of Alexander's conquests, the fragmentation of his empire into multiple kingdoms after his death, and the Roman conquest and domination of the Greek world.

It outlines the rise and fall of dynasties and kingdoms, the Roman conquest, and the transformation of the region, firstly by the Greek culture promoted by Alexander and his successors, and then by Roman rule. It provides an accessible and informative narrative of a period in which the Middle East and Greek world underwent transformational changes.

Age of Conquests

By Angelos Chaniotis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The world that Alexander remade in his lifetime was transformed once more by his death in 323 BCE. His successors reorganized Persian lands to create a new empire stretching from the eastern Mediterranean as far as present-day Afghanistan, while in Greece and Macedonia a fragile balance of power repeatedly dissolved into war. Then, from the late third century BCE to the end of the first, Rome's military and diplomatic might successively dismantled these post-Alexandrian political structures, one by one.

During the Hellenistic period (c. 323-30 BCE), small polities struggled to retain the illusion of their identity and independence, in the…


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