94 books like The Life of Elizabeth I

By Alison Weir,

Here are 94 books that The Life of Elizabeth I fans have personally recommended if you like The Life of Elizabeth I. 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 Nightingale

Robert McParland Author Of The Last Alchemist

From my list on books where history meets mystery.

Why am I passionate about this?

I once had a history advisor in school whom I informed that I was studying history so I could write fiction better. I saw him cringe a bit at that. Even so, I think that history and fiction–and the mystery–go together well. I am always drawn by mystery dramas–and by the drama of real lives facing and unraveling their way through real events. Of course, that led to graduate studies in cultural and intellectual history, to many years of teaching literature, and to passionate reading of mystery novels. Sparkling fiction and strong narrative history, for me, continue to stimulate a sense of wonder at human experience and this incredible universe we live in.    

Robert's book list on books where history meets mystery

Robert McParland Why did Robert love this book?

I read this book quickly. Its historically informative and inspirational quality caught my interest immediately. From the first chapters, the author brings us into World War II France, which will become a tangled web of occupation by the Nazis.

I discovered in this powerful story a relationship between two sisters that weaves secrets of the heart and key decisions. The characters are caught in a difficult situation: a predicament that reflects the struggle experienced by many people in France during the war years. The story stimulates a sense of empathy and curiosity about what will come next.

The historical setting is drawn colorfully. This novel is valuable both for gaining a broader historical sense and for the sheer you-are-there experience. The narrative skill with which the author weaves this tale and its inherent drama should sustain the reader’s interest, as it did mine. This story touches the core of human…

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women.

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women's stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah's…


Book cover of Unbroken

Steve Pemberton Author Of The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World

From my list on demonstrating the power of the human spirit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m most drawn to stories of overcoming. My own childhood was about exactly that-overcoming a multi-generational inheritance of family separation and orphaned children. When I wrote my first book about that story, A Chance in the World, an unanticipated magic unfolded: I began to receive stories of strangers from all across the world who wrote to tell me their own story of overcoming. Each and every day I hear from someone and the steady stream of those stories of overcoming affirms something I have to come to learn: we all have a story and none of us look like that story.

Steve's book list on demonstrating the power of the human spirit

Steve Pemberton Why did Steve love this book?

If it’s possible to have lived multiple lives in a single lifetime, then Louis Zamperini did it.

I am a big fan of The Greatest Generation and Unbroken is the story of that generation, the deep beliefs they held, and the many sacrifices they made, not for themselves but for the generations that would follow them. You can’t miss the examples of selflessness, perseverance, and faith that jump out at you from the very first chapter.

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Unbroken as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of the bestselling and much-loved Seabiscuit, an unforgettable story of one man's journey into extremity. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood,…


Book cover of Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

Nazila Fathi Author Of The Lonely War: One Woman's Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran

From my list on the feeling of having your identity taken from you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with historical novels as a kid after I began reading books by French authors Alexandre Dumas, the father and the son. I was the kind of kid who read for days and even nights to finish a story. Books moved me, inspired me, and gave me the strength and wisdom that I have today. I cannot imagine a world without them. 

Nazila's book list on the feeling of having your identity taken from you

Nazila Fathi Why did Nazila love this book?

This was a page-turner and a great introduction to Russian history. Massie described her so vividly that years later, I can still visualize Catherine. The most fascinating aspect of the book for me was how a German child named Sophie reinvents herself to become Catherine the Great, the longest-serving Russian empress. 

By Robert K. Massie,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Catherine the Great as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fascinating true story behind HBO's Catherine the Great starring Dame Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great.

Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For thirty-four years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution.

Robert K. Massie brings an eternally fascinating woman together with her family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers and enemies - vividly and triumphantly to life.

History offers…


Book cover of War and Peace

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Author Of Legacy of the Third Way

From my list on books to take you to the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

From a young age, I've been captivated by evolution and its implications for the future. I immersed myself in classical works of philosophy and literature that explored human emotions and our relentless drive to succeed against all odds, advancing human knowledge and shaping society. This fascination with understanding the future led me to write op-ed pieces on foreign policy and geopolitics for prominent newspapers in South Asia. My desire to contribute to a better future inspired me to author three nonfiction books covering topics such as the Islamic Social Contract, Lessons from the Quran, and Reflections on God,  Science, and Human Nature. 

Abdul's book list on books to take you to the future

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Why did Abdul love this book?

Leo Tolstoy is considered a master storyteller with an unmatched grip on presenting the inner emotional struggles of mankind.

This novel presents the stress caused in the lives of people and society when French General and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte attacked Russia. The book had a deep impact on future generations. I read the book in my early 30s and found it fascinating. 

I have a deep interest in the evolution and reaction of societies to crises, both natural and man-made. The discussion on leadership, whether it is by birth or upbringing, was fascinating for me. 

By Leo Tolstoy, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked War and Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning translators of Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov comes this magnificent new translation of Tolstoy's masterwork.

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

War and Peacebroadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both…


Book cover of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Stoney Compton Author Of Treadwell: A Novel of Alaska Territory

From my list on accurate immersion in a past time and place.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child I read and experienced history books as adventures. Adventure drew me to Alaska after a hitch in the Navy. I wanted to write an accurate historical novel about Juneau and the Treadwell Mine and began my research. I knew the Alaska Historical Library was the perfect place to begin. When I discovered the extensive photo collections, I flashed back to my admiration of the historical novels that impressed me. I borrowed technique and structure from all and incorporated imagery in my manuscript. My main goal was to successfully immerse the reader in a good novel about 1915 in Alaska Territory.

Stoney's book list on accurate immersion in a past time and place

Stoney Compton Why did Stoney love this book?

Dead Wake is fact that reads like fiction. Not often do I choose a book already knowing how it ends. His artistic rendering of the world in 1915 is alone worth the read. He introduces us to the passengers of the SS Lusitania, who they are, why they are on the ship, and he makes us care.

Larson limns Captains Turner of the Lusitania, and Schweiger of the U-20, the Imperial German submarine. The author carefully choreographs the final voyage of the doomed ship. The sinking is not the end of the story. 

The last third of the book is devoted to what happened after the torpedo hit. Captain Turner survives the attack as well as many of the passengers. This is a beautifully researched, but heartrending read. 

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Dead Wake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds" and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover,…


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 Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France

Kevin O'Connell Author Of Bittersweet Tapestry

From my list on fascinating women of 16th and 18th century Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Whilst I was born in America, growing up in an old Irish family with a long history and a powerful sense of its past, I learnt a great deal of Irish, British, and European (especially French) history from an early age – proving valuable in both of my careers – one, as an international business lawyer, the other as a full-time writer of historical fiction. As a result of a “very Irish” numinous connection with the Gaelic poet, Eileen O’Connell, I frequently find myself drawn to books about strong, courageous, and memorable women – particularly those who lived in interesting times, such as the tumultuous days of Sixteenth and Eighteenth-Century Europe.  

Kevin's book list on fascinating women of 16th and 18th century Europe

Kevin O'Connell Why did Kevin love this book?

I am perhaps more familiar with – and fonder of – Marie Antoinette than I am of any other historical personage. Emersed in French history since an early age, I have had a near-lifetime fascination for this complicated woman – who never said, “Let them eat cake!” 

Having researched Antoinette exhaustively (most recently, in connection with her periodic appearances in my own books), since first reading Evelyn Lever’s masterful, beautifully-written work some twenty years ago, I have found myself frequently returning to it. I am drawn to it for its depth and detail, as well as her balanced treatment of an, in many ways, controversial figure. I recommend it as it is a perfect introduction to the life of a captivating woman, as well as presenting a highly satisfying experience for any lover of fine biography. 

By Evelyne Lever,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Married for political reasons at the age of 14, Marie Antoinette was naive, impetuous, and ill-equipped for the role in which history cast her. From her birth in Vienna in 1755 through her turbulent, unhappy marriage, the bloody turmoil of the French Revolution, her trial for high treason during which she was accused of incest, and her final beheading, Marie Antoinette's life was the tragic tale of disastrous circumstances colliding.

Drawing upon her diaries, letters, court records, and memoirs, Evelyne Lever paints a vivid portrait of Marie Antoinette, her inner circle, and the lavish court life at Versailles. What emerges…


Book cover of Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour Du Pin, Eyewitness to an Era

Kevin O'Connell Author Of Bittersweet Tapestry

From my list on fascinating women of 16th and 18th century Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Whilst I was born in America, growing up in an old Irish family with a long history and a powerful sense of its past, I learnt a great deal of Irish, British, and European (especially French) history from an early age – proving valuable in both of my careers – one, as an international business lawyer, the other as a full-time writer of historical fiction. As a result of a “very Irish” numinous connection with the Gaelic poet, Eileen O’Connell, I frequently find myself drawn to books about strong, courageous, and memorable women – particularly those who lived in interesting times, such as the tumultuous days of Sixteenth and Eighteenth-Century Europe.  

Kevin's book list on fascinating women of 16th and 18th century Europe

Kevin O'Connell Why did Kevin love this book?

Having read numerous books about the French Revolution, amongst my favourites is this fascinating biography of Lucie Dillon – who became Lucie du la Tour du Pin – by Caroline Morehead. I unhesitatingly recommend it, certain that, from Morehead’s striking presentation, most readers will experience a keen sense of what it was like to live during the twilight of the Ancien Régime, and thence on, into and through the nightmare that followed. As an Irish-French aristocrat, whose father commanded the regiment of the Irish Brigade of France that bore the family’s name, whilst her mother was a lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette, Lucie was in a singular position to observe and chronicle the tragic upheaval. 

Relying in part on Lucie’s own published memoir, as well as numerous primary sources, including family papers, which her meticulous research uncovered, Morehead tells a powerful story of loss and survival. 

By Caroline Moorehead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dancing to the Precipice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lucie de la Tour du Pin was the Pepys of her generation. She witnessed, participated in, and wrote diaries detailing one of the most tumultuous periods of history. From life in the Court of Versailles, through the French Revolution to Napoleon's rule, Lucie survived extraordinary times with great spirit. She recorded people, politics and intrigue, alongside the intriguing minutia of everyday life: food, work, illness, children, manners and clothes.

Caroline Moorehead's richly novelistic biography sets Lucy and her dairies in their wider context, illuminating a remarkable period of history.

Dancing to the Precipice was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award…


Book cover of The Last Queen: Elizabeth II's Seventy Year Battle to Save the House of Windsor

Robert Lacey Author Of Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor

From my list on about the Queen.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert Lacey is credited with changing the way that people read and write about the British monarchy. In 1977 his tell-it-how-it-is Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor overturned the clichés of the traditional ‘royal book’, hitherto the preserve of ex-nannies and obsequious court correspondents. As a Cambridge-trained historian of the first Elizabethan age – his biographies Robert, Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Ralegh won critical acclaim – the young journalist added the investigative techniques of his work on the Sunday Times to portray the monarchy in a fresh and analytical fashion. Robert is today Historical Consultant to the Netflix TV series The Crown.

Robert's book list on about the Queen

Robert Lacey Why did Robert love this book?

From the Windsors’ Nazi leanings in the 1930s to the perceived chilliness of the royal family following the death of Diana in 1997, Clive Irving chronicles every detail in this analysis of the modern monarchy – while never losing respect for its most adroit exponent, Queen Elizabeth II. As founder of the renowned Insight team of the London Sunday Times that exposed Profumo and Philby, Irving directs his sharpest focus on the Crown’s relations with the tabloid media. But his book went to publication prior to the horse-loving Queen’s humorous reaction to Harry and Meghan’s notorious 2021 encounter with Oprah Winfrey – Her Majesty named her fastest new racing foal “Interview”. 

By Clive Irving,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A timely and revelatory new biography of Queen Elizabeth (and her family) exploring how the Windsors have evolved and thrived, as the modern world has changed around them.

 Clive Irving’s stunning new narrative biography The Last Queen probes the question of the British monarchy’s longevity.  In 2021, the Queen Elizabeth II finally appears to be at ease in the modern world, helped by the new generation of Windsors. But through Irving’s unique insight there emerges a more fragile institution, whose extraordinarily dutiful matriarch has managed to persevere with dignity, yet in doing so made a Faustian pact with the media.…


Book cover of The Uncommon Reader: A Novella

Dan Fesperman Author Of The Double Game

From my list on people obsessed by books.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dan Fesperman has made a living by writing about dangerous and unseemly people and places since his days as a journalist, when he was a foreign correspondent for The Baltimore Sun. Now traveling on his own dime, his books draw upon his experiences in dozens of countries and three war zones. His novels have won two Dagger awards in the UK and the Dashiell Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers. His thirteenth novel, Winter Work, will be published in July by Knopf. He lives in Baltimore.

Dan's book list on people obsessed by books

Dan Fesperman Why did Dan love this book?

Bennett offers a cheeky take on the power of reading with this whimsical but keenly observed novel in which Queen Elizabeth, while searching for a wayward corgi, stumbles upon a bookmobile parked outside Buckingham Palace. To be royally polite she checks out a novel, begins reading it later, and soon finds herself craving another. This quickly leads to a reading habit bordering on obsession, as the world inside her mind begins to broaden more than she could have imagined.

By Alan Bennett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It was the corgis' fault. When they strayed through the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the Queen discovered the City of Westminster travelling library. The Queen has never had much time for reading - pleasure has always come second place to duty - though now that one is here I suppose one ought to borrow a book. She is about to discover the joys of literature, albeit late in life. One book leads to another and the Queen is soon engrossed in the delights of reading. However, this uncommon reader creates an uncommon problem. The royal household dislikes the Queen's new…


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Interested in queens, Elizabeth I, and Anne Boleyn?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about queens, Elizabeth I, and Anne Boleyn.

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