100 books like The Midwife's Apprentice

By Karen Cushman,

Here are 100 books that The Midwife's Apprentice fans have personally recommended if you like The Midwife's Apprentice. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

Nancy McConnell Author Of Into the Lion's Mouth

From my list on kids who love a medieval quest.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I could start writing Into the Lion’s Mouth, I spent a lot of time researching the medieval and renaissance Venice. I was astounded to see how relevant that history is to today. Not only are there many parallels that can be drawn between the past and today there is so much to learn about the consistency of human nature. I find myself currently gravitating towards books that mix history and fiction and these are some of my favorites.

Nancy's book list on kids who love a medieval quest

Nancy McConnell Why did Nancy love this book?

A warm inn, and a stranger’s tale gather together a group of travelers as they become fascinated by the story of three gifted children that is sweeping the land. I loved the way this book brought the story of the people in the inn and the marvelous children together step by step. Peppered with real historical figures and legends this book is a must-read for the middle-grade medieval enthusiast. 

By Adam Gidwitz, Hatem Aly (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Inquisitor's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award

An exciting and hilarious medieval adventure from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm. Beautifully illustrated throughout by Hatem Aly!

A New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Editor's Choice A New York Times Notable Children's Book A People Magazine Kid Pick A Washington Post Best Children's Book A Wall Street Journal Best Children's Book An Entertainment Weekly Best Middle Grade Book A Booklist Best Book A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book A Kirkus Reviews Best Book A Publishers Weekly Best Book A School Library Journal…


Book cover of The Crowfield Curse

Nancy McConnell Author Of Into the Lion's Mouth

From my list on kids who love a medieval quest.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I could start writing Into the Lion’s Mouth, I spent a lot of time researching the medieval and renaissance Venice. I was astounded to see how relevant that history is to today. Not only are there many parallels that can be drawn between the past and today there is so much to learn about the consistency of human nature. I find myself currently gravitating towards books that mix history and fiction and these are some of my favorites.

Nancy's book list on kids who love a medieval quest

Nancy McConnell Why did Nancy love this book?

I found this book through a recommendation from a friend and I am glad I did. A truly spinetingling page-turner, The Crowfield Curse has all the elements of a medieval thriller. A strange magical creature, a mysterious grave, and a deadly curse. What more could you expect from your average medieval abbey? Beautifully written and thoroughly engaging it’s a keeper for your bookshelf.  

By Pat Walsh,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Crowfield Curse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

*"A wondrous mystery." --Kirkus, starred review

*"Suspenseful and spooky...with an edgy battle between good and evil." --School Library Journal, starred review

If the deepest secret has been spoken, can the deadliest curse be broken?

Sent into the forest to gather firewood for the medieval abbey where he's an apprentice, Will hears a cry for help, and comes upon a creature no bigger than a cat. Trapped and wounded, it's a hobgoblin, who confesses a horrible secret: Something is buried deep in the snow, just beyond the graveyard. A mythical being, doomed by an ancient curse...

What does this mystery have…


Book cover of The Cross of Lead

Faye Gibbons Author Of Halley

From my list on coming-of-age for almost any age.

Why am I passionate about this?

All my life I’ve been pushing against limits. Being the oldest of five children born to a farm couple who became mill workers, I was frequently reminded by family that “people like us” did not need much education, didn’t get the good jobs, and shouldn’t “rise above themselves.” Being a girl, I had additional limits. Naturally, when I learned to read, I was drawn to books in which characters broke through unfair restraints to have adventures and accomplish great deeds. I wanted to be one of those people. By the time I came of age, I knew I had a shot at becoming the heroine of my own story!

Faye's book list on coming-of-age for almost any age

Faye Gibbons Why did Faye love this book?

Crispin is a young serf in Medieval England--an orphan despised by everyone for reasons he does not understand. Though I never had problems as dire as Crispin faced, I frequently felt mistreated as a child, and like him, the forest was my comfort and refuge. Like him, I had a lively curiosity about the lives of others and many times learned important lessons through observation. I shared Crispin's tendency to hero worship those who befriended me, and like him, I generally chose my role models well.

By Avi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Cross of Lead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?


Newbery Medal winner The Cross of Lead is "a page-turner from beginning to end... full of adventure, mystery, and action" (School Library Journal).

Sometimes I ran, sometimes all I could do was walk. All I knew was that if the steward overtook me, I’d not survive for long....

Crispin is a poor thirteen-year-old peasant in medieval England. Accused of a crime he did not commit, he has been declared a "wolf’s head," meaning he may be killed on sight, by anyone. He flees his tiny village with nothing but his mother’s cross of lead. 

In the English countryside, Crispin meets…


Book cover of The Shakespeare Stealer

Nancy McDonald Author Of One Boy's War

From my list on historical middle grade exceptional child heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

A longtime student of history, particularly WW2 and the Cold War, my interest was personally piqued when I started to discover more about how my husband’s family narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo – and certain death in a concentration camp. I’m driven to write novels set in this era for middle grade kids – featuring brave young heroes faced with moral dilemmas– so they can learn about the horrors of antisemitism, tyrants, and war because “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Nancy's book list on historical middle grade exceptional child heroes

Nancy McDonald Why did Nancy love this book?

Widge is an orphan in Elizabethan England, where orphans are sadly too common. But Widge is unusual. He has a unique talent which he learned from his first master: he knows a secret kind of shorthand. Sold to a dastardly villain who wants to use that talent to steal Shakespeare’s newest play, Widge finds himself in London apprenticing with the theatre company. Will he steal the play or risk his life to be loyal to the only “family” he’s ever known? Inspired by Shakespeare’s Lord Chamberlain's Men – and a very real problem of plays being stolen – there’s plenty of action, including swashbuckling swordplay. From the first page, I found myself rooting for Widge, hoping he would make the right choice and live to become an actor in the company.

By Gary Blackwood,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Shakespeare Stealer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A delightful adveture full of humor and heart set in Elizabethan England!

Widge is an orphan with a rare talent for shorthand. His fearsome master has just one demand: steal Shakespeare's play "Hamlet"--or else. Widge has no choice but to follow orders, so he works his way into the heart of the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare's players perform. As full of twists and turns as a London alleyway, this entertaining novel is rich in period details, colorful characters, villainy, and drama.

* "A fast-moving historical novel that introduces an important era with casual familiarity." --School Library Journal, starred review

"Readers…


Book cover of In Search of England: Journeys into the English Past

Tim Rayborn Author Of Qwyrk

From my list on British folklore and customs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Described as a “literary raconteur” and a “virtuoso,” Tim Rayborn admits to nothing, but it’s true that he’s a versatile writer, award-winning editor, and an acclaimed musician. He’s written dozens of books, appeared on more than forty recordings, plays scores of unusual instruments, and visited five continents. Tim lived in England for nearly seven years and has a Ph.D. in medieval studies from the University of Leeds, which he likes to pretend means that he knows what he’s talking about. He has written a large number of books and magazine articles about history, music, and the arts. He will undoubtedly write more, whether anyone wants him to or not.

Tim's book list on British folklore and customs

Tim Rayborn Why did Tim love this book?

Wood is known for his stellar television documentaries, but he’s also a prolific and talented author. This gem of a book delves into some of the most famous legends of English/British folklore, ones that still capture the popular imagination. He then examines some key historical events and people from the earlier Middle Ages, and their importance even now. Written in an engaging style, it’s an excellent introduction to the roots and origins of so much British culture.     

By Michael Wood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Search of England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Where does the idea of England and Englishness come from? Can we see it beginning in the Dark and Middle Ages? Michael Wood tackles these fascinating questions in two ways. First, with a series of pieces on famous English myths. And secondly by looking at the history of half a dozen places in England: a farmhouse on Dartmoor, a battlefield in Sheffield, a medieval village near Leicester...By these means he describes the origins of a sense of Englishness, and how it has developed through the centuries. "The book triumphs...His England is both a real place and an invented community which…


Book cover of Catherine, Called Birdy

Madina Papadopoulos Author Of The Step-Spinsters

From my list on transporting you to medieval life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Madina Papadopoulos is a New Orleans-born, New York-based freelance writer and author. She is currently working on the sequel to The Step-Spinsters, the first in the Unspun Fairytale series, which retells classic princess stories set in the late Middle Ages. She studied French and Italian at Tulane University and received her MFA in screenwriting at UCLA. After teaching foreign languages at the university level, as well as in childhood and elementary school programs, she developed and illustrated foreign language coloring workbooks for preschoolers. As a freelance writer, she focuses on food, drinks, and entertainment.

Madina's book list on transporting you to medieval life

Madina Papadopoulos Why did Madina love this book?

Much of the fiction set in the Middle Ages follows landmark historical moments and infamous individuals. But just as today, nothing is more complex than the inner life of a teenage girl, so it was in 1290. Written as a personal diary, this book follows Catherine, nicknamed ‘Birdy,’ as she trudges through her lessons on becoming a lady (sewing, spinning, soap making), her fears of an arranged marriage to a gnarly old nobleman, the importance of friendship and the heartbreak of unrequited love. Universal truths, all comically relatable and sprinkled with amusing details of picking off fleas and using the privy. As a preteen and teen, I read, re-read, and re-re-read Catherine's diary, escaping into her daily life as I easily imagined myself in it. This book was a friend I knew I could always return to for comfort and understanding.

By Karen Cushman,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Catherine, Called Birdy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOVIE STREAMING ON AMAZON PRIME.

A funny coming-of-age novel about a fourteen-year-old girl's fight for freedom and right to self-determination in medieval England.

Catherine's in trouble. Caught between a mother who is determined to turn her into the perfect medieval lady and a father who wants her to marry her off to much older and utterly repulsive suitor.

Luckily, Catherine has a plan. She has experience outwitting suitors and is ready to take matters into her own hands . . .

Karen Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdy is the inspiration for Prime Video's medieval comedy film directed by…


Book cover of Formative Britain: An Archaeology of Britain, Fifth to Eleventh Century AD

Rory Naismith Author Of Early Medieval Britain

From my list on Britain in the Early Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of Early Medieval English History at the University of Cambridge. I also work on relations with the rest of Britain, and between Britain and its European neighbours, especially from an economic and social point of view. My interest in early medieval history arose from the jigsaw puzzle approach that it requires: even more so than for other periods, sources are few and often challenging, so need to be seen together and interpreted imaginatively. 

Rory's book list on Britain in the Early Middle Ages

Rory Naismith Why did Rory love this book?

Archaeologists have a history of stimulating and provocative big-picture thinking about Britain, and this volume represents one of the latest and most ambitious surveys of the material remains of Britain as a whole. Its author is a veteran excavator with experience on sites from Sutton Hoo to Portmahomack. Carver’s title signals one of his goals: to break free of the ethnic, national labels for this period, and to lay down a new chronological and geographical framework for thinking about the whole of Britain across the period. 

By Martin Carver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Formative Britain presents an account of the peoples occupying the island of Britain between 400 and 1100 AD, whose ideas continue to set the political agenda today. Forty years of new archaeological research has laid bare a hive of diverse and disputatious communities of Picts, Scots, Welsh, Cumbrian and Cornish Britons, Northumbrians, Angles and Saxons, who expressed their views of this world and the next in a thousand sites and monuments.

This highly illustrated volume is the first book that attempts to describe the experience of all levels of society over the whole island using archaeology alone. The story is…


Book cover of Britain in the First Millennium: From Romans to Normans

Rory Naismith Author Of Early Medieval Britain

From my list on Britain in the Early Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of Early Medieval English History at the University of Cambridge. I also work on relations with the rest of Britain, and between Britain and its European neighbours, especially from an economic and social point of view. My interest in early medieval history arose from the jigsaw puzzle approach that it requires: even more so than for other periods, sources are few and often challenging, so need to be seen together and interpreted imaginatively. 

Rory's book list on Britain in the Early Middle Ages

Rory Naismith Why did Rory love this book?

Most books covering the early Middle Ages in Britain start with the fifth century and end around the tenth or eleventh. Edward James’s Britain is different, in that it embraces the Roman period too. Breadth on this level is stimulating, especially when (as here) it is accompanied by elegant and insightful prose that takes care to pay attention to diverse constituencies in society. 

By Edward James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Britain in the First Millennium as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ideal for undergraduates, this survey of medieval Britain is a coherent narrative of events between the two great invasions from continental Europe. It is unique both for its broad historical perspective and for its wide geographic coverage: it spans the 'long' millennium from the first century BC through the Norman conquest and covers events across the whole of Britain, from Cornwall to the Shetlands. Edward James provides the European context for events in England while also examining the many ways Britain differed from the rest of Europe. Students of medieval Europe will find his book an invaluable synthesis.


Book cover of The Stone Rose

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?

How can I write about fierce women of the Middle Ages and not include the woman referred to by the sobriquet She-Wolf of France?

Carol McGrath’s The Stone Rose presents the story of Queen Isabella’s strength and determination framed around her ill-fated marriage to King Edward II in a beautiful tapestry threaded with both painstakingly researched historical fact and masterfully imaginative fiction.

The author’s extensive knowledge of the time period is evidenced by the accuracy of detail that is interwoven into the narrative. Since Edward’s reign forms the backdrop for my series, my own interest is obvious; however, the tale of Isabella’s struggle to protect herself and those she loves in the face of rampant intrigue and treachery will appeal to all.

By Carol McGrath,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A real tour de force of gripping writing, rich historical detail and complex, fascinating characters. Superb!' NICOLA CORNICK on The Stone Rose
_________________

EARLY READERS ARE GRIPPED BY THE STONE ROSE!

* 'Springs to vivid life for the reader . . . A compulsive read' ANNE O'BRIEN

* 'An enticing and intriguing tale of a woman who is driven to desperate and ruthless lengths to protect those she loves' ALEXANDRA WALSH

* 'Carol McGrath really got into Isabella's head . . . Enlightening' SHARON BENNETT CONNOLLY

* 'Bold and compelling' JENNY BARDEN

* 'A novel that's a definite page-turner' LIZ…


Book cover of Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century: De Montfort

Sharon Bennett Connolly Author Of Defenders of the Norman Crown: Rise and Fall of the Warenne Earls of Surrey

From my list on histories of medieval families.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by history my whole life and have now published 4 non-fiction history books. My fourth and latest book, Defenders of the Norman Crown: Rise and Fall of the Warenne Earls of Surrey, tells the story of the Warenne earls over 300 years and 8 generations. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, I have studied history academically and just for fun. I even worked as a tour guide at a castle! I also write the highly popular history blog History... the Interesting Bits, and I am also a feature writer for All About History magazine. My TV work includes Australian Television's Who Do You Think You Are?

Sharon's book list on histories of medieval families

Sharon Bennett Connolly Why did Sharon love this book?

There are so many reasons to love Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century: De Montfort by Darren Baker. The foremost reason is that it is a fabulous, enjoyable, and entertaining read. Darren Baker has fast become the ‘go-to’ historian for all things De Montfort. His research is thorough, and the story is recounted in an accessible manner that draws the reader in. Told in chronological order, the narrative flows freely, drawing the reader into the lives of this incredible family.

The second reason is the cover. If there ever was a cover to attract a reader, this is it. It is stunning! And the artwork was done by a de Montfort descendant, Rosana de Montfort. It epitomises the ethos of the medieval barons, their sense of duty, and dedication to the crusading ideal. It is a wonderful book for anyone interested in medieval history, either for leisure, research,…

By Darren Baker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the families that dominated the thirteenth century were the de Montforts. They arose in France, in a hamlet close to Paris, and grew to prominence under the crusading fervour of that time, taking them from leadership in the Albigensian wars to lordships around the Mediterranean. They marry into the English aristocracy, join the crusade to the Holy Land, then another crusade in the south of France against the Cathars.

The controversial stewardship of Simon de Montfort (V) in that conflict is explored in depth. It is his son Simon de Montfort (VI) who is perhaps best known. His…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Middle Ages, childbirth, and civilization?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Middle Ages, childbirth, and civilization.

The Middle Ages Explore 416 books about the Middle Ages
Childbirth Explore 30 books about childbirth
Civilization Explore 211 books about civilization