48 books like The Six Wives of Henry VIII

By Alison Weir,

Here are 48 books that The Six Wives of Henry VIII fans have personally recommended if you like The Six Wives of Henry VIII. 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 Bring Up the Bodies

Ken Parejko Author Of Kasia's Story

From my list on the conflict between personal spirituality and religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was during the epistemological craziness around the year 2000 that I christened myself a truth warrior. I was already a scientist. Yet I knew there were other important truths, not of the mind but of the heart, truths we discover and marvel over in the realm of art. So as a biology professor I was granted a sabbatical to write the second of three of my novels, about Pliny the Elder. It is through literature, some of my own making, that I find new ways of seeing and experiencing the world: and of discovering and validating what is true, and what is not.

Ken's book list on the conflict between personal spirituality and religion

Ken Parejko Why did Ken love this book?

Though I did enjoy the earlier Wolf Hall I found Bring Up the Bodies more readable and compelling.

Hilary Mantel paints intimate word pictures of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and especially Thomas Cromwell, struggling to make his way through the minefield of political intrigue at Henry’s court. Though it is against almost every principle he holds dear, Cromwell charts a course which one step at a time ultimately brings Anne Boleyn down.

Finding himself in an almost impossible situation, he agonizes over every decision, looking at it from many sides: legal, political, ethical, spiritual, and religious. Meanwhile not far in the background we see the Church’s Pope Clement trying desperately, like Oz’s man behind the curtain, to control events.

Mantel’s genius was her ability to transform dry history into compelling, character-driven stories.

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Bring Up the Bodies 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

The second book in Hilary Mantel's award-winning Wolf Hall trilogy, with a stunning new cover design to celebrate the publication of the much anticipated The Mirror and the Light

An astounding literary accomplishment, Bring Up the Bodies is the story of this most terrifying moment of history, by one of our greatest living novelists.

'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian

Bring Up the Bodies unlocks the darkly glittering court of Henry VIII, where Thomas Cromwell is now chief minister. With Henry captivated by plain Jane Seymour and rumours of Anne Boleyn's faithlessness whispered by…


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 Confession of Katherine Howard

Elizabeth Fremantle Author Of Queen's Gambit

From my list on the wives of Henry VIII.

Why am I passionate about this?

Even in childhood, I was struck by the sheer horror and tragedy of Henry VIII’s wives, women who had a place at the heart of power and managed, some more so than others, to influence the politics of their time, yet were powerless to save themselves when the wind changed. It was a fascinating and turbulent period that saw England rise from a provincial backwater to become an important player in European politics, bringing the social and cultural changes that sewed the seeds of our modern world. Exploring the period through the prism of women’s lives is a major aim of all my six novels.

Elizabeth's book list on the wives of Henry VIII

Elizabeth Fremantle Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Susannah Dunn has a way of putting you right inside history with her instinctive and impeccable descriptive writing. She has fictionalised the stories of a number of Tudor women and all are excellent but I’ve chosen this as it was the first of hers I read. It tells of Henry VIII’s tragic fifth wife, a teenager pushed into the King’s bed by her ambitious family. The story unfolds through the eyes of her companion – an intimate insider’s view, typical of Dunn’s work – who witnesses everything but is powerless to help. Without giving too much away, it doesn’t end well.

By Suzannah Dunn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Confession of Katherine Howard as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When 12-year-old Katherine Howard comes to live in the Duchess of Norfolk's household, poor relation Cat Tilney is deeply suspicious. The two girls couldn't be more different: Cat, watchful and ambitious; Katherine, interested only in clothes and boys. Their companions are in thrall to Katherine, but it's Cat in whom Katherine confides and, despite herself, Cat is drawn to her. Summoned to court at 17, Katherine leaves Cat in the company of her ex-lover, Francis, and the two begin their own, much more serious, love affair.

Within months, the king has set aside his Dutch wife Anne for Katherine. The…


Book cover of Lamentation

Elizabeth Fremantle Author Of Queen's Gambit

From my list on the wives of Henry VIII.

Why am I passionate about this?

Even in childhood, I was struck by the sheer horror and tragedy of Henry VIII’s wives, women who had a place at the heart of power and managed, some more so than others, to influence the politics of their time, yet were powerless to save themselves when the wind changed. It was a fascinating and turbulent period that saw England rise from a provincial backwater to become an important player in European politics, bringing the social and cultural changes that sewed the seeds of our modern world. Exploring the period through the prism of women’s lives is a major aim of all my six novels.

Elizabeth's book list on the wives of Henry VIII

Elizabeth Fremantle Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Part of Sansom’s acclaimed Shardlake series, this novel takes a different look at Henry’s last wife, Katherine Parr. It is a thrilling dive into the plots of Parr’s life and her seditious writings from the perspective of Sansom’s eponymous fictional investigator. Detailed and enthralling we are transported to the streets of Tudor London, to explore the shadowy corners where danger lurks. 

By C.J. Sansom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and The Light, Matthew Shardlake is back in the sixth book in the Shardlake series, from number one bestselling author C. J. Sansom.

'When it comes to intriguing Tudor-based narratives, Hilary Mantel has a serious rival' - Sunday Times
'Sansom has the trick of writing an enthralling narrative. Like Hilary Mantel, he produces densely textured historical novels that absorb their readers in another time' - Andrew Taylor, Spectator

England, 1546: King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councillors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever…


Book cover of The Constant Princess

Elizabeth Fremantle Author Of Queen's Gambit

From my list on the wives of Henry VIII.

Why am I passionate about this?

Even in childhood, I was struck by the sheer horror and tragedy of Henry VIII’s wives, women who had a place at the heart of power and managed, some more so than others, to influence the politics of their time, yet were powerless to save themselves when the wind changed. It was a fascinating and turbulent period that saw England rise from a provincial backwater to become an important player in European politics, bringing the social and cultural changes that sewed the seeds of our modern world. Exploring the period through the prism of women’s lives is a major aim of all my six novels.

Elizabeth's book list on the wives of Henry VIII

Elizabeth Fremantle Why did Elizabeth love this book?

No list of books about Henry VIII’s wives is complete without one of Philippa Gregory’s. She has written numerous fictional accounts of these women, most famously The Other Boleyn Girl, which was adapted into a feature film starring Scarlett Johansson. I have chosen this one as it tells the fascinating story of Catherine of Aragon, Henry's first wife, who was also married to his older brother Arthur. Gregory, in her typically arresting style, depicts the child bride, a pawn in European politics, brought over from Spain to marry the heir to the English throne, only to be widowed within months, and the impossible political situation she found herself in.

By Philippa Gregory,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Splendid and sumptuous historical novel from this internationally bestselling author, telling of the early life of Katherine of Aragon. We think of her as the barren wife of a notorious king; but behind this legacy lies a fascinating story. Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both rulers and warriors. Aged four, she is betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and is raised to be Queen of England. She is never in doubt that it is her destiny to rule that far-off, wet, cold land. Her faith is tested when her prospective fahter-in-law greets…


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 Elizabeth I

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?

Elizabeth I is one of the most popular Tudors and her story has been told and retold in countless biographies and Anne Somerset’s weighty nonfiction study is my favourite. It details the big-picture moments of the queen’s life–her rivalries, successes, and failures–without losing sight of the human at the heart of the story. We can thus enjoy learning about Elizabeth the woman as well as Elizabeth the queen.

This is a book I occasionally dip into for a reference and invariably end up rereading in its entirety.

By Anne Somerset,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Elizabeth 1 ruled England in defiance of convention, exercising supreme authority in a man's world. With courage, brilliance and style, she reigned for nearly forty-five years. Anne Somerset's penetrating biography of this complex and uniquely gifted woman is unrivalled in its analysis of both Elizabeth's personal life and her career as leader. "By applying herself industriously to the evidence, Anne Somerset presents a convincing as well as complex character at the centre of her long, but ever lucid narrative" Antonia Fraser "I strongly recommend this book...the writing is a delight" Daily Telegraph "The fullest and best biography of the queen…


Book cover of The Falcon's Flight

Tony Riches Author Of Owen

From my list on the Tudors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born within sight of Pembroke Castle, the birthplace of Henry Tudor, who later became King Henry VII and began the Tudor Dynasty, so I’ve always had an interest in his story. I found several biographies, but no novels which brought the truth of his story to life. The idea for the Tudor Trilogy occurred to me when I realised Henry Tudor could be born in book one, ‘come of age’ in book two, and rule England as king in book three. Since then, I’ve continued to follow the Tudor ‘thread’ all the way from Owen Tudor’s first meeting with Catherine of Valois to the death of Queen Elizabeth I.

Tony's book list on the Tudors

Tony Riches Why did Tony love this book?

Evocative and atmospheric, the second book in Natalia Richards' series on the life of Anne Boleyn covers her time in France. Often skimmed over by historians, understandably keen to move on to the tragedy of Anne's later life, this immersive, first-person narrative places the reader firmly in Anne's shoes. I particularly enjoyed Natalia's description of the sights (and smells) of medieval Paris, and to find myself at The Field of Cloth of Gold, where King Henry VIII met King François I of France.

By Natalia Richards,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Anne Boleyn's life is threatened, intrigue, gossip and treachery abound, and her destiny is finally revealed.

A young Anne Boleyn and her sister are sent to Paris to attend Mary Tudor, the new Queen of France. Unclear where her loyalties should lie, Anne soon makes an enemy of the queen. When the widowed Mary returns to England, Anne stays on in France to serve the new queen, Claude, but Anne's sister's actions put the girls' new court career at risk.

A dangerous love affair follows and Anne finds an unlikely ally in the French king's mistress.

But nothing ever goes…


Book cover of Songbird

Judith Arnopp Author Of A Matter of Conscience: Henry VIII, The Aragon Years

From my list on that illustrate life at the Tudor Court.

Why am I passionate about this?

Reading Historical Fiction as a youngster led me to study history at university – so the Tudors have been part of my life for about forty years now. After graduating with a Master’s degree, my career choice was easy. Of my thirteen novels, ten are Tudor, covering among others, the lives of Margaret Beaufort, Elizabeth of York, Anne Boleyn, Katheryn Parr, Mary Tudor, and King Henry VIII himself. It isn’t necessarily ‘normal’ to live in such close proximity to the Tudors, but I would be hard pushed to write in a modern setting. Give me an ill-lit chamber, a royal banquet, or even a grisly beheading and I am perfectly at home.

Judith's book list on that illustrate life at the Tudor Court

Judith Arnopp Why did Judith love this book?

I was immediately drawn to the first book in Karen Heenan’s Tudor trilogy because of the perspective from which it was written. Despite studying the period for more than thirty years, I knew next to nothing about the lives of royal minstrels. I enjoyed stories that are set against the familiar backdrop of Henry VIII’s court and especially liked this one as it is both well-researched and written. I thoroughly recommend this series.

By Karen Heenan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

She came from nothing. One false note could send her back.

Ten-year-old Bess is only good at one thing—singing, which has no place in her family’s bleak existence. When her father sells her to the king of England, she balances the loss of all she’s known against a world of music and plenty, and builds a new life as a royal minstrel, earning the nickname the king's songbird.

Bess comes of age in the dangerous Tudor court, where the stakes are always high, and where politics, heartbreak, and disease threaten everyone from the king to the lowliest musician.

Her life…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and queens?

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

King Henry VIII Explore 47 books about King Henry VIII
Anne Boleyn Explore 15 books about Anne Boleyn
Queens Explore 87 books about queens