100 books like To Dance with Kings

By Rosalind Laker,

Here are 100 books that To Dance with Kings fans have personally recommended if you like To Dance with Kings. 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

Mel Laytner Author Of What They Didn't Burn: Uncovering My Father's Holocaust Secrets

From my list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a foreign correspondent seven time zones from home when my father died of a sudden heart attack. My grief mixed with guilt for never having sat down with him to unravel his vague vignettes about life and loss in the Holocaust. I wondered, how did he survive when so many perished? How much depended on resilience, smarts, or dumb luck? As reporters do, I started digging. I uncovered a Nazi paper trial that tracked his life from home, through ghettos, slave labor, concentration camps, death marches, and more. The tattered documents revealed a man very different from the quiet, quintessential Type-B Dad I knew…or thought I knew. 

Mel's book list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II

Mel Laytner Why did Mel love this book?

This novel left me feeling both teary-eyed and ennobled. Superficially, it is about two French sisters living through the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. At its root, however, Hannah deconstructs the essence of survival.

I loved how her characters frame the book’s cosmic questions: What would you do to survive? What compromises would you make? Is it better to fight back aggressively or resist passively? The sisters are of different temperaments and personalities. Each answers these questions differently, painfully. I found myself haunted by these themes long after I put The Nightingale back on the shelf. You will, too.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

27 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 Outlander

J.L. Buckley Author Of Hybrid: Irinsbane Part I

From my list on steamy romantasy novels with badass but relatable leading women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fantasy romance is a broad genre that simply captivates and enthralls me. The combination of romance, passion, action, humor, magic, mystery, and drama ignites this spark in my heart, filling my metaphorical cup of happiness. But what makes these books so amazing is the strong female perspective they are told from. It’s not making tough decisions or embodying their masculine energies that make them strong. It’s their ability to balance dealing with external conflicts while struggling with self-confidence and loving others so completely that makes them such incredible women to read. Those are the stories I want to read, and those are the stories I want to tell.

J.L.'s book list on steamy romantasy novels with badass but relatable leading women

J.L. Buckley Why did J.L. love this book?

Time travel + epic love story + strong female protagonist? Yeah, I’m in.

Though this is more historical fiction than what I usually gravitate towards, the love story between Claire and Jamie is irresistible and just too powerful to ignore. She literally crosses time to be with him! Albeit accidentally at first, but still!

This book is beautifully written, and I adore Claire so much for being ahead of her time in the 1940’s and way ahead of her time in the 1700’s. She’s one of my favorite book heroines because of her strength, passion, and conviction. And the love story is so beautiful and gets really hot. 

By Diana Gabaldon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The first book in Diana Gabaldon’s acclaimed Outlander saga, the basis for the Starz original series.

One of the top ten best-loved novels in America, as seen on PBS’s The Great American Read!
 
Unrivaled storytelling. Unforgettable characters. Rich historical detail. These are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and…


Book cover of Glory and the Lightning: A Novel of Ancient Greece

Alison Blasdell Author Of The Confederates' Physician

From my list on historic romance to wish you lived in the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love reading novels that take me to another time, place, or adventure (an antithesis to my 30-year career as a professor teaching physiology & pathophysiology to medical and nursing students). I read for entertainment and variety. As an author, I write books I'd like to read! Drawn to history, I've written five historical romances—a woman of courage, intellect, and compassion at the heart of each. I've authored two contemporary espionage thrillers with a woman as the protagonist. I enjoy stepping out of the bounds of empiricism in my novels, blending genres, and stretching the imagination.

Alison's book list on historic romance to wish you lived in the past

Alison Blasdell Why did Alison love this book?

I read this years ago; it's one of the reasons I began writing historical romance novels. It's the story of Aspasia, a woman in ancient Greece. She's educated in a selective school for courtesans, beautiful, groomed for pleasure, and bought by a Persian man who comes seeking a courtesan from this famous establishment. He takes Aspasia back to Persia. Eventually, she is freed and returns to Athens, where she meets Pericles. Inspired in part by his love of Aspasia, Pericles initiated the building of the famous Acropolis in ancient Greece. 

I was fortunate to visit Athens after reading Glory and the Lightning, and standing on the Acropolis, I found myself thinking of Pericles and Aspasia, real people who lived and loved over 2,000 years ago. (And yes, I may have gotten a lump in my throat and one or two tears threatened.)

By Taylor Caldwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller: A breathtaking saga of ancient Greece and one of history's most influential political couples, Aspasia and Pericles.

Born in the Greek city of Miletus, Aspasia was destined for a life of tragedy. Her wealthy father vowed to abandon any female child, so Aspasia was secreted away, educated independently of her family, and raised as a courtesan. She discovered at an early age how to use her powers of intellect as ingeniously as those of the flesh.

Ensconced in the Persian harems of Al Taliph, she meets the man who will change her fate: Pericles, the formidable…


Book cover of A Stitch in Time

Alison Blasdell Author Of The Confederates' Physician

From my list on historic romance to wish you lived in the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love reading novels that take me to another time, place, or adventure (an antithesis to my 30-year career as a professor teaching physiology & pathophysiology to medical and nursing students). I read for entertainment and variety. As an author, I write books I'd like to read! Drawn to history, I've written five historical romances—a woman of courage, intellect, and compassion at the heart of each. I've authored two contemporary espionage thrillers with a woman as the protagonist. I enjoy stepping out of the bounds of empiricism in my novels, blending genres, and stretching the imagination.

Alison's book list on historic romance to wish you lived in the past

Alison Blasdell Why did Alison love this book?

I love historical fiction that adds an element of fantasy, magical realism, or time travel. I like the expansion of the mind that accompanies appreciation of these novels. (Yes, I admit that appreciation guided me in writing one of my series in the historical/romance/fantasy blended genre.) A Stitch in Time is a time travel novel of romance in which the heroine slips through time to the Victorian English countryside. She moves back and forth from the present to the past. The story is complete with a haunted manor house, ghosts, mystery, and love unbounded by time.

If my description seems banal, I apologize, for this is an intelligently crafted story. The author's sentences are beautifully written, leading the readers into the inner thoughts of the character. I just recently discovered this prolific author, and I'm a big fan!

By Kelley Armstrong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Thorne Manor has always been haunted…and it has always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could pass through a time slip in her great-aunt’s house, where she visited William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, the house was shuttered and Bronwyn was convinced that William existed only in her imagination. Now, twenty years later Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor. And when she returns, William is waiting. William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. He’s a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life marred by tragedy and a scandal that…


Book cover of The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour

Richard Scholar Author Of Émigrés: French Words That Turned English

From my list on just how much English owes French.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been struck, as a learner of French at school and later a university professor of French, by how much English borrows from French language and culture. Imagine English without naïveté and caprice. You might say it would lose its raison d’être My first book was the history of a single French phrase, the je-ne-sais-quoi, which names a ‘certain something’ in people or things that we struggle to explain. Working on that phrase alerted me to the role that French words, and foreign words more generally, play in English. The books on this list helped me to explore this topic—and more besides—as I was writing Émigrés.

Richard's book list on just how much English owes French

Richard Scholar Why did Richard love this book?

This is cultural history with a difference and of a difference. It teaches you a lot about the reputation for fashionable culture that France enjoyed for centuries all over the world and continues to enjoy to this day. How much of all that is already packed into the book’s subtitle! The rest of the book is just as accessible and lively and unwilling ever to take itself too seriously. 

By Joan DeJean,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Essence of Style as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What makes fashionistas willing to pay a small fortune for a particular designer accessory? Why does a special occasion only become really special when a champagne cork pops? Why are diamonds the status symbol gemstone, instantly signifying wealth, power, and even emotional commitment? Writing with great elan, one of the foremost authorities on seventeenth-century French culture provides the answer to these and other fascinating questions in her account of how, at one glittering moment in history, the French under Louis XIV set the standards of sophistication, style, and glamour that still rule our lives today. Joan DeJean takes us back…


Book cover of Memoirs Duc De Saint-Simon Volume Three: 1715-1723

Philip Mansel Author Of King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV

From my list on French Court.

Why am I passionate about this?

The French court has fascinated me since boyhood visits to Blois and Versailles. The appeal of its unusually dramatic history is heightened by the prominence of women, by the number and brilliance of courtiers’ letters and memoirs, and by its stupendous cultural patronage: Even after writing seven books on the French court, from Louis XIV to Louis XVIII, I remain enthralled by Versailles, Fontainebleau, and Paris where, as the new science of court studies expands, there is always more to see and learn. The power and popularity of the French presidency today confirm the importance of the French monarchy, to which it owes so much, including its physical setting, the Elysée Palace.

Philip's book list on French Court

Philip Mansel Why did Philip love this book?

Saint-Simon was another passionate outsider. He compensated for his lack of position and favour under Louis XIV by putting his fantasies of omniscience and his psychological perception into his memoirs. One of the great stylists of the French language, he leads readers into a universe where class, personality, and ambition are more important than public issues. He blamed French defeats on Louis XIV’s pride and ignorance. He called Versailles ’the saddest and most unrewarding place in the world’ and the King’s Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, heightening persecution of Protestants, ‘a general abomination born of flattery and cruelty’. At the same time, he praised the King’s ‘incomparable grace and majesty’. ‘Never was a man so naturally polite.’

By Louis De Rouvroy Saint-Simon, Lucy Norton (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memoirs Duc De Saint-Simon Volume Three as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the third volume in Lucy Norton's three-volume abridgement and translation of the the memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon, first published in the 1960s. The court of Louis XIV, the Sun King, at Versailles was unequalled for splendour in Europe's history, a hotbed of intrigues and jealousy, passion both political and personal, as well as artistic and literary excellence - this is its memorial. This, like the previous volumes, is peppered throughout with character sketches which bring the period to life. The third volume starts with the funeral of Louis XIV, the ensuing violent quarrels of the Duc…


Book cover of The Fatal Friendship

Karen Engelmann Author Of The Stockholm Octavo

From my list on to unlock treasures of Sweden’s Gustavian Age.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stockholm was the first city that I traveled to outside of the U.S. Landing there at Midsommar and visiting the Old Town made an indelible impression. I lived and worked in Sweden for almost 10 years, and had little time for history then, but later found Stockholm in the Gustavian age irresistible as the basis for my first novel. It was a period of cultural flowering, of occult fascinations, social change, and great drama. Readers tend to look further south, in France and Great Britain, for their historical fiction, histories, and biographies, but there are great stories further north as well. 

Karen's book list on to unlock treasures of Sweden’s Gustavian Age

Karen Engelmann Why did Karen love this book?

I loved learning about the close ties that existed between Sweden and France in the late 18th century and the French Revolution figured in the plot of my novel. This fabulous non-fiction work explores the politics, intrigues, and plotting of the period through the intimate connection between Marie Antoinette, doomed Queen of France, and her purported lover, Axel von Fersena Swedish nobleman. The revolution was reaching a fevered pitch when King Gustav III of Sweden sent von Fersen to assist the French royal family in their escape from Paris — an epic failure told with passion by Mr. Loomis! 

By Stanley Loomis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Binding: HB Condition: Very Good Dustjacket: Good, top right front chipped. Details: About the puzzling friendship between Count Axel Fersen and Marie Antoinetter, Queen of France, and his role in the Royal Family's disastrous flight to Varennes at the outset of the French Revolution. Book Club Edition. From Stanley Loomis, a well-known author whose books have been published in 8 languages. Size: 22cm X 14.5cm Weight: 500 grams "


Book cover of Kiki's Paris: Artists and Lovers 1900-1930

Jim Fergus Author Of The Memory of Love

From my list on 1920’s Paris les années folles - the “crazy years”.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young boy, I dreamed of becoming a novelist. I was fascinated and inspired by Les Années Folles, The Crazy Years of 1920’s Paris, when artists of all disciplines, from countries all around the world came together electrifying the City of Lights with an artistic passion. My mother was French. France is my 2nd country, where I spend a portion of each year. While researching my novel, The Memory of Love, I stayed in the actual atelier of my protagonist Chrysis Jungbluth, a young, largely unknown painter of that era. I visited, too, the addresses of dozens of the artists who bring the era alive again in our imagination. 

Jim's book list on 1920’s Paris les années folles - the “crazy years”

Jim Fergus Why did Jim love this book?

Due to the title, and the fact that the authors of this book edited my 3rd book, this may seem to be a redundant choice on my part. But I can assure the reader that it is not. Although a fine photo of Kiki also graces the cover, she plays a minor, more metaphoric role in the grand scheme of this large-format work, and only a handful of pages are devoted to her.

On the inside of the cover, and the first thick page to its right, one is presented with 96 roughly 1”x 2” black & white thumbnail photographs, not alphabetically arranged, but as it happens, beginning with a photo image of a portrait of Louis XIV in the top left corner and finishing in the bottom right corner of the following page with a photo of James Joyce. All those photos in between should tip off the reader…

By Billy Klüver, Julie Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Recreates life in the tumultuous world of 1900-1930 Montparnasse. This book presents photographs of legendary figures, among them the model Kiki, Modigliani, Picasso, Satie, Matisse, Leger, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce and Miro. Gossip and anecdotes aim to bring this world alive.


Book cover of The Private Life of Marie Antoinette

Will Bashor Author Of Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie

From my list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although the books on my list all delve into the history of Queen Marie Antoinette and her family, they also provide an understanding of the chaotic period leading up to the French Revolution. I’ve always been fascinated by the historical drama, controversy, and tragedy of her personal life, but the readings on my list also explore the social changes in manners, clothing styles, and class distinctions that accompanied the political unrest.

Will's book list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian

Will Bashor Why did Will love this book?

I read the French edition of this book, and I found it most helpful as a reference for my own writing because Campan was close to Marie Antoinette as her servant and confidant. Moreover, Campan did not sugarcoat the queen’s life but rather offered an unbiased view of the queen's character.

Having read many current biographies of Marie Antoinette, I was thrilled to find Madam Campan’s because it was a unique and firsthand account of Marie Antoinette’s life at the court of Versailles. More importantly, Campan revealed why Marie Antoinette often behaved the way she did and debunked some of the scandals—some of which are still espoused today. In my opinion, Campan’s writing conveys sincerity and authenticity. On the other hand, some critics feel she is a bit biased.

By Jeanne Louise Henriette Campan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In one of the earliest memoirs of the young Queen of France, Jeanne Louise Henriette Campan - Marie Antoinette's First Lady-in-Waiting and one of her closest and most faithful attendants - paints a dramatic portrait of the queen's personal and political relationship with King Louis XVI of France. First published in two volumes in 1823, this memoir is presented against the backdrop of the French court as it weakened in the madness of an impending revolution. In intricate detail, Campan passionately defends Marie Antoinette's pride and honour in the face of hateful propaganda against her - propaganda that has continued…


Book cover of Marie Antoinette: The Journey

Will Bashor Author Of Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie

From my list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although the books on my list all delve into the history of Queen Marie Antoinette and her family, they also provide an understanding of the chaotic period leading up to the French Revolution. I’ve always been fascinated by the historical drama, controversy, and tragedy of her personal life, but the readings on my list also explore the social changes in manners, clothing styles, and class distinctions that accompanied the political unrest.

Will's book list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian

Will Bashor Why did Will love this book?

As a Francophone myself, I found that Fraser's biography offered a captivating study of the French monarchy. And through nuanced storytelling, it challenged conventional perceptions of Marie Antoinette. By fostering empathy for her incredible plight amid French society’s expectations, the book ultimately reshaped her historical portrayal. 

Fraser's portrayal of the characters' emotional states added depth to the Marie Antoinette’s story, making it vivid in my imagination. She also offered a sympathetic view of the queen, highlighting her tragic end. Balanced in her views, the author also challenged my misconceptions, revealing the queen’s humanity and providing insightful, little-known details of her short life.

By Antonia Fraser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The national bestseller from the acclaimed author of The Wives of Henry VIII.  France’s beleaguered queen, Marie Antoinette, wrongly accused of uttering the infamous “Let them eat cake,” was the subject of ridicule and curiosity even before her death; she has since been the object of debate and speculation and the fascination so often accorded tragic figures in history. Married in mere girlhood, this essentially lighthearted, privileged, but otherwise unremarkable child was thrust into an unparalleled time and place, and was commanded by circumstance to play a significant role in history. Antonia Fraser’s lavish and engaging portrait of Marie Antoinette,…


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