12 books directly related to Tudor 📚

All 12 Tudor books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Book cover of Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe

Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe

By Sarah Gristwood

Why this book?

There is no doubt that the sixteenth century was a man’s world. Women were treated as second-class citizens and viewed as inferior in every single respect: mentally, physically and emotionally. Yet it was also the era of powerful female sovereigns, consorts and regents. Sarah Gristwood’s beautifully written and well-researched study follows the varying fortunes of some of the period’s most formidable matriarchs, from Isabella of Castile to the six wives of Henry VIII.

From the list:

The best books about life in Tudor times

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Book cover of Mistress Cromwell

Mistress Cromwell

By Carol McGrath

Why this book?

Another lesser-known figure, Elizabeth is the wife of Thomas Cromwell. She has very little mention in the historical record but the author draws on what we do know of her husband, Thomas. Elizabeth Cromwell’s character is convincing and likable. I particularly enjoyed glimpsing another side of Thomas Cromwell, a more human side and I loved the descriptions of their imagined daily life together. The author doesn’t over describe but the sights, sounds, and smells of the city are touched on just enough to provide a sense of place. It was also refreshing to see a woman involved in business in…

From the list:

The best books that illustrate life at the Tudor Court

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Book cover of Emmie and the Tudor King

Emmie and the Tudor King

By Natalie Murray

Why this book?

Modern girl finds a cursed ring, goes back in time to the deadly Tudor era, and falls for the king. What could go wrong? This book has everything, cursed rings, time travel, swoon-worthy romance, forbidden love, and a drop-dead gorgeous Tudor King. There’s also a murder mystery as well, which adds so much depth to the plot. And I love, love, love how Murray treated the time travel aspect. There are dire consequences for changing the past and those consequences could be the worst curse of all. EATTK is YA and is suitable for younger readers and the first book…

From the list:

The best romance books with cursed love

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Book cover of England's Other Countrymen: Black Tudor Society

England's Other Countrymen: Black Tudor Society

By Onyeka Nubia

Why this book?

In this thought-provoking book, Onyeka Nubia encourages us to re-examine Tudor concepts of race and ethnicity in Tudor (and Stuart) England without assumptions based on post-colonial narratives. What emerges is a nuanced picture of complex interactions, attitudes, and prejudices. As well as studying the writings of Tudor scholars, theologians, and authors, Nubia looks at the lives of individual Africans in England, showing that they weren’t “strangers” but lived as part of English communities - whether in cosmopolitan London parishes such as St Botolph without Aldgate, or in rural villages.

From the list:

The best books on everyday life in Tudor England

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Book cover of Page-Turner: Your Path to Writing a Novel That Publishers Want and Readers Buy

Page-Turner: Your Path to Writing a Novel That Publishers Want and Readers Buy

By Barbara Kyle

Why this book?

Barbara Kyle covers all the areas fiction writers want and need to know about the craft of writing and how to elevate your craft into art. Her book is an essential guide to creating a novel with strong and compelling characters, setting, plot, dialogue, and more. 

Her insightful suggestions and advice, initially through a manuscript evaluation of my book, and later with a thorough reading of this book, was an essential part of my writing journey towards creating a “page-turner” that led to the acceptance and publication of my novel.

From the list:

The best books to help you write your best book

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Book cover of Edward IV (The English Monarchs Series)

Edward IV (The English Monarchs Series)

By Charles Ross

Why this book?

Like Gillingham’s book, it was published decades ago yet it is still the best overall work on Edward IV. Ross manages to give the reader a clear picture of this king and the tumultuous events in which he played a pivotal role. It is a balanced, thoughtful account which is ideal for a newcomer to the subject.

From the list:

The best books on the Wars of the Roses from a historian and author

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Book cover of How to Be a Tudor: A Dawn-To-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life

How to Be a Tudor: A Dawn-To-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life

By Ruth Goodman

Why this book?

In this book, Ruth Goodman takes the reader through a day in the life of an ordinary person in Tudor England. Along the way she covers a wide range of topics including hygiene, clothing, education, work, leisure, and diet. This is not the only book to cover everyday life in the 16th century but it is elevated above other, similar, books by the anecdotes Goodman provides from her own experiences as a re-enactor. Where other authors might tell you what a Tudor bed was like, or how people ploughed, this book tells you what it feels like to sleep…

From the list:

The best books on everyday life in Tudor England

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Book cover of Six Tudor Queens: Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife

Six Tudor Queens: Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife

By Alison Weir

Why this book?

The last in this stunning Six Wives series, this novel brings Henry VIII’s last wife to life as never before. Impeccably researched and with stunning period detail, this book paints a vivid picture of how women had to battle for survival in the Tudor world.

From the list:

The best books about life in Tudor times

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Book cover of Tombland

Tombland

By C.J. Sansom

Why this book?

At the time of writing, this is believed to be the last in the Shardlake novels and I, for one, am already missing them. I have loved every one of the books in the series, following the adventures of the lawyer/crime solver Matthew Shardlake and his assistants Jack Barak and Nicholas Overton. The author has a real way of bringing the Tudor age to life and as a reader you are instantly transported into the 1500s with Sansom’s descriptive and quite brilliant writing. As a general recommendation I could have picked any of the Shardlake novels but under the heading…

From the list:

The best historical fiction books that sent me straight to Google to find out more

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Book cover of All the King's Cooks: The Tudor Kitchens of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace

All the King's Cooks: The Tudor Kitchens of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace

By Peter Brears

Why this book?

Peter Brears takes us ‘below stairs’ at the court of Henry VIII and into the kitchens that fed and waited on up to 1000 people a day. Structured around the different rooms that made up the kitchen, he details the food and drink that was being produced and gives a snapshot of the ordinary people working there. The book is nicely illustrated with sketches of Tudor implements and methods of cooking. For anyone who wants to try eating like a Tudor, the book concludes with a selection of recipes, all of which have been trialed in the kitchens at Hampton…

From the list:

The best books on everyday life in Tudor England

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Book cover of Confession of Katherine Howard

Confession of Katherine Howard

By Suzannah Dunn

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books about the wives of Henry VIII

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Book cover of Houses of Power

Houses of Power

By Simon Thurley

Why this book?

A learned, yet eminently readable, book which synthesizes and knits together the findings contained in several of Thurley’s earlier, landmark publications, including The Royal Palaces of Tudor England (Yale, 1993) and Whitehall Palace (Merrell, 2008). Houses of Power is a compact volume (and available in paperback, too). I have often taken my copy with me for reference when visiting the sites described in it. Thurley’s illustrations include fascinating conjectural reconstructions of buildings that either no longer survive or have been greatly altered since Tudor times. A wonderful tool when trying to visualize now-lost buildings.
From the list:

The best books on Tudor art and architecture

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