Hi there, fellow bookworms!
If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you may already know that I’m pretty interested in History. In particular, the Tudors.
I studied Tudor history (along with Luther and the German Reformation and the Witchcraze in Europe and North America) for 2 years at a-level (results day is getting closer and I’m getting nervous) and that’s when my obsession with historical fiction properly began; when one of my teachers recommended reading Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl.
The vast majority of the historical fiction books I’ve read so far have been set in the Tudor period and written by Philippa Gregory, although I have quite a few historical fiction books that aren’t set in the Tudor period, that I haven’t gotten round to reading yet (surprise, surprise).
So here are my top 3 Tudor fiction books…happy reading!
1. The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory
I picked this up second hand from a charity book stall, last year, and was really excited to read it…I finished it in 9 days.
It is set between the years 1548 and 1558 and follows the story of a Jewish girl called Hannah Green who has the gift of the “Sight”, which allows her to foresee the future. She and her father are forced to flee Spain and come to England in order to escape the Inquisition. Robert Dudley brings her to court to be a “holy fool” for Queen Mary I…to spy on her. I really enjoyed this book it’s definitely one of the best that I’ve read!
Rating: 4 Stars
2. The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir
I owned this book for several years before I actually read it (why am I like this?) but honestly, this book was amazing! It looks at the life of Elizabeth I, right from her childhood, when she noticed that people were no longer calling her “Lady Princess” but “Lady Elizabeth” (the book starts just after the execution of Anne Boleyn). The book looks at how the relationship between Elizabeth I and her older half-sister, Mary I, grew and changed throughout their lives – at the beginning of the book, Mary genuinely loves her younger sister and is the one to tell Elizabeth about the death of her mother, but begins to grow increasingly wary of her as she gets older. The book also looked at the relationship between Elizabeth I and Thomas Seymour, which I thought was interesting, although not necessarily accurate. But all in all, this was a really good read!
Rating: 4 Stars
3. The King’s Secret Matter by Jean Plaidy
This book follows the “King’s Great Matter” – Henry VIII’s desire for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, his desire for a male heir and his lust for Anne Boleyn. Henry is angry that his wife has been unable to provide him with a “suitable” heir (Mary was disregarded as this as she was female). Upon the arrival of Anne Boleyn and her refusal to become his mistress, Henry begins to secretly formulate a plan (with the help of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey) to divorce Catherine and make Mary illegitimate…but Catherine fights back. This was one of my favourite aspects of my Tudor course and so I enjoyed this book!
Rating: 3 Stars
I hope you found this interesting! Try reading one of these books (or another by one of these authors), they’re great!