Whether you’ve been reading historical fiction for years or whether you’re new to the genre, you can’t have failed to have noticed the abundance of novels set in the Tudor period. From Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, it seems there’s a Tudor novel to suit all literary tastes and preferences. Although I’m now much more interested in the Plantagenet era, particularly the Wars of the Roses, and, increasingly, in earlier periods such as the Norman Conquest and the early medieval period, I have still read a lot of Tudor fiction over the years and I’m sure I’ll continue to do so, however much I might sometimes feel that I’ve read enough. I’m currently halfway through CJ Sansom’s Shardlake series and I also have a review copy of Alison Weir’s new book, Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen, so they will probably be my next Tudor reads.
I have listed here and here most of the Tudor books I’ve reviewed on my blog so far, including those set in the Elizabethan period (I’m planning to update these lists at some point with books read prior to blogging). However, I can’t really say that I would recommend all of them. There are some excellent Tudor novels out there but also some which are quite disappointing and with so much choice available it can be easy to find yourself reading a lot of the mediocre books while perhaps missing out on some of the better ones.
I didn’t have much time to prepare this month’s post, so I’m keeping it short and simple and will finish by asking for your thoughts.
Which Tudor novels would you consider essential reads for someone who has never read any and is wondering where to start?
Are there any books you would recommend even to someone who is getting bored with the Tudors? Any which you think approach the Tudor period in an unusual way or breathe fresh life into the subject?