Call them the Kardashians of the 16th and 17th centuries- the Tudors have provided writers with a cast of scandalous personalities and characters. Over the last 10 years their legacy has been revisited in best-selling novels, feature films, and mini-series that continue to captivate audiences around the world. Who doesn’t love a good family saga? As a Tudor-obsessed pseudo-historian, Anne Boleyn, Margaret Tudor and Thomas Cromwell are more friends than historical figures. Thus, I cannot resist catching up with them whenever a new book or series that re-tells their tales comes out (though I have to admit, I have held off on The White Queen… eh).
Whether you’re a Tudor-phile or looking to learn more about this colorful family that shaped British history, here are The Book Bird’s favorite printed picks:
The Six Wives of Henry VIII (non-fiction) by Alison Weir
This non-fiction account of the six wives of the notorious Henry VIII reads like a novel. Weir, who is undoubtedly the doyenne of Tudor literature, paints a rich and vivid account of court life, and her book remains one of my favorites to this day. (However, NB, highly recommend skipping her attempts at fiction.)
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
Book 2 of Maxwell’s trilogy about the Tudors, this has been a favorite since middle school. This fictional diary of the doomed Boleyn follows her from her days in France, to the royal court, and eventually to the tower. A quick read but definitely a must!
Royal Road to Fotheringhay by Jean Plaidy
Another well known historical fiction writer, Plaidy during her lifetime released some of my much-beloved works of historical fiction. While some are better than others, I have to say her series that focuses on the Stuarts (specifically poor Mary Queen of Scots) has to be one of my favorites.
A Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy
Plaidy makes her 2nd appearance on my list with her fictional account of the rivalry between Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.
This one I haven’t read but it is HIGH on my list of books to hit up: C.W. Gortner’s The Last Queen which is a fictional study of the questionably not-sane Juana of Castile. Read it? Loved it? Hate it? Let us know!
Okay, and so I know it’s not a film, but you MUST check out Anne of a Thousand Days with Richard Burton.
xo The Book Bird