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The Tudor Society

Best Historical Fiction for Summer Reading – I need you!

I need you! That's right, I need your recommendations so that I can fill my kindle with lots of fantastic historical novels.

Please watch the video to see exactly what I'm looking for, and then leave your recommendations (author and title, and a bit of blurb if you like about why you recommend it) as comments below. Thank you!

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  1. < /

    The Man on a donkey by Hilda Prescott, available on kindle (two volumes, sold separately)

    Oxford grad Hilda Prescott (1896-1972) was known for her well-respected biography of Mary I. But she also wrote an historical novel about the Pilgrimage of Grace from multiple points of view, from the nuns of Coverham Abbey whose story begins the tale to Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Crowell, Robert Aske and everyone in between. Quite simply an epic. And a fabulous book that will immerse you in the era. Not an light read. It’s long and it’s complex and it puts pseudo-historical efforts by the like of Phillipa Gregory et al. to shame for its rich and _accurate_ details. No historical-romance soap opera, but good decent dense historical fiction.

    The title comes from the visions of a simple-minded woman mystic named Malle who sees a vision of Christ riding on a donkey over a bridge across a stream in the Yorkshire countryside. Her visions and their frightening impact on the everyday Yorkshire people is one of the unifying themes in the book.

    This is not a book for casual readers. This is a really chewy intellectual work with some pretty hefty implicit commentary about the devastating impact of the dissolution of the religious houses and the reformation on northern England. As a measure of this book’s worth, it’s been in print continuously since 1952.

    I highly recommend it for the serious reader.

  2. L /

    Hi Claire! I really liked “Le Temps Viendra” by Sarah Morris, that came out a few years ago, as it gives an interesting perspective from a modern Anne’s point of view, around the events of the 1520s, and how she interprets them. Very insightful and quite a page-turner!

  3. M /

    I love the Matthew Shardlake books! The latest, Tombland, has been out for a few months.
    Not a mystery, but I enjoyed the first two books in Janet Wertman’s Seymour trilogy. Either the third one is out already, or it’s not yet but coming. I liked her Cromwell in the first one, Jane The Quene. (He is in the second book, but she doesn’t use his point of view). I am a fan of Thomas Cromwell, and I enjoy studying fictional takes on him.
    Karen Harper writes an Elizabeth mystery series, the first book takes place before she was queen. There are 8or 9, read the first couple.
    I know you said not too far from the Tudor period, but I’m going to mention this mystery series because i enjoy them. They take place during the regency period (1812-1813 area). The Sebastian St Cyr mysteries, by C S Harris.
    Michelle t

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Best Historical Fiction for Summer Reading – I need you!