7 Great Tudor Books to Gift to Your Favourite History Fan This Christmas

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Looking for a book for the Tudor Lover in your life? 

Look no further. Here are seven books I can wholeheartedly recommend for finding out more about the Tudor era... 

Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash

Dan Jones, The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors 

You can't get a real understanding of the Tudor Dynasty without getting to grips with the circumstances of how it rose in the first place. Written in Dan Jones' usual, engaging style, this book details the reign of Henry V and the subsequent tussles of the Wars of the Roses, examines the legal claims that the Tudors had to power and reflects on the events that ultimately lead to Henry Tudor battling Richard III on Bosworth Field. This book will help you understand the fragile balance of power that existed in the late fifteenth century and why the Tudor monarchs seemed so concerned about plots, pretenders and anyone who had an even remote blood link to the throne.    

Ian Mortimer, The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

Have you ever wanted to time-travel back to Tudor times? Yes, me too. Well if you've ever wondered about Tudor language, crime, scientific discoveries, how the Tudors brushed their teeth and washed, this is the book for you. It's like being transported back to the sixteenth century. 

Ruth Goodman, How to Be a Tudor and How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain

Like Ian Mortimer's Time Travellers Guide, Ruth Goodman's books also focus on the every day of Tudor life, but in much more detail. In How to Be A Tudor she writes about making cheese, bread and ale and how they differ in taste and texture from what we eat and drink today. She covers manners, the types of beds you might have had access to, depending on your social status and how you'd get dressed in the morning and what work you might do. How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain is all about what Tudors and Stuarts perceived as bad behaviour or bad manners.  

Tracy Borman, The Private Lives of the Tudors

I loved this book, which takes a magnifying glass to the private lives of the Tudor monarchs. How were their relationships with their loved ones and others around them? How did they get on with each other? What did they like to do, play or eat? What time did they get up in the morning? And there's also a look at the religious and social rituals around the palaces, including the all-important matter of childbirth in the royal household. 

Thomas Penn, Winter King 

Henry VII, the founder of the Tudor dynasty, is not as famous perhaps as his son Henry VIII, or some of his grandchildren, but he was a complex personality that still deserves to be studied. You'll read all about how he gained and kept control of the kingdom, defending it from pretenders and other threats. There's his relationship with the young Catherine of Aragon during the years she stayed in England in a kind of limbo after the death of her husband Arthur. This book gives you a sense of a different Henry VII that you might have seen up until now in the history books. Written with beautiful imagery and a clear timeline, it's a good one to read. 

Alison Weir, Mary Boleyn

Don't you think that Mary Boleyn, Anne's less-well-known sister, gets overlooked? Weir's book details her life, children and her legacy which exists in the bloodline of the royal family today.  She raises the question of the paternity of her children, her relationships with the rest of the Boleyns and her affair with Henry VIII himself. A good read, which will give you more background into the workings of court life, women in Tudor England and the importance of families. 

CJ Sansom, The Shardlake Series 

If you prefer non-fiction, try The Shardlake Series of books by CJ Sansom. They're a set of murder mysteries, each set against a different backdrop of Tudor life. You'll follow the lawyer Matthew Shardlake as he tries to unravel events and solve mysteries while interviewing suspects, eating at the tavern or following a dark and murky trail down an unlit, cobblestoned alley. If you love the Tudor era, you'll love immersing yourself in these books. 

What are your favourite Tudor books? Let me know in the comments below for other people to try...

Enjoyed this? You might also like: A New Look at Henry VIII's Wives, How To Swear Like a Tudor and 5 Tudor Inspired Days Out by Train

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