Presented here are twelve new and recent titles centering on royalty, ones I haven't featured here before (see also my posts for Women's History Month). Their subjects span a wide range of times and places, but it's not surprising that English settings predominate.
An alternate history novel about the daughter of Queen Elizabeth I, first in a new series by Andersen (The Boleyn Trilogy). Ballantine, May 2015.
The Sun King gets a lot of attention in historical fiction, but this debut centers on the court of his great-grandson, the "well-beloved" Louis XV, and the five Nesle sisters – four of whom became his mistresses. Atria, September 2015.
Dunn is known for exploring Tudor women's lives from new angles. Here her subjects are Lady Jane Grey, the nine-day Protestant queen, and Elizabeth Tilney, a young Catholic woman who is drawn into her circle toward the end of Jane's life. Little Brown UK, May 2015.
A new retelling of Empress Matilda, granddaughter of William the Conqueror and daughter of King Henry I, who was forced to fight for her crown. Robert Hale, June 2015.
Gregory continues her Tudor Court series with her depiction of another female protagonist trapped in difficult circumstances: the independent-minded Kateryn Parr, last wife of Henry VIII. Simon & Schuster, August 2015.
The life story of Zenobia, an ambitious Syrian woman in the 3rd century AD who dreams of becoming Queen of Palmyra and of bringing Rome to its knees. Lake Union, December 2015.
British history writer Lisa Hilton imagines the story of Isabelle of Angouleme, future Queen of England and former betrothed of Hugh of Lusignan, whose family hopes to use her to re-establish the Old Religion in early 13th-century Europe. Corvus, October 2015.
This is the 2nd action-packed volume of Iggulden's evocation of the Wars of the Roses, in which Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England, fiercely defends her son's birthright. Michael Joseph UK (published as Wars of the Roses: Trinity), 2014; also Putnam, June 2015.
The timeless biblical tale of a young Jewish girl who rises to become Queen of Persia and is given the power to save her people is reinterpreted here by Kanner (The Sinners and the Sea). Howard, November 2015. Look out also for novels by Angela Hunt (Esther: Royal Beauty) and India Edghill (Game of Queens, about Esther and her predecessor, Vashti).
Limburg's debut novel delves into the life of Queen Anne, destined to be overshadowed by other members of her Stuart family, but here granted her proper place as a complex figure who endured considerable tragedy. Atlantic, August 2015.
Through her novels, Purcell presents a convincing case that the Georgian monarchy was every bit as fascinating as those before and after. Her latest recounts the story of Henrietta Howard, mistress of King George II. Myrmidon, August 2015.
Randel's debut novel is about the intelligent concubine who rose to become China's first and only female ruler, the Empress Wu, in the 7th century; first in a two-book series. Sourcebooks Landmark, March 2016.