Saturday, July 11, 2015

A dozen new and upcoming historical novels featuring royalty

Novels about the personal lives of royalty, and those close to the throne, were among my first loves in historical fiction.  These books waxed and waned in popularity over the past few decades, but although they've never fallen out of favor, authors are continually in search of new approaches and different historical figures to write about. 

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.

15 comments:

  1. These novels seem so exciting! I can't wait for them to come out! Thank you for posting these upcoming titles! They are something to look forward to!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm happy the post gave you some reading ideas!

      Delete
  2. Indeed, a lot of reading to look forward to! I'm intrigued at what could possibly have happened in the life of Isabelle of Angouleme BEFORE she married John - she was only twelve at the time! I suppose it must be about the family, really...
    Norah Lofts wrote a delightful novel about Queen Esther many years ago. Her Esther is a scholarly girl who interests the king because she can talk about more than the girly stuff the others have been talking about fir the last year. Of course, in this novel the author doesn't pick up on the implication in the Bible that the king was doing a bit more than dinner and conversation while auditioning for a new queen! But it was fun,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's very true about her age - I can't tell from the blurb how much time passes in the novel as a whole. Her previous novel, Wolves in Winter, also had a child protagonist but seems to be as much about the people who surrounded her. I see that folks on Goodreads rate Wolves rather low...

      I haven't read Lofts' take on Esther. Was it more of a young adult novel? I remember enjoying Rebecca Kohn's The Gilded Chamber a while back, though.

      Delete
  3. I have a couple of these on my wish list, The Lady of Misrule and The Taming of the Queen, but the one that's caught my eye is A Want of Kindness. Except for a few basic facts, I remember very little about the life of Queen Anne. I did read Jean Plaidy's Stuart saga novels years ago, so a new book about this Queen is very welcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here, I've read Plaidy's Stuart novels, but Queen Anne has been quite neglected in fiction. Margaret Porter's A Pledge of Better Times, which I reviewed about a month ago, has Anne as a secondary character, but since she was viewed through her sister's eyes, she's not seen in a positive light.

      Delete
  4. You've given me lots of reading ideas as many of these books look fabulous. Thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Another wonderful list Sarah. Thank you. Have been working my way through a previous list and must tell you that "The Crooked Spire" by Chris Nickson is super. These lists are a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Donna, I'm really glad you've been enjoying The Crooked Spire - thanks for letting me know! I love spreading the word about good books.

      Delete
  6. if anyone is interested in reviewing The Sisters of Versailles, we still have a few review copies available here: http://francebooktours.com/2015/07/02/sally-christie-on-tour-the-sisters-of-versailles/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Emma, thanks for the heads-up about the tour opportunity!

      Delete
  7. Thank you for this list. I think I've added almost all of them to my TBR list. They all sound fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! If you end up reading any of them, please let me know what you thought.

      Delete
  8. I've just come to your page after ordering A Want of Kindness online. Sounds so interesting.

    ReplyDelete