I’ve read and enjoyed each of these over the last few months. Yes, the list has an eccentrically royal flavour because I’ve been working on a TV project about the history of the monarchy, and have had my nose to the grindstone.
But there are some novels lower down.
- Chris Skidmore, Edward VI, The Lost King of England
Fullest and most modern trade bio of a little boy who’s often underestimated
- Anna Whitelock, Mary Tudor, England’s First Queen
Pleasantly revisionist account, may well change your mind about poor old Mary!
- Charles Carlton, Charles I, The Personal Monarch
Enjoyed reading his ‘psychological’ take while at college, still stands the test of time
- Anne Somerset, Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion
The fullest, latest word on Anne. Definitive
- Kate Williams, Becoming Queen
Fun romp through early lives of Princesses Charlotte and Victoria
Clever new angle on Victoria’s later reign
- Matthew Dennison, The Last Princess (about Victoria’s daughter Beatrice)
Again, lots of mourning, really makes you pity Victoria’s kids
- Jane Ridley, Bertie, A Life of Edward VII
As revisionist as the subject allows, good access to sources, good fun too!
- Miranda Carter, Three Emperors
Ambitious, covers lots of ground, v. readable (for me, the same author’s book on Anthony Blunt was a brilliant holiday read the year it came out)
- Kenneth Rose, King George V
Thorough. Even better is David Cannadine’s essay on it in London Review of Books
- Philip Ziegler, King Edward VIII
A Rolls-Royce biographer. This saw me through an Xmas holiday some years ago
- Robert Hardman, Our Queen
A light read but with some really unexpected insights
- Andrew Marr, The Diamond Queen
Absolutely required reading this year
- David Starkey, Monarchy
Concise, incisive re-cap of the theoretical background to monarchy
I get my suggestions for novel-reading by following Daisy Goodwin on Twitter. Nearly everything she recommends goes straight onto my Kindle and I’ve never yet been disappointed.
- Ian McEwan, Sweet Tooth
I sort-of guessed that we had an unreliable narrator, but still a great denouement
- Harriet Lane, Alys, Always
Lapped this up, clever, malicious, sharp, brilliant
- Maggie Shipstead, Seating Arrangements
Made me want to go to Martha’s Vineyard
- Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Tailed off a bit towards the end but what a concept!