If You Like….

I noticed in Friday’s Weekly Reading Round-Up that a number of people seem to be reading In a Treacherous Court.

So, if you like tales of court intrigue, you’ll probably like….

— Karleen Koen’s Dark Angels, set at the court of Charles II;

— Susan Holloway Scott’s The Duchess, detailing the chequered career of Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough– and don’t miss her other books, about the mistresses of Charles II: Royal Harlot (Barbara, Countess Castlemaine), The French Mistress (Louise de Kerouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth), and The King’s Favorite (Nell Gwynn);

— Victoria Holt’s My Enemy, the Queen, about Elizabeth I’s troublesome cousin, Lettice Knollys;

— and pretty much anything by Holt’s alter ego, Jean Plaidy, who left no queen unchronicled. My old favorites include Queen in Waiting, about my personal heroine, Caroline of Ansbach, and Victoria Victorious (self-explanatory) but you can also find Tudors (such as The Lady in the Tower, about Anne Boleyn), Borgias (Madonna of the Seven Hills, et al) and pretty much anyone else you can think of. Prolific doesn’t even begin to describe it;

— Diane Haeger’s Courtesan, about Diane de Poitier and Henri II;

— Judith Merkle Riley’s The Master of All Desires, for a somewhat quirkier look at Catherine de’ Medici and the court of Henri II, as well as The Serpent Garden, for a whole new look Cardinal Wolsey and the marriage of the Princess Mary to the King of France;

— Rosalind Laker’s To Dance With Kings, spanning from the court of Louis XIV up through the French Revolution;

— Tracy Grant’s Vienna Waltz (yes, yes, I know I just mentioned her last week, but you really can’t get a better view of the intrigue at the Congress of Vienna, as those titans of intrigue, Talleyrand and Metternich, went head to head);

— and how could I possibly leave out the book that launched a thousand Tudor take-offs? Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl.

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. And, then, on top of it, there’s the non-fiction universe of court intrigue, including works by:

— Antonia Fraser (my heroine!), of whose books my absolute favorites are Mary, Queen of Scots, and Faith and Treason;

— Alison Weir, who, like Jean Plaidy, is on the No Tudor Left Behind program;

— Flora Fraser, daughter of Antonia, who did a wonderful job with Caroline of Brunswick (The Unruly Queen) and the daughters of George III (Princesses);

— and Leslie Carrol, who writes about Notorious Royal Marriages and Royal Affairs;

Where do you find your court intrigue? I know I’ve left out a ridiculous number of novels and non-fiction!


  1. Jessica C on December 5, 2011 at 7:47 am

    There’s some great novels about Eleanor of Aquitaine (Amazon has a nice selection of them). One of the better ones is The Duchess of Aquitaine by Margaret Ball. Picked it up at my little local indepedent bookstore – one of the many great finds from its shelves

  2. jeffrey on December 5, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I have not read a single offering on your list but my alibi is that 5+ years ago I wasn’t reading fiction of any kind. If you like any of the above you would probably like Becoming Queen Victoria by Kate Williams which reads like a novel but is, in fact, the improbable rise of Victoria to become queen. I’ve also promised myself to read anything by Phillipa Gregory because everyone praises her works.

  3. Joanne M. on December 5, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Fabulous topic today! I’d add one of my favorites, Katherine by Anya Seton. (The epic love story of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt.)

  4. HJ on December 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    You mentioned Teresa Grant last week in connection with her two-book contract for more books about Melanie & Charles (Suzanne and Malcolm). Her blog post today reveals her other, even more exciting, news (which no doubt you’ve known for months – well done on keeping her secret)!!

  5. Jessica Mac on December 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Kate Emerson has a great series about Tudor England. Her fourth novel comes out next month.

  6. Jessica S. on December 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I did love Weir’s “The Lady Elizabeth.” Fascinating.

    *snickering at “No Tudor Left Behind”*
    Can we get federal funding for that?

  7. Joanne M. on December 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Clearly I hadn’t had my second cup of coffee when I postd this morning — I forgot Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor.
    I’ve only read it to shreds and I think I’m on my third copy.

  8. Lauren on December 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Agh, Joanne, I can’t believe I also forgot about “Forever Amber”! And I was just talking about it with a friend the other day.

  9. Nicole N on December 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I adore Patricia Finney’s novels set in Elizabeth I’s court. They are Firedrake’s Eye, Unicorn’s Blood, and Gloriana’s Torch.

  10. Jessica C on December 5, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Oooh just thought of another one – Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. A look at Henry VIII’s court through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, covering 1500 – 1535. Fabulous, and even better, there is a sequel in the works.

  11. Vanessa on December 6, 2011 at 3:17 am

    you can never go wrong with Victoria Holt 🙂

  12. AmyN on December 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    How about Karen Harper’s Elizabeth series? I haven’t finished them all yet. I just noticed on another web page that she has written so many other period books that look delicious.

    P.S. Lauren, just back from the Rock Legends cruise and was disappointed to find none of your books on the shelf — not even the “leave a book for others” section. Your books are too good to part with — however, next year I’m going to leave a Pink Carnation book for someone else to discover and I encourage others to do the same!

  13. AmyN on December 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    note: I should have noted the “shelf” located in the ship’s library.

  14. Jenny on December 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Court Duel, by Sherwood Smith. Yes, it’s YA, but it’s incredible. Read it. Now.

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