Now we’re at Wolf Hall, the first book in historical novelist Hilary Mantel’s trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, henchman to King Henry VIII, who spearheaded the Reformation in England. It’s a very, very convincing depiction of life in 1530s England and it’s hard not to completely believe in—and sympathise with—the Thomas Cromwell character she creates. Given this book also won the Booker Prize, Wolf Hall scores highly both as history and as fiction.
The only drawback is that you’re reading about Henry VIII, a horrible man, set in Tudor times, which, in the UK at least, is a period you’re already studied multiple times at school. With the whole of history to choose from, do you want to devote more time to the wife-killing king and the man who helped him achieve his goals? The trilogy is so well done that the answer probably remains yes, but possibly not if you’re a slow reader.
Historical Fiction Recommended by Historians