Alison Weir is the most popular female historian and author in the UK. She is the fifth best-selling historian in the UK overall. Ms. Weir has published thirty-two books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her many awards and accolades include being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and being named an honorary Patron of Historic Royal Palaces, the Red Rose Chain, the Barnet Medieval Festival, and the Anne of Cleves’ House.
Alison Weir is an undisputed expert on English royal history, and she’s known for the details she includes in all her books. If you’re an Anglophile fascinated by the Tudors, Henry VIII, or Eleanor of Aquitaine, then the works of Alison Weir are sure to delight and satisfy.
The first book in her new Tudor Rose series launched May 2022. The Last White Rose is a historical fiction account of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor Queen and mother of the notorious Henry VIII. The series will eventually include three books focusing on three generations—Elizabeth of York, Henry VIII, and Mary I. It’s sure to be a remarkable addition to an already impressive body of work.
Are you ready to discover the work of Alison Weir?
About Alison Weir
Alison was born in London and currently lives with her husband, Rankin Weir, in Surrey. She was educated at the City of London School for Girls, where she studied English Literature, Art, and History. She attended North Western Polytechnic of London and was trained as a history teacher, though she ultimately chose not to pursue that as a career. Instead, she worked in Civil Service management until deciding to stay home to raise her two children.
Eventually, she did take up the teaching mantle and ran a school for children with learning disabilities for six years.
During all that time, Alison was studying and writing about English history. Her historical passion started when, at fourteen, she was sent home from school sick for a week. With nothing else to do, she picked up a copy of Henry’s Golden Queen by Lozania Prole, a rather racy tale about Katherine of Aragon. She devoured it for two days straight and immediately ran off to find out what had really happened and the rest of the story.
A Passion is Born
A passion was born, and by the time she was fifteen, Weir had written three volumes about the Tudor dynasty and a biography of Anne Boleyn. For the next 15 or so years, Alison researched, wrote, and researched more. In fact, the first draft of her soon-to-be second book was written during this time – a whopping 1024-page book about the six wives of Henry VIII. (It was edited a lot before finally making it to publication.)
All this effort paid off in 1989 when Weir published her first non-fiction book titled Britain’s Royal Families, an exhaustive guide to the genealogical details of all the royal houses of England using the research she began when just a teen.
Her first novel, Innocent Traitor, was published in 2006 and is the poignant and horrifying story of Lady Jane Grey. Many people wonder how a serious historian could even consider taking the leap to write popular historical fiction. The answer is simple. Weir considers history her hobby as well as her career and, as a result, likes to play with different ways of using the same sources and information to help readers access the remarkable stories of the past.
“Writing historical fiction had given me an exhilarating sense of freedom: no longer did I have to limit what I could infer from contemporary sources, but I could let my fertile imagination hold sway. Yet I feel strongly that the historical novelist has a great responsibility towards his or her readers, because a lot of people (myself included) discover an interest in history through reading historical novels…[T]herefore, and because I want my readers to trust me, I have scrupulously adhered to the facts where they exist – whilst of course dramatizing each scene – and used my imagination where they do not.”Alison Weir
Alison Weir’s collected works include 20 non-fiction books and 12 historical fiction novels. Her biography of Eleanor of Aquitane is being developed as a drama series by STARZ, and she has a new three-book series set to launch in May 2022. You can take along one of Ms. Weir’s page-turning historical novels on your next beach vacation and then come home and take a deeper dive into the subject matter by reading her non-fiction books. Alison entertains and educates, making it delightful to engage with her subject matter.
Let’s take a closer look at the works of Alison Weir. We will follow Alison’s unique pattern: we’ll first get engrossed in an entertaining novel or two and then read all the non-fiction to learn more.
Henry VIII’s Wives
If you’re interested in Henry VIII and his many wives, Alison Weir has a wide variety of books to choose from. Let’s start with her Six Tudor Queens historical fiction series that includes the following novels:
- Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen (2016)
- Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession (2017)
- Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen (2018)
- Anna of Kleve: Queen of Secrets (2019)
- Katheryn Howard: The Tainted Queen (2020)
- Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife (2021)
Non-Fiction Henry VIII
With your appetite thoroughly whetted for the subject matter, it’s time to explore Alison’s non-fiction books about the same people and events. You might try any of the following:
- The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1991) – this is the best-selling e-book in the UK ever, telling all the details you could ever want about the wives of Henry VIII.
- Henry VIII: King and Court (2001)– a biography of Henry VIII that includes a close look at the men and women who surrounded him in his court
- Children of England: The Heirs of King Henry VIII (1996) – an engaging book about Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth.
- Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings (2011) – a biography of the infamous sister of Anne Boleyn.
- The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn (2009) – a thorough examination of what really happened to Anne that will keep you up at night reading even though you might know the ending.
If you’re interested in HRH Elizabeth I, you’ll enjoy these novels:
- The Lady Elizabeth (2008) – there’s plenty of drama in the story of Elizabeth.
- The Marriage Game (2014) – what exactly happened between Elizabeth and Robert Dudley?
Now for the scholarly stuff:
- The Life of Elizabeth I (1998) – this biography is absorbing and rich with detail.
General Tudor History
There’s much more to the Tudor dynasty than Henry VIII and Elizabeth. Alison Weir has many more fascinating stories to tell, including the following:
- Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose (2022) – Two young princes are murdered in the tower by an insane uncle, and a fight for the hand of Elizabeth and the crown ensues.
- A Dangerous Inheritance (2012) – This is the story of Lady Katherine Grey, a woman who posed a threat to Elizabeth I. It’s a thrilling novel about what it was like for several women whose blood was tied too closely to the throne.
If you’d like non-fiction books about the Tudors, in addition to the books already mentioned, you can pick up one of these titles:
- The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (2015) – Margaret’s story is fascinating; you’ll relish every page.
- Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World (2013) – princess, bastard, prisoner, queen – this is the story of a complicated and fascinating woman.
Other Noteworthy Titles
All of Ms. Weir’s books are worth a read, but the following are especially enjoyable:
- Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life (1999) – Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of the most amazing women you will ever discover, and this biography is extraordinary.
- The Wars of the Roses (1995) – This account of the war of the roses climbed to #1 in the Wall Street Journal non-fiction e-books bestseller list 19 years after it was first published and continues to be a reader favorite.
- Richard III and the Princes in the Tower (2014) – This is the definitive story of Richard III and the two princes.
Discover Alison Weir
Have you read Alison Weir? You can discover all her meticulously researched non-fiction and fiction titles at Discover Books today. With free shipping and prices as low as $3.85, you can afford to immerse yourself completely in English history. Add Alison Weir’s books to your cart today and discover something new.