The Middle Ages, which lasted from 500 to 1500, were long thought of as a dark time. In fact, they were a time of incredible upheaval, colorful legends, the 12th-century renaissance, and innovations that still have an impact today. Below, you can read about some of the most amazing stories of the time, from the Anglo-Saxon and Norse invasions of Britain to the polymaths of the Islamic Golden Age. They’ll take you to Tuscan villas, the highlands of Scotland, and more.
The Daughter of Time
by Josephine Tey
A lot of people know about King Richard III because he killed his nephews in order to get the English throne. But in THE DAUGHTER OF TIME, when a Scotland Yard inspector is stuck in bed with a broken leg, he decides to look into this allegation. When he does, he finds a fascinating mystery that soon takes over his life. The Daughter of Time is a classic and unputdownable book that has been read by generations. It’s a detective story that will change the way you think about history.
The Fruit of Her Hands
by Michelle Cameron
THE FRUIT OF HER HANDS is a story about Shira, the smart and loyal wife of Meir ben Baruch, a famous Jewish scholar in Rothenberg, Germany. It’s a story that will stay with you forever. Since she was a child, Shira has had to figure out how to be a mother and keep her traditions alive at the same time. She was raised by both a rabbi and a Christian maid. A book that is both moving and epic.
The Norse Queen
by Johanna Wittenberg
Based on the Norse sagas of the Viking age, THE NORSE QUEEN is a beautiful and exciting book about a woman who wants to follow her dreams. As soon as her father is killed and her people are slaughtered by the people of her kingdom, however, she will do everything she can to avenge him. She will also protect her kingdom and become the most powerful person on Earth.
The Kingmaker’s Daughter
by Philippa Gregory
Having a powerful father means that your life is going to be different. It’s a gripping and atmospheric book by the author of TIDELANDS. Anne Neville goes from being a young princess to being a widow and then becoming a queen in a very short time. Her incredible story is told in a way that is both captivating and suspenseful, thanks to the writing style of Philippa Gregory.
The House of the Wind
by Titania Hardie
This heartbreaking, emotional, and interesting book moves from San Francisco to 14th-century Tuscany and looks at love, loss, and healing in the middle of a centuries-old Italian mystery. The House of the Wind tells the stories of two women who live in different times, both struggling with their own problems. It shows us a villa full of history and myth.
The Harem Midwife
by Roberta Rich
After reading THE MIDWIFE OF VENICE, you’ll be taken to Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. It’s not easy for Hannah Levi, the best midwife in Constantinople, to decide what to do with her time. Do you think she should do this for a Jewish girl who lives with her family? When a remarkable stranger shows up, her life gets even more out of whack in this gripping and unputdownable book.
The Lost Queen
by Signe Pike
This is the first book in a spellbinding and lyrical trilogy that follows Languoreth, a queen in medieval Scotland, as she fights against a lot of change. As the rise of Christianity and the Anglo-Saxon invasions threaten her home, she finds a passion she didn’t know she had. It’s up to her and her twin brother, the wizard Merlin, to keep their way of life safe.
The Rebel Nun
by Marj Charlier
It is Clotild’s goal to become an abbess, but when a bishop stops her and takes over the monastery, she has no choice but to become an abbess herself. It is with the help of other nuns that she starts a rebellion. She risks being excommunicated or even dying in the name of equality and faith. The novel THE REBEL NUN is based on the life of a real woman who lived in the late 500s. It is a very exciting and moving book.
by Noah Gordon
He decides to go to the world-class medical schools in Persia if he wants to become a doctor. He goes on a dangerous and life-changing trip to the Middle East, where he will study under one of the most famous icons of the Golden Age of Islam. While he hides his true identity and falls in love, can he live in a new country and achieve his dreams?
The Last Kingdom
by Bernard Cornwell
The first book in an epic saga that inspired a Netflix show is called THE LAST KINGDOM. It tells the story of the Saxons and the Danes who came to England in the ninth and tenth centuries. To decide which side of the war he will fight on, a captured nobleman has to choose. He doesn’t know that his decisions could change the history of the world as we know it.
John Hatcher, The Black Death: an intimate History (2008)
When economic and social historian John Hatcher retired, he set out to write a book about the Black Death that he had always wanted to write, one that used imagination to fill in the gaps in his knowledge of the documentary record about the Black Death’s impact on medieval England. He used his imagination to help him fill in the gaps. It’s a great book that shows how well the author knows the sources and how well she understands history. It shows what it was like to live in a village in Suffolk at a very important and scary time.
Rodney Hilton, Bond Men Made Free. Medieval Peasant Movements and the English Rising of 1381 (1977)
The Peasants’ Revolt is a classic and still the best book on the famous revolt. It was inspired by the protests that took place at many UK universities in the 1960s, including Hilton’s Birmingham. This book was re-released in 2003, which is why. There have been a lot of studies on the subject since then, but this general overview is still worth reading.