Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Winter Reads

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is a ‘seasonal freebie’. Here are ten historical fiction novels I have read and reviewed on my blog, all with the word Winter in the title. I hope my list gives you some ideas for your winter reading!


1. The Winter Isles by Antonia Senior – Set in 12th century Scotland, this is the story of Somerled and his rise to become Lord of the Western Isles.

2. Winter Siege by Ariana Franklin and Samantha Norman – In the winter of 1141, a little girl is rescued by a soldier and together they become caught up in the Anarchy, the conflict between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda.

3. The Winter Crown by Elizabeth Chadwick – This is the second book in Chadwick’s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy and follows the breakdown of Eleanor’s marriage to Henry II, the rebellion of their four sons, and the King’s feud with Thomas Becket.

4. Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims by Toby Clements – A monk and a nun are forced to flee their priory, only to find themselves drawn into the Wars of the Roses. This is the first in a series, although I still haven’t read the others.

5. Wolves in Winter by Lisa Hilton – Set in Renaissance Italy, this novel takes us from the household of Piero de’ Medici in Florence to the home of Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì and Imola.

6. Wintercombe by Pamela Belle – First in a series set during the English Civil War and following the story of Silence St Barbe, left behind by her Parliamentarian husband to protect their beautiful home, Wintercombe.

7. The Winter Prince by Cheryl Sawyer – A novel about Prince Rupert of the Rhine, nephew of King Charles I and commander of the Royalist Cavalry during the Civil War.

8. The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak – The early years of Catherine the Great, as seen through the eyes of Varvara, a fictional character who is brought to Russia’s Imperial Court as a spy for the Chancellor, Count Bestuzhev.

9. A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale – A young man tries to build a new life for himself in a place called Winter in Saskatchewan, Canada at the turn of the 20th century.

10. One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore – A thriller set in Stalin’s Moscow at the end of World War II and based on a true story.


Have you read any of these? If I had included other genres on my list, I could also have added The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden (historical fantasy) and Winter King by Thomas Penn (non-fiction). Are there any other books with ‘winter’ titles you can think of?

33 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Winter Reads

  1. setinthepast says:

    I recently went to Great Chalfield Manor, the house on which Wintercombe’s based (although sadly I couldn’t actually go inside because of the stupid virus), and I was so excited because I love those books, but hardly anyone knew what I was talking about! So pleased to find someone else who’s read them 🙂 .

    • Pam Thomas says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment about ‘Wintercombe’, so glad you enjoy my books! Chalfield is one of my very favourite places, and even though the interior is closed at the moment (and I think is generally closed in winter anyway), the gardens are absolutely lovely at any time of year. I hope you’ll be able to go back once the house is open, because Wintercombe is based very much on what you can see inside. (Pam Thomas, aka Pamela Belle – I have an author FB page)

  2. Iza says:

    I’m useless, sorry, haven’t read any of these and nothing pops to mind except “Winter is coming”…… I haven’t had any coffee yet !

    • Helen says:

      Don’t worry – I had forgotten about some of these until I searched through my review list and reminded myself. I was surprised to find that I’d read so many ‘Winter’ books…a lot more than Summer, Spring or Autumn!

  3. Pam Thomas says:

    I’ve read The Winter Crown and much enjoyed that series. The Winter Isles is on my tottering TBR pile. And I really must try The Winter Prince, given that my first historical crush was on Prince Rupert.
    The first addition to the list which sprang to mind was The Winter King, by Bernard Cornwell. I haven’t read that volume, in fact I’ve only read the first in the series, The Last Kingdom, and took such serious issue with his portrayal of Alfred (another one of my historical crushes) that I’ve never been able to bring myself to read any more!

    • Helen says:

      The Winter Isles is beautifully written and I will probably read more by Antonia Senior at some point. I’m not much of a Bernard Cornwell fan either, though. I quite enjoyed Fools and Mortals, his book about Shakespeare, but I’ve started and given up on a few of his others.

  4. GoAnnelies - In Another Era says:

    I have read the winter Crown and loved the winter Palace! I still need to read her other books on Catherine The Great. Also the winter of the witch was a great end to the series.

    Winter pilgrims is on my TBR too and the premise of ‘the wolves in winter’sounds interesting but based on your review I’m not sure if I’ll read it.

    • Helen says:

      I didn’t like the second Catherine the Great book, Empress of the Night, as much as The Winter Palace, but it was still an interesting read. I hope you enjoy Winter Pilgrims!

    • Helen says:

      I was surprised to find I’d read enough to make a whole list of ten! Yes, Kingmaker was interesting, though I’m not sure if I liked it enough to continue with the series.

  5. cirtnecce says:

    I bought The Winter Palace after reading your review! But I still need to start reading it 😦 I also started on One Night in Winter but may be it was not the right time for me! The rest I have added to my never ending TBR! LOL! Great post!

    • Helen says:

      I hope you like The Winter Palace when you get round to reading it. I thought One Night in Winter was interesting but I didn’t really love it, so I can understand why you didn’t finish it.

  6. Lory says:

    There is another book called The Winter Prince by Elizabeth Wein – it’s a reimagining of the Arthurian saga with Mordred (Medraut) as the protagonist. Not a conventional hero and not the usual one-sided villain, it’s an interesting and unusual version of the story – there are sequels too that are even better.

    • Helen says:

      I’ve heard of the Elizabeth Wein book but haven’t read it, although I probably should as I do usually enjoy Arthurian retellings. Thanks for reminding me about it.

  7. Lexlingua says:

    A bit late to this post — but wanted to say that this is a great selection. I lean towards SFF, but even within that group, I prefer the historical setting. Saw Chadwick here, and I’ve always wanted to try out her work… So, which Chadwick book should I start off with? Don’t want something too tragic in ending, but which of her books would you recommend?

    • Pam Thomas says:

      Her trilogy about Eleanor of Provence is a tour de force, which I much enjoyed. Her books about William Marshall, starting with A Place Beyond Courage, are also brilliant. And I liked her quartet starting with her first book, ‘The Wild Hunt’ – and she’s just brought out a prequel, ‘The Coming of the Wolf’.

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