Wolf Hall

This historical novel (15 hours and 12 minutes) was published in June of 2020 by Macmillan Audio. The audiobook takes you to Tudor England and King Henry VIII's court. Melissa listened to Wolf Hall and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.


Wolf Hall


Hilary Mantel

This masterful trilogy by Hilary Mantel brings the scheming, backstabbing, deal-making, shade-throwing, social climbing, religious revamping history of King Henry the VIII’s court to vivid life.

These are not the characters of musty, dusty history books. They crackle with life and cackle with devious mirth. This was a time when a single mistake — no matter how minuscule — could mean death. Or at least banishment to the Tower of London.

This is primarily the story of Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to Henry VIII, who started his life in the humblest of humble beginnings. Through Cromwell’s charm and a stunning ability to spin conversations, he became a dominant fixture in Henry’s court. In Mantel’s skilled hands, Cromwell is a sympathetic character, equal parts opportunist and idealist — and all-together alluring.

The other characters are just as irresistible. King Henry is taciturn and petulant, while Anne Boleyn is very naughty, her sister Mary is quite dishy, and no one can figure out Cromwell’s motivations. It’s luscious.

We’re not the only ones who think so. In 2009, Wolf Hall won the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. We recommend pairing the book with a viewing of the fabulous 2015 BBC mini-series starring Mark Rylance as Cromwell and Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn.

The other books in the trilogy are equally excellent: the Man Booker Prize-winning Bring Up the Bodies and the final installment The Mirror and the Light was published in March 2020.

We recommend the audiobooks of all three, narrated by Ben Miles who originated the role of Thomas Cromwell in the stage adaptations and worked with Hilary Mantel on the script for The Mirror and the Light.

The fate of peoples is made like this, two men in small rooms. Forget the coronations, the conclaves of cardinals, the pomp and processions. This is how the world changes: a counter pushed across a table, a pen stroke that alters the force of a phrase, a woman’s sigh as she passes and leaves on the air a trail of orange flower or rose water; her hand pulling close the bed curtain, the discreet sigh of flesh against flesh. — Hilary Mantel

keep reading

This weekend, we recommend a getaway to Tudor-era England with this literary thriller. But watch your pretty neck. With the capricious Henry VIII and wily Thomas Cromwell in charge, it's perilous times indeed.
Imagine it: a day devoted to reading one great book. Squishy clothes, comfort food, and page after page of an utterly involving story. You can make it happen with just a little prep work; we'll show you how.

sharing is caring!

Wanna help us spread the word? If you like this page, please share with your friends.

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.

This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.