Join Her Majesty's Book Club

Her Majesty The Queen picks four favourite books, in four seasons each year. Join us, as we meet the authors and explore these extraordinary stories.

Season 13

January 2024 - March 2024

Season 13 delves into a story of political intrigue in Michael Dobbs' thriller The Lords' Day; the haunting power of the past in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca; the epic saga of a family's undoing and reconstruction in postcolonial Africa in Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible; and the delightful adventures of the ever-charming Cassandra Mortmain and her family in Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle.

Season 12

October 2023 - December 2023

Season 12 of The Queen’s Reading Room is teaching us about the power of female friendship in Rachel Joyce's Miss Benson's Beetle; of one woman's intellect and creativity in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; of a young boy's love for animals in Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals; and of a terrible and destructive secret in Donna Tartt's The Secret History.

Season 11

July 2023 - September 2023

Season 11 of The Queen’s Reading Room revealed to us the wonderful bonds within a group of women living in the American South in the 1960s in Sue Monk Kidd’s soul-stirring novel The Secret Life of Bees; the far-reaching consequences for the welfare of horses in Anna Sewell’s classic Black Beauty; the stories that lie behind Dickens’ masterpiece A Tale of Two Cities; and the enlightening and emotional account of an extraordinary life of bravery, resilience and grace told with disarming honesty in Lady Glenconner’s riveting memoir Lady in Waiting.

Season 10

April 2023 - June 2023

Season 10 of The Queen’s Reading Room opened our eyes to the dazzling magic of Gabriel García Márquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera; the history of India and Partition in Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy; the heart-wrenching story of the search for a lost love in occupied France in Sebastian Faulks’ Charlotte Gray; and the inspiring story of a tenacious and brilliant woman scientist in the 1950s in Bonnie Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry.

Season 9

October 2022 – December 2022

Season 9 of The Queen’s Reading Room started a new year with a journey through time, from 13th century Carcassonne to unpick the secret of the true grail in Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth; to 1940s Paris in search of a Dior dress in Paul Gallico’s delightful Mrs Harris Goes To Paris; to the Raj for an epic romantic adventure caught in the clash between East and West in M. M. Kaye’s The Far Pavilions; to a dangerous and daring adventure in the depths of the cold North in Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle.

Season 8

October 2022 - December 2022

Season 8 of The Queen’s Reading Room left us spellbound with the enchanting debut novel The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn, featuring the spirited Cristabel Seagrave and her siblings; the classic horror tale Dracula by Bram Stoker; the big-hearted story of little Liesel living with her foster parents in Nazi Germany in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief; and Elizabeth Gilbert’s sweeping descriptions of the glitz and glamour of the 1940s New York theatre scene in City of Girls.

Season 7

July 2022 - September 2022

Season 7 of The Queen’s Reading Room featured four exceptional women writers, starting with one whose heroines must navigate the mannered world of English gentry, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; the exciting fervour of the Scottish Enlightenment in Sara Sheridan’s The Fair Botanists; the many facets of modern-day Britain in Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other; and 17th-century London, Venice and New England in Philippa Gregory’s second instalment of The Fairmile SeriesDark Tides.

    Dark Tides

    By Philippa Gregory

    Publish Date: 2020
    The second volume in the trilogy of The Fairmile Series, Dark Tides continues the sweeping saga of the Tidelands family. When two unexpected visitors show up at a shabby warehouse on the south side of the river Thames, Alinor…
  • Girl, Woman, Other

    By Bernardine Evaristo

    Publish Date: 2019 Awards: 2019 Booker Prize
    ‘A must-read about modern Britain and womanhood. This is an impressive, fierce novel about the lives of black British families, their struggles, pains, laughter, longings and loves. With a dazzling rhythm, Evaristo takes us on a journey of intergenerational stories,…
  • The Fair Botanists

    By Sara Sheridan

    Publish Date: 2021
    It's the summer of 1822, and  in Edinburgh botanists patiently await for the Agave Americana plant to flower in the newly-installed Botanic Garden. When newly widowed Elizabeth moves into the grand house bordering the Botanic Garden, she becomes interested…
  • Pride & Prejudice

    By Jane Austen

    Recommended by: Miranda Cowley Heller
    Publish Date: 1813
    While Mrs Bennet wishes nothing better for her daughters than the prospect of an advantageous marriage, her daughter Elizabeth thinks otherwise. When the wealthy and eligible bachelor Mr Bingley moves into the neighbourhood, he soon becomes attached to Elizabeth's…

Season 6

Jan 2022 – Feb 2022

Season 6 of The Queen’s Reading Room took us through the streets of Kabul to run kites in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner; to Nazi-occupied Paris to discover a magnificent and tragically unfinished story in Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française; to Cape Cod to spend the summer in Miranda Cowley Heller’s The Paper Palace; and back in time to witness a horrible misunderstanding and its dire consequences in Ian McEwan’s Atonement.

Season 5

January 2022 - March 2022

Season 5 of The Queen’s Reading Room saw in a new year of literary treasures with a blended ‘50s Golden Age style murder mystery and modern crime thriller, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz;the emotional story of William Shakespeare’s wife and son in Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet; the timeless novel by Alexandre Dumas, The Queen’s Necklace, based on the true story of the scandal which in part led to the French Revolution; and the story of a formidable friendship between Elena and Lila, two girls who grow up in a poverty-stricken neighbourhood in 1950s Naples, full of violence and abuse, in Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend.

    My Brilliant Friend

    By Elena Ferrante

    Publish Date: 2011
    'Rino’s mother is named Raffaella Cerullo, but everyone has always called her Lina. Not me ... To me, for more than sixty years, she’s been Lila.' Set in the 1950s, My Brilliant Friend is the first volume of the "Neapolitan…
  • The Queen’s Necklace

    By Alexandre Dumas

    Publish Date: 1849-1850
    Inspired by the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, an incident which took place in the 1780s at the court of Louis XVI involving a precious diamond necklace and Marie Antoinette, The Queen's Necklace tells a tale of duplicity and deception,…
  • Hamnet

    By Maggie O'Farrell

    Publish Date: 2020 Awards: 2021 British Book Awards Fiction Book of the Year, 2020 Waterstones Book of the Year, 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction
    Inspired by Shakespeare's most famous play, Hamnet is the story of a boy whose life has been forgotten, but whose name has echoed throughout the centuries as one of the greatest plays ever written. Reimagining the life of Hamnet Shakespeare,…
  • Magpie Murders

    By Anthony Horowitz

    Publish Date: 2016
    When editor Susan Ryeland receives the latest manuscript from Alan Conway, the celebrated author of mystery novels centred on the detective Atticus Pund, she does not realise that between the lines is hidden another story, one of greed, jealousy, ruthless…

Season 4

October 2021 - December 2021

Season 4 of The Queen’s Reading Room delved into the evocative story of four generations rent by war, illicit love, violence and leprosy in Victoria Hislop’s The Island; the original ‘sensation novel’, a gripping story of desire, ruthless ambition and chilling suspense in Wilkie Collins’ The Woman In White; the world of crime along the Sussex coast in Peter James’ Roy Grace series; and the Nigerian Civil War in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.

    Half Of A Yellow Sun

    By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Publish Date: 2006 Awards: 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction
    Against the backdrop of the Biafran war to establish the independence of Nigeria, the lives of five people are dramatically upended, and their ideals and personal loyalties tested. The novel follows young Ugwu, the revolutionary professor Odenigbo, the beautiful Olanna,…
  • Left You Dead

    By Peter James

    Publish Date: 2021
    The eighteen books of this series see Brighton-based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace investigate mysterious and puzzling crimes. A man haunted by his demons and by the disappearance of his own wife, Roy Grace "is a new, and very different…
  • The Woman In White

    By Wilkie Collins

    Publish Date: 1859-1860
    'On a moonlit road close to midnight, a touch on Walter Hartright’s arm sends him spinning. Next to him, materialised as if out of the air, is a woman dressed from head to toe in white.' Published in serialised form…
  • The Island

    By Victoria Hislop

    Publish Date: 2005 Awards: 2007 Galaxy British Book Awards Newcomer of the Year Award
    The book follows Alexis on a journey to find out about her mother Sofia's past in Crete. Determined to visit the island, she sets off to Greece. Here, she meets Fotini, a friend of her mother's, who reveals to Alexis…

Season 3

July 2021 - September 2021

Season 3 of The Queen’s Reading Room moved us with the story of an ageing English butler and his fading, insular world in post-war Britain in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day; the terrifying first novel in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’s crime series, The Various Haunts of MenThe Light Years from The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard, a multi-generational family saga set in World War II Britain; and the enchanting wartime classic by Michael Morpurgo, War Horse.

Season 2

April 2021 - June 2021

Season 2 of The Queen’s Reading Room transported us with the mystical world of Lyra in Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth, the second instalment of The Book of Dust series; the harrowing story of a girl kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria in Edna O’Brien’s Girl; post revolution Moscow through the eyes of a Russian aristocrat sentenced to life in the Metropol Hotel in Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow; and the charming tale of a bookseller who finds a red notebook in an abandoned handbag in Paris in Antoine Lauraine’s The Red Notebook.

Season 1

January 2021 - March 2021

Season 1 of The Queen’s Reading Room began our literary journey together with the stunning conclusion to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror & The Light, depicting the final stages of Thomas Cromwell’s dramatic rise and fall in the court of Henry VIII; Delia Owens’ heart-breaking coming-of-age novel Where the Crawdads Sing, the wartime thriller Restless by William Boyd, and Elif Shafak’s mesmerising novel The Architect’s Apprentice, set during the height of the Ottoman Empire.