Jessie was born in London and read history at Brasenose College, Oxford. Her first book Henry VIII’s Last Victim won the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, and her second, God’s Traitors, won the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History in 2015. It was also longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and selected as a Book of the Year in the Times, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Observer and BBC History Magazine.
Jessie frequently appears on TV and radio, and has written and reviewed for many publications, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, Literary Review, Standpoint and the TLS. She was one of the judges for the 2016 PEN Hessell-Tiltman History Prize.
She lives with her husband and two daughters in Hammersmith, not far from a brewery, a distillery and the River Thames.