Volume 2 of Churchill's History encompasses the Tudors, the exploration and settling of the New World, the Puritans, and Charles I and II. I made my way through it, pausing now and then to return to historical fiction--a genre that I've always enjoyed as a painless way to learn about the past.
My paperback copy of The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton dated back to the late Fifties or early Sixties (the cover gives it away) and was falling apart so I availed myself of an ebook. It's a terrific story about the factions at work in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (and much of what would become New England) and the travails of an independent-thinking woman in this rigid society. The story--based on fact--puts living flesh on the bare bones of history.
Another novel I re-read, inspired by Churchill's History, was The Child from the Sea, Elizabeth Goudge's romantic take on Charles II's liason with Lucy Walter, mother of his (illegitimate)son, afterward the Duke of Monmouth. Goudge 's settings come alive, and so do her characters as we follow them through the reign and execution of Charles I, the dour interregnum of Parliament, and the Restoration of Charles II. Painless history--and if liberties are taken, it's in aid of making it a good story. In a foreword the author, in the best tradition of historical fiction, explains her sources and admits her suppositions. It's a delightful story, if a bit of a tear-jerker.
I realize that I've come full circle--I began (many years ago) by reading historical fiction which gave me an interest in history which has now sent me back to historical fiction. I think the two work very well together.