Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: Looking back at 2019 and forward to 2020

I don’t take part in many reading challenges these days as I prefer to have the freedom to read what I want to read without trying to meet too many targets and goals, but one challenge I have been participating in during 2019 is the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Amy at Passages to the Past.

Reading historical fiction is not really much of a ‘challenge’ for me, but I still enjoy linking my reviews to the monthly challenge posts, seeing what other participants are reading and discovering new historical fiction novels and bloggers. I will be signing up again in 2020, but first, Amy has provided some questions for us to answer about our 2019 reading:

So, how many historicals did you read in 2019?
50, although I have only reviewed 45 of them so far.

Did you reach your original challenge goal level?
Yes – I had signed up at ‘Prehistoric’ level, which meant I needed to read 50 books for the challenge.

What was your favorite historical of the year?
The Way to the Lantern by Audrey Erskine Lindop

What was the most surprising historical read of the year for you?
The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve – I knew nothing about it and wasn’t expecting much from it, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

What historical are you looking forward to most in 2020?
Like many people, I’m eagerly awaiting The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel!

Here is a full list of the books I read for the challenge in 2019:

1. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
2. The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve
3. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (re-read)
4. Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson
5. Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss
6. Elizabeth, Captive Princess by Margaret Irwin
7. The She-Wolf by Maurice Druon
8. A King Under Siege by Mercedes Rochelle
9. Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer
10. The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey
11. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
12. The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff
13. Casanova and the Faceless Woman by Olivier Barde-Cabucon
14. Cashelmara by Susan Howatch (re-read)
15. The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary Lawrence
16. Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer
17. Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
18. The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter
19. After the Party by Cressida Connolly
20. The Adventurers by Jane Aiken Hodge
21. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
22. The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick
23. The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea
24. The House of Hardie by Anne Melville
25. The Devil’s Slave by Tracy Borman
26. Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver
27. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
28. The Butcher’s Daughter by Victoria Glendinning
29. The Way to the Lantern by Audrey Erskine Lindop
30. The Canary Keeper by Clare Carson
31. A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O’Brien
32. The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve
33. The King’s Evil by Andrew Taylor
34. The Daughter of Hardie by Anne Melville
35. The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
36. To Calais, in Ordinary Time by James Meek
37. The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis
38. Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop
39. Bone China by Laura Purcell
40. The Boy with Blue Trousers by Carol Jones
41. The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan by Cynthia Jefferies
42. The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby
43. The Drowned Court by Tracey Warr
44. The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry
45. A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
46. Dark Queen Rising by Paul Doherty
47. Love Without End by Melvyn Bragg
48. The Bastille Spy by CS Quinn
49. Anna of Kleve, Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir
50. Call Upon the Water by Stella Tillyard


Now, on to next year’s challenge! As usual, there are different levels to choose from:

20th Century Reader – 2 books
Victorian Reader – 5 books
Renaissance Reader – 10 books
Medieval – 15 books
Ancient History – 25 books
Prehistoric – 50+ books

Any sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, History/Non-Fiction, etc).

I will be aiming for Prehistoric again, but won’t be too disappointed if I don’t reach 50 books (I nearly didn’t this year). Enjoying my reading is the most important thing!

Will you be taking part in this challenge too? You can find full details at Passages to the Past here.

13 thoughts on “Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: Looking back at 2019 and forward to 2020

      • whatmeread says:

        I will have reviewed 42 historical novels this year as of tomorrow. That’s not the same number as how many I read this year, since I am reviewing about four or five months behind what I have read. That means that books I reviewed early this year were ones I read last year and books I’m reading right now won’t be reviewed until next year sometime, which sort of throws off the numbers and makes it hard to figure out. I could go back and count in my book journals, but I’m too lazy!

  1. jessicabookworm says:

    Helen, I am very tempted to take part in this challenge this year… let’s face it with being one of my favourite genres, I don’t think it would be much of ‘challenge’ for me either, and I do love a bit of sharing, community and getting tips for new books. 🙂

Please leave a comment. Thanks!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.