Read Christie 2021 and Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2021

I don’t take part in many year-long reading challenges, but there were two that I decided to participate in at the beginning of 2020 and that I will be joining in with again in 2021.

First there was Read Christie 2020, which was hosted by and involved reading twelve Agatha Christie books, one per month, from twelve different categories. I got off to a great start with this and managed to read the following:

JANUARY – A book that changed Christie’s life…
Murder on the Orient Express

FEBRUARY – A story Christie loved…
A Murder is Announced

MARCH – A Christie story adapted for stage…
The Hollow

APRIL – A story Christie disguised…
Sleeping Murder

After drifting away from this challenge in April, I found it difficult to get back into the routine and didn’t read any more of the monthly books. I’ll be trying again in 2020!

You don’t need to officially sign up for this (the monthly book choice is announced on the website and on Twitter at the beginning of every month), but to get a copy of the postcard showing the categories for 2021, you will need to subscribe to the Agatha Christie newsletter.


One challenge that I participate in every year is the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, hosted for the last few years by Amy at Passages to the Past, but moving back to one of its former hosts, Marg at The Intrepid Reader, for 2021. Before I post the details of the 2021 challenge, I want to look back at what I achieved in 2020.

I had signed up at the ‘Prehistoric’ level, which meant reading 50+ historical fiction novels during the year. Usually I don’t have a problem completing this, but this year I’ve fallen three short at 47. Here’s what I read:

1. Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau
2. A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
3. The Foundling by Stacey Halls
4. The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd
5. The Almanack by Martine Bailey
6. Blood Queen by Joanna Courtney
7. The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
8. The Great Matter Monologues by Thomas Crockett
9. Becoming Belle by Nuala O’Connor
10. Requiem for a Knave by Laura Carlin
11. A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry
12. In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S Haasse
13. The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey
14. Lady of the Highway by Deborah Swift
15. The Missing Sister by Dinah Jefferies
16. Killing Beauties by Pete Langman
17. The Lost Boys of London by Mary Lawrence
18. The Familiars by Stacey Halls
19. The Ninth Child by Sally Magnusson
20. The Irish Princess by Elizabeth Chadwick
21. Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten
22. Mrs Whistler by Matthew Plampin
23. The Silken Rose by Carol McGrath
24. The Last Protector by Andrew Taylor
25. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
26. A Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley
27. When We Fall by Carolyn Kirby
28. The Silver Collar by Antonia Hodgson
29. Katheryn Howard, the Tainted Queen by Alison Weir
30. The Honey and the Sting by EC Fremantle
31. The Surgeon’s Mate by Patrick O’Brian
32. The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle by Neil Blackmore
33. The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick
34. V2 by Robert Harris
35. The Minion by Rafael Sabatini
36. The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson
37. Royal Flush by Margaret Irwin
38. The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
39. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
40. The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson
41. Still She Wished for Company by Margaret Irwin
42. The Butcher of Berner Street by Alex Reeve
43. Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor
44. The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting
45. The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies
46. The Woman in the Painting by Kerry Postle
47. The Running Wolf by Helen Steadman


You can find full details on how to take part in the 2021 challenge at Marg’s blog, but here are the most important things to know:

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

During the following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels:

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

I will be aiming for the Prehistoric level again in 2021!


Are you taking part in either of these – or any other 2021 reading challenges?

25 thoughts on “Read Christie 2021 and Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2021

  1. piningforthewest says:

    I might sign up for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. So far I’ve only signed up for Back to the Classics – I think.

  2. Literary Feline says:

    Wait. There’s an Agatha Christie Challenge?! Hmm. Not that I need another challenge, but I will have to take a closer look (and sign up for the newsletter).

    I signed up for the Historical Fiction Challenge too and am really looking forward to it. I’m aiming low, but I hope to read much more. We’ll see how it goes. I look forward to following your progress and hearing about which books you read!

  3. Calmgrove says:

    I’ve scheduled a post for later next week on reading challenges (or, as I prefer to regard them, goals) and find that most months I’m thinking of joining in on an ‘event’ — SF, fantasy, Ireland, Wales, novellas etc — with two or three books. Dame Agatha might be in there somewhere…

    • Helen says:

      I like the idea of thinking in terms of ‘goals’ rather than ‘challenges’. I will be joining in with some of the events throughout the year too, although I haven’t thought far enough ahead to have any specific books in mind.

  4. Iza says:

    I’ll be a Victorian reader, with 5 books only, but I’m trying to get through my physical TBR before anything else. I love the sound of the Agatha Christie challenge, I’m actually reading through her books.

    • Helen says:

      Good luck with reaching the Victorian Reader level – and with getting through your TBR. I have been working my way through Agatha Christie’s books for years, but still have a huge number of them left to read!

  5. says:

    My reading “goals” follow my interests of the day, historical fiction this past fall. Can’t help myself! right now, I’m finishing up one of Ken Follett’s two new books, THE EVENING AND THE MORNING (prequel to PILLARS OF THE EARTH). Next is the other one is COLUMN OF FIRE. I had no idea just how brutal people could be in the late 900s-1000s! Yet, today, England and Wales are perhaps the most civilized countries in the world.

    • Helen says:

      I have read Column of Fire (and also The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End), but I haven’t read The Evening and the Morning yet. I do have a copy of it to read and it will probably be one of my first books of 2021.

  6. lark says:

    I’m intrigued by the Agatha Christie challenge. I’ve been trying to read more of her books lately. And if I did the Historical Fiction challenge I’d probably have to aim low…like at the Victorian Reader level. I always mean to read more historical fiction, and you always review so many that look good, but for some reason I don’t get around to reading very many. Maybe I’ll do better this year. Good luck with these fun challenges! 😀

    • Helen says:

      The Christie challenge is great and has inspired me to pick up some of her books that I might otherwise have left until last. I hope you have time to read some more historical fiction in this coming year!

  7. jessicabookworm says:

    Aw well done, Helen – 47 historical-fictions is still amazing and the little drop is understandable with the year we’ve all just had! 🤪 I will also be taking in the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge again in 2021, so I wish us both happy historical reading and higher numbers! 😊

  8. FictionFan says:

    Gosh, that’s a lot of historical fiction! Looks like you had a great year of reading even if you read less than you planned. Here’s to more great reading on 2021 – Happy New Year!

    • Helen says:

      I’m quite surprised by how much I actually read, considering that I had found it so difficult to focus on reading at times! Happy New Year to you too. 🙂

  9. Jo says:

    Every year I look back and know that I really should read more historical fiction because I love it so much, then I don’t know something else happens.

    I love the Agatha Christie challenge as you can dip in and out at will with that one.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, the Christie challenge is perfect as you don’t need to commit to a certain number of books. I’m hoping to start reading the January one soon.

Please leave a comment. Thanks!

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

You are commenting using your 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.