Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: Looking back at 2021 and forward to 2022

I don’t take part in many year-long reading challenges as I prefer to just join in with shorter reading events and reading weeks. However, there is one that I like to participate in every year – and that is the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader. This 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.

Before I post the details of the 2022 challenge, I want to look back at what I achieved in 2021.

I had signed up at the ‘Prehistoric’ level, which meant reading 50+ historical fiction novels during the year. I managed to read 56 and here they are:

1. The Land Beyond the Sea by Sharon Penman
2. The Queen’s Rival by Anne O’Brien
3. Islands of Mercy by Rose Tremain
4. Rags of Time by Michael Ward
5. The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
6. The Soul Thief by Cecelia Holland
7. Ashes by Christopher de Vinck
8. The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor
9. The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
10. Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson
11. A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago
12. The Lost Diary of Venice by Margaux DeRoux
13. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
14. The Prophet by Martine Bailey
15. The Puritan Princess by Miranda Malins
16. The Drowned City by KJ Maitland
17. Imperfect Alchemist by Naomi Miller
18. The Damask Rose by Carol McGrath
19. John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk
20. The Hardie Inheritance by Anne Melville
21. The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea
22. The Royal Secret by Andrew Taylor
23. The Horseman by Tim Pears
24. The Rich Earth by Pamela Oldfield
25. Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
26. The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley
27. China by Edward Rutherfurd
28. Still Life by Sarah Winman
29. The Wrecking Storm by Michael Ward
30. The Protector by S.J. Deas
31. The Last Daughter by Nicola Cornick
32. Red Adam’s Lady by Grace Ingram
33. I Will Repay by Baroness Orczy
34. Cecily by Annie Garthwaite
35. St Martin’s Summer by Rafael Sabatini
36. The Country of Others by Leïla Slimani
37. Rose Nicolson by Andrew Greig
38. The Infernal Riddle of Thomas Peach
39. A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry
40. The Women of Troy by Pat Barker
41. Katharine Parr, the Sixth Wife by Alison Weir
42. Daughters of War by Dinah Jefferies
43. The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
44. A Marriage of Lions by Elizabeth Chadwick
45. Castle Barebane by Joan Aiken
46. Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass
47. The Royal Game by Anne O’Brien
48. The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters
49. Lily by Rose Tremain
50. Fallen by Lia Mills
51. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
52. The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff
53. The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan
54. None But Elizabeth by Rhoda Edwards
55. A Princely Knave by Philip Lindsay
56. Miss Austen by Gill Hornby (review to follow)

Here are the rules for the 2022 challenge, taken from Marg’s blog:

Everyone can participate! If you don’t have a blog you can post a link to your review if it’s posted on Goodreads, Facebook, or Amazon, or you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish.

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

You can sign up for the challenge here. I will be aiming for Prehistoric again in 2022. Let me know if you’re planning to take part too!

14 thoughts on “Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: Looking back at 2021 and forward to 2022

  1. Lark says:

    Congrats on reading 50+ books for this reading challenge this year! That’s awesome. I do like the sound of this challenge. Maybe I’ll give it a try in 2022…although I’d have to shoot for either the Victorian or Renaissance level rather than the Prehistoric; I’ll leave that highest level to you! ;D

  2. FictionFan says:

    56 is fab – well done! A quick look at my list tells me I read 16 so that makes me medieval, which is a coincidence since that’s how I feel most mornings… 😉 Good luck for next year – I have no doubt you’ll smash it again and tempt me to add at least a few to my wishlist…

    • Helen says:

      Well, feeling medieval is better than feeling prehistoric, I suppose 🙂 Thank you – I do usually read at least 50, but I don’t worry about it if I don’t manage it!

  3. whatcathyreadnext says:

    OK, you’ve tempted me to join in with this one for 2022. Like you, I read a lot of historical fiction anyway but it will be interesting to see what you and others are reading, books I might not otherwise have known about. For example, I’ve just ordered a copy of Rose Nicolson based on your review and because I have a hunch it might appear on the Walter Scott Prize longlist when it’s announced.

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad you’re joining in with this! I wouldn’t be surprised if Rose Nicolson is on the Walter Scott Prize list as Andrew Greig’s last book was.

  4. GoAnnelies - In Another Era says:

    You’ve got a great result with this challenge. I also signed up for the 25+ level and I reached it. But I always forget to link up my reviews and so I don’t think I’ll participate again. 25 is too easy for me and 50 is way too much.

    • Helen says:

      I enjoy taking part in this challenge, but I do sometimes forget to link up my reviews too. And yes, there is a big difference between 25 books and 50!

  5. jessicabookworm says:

    Well done on another great year of historical-fiction reading, Helen! While I haven’t read any of these, yet! I am currently reading The Lost Diary of Venice and have many more of them on my TBR! Here’s to another fab year of historical reading! 🤞😃

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