Welcome to my not-quite-monthly post on all things historical fiction! I don’t normally post this early in the month, but wanted to highlight the HWA Crown Award longlists which were announced last Wednesday by the Historical Writers Association. There are three separate awards – one for debut novels, one for non-fiction and the other (the Gold Crown) for the best historical novel of the year. The shortlists are announced later in October and the winner in November. I have no plans to try to read all of these books, but thought it would be interesting to look at what I’d read so far from each list.
Gold Crown Award 2022 longlist
Booth by Karen Joy Fowler
The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
All of You Every Single One by Beatrice Hitchman
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
The Winter War by Tim Leach
Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet
The Thin Place by CD Major
The Rebel Daughter by Miranda Malins
The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed
The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
The Great Passion by James Runcie
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
I loved both Booth and The Wolf Den, two of my favourite books of the year so far. I also found The Fortune Men a powerful and emotional read, but I’m a bit surprised to see The Rebel Daughter here – I found it interesting but nothing special. As for the others on the list, I’ve enjoyed earlier books by Tim Leach and Graeme Macrae Burnet, but didn’t like the only book I’ve read by Natasha Pulley so I won’t be reading The Kingdoms. I like the sound of The Thin Place by CD Major, an author I hadn’t come across until now. None of the others really appeal, although I know they have all had good reviews.
Non-fiction Crown Award 2022 longlist
Operation Jubilee by Patrick Bishop
The Invention of Miracles by Katie Booth
Midnight in Cairo by Raphael Cormack
The Turning Point by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
The Irish Assassins by Julie Kavanagh
Metaphysical Animals by Clare Mac Cumhaill and Rachael Wiseman
The Library by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen
Loot by Barnaby Phillips
The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes by Zoë Playdon
The Searchers by Robert Sackville-West
National Treasures by Caroline Shenton
Fallen Idols by Alex von Tunzelmann
I haven’t read any of these or even heard of them, but I’m not a big reader of non-fiction so that’s probably not surprising. I’ve investigated a few of the titles and am particularly drawn to The Turning Point, a year in the life of Charles Dickens, and The Library, about the history of libraries from ancient times to the present.
Debut Crown Award 2022 longlist
The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews
The Queen’s Lender by Jean Findlay
The Silver Wolf by J C Harvey
The Flames by Sophie Haydock
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas
Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass
Moonlight & The Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook
The Deception of Harriet Fleet by Helen Scarlett
Hear No Evil by Sarah Smith
The Plague Letters by VL Valentine
The Spirit Engineer by AJ West
I’ve only read three from this list. Black Drop was an interesting historical mystery and I have the sequel, Blue Water, on my NetGalley shelf to read soon. I thought The Silver Wolf, the first in a series, was an impressive, ambitious debut and The Leviathan was great until the fantasy/magical realism elements became more dominant towards the end. I’ve heard of a few of the others on the list but am unfamiliar with the rest, so will have to find out more.
Have you read any of these? Are you interested in reading them?
Don’t forget, you can find links to all 74 previous Historical Musings topics here.