Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: Wrapping up 2022 and signing up for 2023!

I don’t take part in many year-long reading challenges as I prefer to just join in with shorter reading events these days. 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. This year, Marg has also been posting monthly statistics so we can see which books and authors are getting lots of reviews!

Before I post the details of the 2023 challenge, I want to look back at what I achieved in 2022.

I had signed up at the ‘Prehistoric’ level, which meant reading 50+ historical fiction novels during the year. I managed to read 64 (about half of my total number of books read this year) and here they are:

1. The Key in the Lock by Beth Underdown
2. A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browing Wroe
3. The Silver Wolf by JC Harvey
4. I, Mona Lisa by Natasha Solomons
5. The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews
6. The Rebel Daughter by Miranda Malins
7. The Queen’s Lady by Joanna Hickson
8. The House of Footsteps by Mathew West
9. The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola
10. The Reindeer Hunters by Lars Mytting
11. Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone by Diana Gabaldon
12. The Sunken Road by Ciarán McMenamin
13. Booth by Karen Joy Fowler
14. Mrs England by Stacey Halls
15. Traitor in the Ice by KJ Maitland
16. The Stone Rose by Carol McGrath
17. The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer
18. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff
19. Theatre of Marvels by Lianne Dillsworth
20. The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley
21. The Fugitive Colours by Nancy Bilyeau
22. The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
23. A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin
24. In Place of Fear by Catriona McPherson
25. Winchelsea by Alex Preston
26. Fortune by Amanda Smyth
27. The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk
28. The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
29. Privilege by Guinevere Glasfurd
30. The Colour Storm by Damian Dibben
31. Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby
32. The Trial of Lotta Rae by Siobhan MacGowan
33. Joan by Katherine J. Chen
34. Death and the Conjuror by Tom Mead
35. Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose by Alison Weir
36. That Bonesetter Woman by Frances Quinn
37. The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed
38. The Bewitching by Jill Dawson
39. The Night Ship by Jess Kidd
40. The Magician by Colm Tóibín
41. The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer
42. Haven by Emma Donoghue
43. The Blood Flower by Alex Reeve
44. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
45. The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
46. The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon
47. Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris
48. Hawker and the King’s Jewel by Ethan Bale
49. All the Broken Places by John Boyne
50. The Bookseller of Inverness by SG MacLean
51. The Hidden Palace by Dinah Jefferies
52. In the Shadow of Queens by Alison Weir
53. The Romantic by William Boyd
54. The Drums of War by Michael Ward
55. Ashes in the Snow by Oriana Ramunno
56. Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass
57. Cup of Gold by John Steinbeck
58. The Winter Garden by Nicola Cornick
59. Blue Postcards by Douglas Bruton
60. The Secret of Matterdale Hall by Marianne Ratcliffe
61. The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough
62. Nights of Plague by Orhan Pamuk
63. The Darlings of the Asylum by Noel O’Reilly
64. Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick – review to follow

Here are the rules for the 2023 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 2023. Let me know if you’re planning to take part too!

26 thoughts on “Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: Wrapping up 2022 and signing up for 2023!

  1. margaret21 says:

    I’m not one for challenges, though I might consider one or two -probably not this, though I do read historical fiction. The Mirror and the Light should count as two, if not three, don’t you think? And I haven’t read The Eagle of the Ninth since schooldays. I wonder if I’d enjoy it now. You’ve got a fine tally here – well done!

  2. Cyberkitten says:

    Impressive! I could probably achieve ‘Ancient History’ – 25 books, as a lot of my fiction seems to be Historical these days. But I like to be less constrained in case a sudden ‘fancy’ takes me off in another direction.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I’m sure Ancient History would be quite achievable for you, but I can understand not wanting to be too constrained. I hope you enjoy whatever you end up reading in 2023!

      • Cyberkitten says:

        I went back and counted. I managed 17 Historical novels this year. I’ll aim for 20 in 2023 I think. I have a few (3 I think) already scheduled in my ‘read next’ pile on the sofa.

  3. Julé Cunningham says:

    A striking list, but what’s most impressive is writing about all of them! Maybe I should take part in this challenge since my reading does usually include a decent percentage of books that could fit under this label. Hmm…

    • Helen says:

      I’ve been writing about every book I read for such a long time now that it just feels like a natural part of the reading process! I think this is a good challenge as historical fiction is such a large and wide-ranging genre there’s something for every mood.

  4. Janette says:

    I signed up for this challenge but then discovered that I read so much historical fiction, I couldn’t really keep up with reviewing them all so it kind of dropped off the radar. Well done for writing about all of your reads. I’ve read several of these and enjoyed them all.

  5. whatmeread says:

    I didn’t count how many I read, and unfortunately, some kind of problem doesn’t permit me to post on the web page, but I have been posting my books on the Historical Reading Challenge’s Facebook page instead. I’ll keep doing that next year.

  6. Lark says:

    This is definitely your reading challenge! Kudos on so many amazing historical reads in 2022. I look forward to see what you find to read next year. 😀

  7. jessicabookworm says:

    Well done on another great year of historical reading, Helen! 🏰 I am considering whether to take part again next year, but maybe lower the level I go for to take the pressure off a bit. 😌

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