17 December 2023

Historical Fiction Challenge Completed 2023

At the beginning of the year I signed up for the Renaissance Reader level of the 2023 Historical Fiction Challenge which required me to read 10 historical fiction books. As a comparison, last year I read 14, but this year I smashed my goal by reading a total of 22 historical fiction novels.

Here's what I read throughout the year 2023:

1. The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell
2. The Death of John Lacey by Ben Hobson
3. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
4. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
5. The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges
6. Homecoming by Kate Morton
7. One Illumined Thread by Sally Colin-James
8. The Book of Eve by Meg Clothier
9. The Becoming of Mrs Mulberry by Jackie French
10. Lady Tan's Circle of Women by Lisa See

Additional books read for the challenge:
11. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
12. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
13. The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes
14. Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper
15. The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman
16. Miss Austen by Gill Hornby
17. The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox
18. Bone Rites by Natalie Bayley
19. The Armour of Light by Ken Follett
20. The Turn of Midnight by Minette Walters
21. The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon
22. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Have you read any books on the list? I read a combination of new and backlist books from a variety of eras and genres and next year I'll definitely be signing up for the challenge again, although I'm thinking of attempting the Medieval level of 15.

Either way, I'm sure there'll be some exciting new titles coming out in 2024 to tempt me in addition to the many older books still waiting on my bookshelves or hiding in the library. Want to join me? Visit Marg at The Intrepid Reader for details.

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. I’ve read The Death of John Lacey and The Buried Giant. I see I enjoyed The Buried Giant more than you.

    1. Hi Veronica, nice to enjoy some overlap in our reading this year and yes, I'm definitely in the minority of readers who didn't enjoy The Buried Giant. Not to worry though, I was glad to finally get to it and now it's off my list. Have you met your reading goals this year?

  2. I read The Armor of Light too. It's probably my favorite book for the year.

    1. Great to hear you loved the latest Ken Follett tome too Laura, some readers are put off by the length of his books, but I love his character development and historical settings.

  3. I also read a lot of historical fiction this year but have only read 11 and 16 from your list. I always have to check whether I have read a book by Kate Morton or not because I have read several but don't find them incredibly memorable. I prefer Susanna Kearsley; have you read her books? She takes longer to write them than Morton, alas!

    Also, did you see that PBS is doing a dramatization of Miss Austen? I guess this is good as I enjoyed it but I wish they'd do Georgette Heyer or Robert Goddard or someone new!

    1. Thanks Constance, glad to hear you read a lot of historical fiction this year, and that we enjoyed a crossover of Doomsday Book by Connie Willis and Miss Austen by Gill Hornby. I know what you mean about Kate Morton's novels, she used to be one of my favourite Australian authors but her earlier books definitely remain her best to date.

      I haven't read anything by Susanna Kearsley, mostly because I don't really enjoy romance. Do you think I'd enjoy her books if that's the case? Where would you start? And thanks for the heads-up on the Miss Austen adaptation but I completely agree. There are so many other stories that would make more compelling viewing, but the Austen appeal is obviously still a lucrative choice. Thanks for visiting!

  4. Thanks for sharing your wrap up post for the challenge. I have read a few of these.

    I am also a big Susanna Kearsley fan too, so I might answer your question if that's okay. I love a number of her books but The Winter Sea is right up there with my favourite books of all time!

    Thanks for participating in the challenge again this year. I hope you find some great historical fiction reads in 2024!

    1. You're welcome Marg, and thanks for recommending The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. It can be hard to find the right entry point for a new author but the fact you mentioned it's one of your favourite books of all time is high praise indeed, so I'll go and check out the blurb. Looking forward to participating in the challenge again this year, so thanks for hosting!


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!