Welcome to the wrap up post for Historical Fiction in the 2013 challenge.

It was a very good year for historical fiction here at the challenge with just under 200 reviews classified as being historical fiction. Let’s start with a couple of stats and then we can have a look at the books and authors that were most represented in the challenge.

All up there was a total of 197 reviews of historical fiction novels which covered 100 different books, and there were 79 individual authors reviewed for the challenge.

One of the most pleasing things about the books read is the range of history covered. Whilst some authors chose to focus on the Australian historical experience, there is enough diversity available to ensure that most readers can find something that they would like to read. From Elisabeth Storr’s books The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice which are set in ancient Roman times although not actually in Rome,  to Jesse Blackadder’s Chasing the Light about Antarctic exploration,  from the pioneer story told in Kate Grenville’s Sarah Thornhill to Courtney Collin’s tale of a female bushranger in The Burial and then on to Mary-Rose MacColl’s story of WWI in In Falling Snow our reviewers explored a myriad of times and places and we met many fascinating characters along the way as well as maybe learning a thing or two.

As well as the many new books that were covered there were also reviews of classics such as Playing Beattie Bow by Ruth Park and Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay. Our younger readers were not forgotten either with a number of reviews for the excellent My Australian Girls series and also books by Jackie French.

Hannah Kent, Burial Rites

If we are looking at the basic numbers, there is one book that was reviewed more than any other, and that was Hannah Kent’s debut novel Burial Rites, a story of the last woman to be executed in Iceland (yet more evidence of the breadth of the subject matter available to historical fiction readers). This book was reviewed an astonishing 19 times for the challenge last year. I say astonishing because last year’s most reviewed book was only reviewed 9 times! Whilst there were plenty of varied opinions on it, it does sound as though it is a must read book to me.

Other well reviewed books included The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth which was reviewed 11 times for the challenge and The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay which was reviewed 10 times.

Thanks to everyone who contributed a review for this category during the 2013 challenge. I am really looking forward to seeing what historical fiction gems the readers of historical fiction unearth this year as part of the challenge.

As always you can find more of the historical fiction reviews at any time by clicking on the Historical Fiction Weebly page.


Marg has long been an avid reader of all genres but especially historical fiction and she loves to read about all different eras and locations. Marg has been blogging about all different genres and other things at Adventures of an Intrepid Reader for more than 8 years, and was a founding member of Historical Tapestry, a group blog that has been focusing only on Historical Fiction for more than 7 years. You can tweet to her either @margreads or @historytapestry.