December Round Up:
Numbers were pretty light on for December in the historical fiction area, with just 29 reviews on 22 books written by 21 authors. In saying this though, there was a lot of variety in terms of the books reviewed with many older titles popping up. Perhaps everyone was using December as a catch up month, I know I have been. There was, however, one book that stole the show:
The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper with 5 reviews.
Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out was full of praise:
‘I really enjoyed the setting of the novel. Cooper uses real, though unconnected, historical events as a framework, from the fire in an orphanage in Liverpool, to the attempted assassination of Prince Alfred, and the flooding of Maitland Town in 1913. The social and cultural details of the period, and the landscape of early Australia from the crowded streets of Sydney, to the goldfields of Hill End, and the nascent town of Maitland, are interesting and feel authentic. Well crafted, with appealing characters, and rich in Australian historical detail, The Girl In the Painting is a novel that is sure to please.’
As was Veronica @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf:
‘Cooper uses true historical events to set the story solidly in its time and place. I do enjoy a strong female character and both Elizabeth and Jane are characters that are independent and intelligent. Elizabeth instills in Jane independence and the knowledge that women should and can look after their own business affairs. The Girl in the Painting is an engrossing story featuring a compelling mystery that will keep you turning the pages.’
Along with ReadRoundOz:
‘Well thought out and, as always with this author, great fiction blended with historical facts. Quite a convoluted plot with a twist or two, which adds to my enjoyment. I appreciate the effort that goes into creating a storyline with so many threads and found myself thinking about the novel when I wasn’t reading (which meant I was drawn back to reading when I should have been doing other things!!) That’s rare for me. Well done, Tea.’
Five star reviews were also provided by Brenda and Helen Sibbritt, both over at Goodreads.
Yearly Wrap Up:
As is customary, I always like to take a look back at the AWW year within my genre. Normally I do this in January but given December was a small round up month, I thought I’d bump it forward.
Overall, historical fiction saw 462 reviews entered into our database on 175 books written by 134 authors.
Comparing this to the last two years shows that we are holding steady!
2018 – 472 Reviews on 172 Books by 135 Authors
2017 – 430 Reviews on 196 Books by 138 Authors
Historical fiction has seen some big releases throughout 2019. Our most mentioned book for the year was A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird with 14 reviews. This was followed closely by The French Photographer by Natasha Lester with 13 reviews, and Under the Midnight Sky by Anna Romer with 11 reviews.
Other notable mentions were:
The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett
The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper
The Land Girls by Victoria Purman
Heart of the Cross by Emily Madden
The Forgotten Letters Of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn
The Cinema at Starlight Creek by Alli Sinclair
The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth
Sunshine by Kim Kelly
Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss
The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper
The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose Maccoll
The Hollow Bones by Leah Kaminsky
In a Great Southern Land by Mary-Anne O’Connor
Love and Other Battles by Tess Woods
The Fragments by Toni Jordan
Fled by Meg Keneally
The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch
Heart of the Grass Tree by Molly Murn
The Postmistress by Alison Stuart
Now, of interest, is the few authors that have multiple books reviewed throughout the year, indicating their ongoing popularity with our challenge participants.
Sulari Gentill – 22 reviews
Tea Cooper – 16 reviews
Natasha Lester – 14 reviews
Meg Keneally – 12 reviews
Victoria Purman – 10 reviews
Whilst the challenge is not a competition, I do like to acknowledge that we have some very prolific readers within our list of participants and they consistently review at an impressively high rate. This year, I am pleased to acknowledge Amanda @ Mrs B’s Book Reviews, who entered 60 reviews into our database for historical fiction. Amanda is our romance editor, so I have no doubt she’ll have high numbers over in her own genre as well. She’s a true AWW champion, as is Brenda, who runs the Goodreads arm of our challenge. She has long been a big supporter of historical fiction and this year is no exception to that, with 49 reviews entered. With relief, I can say that I came in with a not too shabby 35 reviews. Jennifer Cameron-smith entered 30 reviews and Helen Sibbritt entered 26 reviews.
Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed historical fiction throughout the year. I’m looking forward to seeing what you all read, review, and recommend throughout #aww2020.
Sign up for #aww2020 is now open, you can sign up here.
And if you haven’t already done so, please visit our challenge completion page so that you can tell us how you went with #aww2019.
About Theresa Smith Writes:
Writer, avid reader, keen reviewer, book collector, drinker of all tea blends originating from Earl Grey, and modern history enthusiast. I enjoy reading many genres but have a particular interest in historical fiction.
Challenge/Team Coordinator and Historical Fiction Editor with the Australian Women Writers Challenge.
You can find me at my blog, Theresa Smith Writes, on Facebook at Theresa Smith Writes, Instagram @tesssmithwrites, Goodreads Theresa Smith Writes and Twitter @TessSmithWrites.
Thanks! 😊 Some nice totals there. I like seeing what was read over the year and which authors featured most.
So do I, A Lifetime of Impossible Days was the most read all over it seems to fit in many categories. Some of those most reviewed I’ve read, some I haven’t, but most are on my WTR list. I can’t wait to start the new year and see what I read that’s been on my list and what new books come out.
It’s speculative fiction too, that’s right! I haven’t peeked at your wrap up…keeping it a surprise!
Fabulous wrap up Theresa. I have read a few of your notable mentions and it’s good to know I have a few more to add to my 2020 reading list.
Thanks Veronica. We have such local talent and really are spoiled for choice when it comes to books to read.
I always enjoy the annual roundups Teresa, and this is great. I think that when I do my figures next week, it will be a similar holding steady story.
I don’t think I’ve read any of the books in your list here, though I have read some historical fiction this year. I will be reading Favel Parrett’s book in February.
I like the annual ones too. Do we usually do an overall count, just on total reviews logged, not a breakdown? I can’t remember, but it would be interesting to see.
I saw your name a few times while counting, but the majority of these ones are more commercial titles. Those HQ Fiction ones seem very popular.
I think Elizabeth did do an overall one sometimes but I can’t recollect when that was last done. She may have done a really complicated one. Just an overall count might be fun but probably not critical. In my Monday musings tomorrow I’m noting that 900 books were added to the database over the year, but that’s not the number of reviews added.
I might have a look at it. Not for a separate post, but even just to note the number in our Facebook groups.
Probably nice to know, as you say, but see how you go.
From an author’s heart… thank you and your reviewers for your awesome support of Aussie writers.
Congratulations Alison on your releases and how much they have been embraced by our AWW reviewers.
Awesome wrap-up. Historical fiction is my favourite genre and I love stats, so I enjoyed reading all of the annual figures with interest. It’s also very interesting to compare year to year so the info on 2018 & 2017 was great. It really provides context as to changing/repeating patterns over the years.
Congrats to the powerhouse reviewers Amanda and Brenda too 🙂
I’m glad you appreciated this post, I like seeing these sorts of stats and breakdowns as well.
Thanks too for supporting AWW each year!
Oh I love seeing this wrap up, and seeing how many great AWW books are getting the love they deserve! Thank you all for keeping this project alive and pumping, you do a fantastic job every year, and I can’t wait to see what comes in 2020!
Thanks Sheree for supporting the challenge (and me!). I’m looking forward to seeing what 2020 releases, there’s already some highly anticipated historical fiction releases on the horizon.
Delighted to see so many people enjoying Sulari Gentill’s books – Rowland Sinclair is my favourite historical crime series to date.
She is incredibly popular! Popping up each month without fail.