I can hardly believe that it has been one year since I started my blog. This was a big step for me as I have spondylosis and arthritis of the spine and suffer depression. This was a personal journey to try to give me some structure to my life and something to get up for in a morning. I do not blog as often as many do but that is because I am not always able to read due to the pain. A year on and I am very proud of what I have achieved as are my family, I love sharing my thoughts on books with other like minded people and I am very grateful for all the support I have received.
So, one year on I have narrowed down my favourite books I have reviewed to only ten (I can’t tell you how difficult that was). My reviews of all these books can be found on my blog. They are in no particular order, so here it goes;
- The Minaturist by Jessie Burton. A beautiful piece of historical fiction set in seventeenth century Amsterdam following Nella Ortman after her marriage to an illustrious merchant. Full of historical detail, a novel of secrets, lies and mysterious happenings, an atmospheric and compelling read.
- The Lake House by Kate Morton. I do love this salt of book that has two timelines running. 1933 Alice Edevane is sixteen and looking forward to her first Midsummer Eve Party, but tragedy happens in the disappearance of her young brother Theo. Seventy years later Sadie Sparrow is visiting her Grandad and comes upon the abandoned house and the mystery of Theo Edevane. Kate Morton descriptive writing beings to life the house and Midsummer Party. A beautiful story with characters that you take to your heart.
- Liar Liar by M J Arlidge. This is the fourth book in the DI Helen Grace series and has to be my favourite crime/thriller series. Helen and her team face an arsonist who sets three fires in one night; two are a diversion and one an act of murder. Fast paced, chilling but utterly brilliant.
- Light Between Oceans by M L Steadman. Tom and Izzy live on a remote Island where Tom is the Lighthouse Keeper. One day a boat washes up containing a dad man and a small baby. After suffering several miscarriages, Izzy convinces Tom that they should keep the baby. The book follows the consequences of this decision, and will leave you questioning what you would have done in their situation. This is an emotional read so have a box of tissues ready.
- The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley. This is the second book in The Seven Sisters series, and follows Ally as she traces her roots to Norway and the singer Anna Landvik who performed at the first performance of Greig’s Peer Gynt. I love Lucinda Riley as an author, her writing is engaging and descriptive to capture your attention. The story is beautiful and like The Lake House is split over two time lines; the present and the beginning of the twentieth century.
- A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison. In Dhakah, Bangladesh a clothing factory , that makes clothes for the huge American clothing company Presto Omnishops, burns to the ground killing many of the workers. A year later a whistleblower contacts journalist Josh Grinwald about the sweat shops used by American companies. This book opens up the pandora’sbox of the manufacture of clothes in sweat shops in the Far East. It will make you question where you buy your clothes. This is a compelling and erudite read.
- Mount by Jilly Cooper. I was so excited when this book came out. I first encountered Rupert Campbell-Black in Riders when I was sixteen, and over the last twenty eight years he has not lost his charm, or bad boy status. Now he is involves in the flat racing and trying to win the top stud with his horse, the aptly named Love Rat. As expected from Jilly Cooper there is plenty of wit, humour, sex and plenty of animals, I absolutely loved it and I look forward to he next novel.
- The Escape by C L Taylor. C L Taylor is fast becoming one of my favourite thriller writers. She takes everyday situations and turns them around so they have malice. Jo Blackmore is getting into her car after work when she is approached by a stranger who seems to know a lot about her and her family. After a series of incidents that catch the attention of social services and the police, Jo takes her daughter Elise on the run; is she paranoid or really in danger. A chilling plot that will keep you on the edge of you seat. Great characters, great plot and brilliantly unexpected ending.
- In The Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant. Renaissance Italy in the sixteenth century, Alexander VI, Roderigo Borgia is still Pope; his son Cesare is a soldier fighting to control many of Italy’s city states under the umbrella of the Papal States; Lucrezia is set to marry Duke Elect Alfonso D’Este to secure Ferrara. This book follows the Borgia family in their final years in power. Sarah Dunant writes with passion and great knowledge of this era of history. Through her writing she is able to bring Renaissance Italy, and all its sights and sounds to life. She stays away from the rumours of incest and poisoning and sticks to the facts. A masterly and erudite historical novel.
- Crimson & Bone by Marina Fiorato. Like Sarah Dunant, Marina Fiorato is another tour de force in the historical genre of literature. Here she writes about the art world of the nineteenth century. Frances Maybrick Gill is a Pre-Raphealite artist, one night he saves young prostate Annie Stride from committing suicide. He takes her in and she becomes his muse, and he teaches her how to behave in society, but to what ends?. This book takes us from London, to Florence and Venice, and is a piece of art inits own right; her description and detail are precise like a peace if art. It has a more gothic feel than her previous books; there is a darker edge to the plot of this exquisitely written novel.