So its nearly the end of the year and with Christmas just around the corner I thought I would share my ten favourite books for 2017. Whether you are looking for some inspiration for yourself or for presents for the book lover in your life, I hope you will find something that will engage you. These are in no particular order.
A Column of Fire by Ken Follett. I was really excited to hear that Ken Follett had written a third instalment of the Kingsbridge Series. This lived up to all expectations, the story starts two hundred years after A World Without End so can also be read as a stand alone novel. This is the perfect read for those who like a huge chunk of historical fiction; set in the sixteenth century it has war, plots, revenge, love, subterfuge, a cast of memorable characters and a brilliant plot.
The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley. This is the fourth book in Lucinda’s Seven Sister’s series, and follows CeCe as she travels to Australia to find out who her biological family are. I love this series by Lucinda Riley, she is becoming one of my favourite contemporary authors, and the books should be read in order. This book really drew me in with its descriptive writing, interesting plot and wonderful characters. It is also the book where I felt further clues to the sister’s adoptive father were included. If you enjoy women’s contemporary fiction please give this series a go.
In The Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant. Sarah Dunant’s novels set in Renaissance Italy are outstanding. This book follows the final years the Borgia rule in the Vatican and their control in the Italian States. Sarah Dunant’s attention to detail brings the finer details to life, the surroundings, palaces, places and characters jump of the page and give a real sense of the period. The Borgia family and their history is wonderful to write about, their political intrigue, love lives, battles, intrigue and murder. Another novel for the history buff.
Ragdoll by Daniel Cole. This is Daniel Coles’s debut novel and shows great promise of things to come. I loved the premise of a body being found made upon six different murder victims, with the race being on not only to identify those already murdered but also those on a the killers list. I found this a dark, disturbing and exciting read, great characters and a compelling plot.
You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood. I found this court room thriller a wonderfully original read. Set in a court room, at the time of final arguments the narrative is the defendant giving his account of what happened. It reads like a soliloquy as it is only the defendants voice we hear through out the novel. You are never given the defendant’s name, only that he is a young black male, and you the reader are on the jury. This is a compelling read, dark in places about gang culture in London’s poorest estates.
Crimson and Bone by Marina Fiorato.. I have been a huge fan of Marina Fiorato since reading her debut novel, The Glassblower’s Apprentice. This is darker than any of her previous novels and has a gothic feel that complements the setting of the Victorian Era. It follows Francis Maybrick Gill, a Pre-Raphaelite Artist, and his latest muse Annie Stride who he saves from killing herself on Waterloo Bridge. Set in London, Florence and Venice this book is a beautiful read. Maria Fiorato’s writing is wonderfully descriptive bringing the sounds and smells of the nineteenth century to life. An exquisite and engaging novel.
A Harvest of Thorns by Corbin Addison. This book looks at the clarge company’s wh sell clothes and the factories that make them in the Far East. It starts with a fire in a factory in Bangladesh, which results with multiple deaths and life changing injuries, then the American firm who claim they didn’t know their clothes were made in that factory. It looks at the world of exploitation and cheap labour. This is a brilliant, and erudite read that will really get you thinking about the clothes you buy.
Sweetpea by C J Skuse.. This was one of the most popular thrillers of 2017, and quite deservingly. It takes an alternative look at the female serial killer. Rhiannon works at the local paper, lives with her boyfriend and dog and to seems to be just a average person. But through diary entries we learn that Rhiannon is a serial killer, who keeps a kill list of those who annoy her. Rhiannon is a killer with redeeming qualities and who will make you laugh with her observations of everyday life. This is a book that will grab your attention and will stay with you long after you finish it.
The One by John Marrs.. What I loved about this book was it’s originality plot and how they story unfolded. The premise is that there is a DNA test to find ‘The One’, that special person you will spend the rest of your life with. The test has no boundaries or discrimination; it crosses the barrier of religion, gender, age, and geographical location. This book follows five people who have done the test and how the outcome effects their lives. This is an engaging and entertaining read that is hard to put down once started.
Mount by Jilly Cooper. Jilly Cooper is a legend for me, I have read and enjoyed all her books in the Rustishire Chronicles that began thirty years ago with Riders. I was beyond excited when this book was released, Rupert Campbell Black was back, and is still the loveable rogue I fell in love with when I was fifteen. There are many returning characters and a few new ones, and as usual a brilliant cast of animals. This time the book is set in the world of flat racing and the Stud Industry of the horses. This is a book that will make you laugh and cry; it is pure escapism at its best.
I hope I have given you some ideas for presents, to others or to yourself.