So it’s that time of year when the best books of the year lists emerge. I am always in two minds as to whether to do my own list. For starters I am so indecisive I can’t narrow books down to a certain number. And I always feel bad about books that I’ve left out. There’s no way I can do a list in order. If I name a book number one on the list I might offend the other authors that didn’t make it to number one! Plus I’m never really sure if anyone cares what my humble opinion is on the top reads of the year. After all, it’s just my opinion and I’m unlikely to cause a huge spike in sales. But I’ve been kindly advised that people are interested and I have to admit I’m nosy so always interested in what books other reviewers have picked, to see if the same books appear and to see which gems I might have missed.
So with that in mind I’ve decided to bite the bullet and do a list of my top reads of the year. Any I’ve read and not reviewed yet, or any I read until the end of the year will have to appear on next year’s…
The Song Collector tells the story of Harry Fox-Talbot, struggling with the loss of his wife. Beautifully told and flitting between the present day and the time he met Edie, we see how the two meet and fall in love, and how divisions from the passed may finally be reunited.
A story that has stayed with since reading it in March. The Finding of Martha Lost is a wonderful tale of Martha, left at Liverpool Lime Street train station as a baby. Having never left the station the authorities are about to find her and remove her from the only home she has ever known. Helped by her friends Martha must find out who she truly is, and opens up her world in the process. Reminiscent of Roald Dahl this is a magical, all encompassing novel that wraps itself around you and never truly lets go. Too many people are missing out if they haven’t read this book.
We spend 35 hours a week with them, see them more sometimes more than family, definitely spend more time with them than friends. Some we get on with, others we secretly can’t stand. But how well do we really know the people we work with? A true psychological thriller, this taut story drags you along, keen to find out what happens to one of the characters, and why.
There is a fascination with serial killers that often extends beyond what could be classed as the norm. For some women, the lure of a multiple murderer is too much. Writing to the incarcerated we often hear of women who marry their murderous pen pals. Daisy in Chains tackles this phenomenon with a gripping tale of Hamish Wolfe, convicted serial killer who asks true crime writer Maggie Rose to look into his case. Oh so cleverly done.
First in a series of crime novels published by the renegade Fahrenheit Press, this story of Danny Bird investigating the murder of an aging TV star he finds in his pub is peppered with humour and leaves you waiting for the next in the series.
This debut novel from author Anna Mazzola is the riviting tale of Sarah Gale, accused of the murder of her love rival. Based on a real murder this book vividly evokes the horrors of Victorian prison and the subjugation women at the time had to endure.
First in a new series I was soon charmed by this tale of murder and intrigue featuring the refreshing Laetitia Rodd. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly gentle storyline, this book also looks at the way women were held in society in Victorian England.
Sarah Hilary has firmly cemented herself on the crime writing scene and quickly became one of my favourite authors in the genre. Tastes Like Fear doesn’t disappoint. Marnie Rome has to face possibly her most dangerous foe to date. One girl is found dead, others are missing and its a race against time to find them before they meet the same fate.
Susan Fletcher’s novel of the reimagined relationship between Vincent Van Gogh and Jeanne Trabuc, wife of the warden of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, the asylum in which Van Gogh spent some time is a joy to read. The relationship between Vincent and Jeanne slowly develops and the painter opens Jeanne’s eyes to the world around her, and that much closer to home. Beautifully told.
Inspired by photographs of SS officers from the Second World War, this is a moving and well written account of a wounded German soldier who returns home from the front to find a woman from his past incarcerated in an SS camp. Determined to free her, he has to infiltrate the camp and work with the SS officers he loathes.
Opening with one of the best lines I’ve read in a long time, this is the chilling tale of the lengths a woman will go to achieve her aims. The characterisation is fantastic, Lydia, truly chilling and the book is shot through with an underlying thread of malice.
Having passed me by when it was first released I was recommended this book by the publisher when I asked for recommendations for books about books. This charming tale is the story of A.J. Fikry, owner of Island Books, who grumpily recommends books to his customers. When he happens to find a baby left in his shop his life changes in unforeseen ways.
Dealing with the oft ignored area of kidnap and ransom, this is a gripping and tightly woven tale of a woman who vanishes for a few hours. The police try to piece together where she went for those few hours and whether her disappearance is linked to the murder of a local solicitor. Fascinating and entertaining.
Orenda books have their own place in my heart so I have to mention the novels I have read from this publishing house this year. Treats included Deadly Harvest, In Her Wake, Nightblind and The Bird Tribunal.
Bit of a cheat but these are the books to be published in 2017 that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Already a best seller in Australia, this darkly compelling novel of the brutal slaying of a family in the outback is conversely claustrophobic as small town secrets try to bury the truth of what happened to the Hadler family.
Subject to a publisher battle to secure rights and with those rights sold to over 32 territories to date this gruesome yet highly original tale of a serial killer who leaves a body made up of six victims had me hooked. This isn’t even published yet and I can’t wait for the next book from Daniel Cole.
This novel cast it’s spell over me, I was soon caught up in it’s pages. This is a charming yet gentle read of friendship and love and the meanings we attach, or don’t attach, to the physical objects we deal with every day.
Image you just feel like a relaxing break with your friends. Imagine one of your friends has a different idea and books a white water rafting trip. Then imagine if that trip takes a deadly turn. A battle for survival that drags the reader along much like a white water river.
Described as perfect for fans of Jane Eyre, there is something decidedly more dark and sinister about this gothic moorland tale. Captivating from the outset, this book is full of wonderfully evocative writing.
I also have to mention The Trouble With Goats and Sheep which appeared on my best of list last year but was published in 2016. It still stays with me as a memorable and enjoyable read. If you haven’t read it yet the paperback is released on 26 December 2016.
Now I can’t wait to see what bookish treats 2017 will have to offer.