One of my new year’s resolutions is to review more of the books I read. I read some truly wonderful books in 2017 and had a very very hard time narrowing it down to five out of the 45 books I read this year. I won’t count the re-reads as books like The Blue Castle and Northern Lights have an unfair advantage.
Here are my top five books in the order I read them.
Deathless by Catherynne M Valente
Oh how do I describe the enchantment that is this book! Even by June I was worried I wouldn’t read anything even half as good. Every line is as dark and delicious as a bitter winter night and the story is rich with folklore and characters that have stayed with me all year.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
This is a beautiful dark dream of a book set in Iceland 1829. Agnes is charged with the brutal murder of her master and sent to await execution on a farm. Her story and the one of the family she is sent to live with is lyrical, moody and horrifying as the date of her impending death draws nearer. I was really impressed by the intensity and gorgeous prose writing of Kent and that this was her debut novel.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I don’t know why it took me so long to read this book but what a masterpiece! I thought I had done Tudor history to death but Mantel brought a new light into it with her interpretation of Thomas Cromwell, a man I can never now think of in the same way again. The intricacy of her characterisation is really where she shines here and Cromwell as a merchant, a bully, lawyer and a politician is fascinating to watch.
Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Another shocking debut made my list this year. I went into this book expecting greatthings (thanks to rave reviews on BookTube) and I was still amazed. The story went places I was not expecting and hurt me more than I thought it would. I empathised so deeply with the main character and though this book had dark themes I never lost hope while reading it.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This book stole my heart. I wasn’t expecting it and it blew me away. Set in WW2, the book depicts the deep friendship between two women (one from Stockport!) as they get more and more involved in the war and then one gets captured in Nazi occupied France…
This books made me elated and moved me to tears. I loved the descriptions of Maggie roaming the Peak District (how could I not?) and the relationship between the two women is truly beautiful. I highly recommend Rose under Fire, the sequel, which also left me dazed and moved after reading. I can’t wait to see what this author does next.
These are the five that stood out but I read so many quality books this year including Jamaica Inn, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Faro’s Daughter and The Power. And of course, Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada which might be one of the grimmest books I have ever read.
I will try and be more regular with my book review posts in 2018. Happy New Year!