I’ve had to stop writing regular reviews as the demands of the day job have taken over, but I thought I’d go through my favourite books I’ve read this year.
Queen’s Gambit, Elizabeth Fremantle. This was one of World Book Night’s 2015 selection, and I’d never read it so thought I’d give it a go. A well-plotted and fast paced, if very dense, novel of the later life of Catherine Parr-from the courtship by and marriage to Henry VIII, to her final betrayal by Thomas Seymour. Loved it.
The Imaginary, AF Harrold. There’s a tribe in my office that love children’s books, and this terrifying illustrated anti-fairy tale about a girl’s imaginary friend who must save himself from the most horrifying perilous death was a clear favourite.
The Bees, Laline Paull. So skillfully done, the hive is a dystopia, but also chillingly real. Made me look at the bees in my garden in a completely different way.
The One Plus One, JoJo Moyes. I feel no shame for loving decent chick lit, and this ticked all my boxes. It is absurd, but very readable. I expect a film adaptation will be forthcoming. Think a very British version of Little Miss Sunshine.
The Cazalet Chronicles, Elizabeth Jane Howard. This series was my discovery of the year. The story, over five books (last one yet to read) of an upper middle class English family from the end of the 1930s to the 1950s. I also read Jane Howard’s memoirs, the first half of which made it clear that most of the Cazalet stories are taken from her own (amazing) life. Shame the second half was so dull.
The Last Kingdom, Bernard Cornwell. The TV series was a bit naff, but the first book of the saga of Uhtred the almost-Viking is a cracking bit of historical writing, and the battle scenes alone (must be read at breakneck speed) make it a thrilling read.
The Empress of Rome, Kate Quinn. I LOVED this series, and this, the third book, is the best. Sexed up, sumptuous and modern in it’s outlook, the characters are marvelous and the story so compelling I couldn’t put it down. Brilliant summer read.