Yes, it’s that time of year again – and, as always, I’ve had the most wonderful time looking back through the year’s posts, remembering the immense pleasure every book has given me. My Goodreads challenge tells me I’ve read 148 books this year, but it’s really a few more than that – and it’s been more difficult than ever this year to select the ones that have meant the most to me (do you have any idea how many times I said a book was a contender for my Books of the Year list?!). I gave 116 of the books I’ve read a thoroughly deserved five stars on both Amazon and Goodreads, and I really did want to include every single one of them.
Last year I had a top 36 – and divided them into two lists of 18, the first list drawn from across the whole range of my reading, the second list my favourite romance reads. It was, I think, a mistake – it created the impression that I might have had a first and second division (although nothing could have been further from the truth), and I’ve ditched the idea this year. At one point, I actually did wonder if I might be able to come up with a shorter list, ten maybe, the very best of the best – but I soon gave up on that idea.
So, instead, it’s a list of 30, drawn from across all genres – but every book I’ve had to slash from my initial shortlist of 42 (and that list was already rather brutal) has quite broken my heart. I did give myself a few basic rules – no novellas (sorry!), no more than one book per author, but I would include Christmas reads (there were so many excellent ones this year), and the original publication date was immaterial if I read it in 2019.
Anyway, here are my final choices, in groups of five – in no particular order (goodness, it was hard enough to come up with 30!), and all links are to my reviews…
The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris
The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows by Jenni Keer
The Man I Fell in Love With by Kate Field
Penny’s Antique Shop of Memories and Treasures by Helena Fairfax
A Paris Fairy Tale by Marie Laval
Expectation by Anna Hope
The Slaughter Man by Cassandra Parkin
The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott
Finding Verity by Jenny Loudon
Someone Close To Home by Alex Craigie
Reparation by Gaby Koppel
If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman
Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech
The Inheritance by Anne Allen
Secrets of the Mist by Kate Ryder
Settlement by Anne Stormont
The Lonely Hearts Crime Club by Tanya Bullock
59 Memory Lane by Celia Anderson
The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger
The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick
Bonnie and Stan by Anna Stuart
The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey
The Almanack by Martine Bailey
Don’t Think a Single Thought by Diana Cambridge
The Secret to Happiness by Jessica Redland
The Woman in the Photograph by Stephanie Butland
Amazing Grace by Kim Nash
A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft
Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar
Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake
As always, I’m now agonising about the books I’ve had to leave out… I’ve so enjoyed my reading this year. Life continues to be a bit of a challenge at times, but I’m still managing to produce a few posts a week, and mostly reviews – and I really can’t think of a better escape from life’s realities than into the realms of authors’ imagination. Thank you to all of you who’ve brought me such joy and pleasure this year.
Thank you too to those of you who’ve continued to provide such wonderful support – blogger friends, authors, publishers and readers. All the Twitter shares continue to amaze and delight me, and mean so much to me and to the authors I feature – thank you all so much.
I wish everyone – and those you love – a wonderful Christmas, and a New Year we can hopefully all look forward to. I’ll be back with you in the New Year.