Well I almost managed to make this a Top Ten but it turned into a dozen. And then I thought of another couple I just couldn’t leave out. So rather unusually, I have a top 12 plus an extra two which are my Books of the Year – eh, that will be a Top 14 then? In no particular order, here are my top reads of 2017. Click the book title if you would like to read the review for any of them.
I loved this book which blended Scottish myths and legends into a captivating story. It was beautifully written with poetic, lyrical language. I read this on holiday on the island of Lewis which really brought the setting to life for me.
A wonderfully emotional tale following a family as they tour around Europe in a battered old campervan. The family had really been on the brink of falling apart and are following an itinerary set by their recently deceased and much loved dad/grandad. He was hoping that by spending this time together, the family would rediscover their love for each other. It’s a book which brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat on more than one occasion. Carmel Harrington is an author whose books I eagerly await and this is not the first time she has appeared on my top reads list.
Ah how could I not include wee Mary in my books of the year list? Ross Sayers created a truly unforgettable character in young Mary Sutherland who is the narrator of the book. Her childish innocence as she describes her life with her beloved Grandpa was a joy to read. I also enjoyed that the book was written in the Scots dialect and the island of Skye was brought vividly to life.
Faith Hogan is another author all of whose novels I have enjoyed. Secrets We Keep was a dual time story, something I always enjoy, and again had a fabulous setting on the wild coast of Ireland. I found myself very emotionally involved with the characters. It was a book about love, loss and second chances and was beautifully told.
I loved this book which follows characters associated with a sewing machine from the those who built it in the factory in the early 1900s to owners in the 1950s and the present day. A really cleverly written book revealing the history of the machine, its owners and the social conditions of each time. Characters I really warmed to and a well drawn setting which was very familiar to me.
Not a book which was published this year (though I do highly recommend The Angel in the Stone by the same author) and one which I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy but it had been recommended to me by so many people that I had to give it a go. And it is excellent. Blast Radius tells the story of ex-marine Sean as he tries to cope with civilian life in the aftermath of an incident in Afghanistan which cost his best friend his life. Strong characters and a very moving, insightful portrayal of living with grief, guilt and hope.
Another author who has previously appeared on my top reads list, Jo Spain’s Sleeping Beauties is the third to feature Inspector Tom Reynolds. In beautiful Glendalough, the bodies of five women are found in shallow graves. Reynolds and his team face a race against time to discover the murdered before he strikes again. A gripping, page-turning read.
The first in a new series from Daniela Sacerdoti, this was a very intriguing read. I seem to have read a few books set on islands this year and this was another. Young Ava asks for her real mum after days of not speaking. She describes another life and another place so vividly to her mum Anna, that she feels there must be something in what Ava is saying. The fictional island of Seal was a great setting and sounded a beautiful place. The author mixed mystical elements throughout her story making them very plausible. Another beautifully written story about love and loss and learning to love again.
A glamorous and dramatic account of intrigue on a long voyage to Australia. A diverse mix of passengers many with secrets which come tumbling out over the course of the journey make this a highly addictive read.
This is such a lovely book. Pia travels to New York following her mother’s death. Mysteriously she finds that she is moving back and forward in time and may be able to influence events in her family’s past. Time travel may seem an complete impossibility but Rowan Coleman is such a skilled storyteller that you will absolutely believe it could happen.
(you’ll find my review within my Summer Holiday mini-reviews)
This was the first of Julie Cohen’s books I have read and I loved it. It had such a cleverly written structure with the story being told backwards. It’s the story of the great love between Robbie and Emily and works back through time from their senior years to when they first met and the devastating secret they have kept hidden all these years. Definitely not to be missed.
A late addition to my top reads list, this book had so many elements which I love in a book. It was set mostly in World War 1 and the entire story was told through letters and telegrams. At its heart was a great love story, beautifully told. There were tears on the bus as this book came to its emotional end!
And now for my joint top books of the year. Drum roll please…….
This was a book I’d had sitting around for ages as I was put off by its sheer size. But don’t be put off. It’s a simply wonderful read chronicling the life of Cyril Avery from Ireland to Amsterdam and New York. On the face of it, it’s a simple enough story about one man’s life but it’s completely gripping and unputdownable.
A book that’s an absolute must for any book lover. Loveday Cardew has had a tough upbringing but now works in a secondhand book shop run by the charismatic Archie. The characters make this a very special read and it’s also all about the special magic and power of books to soothe the soul. A beautifully written book you will take to your heart.
So there you have it, my top ten – okay, fourteen! – books for 2017. Have you read any of them? What did you think? What was your top read this year?
As we’re now just a few days away from Christmas now, I’m signing off for this year (with the exception of a couple of scheduled posts next week).
Thanks to everyone who has read, commented on or shared my posts this year. Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and New Year and I look forward to sharing more book recommendations with you next year.