As another year draws to a close, it’s traditional for me to post a list of my most memorable reads – books I’ve enjoyed most – over the past twelve months. This is a very personal list; I’m an author, not a professional critic, and my taste is eclectic. So much depends on mood, though like many readers there are those authors I return to time and time again. There’s one on this list and a couple of new authors I’ll definitely read again. In 2015 I read 35 books for pleasure (I read many more in my role as editor and mentor to developing writers) and here are my top ten, in no particular order!
The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Moyes always hits the spot for me, and this was a delight from start to finish. Gorgeous.
A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray
A beautifully written, poignant debut about the myriad faces of grief. Moving.
Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller
Old but wonderful. Barbara is one of the saddest, most deliciously screwed-up protagonists I can think of. Incredible.
The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman
Alzheimer’s, love and family, covered with Coleman’s trademark warmth and insight. Tender.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Flynn’s debut about a hack returning to her small town home to cover child murders is stronger and nastier than her breakthrough novel, Gone Girl, IMHO. Disturbing.
Blackmoor by Edward Hogan
An exquisitely written story about a Derbyshire pit village, the damage the community wreaks on an Albino mother, her husband and boy and its repercussions. Poignant.
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
A YA novel about a young boy whose sister is killed by an act of terrorism. The novel is a few years old now but still so relevant. A book every child should read. Pertinent.
Saltwater by Lane Ashfeldt
A beautiful collection of short stories inspired by the sea. Dancing on Canvey and Catching the Tip-Tap to Cayes de Jacmel were stand-outs in a fabulous collection. Tangy.
The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam
A time-slip dual narrative set in a grand, cliff-top house in a fictional seaside resort (though obviously based on Brighton), this is a compelling mystery peopled with memorable characters and passages of utterly gorgeous prose. Reminiscent of Sarah Waters and Agatha Christie.
OK, so I cheated on the last book, using more than a one word summary, but, hey, it’s almost Christmas!
And on that note, I’ll finish by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and here’s to a successful and happy 2016. Happy reading!