2013 is flying by in many ways, although New Year’s seems a long time ago. There have been some pretty big changes in the Mouse house (including new Mouse houses) so although I’ve read some fabulous books so far this year, there haven’t been many reviews. Hopefully this will change when I get a bit more settled next month, although that’s what I always say…
Anyway, here are my five favourite reads of the first half of 2013.
Life After Life is the best book that I’ve read this year. Ursula Todd is a fantastic character, and she and her various lives have stayed with me since I finished reading about them. I’ve also recommended it to everyone I know, a sure sign that I loved a book. Read my full review here.
The View on the Way Down is a stunning novel and one which I’ve been unable to review yet because every time I’ve tried, I start crying. It’s one of the best depictions of someone who has depression and its effects on those around them that I’ve read in a long time, and Rebecca Wait is definitely an author to look out for in the future.
Peggy Riley’s debut is a brilliant novel about a mother fleeing from an religious cult with her two daughters, the eponymous Amity and Sorrow. It’s a slow-burner but the quality of the writing is well worth the effort. The full review is here.
Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant is the first in a trilogy about the turbulent lives of the Borgias. Dunant has the knack of using her extensive research deftly so the novel never feels stodgy, which is something I’ve noticed in her other (excellent) historical novels. It’s a real page-turner and I can’t wait for the sequel.
According to my review, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls “has fabulous writing, real emotion, a boarding-school vibe, a bit of mystery and horses – in short, it’s the grown-up version of my favourite childhood books”. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
These are the five that really stood out for me, but I’ve read lots of other great books in the last six months. ‘Runners-up’ include Gossip by Beth Gutcheon, Follow Me Down by Tanya Byrne and Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. All brilliant!
I have noticed that all of the books featured here are by women. In fact, almost all of the books that I’ve read this year have been by female authors. This isn’t a conscious decision on my part, despite working for a magazine designed for women writers and despite writing for a feminist website, but maybe subconsciously I’m attempting to redress the gender imbalance in publishing in a tiny way. Or maybe books by female authors just have prettier covers.