Category Archives: Book Reviews

My Top 10 books of 2016

This year has produced some outstanding books and my choices contain some new books, one that isn’t published until next year and one older book that I just adored. It has been hugely difficult to choose just 10 and there are many more that I would rank as must reads.

The first three are my top 3, the rest in no particular order.

 

1.this must be the place

 

Top of the pile and totally deserving of it is Maggie O’Farrell’s This Must Be The Place. Exceptional book.

THIS MUST BE THE PLACE crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage.

To read my review click here

 

2.the-constant-soldier

A wonderful book with superb writing and such a human story at its heart.

A beautifully paced story that will have you raging and sobbing at the same time.

To read my review click here

 

3.Sirens

 

Out in January 2017 fabulous debut thriller set in Manchester.

Very occasionally a book comes along that redefines a genre, it’s very possible that this could be one of those books.

To read my review click here

 

curtain call

 

I absolutely loved this book and really didn’t want to let it go. Anthony Quinn is incapable of writing a dull sentence.

To read my review click here

 

the ballroom

 

This is an elegant, affecting book that has writing that is almost poetic.

To read my review click here

 

the one in a million boy

 

Monica Wood has written an extraordinary tale of grief, loss, hope and friendship.It is wonderful and uplifting and every page is a joy to read.

To read my review click here

 

in her wake#

 

This is a stunning story of heartbreak, identity, love and loss. It has the perfect title, the perfect cover and is the most beautifully written, breathtakingly powerful book.

To read my review click here

 

the-light-between-oceans

 

This is not a new book, but an absolutely wonderful one.

The story covers all sorts of emotions; love, guilt, grief, morality, remorse, but  with such a deft hand that although it is heart rending, it is also beautiful and immensely readable.

To read my review click here

 

martha lost

 

I absolutely adored this book, its empathy and warmth is evident on each page. it is truly a piece of magical storytelling that should not be missed.

To read my review click here

 

daisy in chains

 

No top ten of the year would be complete without Sharon Bolton. The best thriller writer in the country in my opinion.

Sharon Bolton’s forte is to create deeply engaging, if not always likeable, characters and embed them in superb plots that twist and turn effortlessly.

This book is no exception.

To read my review click here

The Constant Soldier

       THE CONSTANT SOLDIER

 by WILLIAM RYAN

constantsoldier

The Second World War is reaching its climax, and the Russians are bearing down on Germany.

Paul Brandt, a German soldier, arrives back home from the Eastern Front, battered, broken and racked with guilt. No longer any use as a soldier, he is given a job guarding women prisoners in luxurious huts in his home village. The huts are a refuge for SS officers who manage the concentration camps. Brandt happily takes on the job because he has seen and recognised one of the prisoners. And so begins his journey to find atonement.

This is a beautifully crafted piece of work which is pitch perfect throughout. When you have to lift your head from the book to remove yourself from the scene, you know you are in the hands of a master.

Characters who live and breathe; Brandt himself, never a Nazi, just a young man with conviction, who got himself arrested and drafted into the army. His burgeoning horror and guilt at what he has seen and done and the relationships with people around him now, especially his father, is wonderfully realised.

Neumann, perhaps the most complex character in the book. He threw himself into being a Nazi, with all that that entails, but now is haunted by his deeds and has to live with himself. He is a character that you feel you should despise and yet a whole range of emotions swirl around and things are not so easily defined.

The women prisoners, even though we don’t get to know them as well as the men, stand as a beacon, shining a light into the darkest corner of Nazism and its bullying inhumanity.

The book is thriller-like as the plot moves to its climax. The feeling of the war playing out just around the corner and the fear the Germans feel as the Russians move in and the retribution that they know is coming is palpable.

There is not a wasted word, there is no over-the-top drama, just a beautifully paced story that will have you raging and sobbing at the same time.

An absolute must read for anybody who is interested in the human condition and what it is capable of. But also how the human spirit can soar and survive despite all the odds.

Highly recommended.