13 January 2017

Top 5 Favourite Books of 2016

Without further ado, here are my Top 5 Favourite Books of 2016 in the order I read them.

1. Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Read in January (courtesy of NetGalley), this is a story about twin girls who swap identities for fun. Things begin to go wrong though when one of the sisters refuses to change back.

The novel explores themes of identity and mental illness, and the impact the change has on one of the sisters in particular, making for a suspenseful and sometimes disturbing read.

2. The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin
Read in February (courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia), I instantly felt this book was written for me. Noah has nightmares, repeatedly begs Janie for his real mother and keeps asking when he can go home. Nobody can tell Janie what's wrong with her son despite visiting a whole host of specialists.

The novel covers themes of identity, death, mental illness, re-incarnation and children who may (or may not) be able to remember their previous life. An overarching theme of a mother's love for her son drives this story.

I loved this book and Sharon Guskin is my favourite debut author for 2016.


3. Watership Down by Richard Adams

I only read one classic in 2016 - which is unusual for me - but Watership Down was an absolute delight to discover.

Published in 197
2 and set in the South of England, Adams creates a world where rabbits can talk and each warren of rabbits has their own culture. Primarily an adventure story, the rabbits face danger from men and animals and leave their home in search of a safe environment in which to build a new warren and live in peace.

Featuring snippets of rabbit mythology and occasionally including tales told by storyteller rabbits (rabbits love to listen to stories), I thoroughly enjoyed the themes of leadership, sacrifice, freedom and peace that underpin the various stages of this adventure story.

I was sorry to hear Richard Adams passed away in December 2016 and I'm so glad I read this masterpiece.

4. Dark Aemilia by Sally O'Reilly
Read in August and set in London during the late 1500s during the time of Queen Elizabeth I, Dark Aemilia has it all: Shakespeare, plague, sorcery, witchcraft, witty dialogue, great writing and hot sex scenes. Everything I love in a book!

Brilliantly written and based on a real person, Aemilia was 
England's first female poet and was thought to be Shakespeare's dark muse. 

Dark Aemilia is for lovers of historical fiction, witty dialogue, Shakespeare and the darker side of London in the 16th Century.

5. Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory

Read in August (courtesy of Simon & Schuster) and set in 1501, this is a story of three sisters, Margaret Tudor, her younger sister Mary and her future sister-in-law Katherine of Aragon. All three sisters will become Queens in their own right - of England, Scotland and France - and we see their lives unfold and overlap through the eyes of our narrator, Margaret Tudor.

Themes of sibling rivalry, envy, greed, betrayal and the pursuit of true love run throughout the novel as does the importance of delivering a male heir. Miscarriages and failure to produce an heir causes grief and angst for the sisters, and -unexpectedly for the modern reader - competition between them. Henry VIII's overarching influence over each of the women is also evident.

Philippa Gregory is swiftly becoming my favourite author. One of her books made it into my 2015 Top 5 list and this time I wanted to nominate two of her books for this list, which says it all.

Have you read any of the books in this list? What was your favourite book of 2016?


Carpe Librum!

4 comments:

Deborah Cook said...

I've read the first couple of books on your list and enjoyed them both. It's always interesting to read these lists and see what others are reading and enjoying. Thanks for sharing!

Tracey said...

You're welcome Deborah, and great to hear you enjoyed the same few books from my list.

Brenda Smith said...

This are the top books of 2016. I have read one of them Three Sisters, Three Queens is a awesome book. There are so many books to read. If you like to read these then Click here

Tracey said...

Thanks Brenda, glad you also liked Three Sisters, Three Queens.