Here are five favourites from the books I read this year:
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
The moving story of one woman’s experience of early-onset Alzheimer’s and the effect on her family and career. Terrifyingly realistic, devastatingly heart-breaking and utterly compelling.
The Blue Room by Georges Simenon
Before Gone Girl Simenon was showing how you write a psychological thriller. A passionate affair comes back to haunt the womanising Tony. Taut, tense, sexy and stylish.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A tale of survival amid the Second World War. Exquisitely constructed, like one of Papa LeBlanc’s models. Beautiful writing, engaging story, real quality.
A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
When a chance encounter awakens scandalous desires never before acknowledged, Harry Cane is forced to forsake the land and people he loves for a harsh new life on the newly colonized Canadian prairies. Beautifully written – a moving, at times unutterably sad story which is ultimately heart-warming and uplifting. Highly recommended.
The Ashes of Berlin by Luke McCallin
Cracking historical mystery set in post-war Berlin. Inspector Gregor Reinhardt hunts a serial killer amid the political turmoil of a ravaged, divided city.
And here are three to look out for in 2017 that I was lucky enough to read courtesy of NetGalley:
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Yejide is smart, sassy, well-educated and runs her own business but doesn’t have the one thing she desires and her family expect. The pressure to conform to the demands of her family and culture will have unintended and dramatic consequences. Played out against the backdrop of political events in Nigeria, this is an intimate family drama and assured debut.
Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson
London, November 1965. American star Iolanthe Green finishes a performance, walks out onto the Charing Cross Road and disappears. Her dresser, Anna, sets out to find her plunging her into a world of underground music clubs, back street abortionists, seaside ghost towns and police brutality.
Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar
A strange, imaginative but ultimately moving story that is space adventure, chronicle of recent Czech history and love story all rolled into one. An impressive first novel.