Lockdown and social distancing measures continue here in the UK due to the coronavirus, albeit slightly relaxed since Monday 1st June. For example, last week my sister was able to come over and sit in the garden with me and my husband, suitably socially distanced of course. And in week or so’s time, we have the enticing prospect of being once again able to enjoy the simple pleasure of browsing in a bookshop, although it will be a case of look, don’t touch unless you’re going to buy.
Whether it was down to the good weather, the motivation of blog tour deadlines or lack of other distractions, I read fifteen books in May, including some I awarded five stars. Below are my five favourite. Links from the title will take you to my review. (You can find details of all the books I’ve read so far in 2020 here with links to my reviews.)
First up is A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth by Daniel Mason, a collection of short stories subtly linked by recurring themes. I loved his novel The Winter Soldier and I thought this book was just as wonderful. Published by Mantle on 14th May, I described it as “a tour de force of imagination and one of the most absorbing and satisfying short story collections I’ve ever read”.
My next pick is a historical crime mystery, one of my favourite genres. Published on 2nd April by Corvus, The Saracen’s Mark is the third in S.W. Perry’s Jackdaw Mysteries series set in Elizabethan London. With its well-crafted plot, lashings of period detail and colourful cast of characters, it will appeal to fans of C J Sansom’s Shardlake series or Rory Clements’ John Shakespeare series.
Staying with historical fiction but of an entirely different kind is When We Fall by Carolyn Kirby, published by No Exit Press on 7th May to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Based on the Katyn Massacre of 1940, the book is a moving story of three lives forever altered by one fatal choice.
Next up is a memoir whose title One Hundred Miracles: Music, Auschwitz, Survival and Love aptly summarises this emotional but inspiring book. Written by Zuzana Ruzicková with Wendy Holden, it describes how Zuzana survived two Nazi concentration camps and went on to become a renowned harpsichordist.
My last pick is something completely different. An Engineered Injustice by William L. Myers, Jr. is the second book in his Philadelphia Legal series. It’s a fast-paced, suspenseful thriller. I’ve also read the third book in the series, A Killer’s Alibi, and a fourth book, A Criminal Justice, was published recently.
What were your favourite books you read in May? Have you read any of my picks?