Reaching the end of a year always makes me a little sentimental, looking back over the past twelve months and picking out my favourite times. 2020 has been a difficult and challenging year for most of us, for several reasons but if there’s one thing that’s kept me sane through it all, it’s reading.
So, I thought I’d go back and put together a list of my 5 star reads from the year, no matter how small it ended up being (I’ve discovered that I’m super picky with those 5 star ratings)! Whether you’re looking for some inspiration for your TBR or are just intrigued to see what I thought was worth the hype, here you go!
Blurb: The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse are four friends who share a deep, unshakable bond. Through a series of brief but profound conversations, Mackesy teases universal truths and rich wisdom from the mouths of his characters, celebrating warmth and empathy in all its myriad forms. Exploring kindness through exquisite, sensitive artwork and delicate calligraphy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is a moving study in friendship.
[no official blurb, so the above is taken from Waterstones]
Blurb: Leipzig, 1930s Germany. Hetty Heinrich is a perfect German child. Her father is an SS officer, her brother in the Luftwaffe, herself a member of the BDM. She believes resolutely in her country, and the man who runs it. Until Walter changes everything. Blond-haired, blue-eyed, perfect in every way Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew. Anti-semitism is growing by the day, and neighbours, friends and family members are turning on one another. As Hetty falls deeper in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, she begins to fight against her country, her family and herself. Hetty will have to risk everything to save Walter, even if it means sacrificing herself…
Honourable mentions have to go to some other brilliant reads that I discovered in 2020!
Blurb: London, 1850. On a crowded street, the dollmaker Iris Whittle meets the artist Louis Frost. Louis is a Pre-Raphaelite painter who yearns to have his work displayed in the Royal Academy, and he is desperate for Iris to be his model. Iris agrees, on the condition that he teaches her to paint. Dreaming of freedom, Iris throws herself into this new life of art and love, unaware that she has caught the eye of a second man. Silas Reed is a curiosity collector; enchanted by the strange and beautiful. After seeing Iris at the site of the Great Exhibition, he finds he cannot forget her. As Iris’s world expands, Silas’s obsession grows. It is only a matter of time before they meet again…
Blurb: As children, sisters Gillian and Sally were forever outsiders in their small New England town, teased, taunted and shunned for the sense of magic that seemed to hang in the air around them. All Gillian and Sally ever wanted was to get away. Years later, tragedy brings the sisters back together. They’ll find that no matter what else may happen, they’ll always have each other.
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll
Blurb: Other people’s minds are small. Your mind is enormous. You don’t want to be like other people. Addie knows exactly who she is. Addie knows that sharks are more interesting than dolphins, she knows her favourite words in the thesaurus, and she knows that he older sisters are opposites. And when Addie learns about the witch trials that happened in her hometown, she knows there is more to the story of these ‘witches’, just like there is more to her. As Addie tries to get her small town to make a memorial for the ‘witches’, can she challenge the way they see her?
The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King
Blurb: John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit. It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time. Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
Blurb: Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself. Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin . . . desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden. Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What were your five star reads of the year? I’d love to know!
You can always find me over on Twitter if you’d like to discuss these book (or any others that I’ve featured) in more detail 😌