I’m going to save myself some time and effort, because i’m always keen to make my life easier, and not bother to provide you with a synopsis of each of the novels in the list below. I’m sure it’s the height of laziness but I find it irritating when I start reading a review and they’ve provided three paragraphs from the blurb first.
You might note my reviews get shorter and shorter the further you go down, so much so I’ve given up and just listed the read of my books from 2020 under ‘Can’t be bothered to write about’.
The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary
I’m a sucker for a love story, it’s my automatic go-to genre but you do have to wade through a lot of problematic storylines just to find a little gem. I’ve heard mixed reviews on The Flat Share, a few of my friends weren’t fans but I really enjoyed it from start to finish.
There are some triggering moments throughout, with themes of gaslighting, abuse and trauma but since reading the book a few months ago, my memory seems to have forgotten the minutiae of this and has simply remembered how lovely and supportive Leon is and what a charming and funny storyline O’Leary offers. Read into that what you will.
The Dutch House – Ann Patchett
I listened to this book on Audible purely to hear the dulcet tones of Tom Hanks and I maintain that he is the best thing about the novel. This is a very detail-driven storyline, nothing particularly exciting happens, it’s about the ups and downs of a family and it delves deep into their personalities. I love this still when it’s written by Celeste Ng, but this I would have found somewhat boring if it hadn’t been for Hanks’ melodious voice.
Becoming Michelle Obama
This is the first autobiography i’ve read (listened to) in years, i’m not usually interested in the lives of real people but I noticed Michelle Obama’s audiobook was narrated by herself and it piqued my interest.
I am in awe of her poise and grace, her compassion and intelligence and her candid account of being the wife of a man pursuing presidency.
The Tales of Beadle the Bard
Another audiobook that enticed me thanks to it’s narrators; Warwick Davis, Jason Isaacs, Evanna Lynch and Bonnie Wright amongst a few. Sweet and magical fairy tales that accompany Harry Potter beautifully. I slept soundly listening to this.
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
With Armie Hammer and Lily James gracing our Netflix screens this year, I, along with everyone else in the world, decided to pick up the book first. I’d never heard of Rebecca, or Du Maurier but really enjoyed the storyline. It ticks all the boxes for a gothic novel.
We Were Liars, E. Lockhart
Throughout the first few parts of this novel I wasn’t sure what to make of it, it felt a bit like poetry but I wasn’t sure if I liked it or if I thought it was pretentious purple prose. Alas, I was wrong and reading the last part blew my mind a little and I thoroughly recommend.
The Magpie Society, Zoe Sugg and Amy McCullough
I read this purely out of curiosity to see what Zoe Sugg’s writing was like. It’s a very easy to read story about the mysterious death of a school girl at all-girls boarding school. I’m sure it’s more suited to an age range almost twenty years younger than me but ignoring that, I enjoyed it enough!
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
I like to read a classic novel or two every year just for props. I am constantly amazed at the way modern romance fiction romanticizes books like this (and Far from the Madding Crowd, looking at you E. L James). That quote banded everywhere; ‘He’s more myself than I am, whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same’, is not romantic. Catherine Earnshaw is an egotistical lunatic and Heathcliffe’s maddening obsession turns him into an absolute beast. They’re all awful. Madness.
All I want for Christmas & It’s the most wonderful time of the year, Joanna Bolouri
I really enjoyed both of these books! Perhaps my favourite books of the year. They were just what I needed to read over a dull Christmas period and I recommend anyone pick them up if you love a light-hearted, charming and not-to-cringey romance.
Other books I read or listened to that I don’t really have a review for;
Cherringham, a Cosy Crime Series – Matthew Costello (I listened to three books on my Audible and enjoyed them but didn’t listen close enough to provide a review. I enjoyed them though)
Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid (I spent too long trying to write my thoughts on this book and I couldn’t do it eloquently enough).
Ask Again, Yes, Mary Beth Keane (too boring to bother writing anything)
The Giver of Stars, JoJo Moyes
The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman
This Time Next Year, Sophie Cousens
Away with the Penguins, Hazel Prior