I’ve been fortunate again this year to have read so many wonderful books. When it came to picking my favourites, believe me, it was no easy task. The following books are in no particular order – aside from the last book, which was the best book I read in 2011.
I’m going to start my list with a trilogy. I read all three books this year – in fact, I read them all within a short span. I could NOT put down THE HUNGER GAMES! I can’t believe it took me so long to finally put them on my Kobo. (In fact, my Kobo broke while I was in the middle of Mockingjay and I seriously went into withdrawals) I devoured them. I cannot wait until the movie. I hope they do three movies, too 🙂
I was privileged enough to receive THE LADY OF THE RIVERS from Simon & Schuster Canada to review. Say what you will about Philippa Gregory, but she made it cool to read Historical Fiction – and her books have gotten way better lately, IMO. The writing, the research, everything. If you’ve been wary of reading PG in the past, read this book. I think it will convert you. The book was my introduction to Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford. I would love to read more about her.
Vicky Alvear Shecter’s debut novel, CLEOPATRA’S MOON is a delightful read. I adore reading anything about ancient Egypt so it wasn’t a hard decision to say YES to reviewing this one. Though it’s YA, I didn’t find the writing juvenile as I have some YA books in the past. I think people of all ages will enjoy it. If I ever get my daughter away from the vampire books, I want her to read it! The reason it was one of the best books I read this year is because of how real Vicky made the characters and places. I felt like I was there with Cleopatra’s children every step of the way.
I read FINDING EMILIE by Laurel Corona back in June and loved every moment of it. To quote my original review, “Finding Emilie is the perfect work of historical fiction and Laurel should be applauded for her exceptional offering to the genre. ” Yups, every word of that statement is completely true. J’adore! To say that I’m totally excited to read whatever Laurel has coming up is an understatement. Her’s are the kind of book that you never want to end.
The only book written by a male on my list is THE TUDOR SECRET by C.W. Gortner. WOW!! Even though it’s been nearly a year since I read it, I still remember how exciting it was. And how much of a crush I had on the lead character! (come on – you know you’ve had crushes on characters in books, too!!) It was nice to read a book with lots of action and it really kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire time. I’m not sure when book 2 of The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles is scheduled to come out, but I can’t wait.
Until this year, I hadn’t heard of Sandra Byrd. I certainly glad that changed because finding her meant I found one of my favourite books of the year! Not only is she a fab writer, but she’s a super nice person, too. TO DIE FOR is the first in what promises to be a most excellent series – the Ladies in Waiting Series. It’s the story of Anne Boleyn told through the eyes of another historical female I’d never heard of, Meg Wyatt. This is why I love HistFic so much – I’m always meeting new people 🙂
HAVAH: THE STORY OF EVE by Tosca Lee is probably the most beautifully written book I read in 2011 – perhaps ever. Enthralling is the word that comes to mind when I think back to when I read it. Never before have I experienced so many highs and lows while reading – happy and sad tears were shed. I don’t use the word ‘unputdownable’ often. But this book was just that. And whether or not you believe in the Bible doesn’t matter. You will appreciate the book for what it is – the story of love and loss and triumph.
LOVED this next book on my list! BEFORE VERSAILLES: A NOVEL OF LOUIS XIV by Karleen Koen. I devour anything having to do with French history, and devour this, I did!! I fell in love with Louis in the process, too. It excites me to find an author I’ve never read before and see that she has other books for me to enjoy! And I just have to mention what a wonderful tale Karleen weaves. She knows how to pace a book just perfectly. Talent!!
REVOLUTION BY JENNIFER DONNELLY may have been nearly 500 pages, but it was sooo good that it only took me a couple days to finish. Talk about being completely captivated! The book goes back and forth between different eras – modern day and Revolutionary France. It’s another whopper of a book but a quick read – and not only because it’s YA (which I personally find are faster to get through. It might not be the same for everyone…) but because it’s so good I could hardly put it down long enough to eat.
I’m glad I finished BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE by Juliet Grey in time for this post. I could seriously gush all day about this book and moan about the fact that I won’t get to read book 2 in the series – DAYS OF SPLENDOR, DAYS OF SORROW – until the Spring. It was nice to read about MA’s life before her tragic end during the French Revolution. And Juliet (Leslie) is an absolute gem. I’m so glad I found out about this book because honestly, one’s ‘French history’ experience isn’t complete until you’ve read it.
BY ROYAL DECREE by Kate Emerson is the third book in a series entitled ”The Secrets of the Tudor Court”. (I have the fourth book in my hot little hands and I can’t wait to start it!!) The story took so many interesting twists and turns that it kept me on my toes and had me thinking about it constantly when I wasn’t able to read it (thank goodness I’m not working right now!!). I don’t think it matters which order you read the books in, but if you’re like me, you probably want to start with the one published first and go from there. And then you’ll probably want to read them one after the other because they are awesome!!
DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!!
Are you ready for Book Drunkard’s favourite book of 2011?
MADAME TUSSAUD by Michelle Moran!! J’adore! Everything about the book was perfect to me. That’s it, that’s all. The detail of Michelle’s books are second to none. You can tell she cares about the characters and subject matter as if they are her own children and must be handled with care. And in case you haven’t heard, the book has been optioned for a miniseries (OMG!!) If you want to travel to Paris and Versailles without leaving your home, read the book. It will transport you.
I wanted to include two books by a fabulous author that aren’t my normal genre but I loved them just the same. Jill Mansell writes THE BEST Brit Chick Lit EVER. Pick up TO THE MOON AND BACK and STAYING AT DAISY’S if you ever want a nice change of pace.