It’s that time of year again when we bookworms begin reviewing our reading challenges and annual book haul. This year I’ve read a good mix of everything but I have some clear favourites from the 43 books I’ve completed this year. So here are my top 5 reads from 2022.
Top Five of 2022
- The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale
- A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin
- Wildfell Summer by Tracy Neis
- A Catalogue of Catastrophe by Jodi Taylor
- The Asparagus Bunch by Jessica Scott-Whyte
1 – The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale – ★★★★★
It was so tough choosing which book ranked as my absolute favourite but it has to be The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale. Magical, haunting, poignant, devastating, and hopeful. A magnificent story of three toymakers, two brothers, the terrible effects of war, a woman making her way in the world, and more toy soldiers than you can imagine.
2 – A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin – ★★★★★
A sparkling, witty, engaging and sometimes poignant battle of the sexes and classes. Kitty Talbot is determined to do all she can to snag herself a rich husband for the sake of her sisters’ survival and to keep the creditors at bay. Heading to London to ingratiate herself into high society, she meets both suitors and challenges, not least the mysterious Lord Radcliffe who thinks he can see through Kitty’s act and return her to her rightful place. It’s like Jane Austen with a dash of William Makepeace Thackeray – an absolute joy to read.
3 – Wildfell Summer by Tracy Neis – ★★★★★
The novel follows the fictional British band, The Pilots, as they tour America. The group includes the Mr Rochester-inspired Eddie Rochester (the protagonist of an earlier book in the Rock n Roll Brontë series), and the wild and wonderful drummer, Gerry, who also features in past books. However, here he gets his chance to shine by combining his cough medicine, alcohol, and a special potion which sees him tumble into the pages of Anne Brontë’s novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Here the hapless and loveable rogue Gerry strikes up a friendship with the disreputable Arthur Huntingdon. 1960s meet 1820s as the paths of two party boys from very different eras combine. But will Gerry fall prey to Arthur and his wild ways?
4 – A Catalogue of Catastrophe by Jodi Taylor – ★★★★★
You never know what the St. Mary’s books are going to throw at you. Book number 13 in the series has the usual ingredients: Max on fine form, history, and time travel. A bonus is that we have more Markham. However, it’s also very different from previous books in the series, proving that it’s just as fresh as ever. This is a real page-turner, heart in your mouth at times, part adventure and part thriller as Max is faced with some very different, and difficult, challenges. The plotting is intricate, the writing wonderful, and the humour brilliant. 13 may be unlucky for some, but not for fans of St. Mary’s. Nobody does strong female characters quite like Jodi Taylor, and Max is the best of them all.
5 – The Asparagus Bunch by Jessica Scott-Whyte – ★★★★★
It’s not something I’d normally pick up but the title intrigued me. A young adult novel focusing on the eponymous Asparagus Bunch. Not being familiar with autism in any way, I found Leon’s story to be both enlightening and refreshing. I enjoyed seeing how Leon and his friends navigate a world in which they are “other” and his attempts to gain insight into his diagnosis. I also really liked how the characters’ diagnoses were presented as explanations rather than excuses for their actions. It’s a story that manages to be sweet, moving, frustrating, and very funny. The writing style has events zipping along nicely and it’s a fresh approach to the topic. An unexpected gem.
Best of the Rest of 2022
- The Women of Troy by Pat Barker – ★★★★☆
- About Time by Jodi Taylor – ★★★★☆
- The Brontës: Afterlife by Various – ★★★★★
- The Invisble Man by H. G. Wells – ★★★★☆
- The Sky Over Rebecca by Matthew Fox ★★★★☆
I’d love to know what your favourite reads of 2022 were.
In Loving Memory of Bob the Bichon (2007-2019).
A lover of life, the Brontës, and Haworth who knows that I’m just going to write because I can’t help it.
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