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What's the best book you've read this year?

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What's the best book you've read this year?

Post by Perdita » Fri November 26th, 2010, 11:54 pm

I hope this is the right place to put this, but if you had to pick just one book that you've read this year, which one stands out the most?

For me it's The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.. a ghost story set in the 1950's. It was fabulously creepy and well written, and just about HF I think!

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Post by Misfit » Sat November 27th, 2010, 12:37 am

Wheel of Fortune by Susan Howatch.

Close runners up To Defy a King by our own EC, Beyond all Frontiers by Emma Drummond, The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley and The Black Madonna by Stella Riley.
Last edited by Misfit on Sat November 27th, 2010, 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat November 27th, 2010, 12:38 am

I've read many books I liked, and more that I didn't. (Okay, I admit to an extreme difficulty to please and literary pickiness.) But for sheer fun, pulling me in and keeping the pages turning and the mind speculating on what would happen next, it was Paths of Exile by Carla Nayland. And to think I ignored it because it was a small-press work! Glad it got onto the book of the month roster.

In retrospect, the novel felt very much like Mary Stewart's or Rosemary Sucliff's early-Britain stories.

But I would also give honorable mention to Stephen Lawhead's Byzantium.

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Post by Lucy Pick » Sat November 27th, 2010, 12:43 am

Mantel's Wolf Hall, hands down.

I read Wheel of Fortune many many years ago and liked it.

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Post by Ash » Sat November 27th, 2010, 1:50 am

Wolf Hall, Legacy, To Defy a King

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Post by javagirl » Sat November 27th, 2010, 4:47 am

Always so tough to just choose one, but I'm going to go with ...

"Gone with the Wind".

I read it for the first time this year and it certainly was among my several 5* reads for the year.

Although I could give honorable mentions to about 10 others , I'll mention one not because it was necessarily better than the others but because I think it might not get as much attention as it deserves ....

Selden Edwards - "The Little Book"

The review here is where I learned about it.
Last edited by javagirl on Sat November 27th, 2010, 4:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Margaret » Sat November 27th, 2010, 6:34 am

Oh, gosh, I don't think I can boil it down to one. My list of "Best I Read in 2010" is going to have 15 straight historical novels on it this year, plus 5 mysteries. It will go up in December. I'm going to try to get it posted before Christmas this year. (I did put up an updated version of my "How to Choose a Gift for the Historical Fiction Fan in Your Life" article today.)

At the top of the list (because one of them has to go first) will be Jane Smiley's Private Life (see review). The setting is the first half of the 20th century, and it's a character-drive literary novel about a woman's domestic situation, so it might not appeal to everyone. But I found it utterly mesmerizing. Curiously enough, several of the novels that are going to be on my "Best of" list this year are about characters who have to deal with narcissistic husbands or fathers. Wonder if there's a rash of that going around? Or went around a couple of years back when these novels were just getting off the drawing board.

I read Wolf Hall last year. Wouldn't mind reading it again.
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Post by emr » Sat November 27th, 2010, 9:51 am

I'm staring at the books I gave 5 stars to this year on goodreads and I can't pick just one :D There are 2 or 3 I'd demote to 4.5 if I could... hm
Right on the top are Mariana, For the King. To Defy a King and The World the Flesh and the Devil. I loved Joan Wolf's trilogy.
The rest of the list tells of the discovery of (new for me) authors that I'm going to read to their last lines like Christian Cameron, Judith Merkle, Will Thomas or Elly Griffiths..
But I can still read around 10 more books this year, who knows... :D
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Post by Vanessa » Sat November 27th, 2010, 11:13 am

[quote=""javagirl""]Selden Edwards - "The Little Book"

The review here is where I learned about it.[/quote]

I bought this last month! Glad you enjoyed it so much - very encouraging! It sounds very different.

There are a few which I've very much enjoyed this year - London Belongs to Me by Norman Collins, The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, Stone's Fall by Iain Pears, The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, Paths of Exile by Carla Nyland, Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C W Gortner, The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson, Wedlock by Wendy Moore, Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati....... it's very difficult to choose which would be my favourite!
Last edited by Vanessa on Sat November 27th, 2010, 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Madeleine » Sat November 27th, 2010, 12:24 pm

Ooh I think "Into the Wilderness" would be top of my list, with "The Little Stranger" and "Dark Fire" battling it out for the runner-up places!
Currently reading "The Winter Garden" by Heidi Swain


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