Hi all! I’m here with a late Top 5 Wednesday. This week’s topic is our Top 5 books of the year. This was a hard list to cut down. I read, a surprising, 50 books this year so these was a lot to choose from. I apologise that this post will mostly be me gushing about books I have mentioned here a lot.
Before we get onto the books I would like to mention that Top 5 Wednesday was created over on BookTube by the wonderful Laniey at gingerreadslaniey. Also you can check out the Goodreads page for past and future topics. Now onto my favourite reads of the year. The books are listed in no particular order.
#5 The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader
This was possibly the most surprising books of the year, in that I didn’t think I would love it as much as I do. This is a debut novel and is set during early Medieval England. The story follows a girl named, Sarah, and her decision to become an Anchoress to avoid facing the death of her sister and the pressure of a proposal. An Anchoress is a holy women who is locked in a cell – 9 by 7 paces – and who prays daily for the soul of the local villages. The novel also follows her newly-appointed confessor a monk named, Father Ranaulf.
As I mentioned before this novel deals with eavily with questions of faith and gives a fascinating into insight into medieval religious practices. I adored how we follow Sarah as she comes to terms with her faith. This book is stunning and Cadwallader has beautiful and lyrical prose that is just magic.
#4 Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
This is a beautiful novel and one of Lewis lesser known works – and one I think he classed as his best work. Now is this a heavy book and quite dense not only in wiring style but in a heavily philosophical themes. But I adore this book. I chose to read this as I wanted to read more myth retellings to help me come to grasps with my own writing project.
Till We Have Face is a retelling on the Greek myth go Eros and Pscyhe. It’s told from the perspective of Pscyhe’s sister, Orual. Orual is a strong, intelligent women who has been cursed with a hideous face – so the tale says. Through Orual telling the story of her sister we questioned religion or ‘gods’ – their injustice to humans, our attitude to them, heresy and our faith. I will list a few quotes I loved so that you can get an understanding on the writing style.
The gods never send us this invitation to delight so readily or so strongly as when they are preparing some new agony. We are their bubbles; they blow us big before they prick us.
I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods.
#3 The Gracekeepers by Kristy Logan
If you haven’t read this book I strongly suggest you do. Logan has a stunning lyrical writing style which really helps to make this world she’s created come to life. Inspired by Celtic and Scottish fairytales, Logan has weave together a vivid modern world that doesn’t feel to estranged from out own.
The Gracekeepers is set in a future world where the sea has swallowed up around 80% of the land. So the people are divided into ‘landlockers’ those who live on the small sections of land and ‘damplings’ the people who live out to sea. The story is told from a whole rage of perspectives but we have two protagonists, North and Callanish. North is a dampling and the bear dancer of traveling circus. Callanish is a landlocker and a Gracekeeper. Gracekeepers administer shoreside burials for the damplings. The way this characters find each other will leave a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart.
#2 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Another circus book that I loved this year. The Night Circus in simple in magic. Morgenstern’s writing is very poetic and visceral – especially when is comes to the scenes in the circus, it feels as though you are these and that you can see these performers, smell the caramel popcorn. Now is this a slow paced story that focus on our two protagonists’, Celia and Marco, as they develop as magicians and also the development of the Night Circus itself. But don’t be put off my that because this is in now way a story that is dull or drags.
The Night Circus is set in Victoria England and starts with a rivalry between two magician’s and a bet they make to see who has the better teaching style. The Circus is developed as the arena where Celia and Marco must battle to see who is the story talent – but not all goes to plan. This is book a perfect for a winter’s night to escape the mundane everyday and find something magical.
#1 The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
This was the first book I read in 2015 and one that was hard to beat on the historical fiction front. I am so glad I decided to read Penman this year and if you haven’t and love historical fiction I highly recommend that you do.
The Sunne in Splendour is her first novel and a stand alone. It’s about the Wars of the Roses – the bloodiest period of English history. But follows Richard Plantagenet from when he was a boy, during the middle of these wars, to his Coronation and eventual death. This is a chunky book but is worth every page. Penman beautiful expels the myth surrounding Richard III thanks to Shakespeare and details for more honourable and truthful account of this controversial monarchs life.
This novel is well researched and never reads as though it is a history book. The characters are well developed and they actually feel like really people. I especially loved Edward IV’s character.
If any of these books sound interesting to you, I highly recommend that you pick them up! I promise you won’t be disappointed. Comment down below and let me know your favourite reads of the year.
Seeing as I’m posting this on New Year’s Eve I would like to wish you a wonderful end to 2015 and an amazing new year.
Until next time, happy reading