I'm always up for a challenge, but sometimes things turn out to be harder than they were initially expected to be. This is certainly the case with narrowing down the list of novels I read in August and September to just five favourites!
The majority of the books I discovered during those two months were of a similar nature - spiritual in some parts, historical in others, and almost always with a parallel timeline. With the exception of one entry, all of my final choices have been plucked from that category.
In no particular order:
(Psst. If you click on the cover images they'll take you to the books' Amazon listings, where you'll be able to find more details about the plot, publishing, etc!)
1. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton I read both The Forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton during these months and loved them both equally, but I knew I had to choose just one for here. It was a close call, but in the end I made my decision, if only by a fraction of a preference, based on the fact that I found the characters to be that little bit more appealing and the narrative to develop at a slightly better pace in The Forgotten Garden. I'm certain Morton's work won't be escaping my mind in a hurry.
2. Mariana by Susanna Kearsley Oh boy. Where do I begin? There's so much about this story that I adore. I fell in love with Geoff immediately, just one of the many poignant characters the novel has to offer. The shift between timelines was executed perfectly, and I found myself fully invested in Mariana's journey. As a Spiritualist there's so much about Mariana that I praise, and I can only hope that everybody gets the chance to read this at some point.
3. The Silent Tide by Rachel Hore The Silent Tide has successfully left me yearning for more of Hore's work. Driven by Emily, a publisher, chasing the story of Isabel, a figure history had drowned as a female, there's a delightful element of mystery throughout the novel. The frequent switch in voice between characters is without fault; it's not only easy to take on board the changes in time, but also something that I found myself greatly desiring as I became more deeply absorbed in the events. I don't often read the same novel twice, but this is one I would happily go back to.
4. Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride I cried at the end of this one. How could I not? Not only is this the most recent of MacBride's Logan McRae series, meaning I have to hope and pray that I can continue to follow McRae* and his journey soon again, but I also found the ending to hit me right in the heart. The story itself, with a thrilling range of murders and fascinating characters, is alone enough to render this a wonderful read, but the ending is painful, and for all the right reasons. I need to read the next McRae book, and, to quote an unrelated Veruca Salt, "don't care how, I want it now!"
5. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood I wasn't sure what to do with this one to begin with. The first quarter, maybe fifth, of the book was not the best read. But I persevered, and how glad of that I am. The style is not necessarily to my taste, and yet I cannot stop thinking about the book. Set around the life of nineteenth-century murderess Grace Marks, there's a lot going for the narrative, and even more for Grace's own personality, particularly the way in which she develops. Whenever reading about true events it's important that I feel I'm being given an accurate, or at least believable, representation of events, and regardless of what I think about the style of the writing, the actual story is unforgettable.
Five novels, five great adventures. With no idea what the next few months will bring, I'll hold onto my bookmarks and wish for all things peculiar, emotive, and thought provoking!
What have you read recently that you can't stop thinking about? I'd love your recommendations!