Looking back over my reviews of the past five years I’m picking out a favourite book for each month from 2011 ‘“ 2015.
Here are my favourite books for each March from 2011 to 2015 (click on the titles to see my original reviews):
Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon – the 20th book in her Commissario Guido Brunetti series. Anna Maria Giusti discovers her elderly neighbour Constanza Altavilla lying dead on the floor of her apartment. Apparently she has died from a heart attack but Brunetti thinks otherwise. It’s more than crime -fiction as Brunetti ponders on life, the problems of ageing, and the nature of truth and honesty.
Daphne by Justine Picardie. This book merges fact and fiction so well that it’s hard to differentiate between the two. It tells the story of Daphne du Maurier and her correspondence about Branwell Bronte with Alex Symington, an ex-Bronte curator and librarian. I preferred this strand of the book to the second, which is a modern day story of a young woman, the second wife of an older man, paralleling the story of Rebecca – beware if you haven’t read Rebecca, as this book gives away the plot. A satisfying mystery about Daphne and the missing Bronte documents.
The Glass Room by Ann Cleeves, the fifth book in Ann Cleeves’s Vera Stanhope series. I loved this book ‘“ a great setting, with well drawn characters and a cleverly constructed plot. I didn’t guess who the murderer was but realised afterwards that all the clues had been there, skilfully woven into the narrative, hidden among the dead-ends and red herrings. It’s a murder mystery set in the Northumberland countryside in an isolated country house, where a number of aspiring authors are gathered at the Writers’ House to work on their novels and where one of the visiting tutors is murdered.
The Office of the Dead by Andrew Taylor, the third book in the Roth Trilogy. I absolutely loved it. This is a chilling novel of crime and retribution. It works perfectly well on its own, but is even better if you’ve read the first two books. The characters and setting are totally convincing. It’s well written and the creation of tension and suspense are just right. I thought it was brilliant!
Turn of the Tide by Margaret Skea, her debut novel. It’s historical fiction and it captivated me completely transporting me back in time to 16th century Scotland. If you have ever wondered, as I have, what it must have been like to live in a Tower House in the Scottish Borders then this book spells it out so clearly. And it puts you firmly in the middle of the centuries old feud between the Cunninghames and the Montgomeries, with all the drama of their battles, ambushes and schemes to further their standing with the young King James VI. It’s a tale of love, loyalty, tragedy and betrayal.