It’s hard to believe another year has wrapped up and we are starting 2016. I read a lot of outstanding books this past year and had a hard time narrowing my list down to only the top ten. I did note though that this year, many of the books I read it book club made it to my top ten, we had a great year for books. I also noticed most are historical fiction or historical non-fiction books. These books were not necessarily books published in 2015, but they were books I read in 2015. I did not include books that I was rereading, but only books that I’ve read for the first time. And now without further ado, my top ten books of 2015.
1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – This was a book club pick that I listened to on audio and was riveted. This is the story of two sisters in France during World War II, one sister is a wife and mother, the other a resistance fighter, but both are heroes and survivors in their own ways. This novel was gripping until the last page and a great portrayal of women during the war.
2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - Another book club pick, this book had me distressed for one of the main characters from the get go – a blind girl who cannot read the flyers the allies are dropping on the town to evacuate. This story is also set in WWII and tells the parallel and then intersecting stories of a blind girl living in France and a young electronically gifted German boy who becomes a Nazi soldier. This book was riveting all of the way through and is a story I still think about.
3. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman - You guessed it, this is another book club pick this year. A WWI vet is living with his young wife at a remote lighthouse in Australia when they find a seemingly orphaned infant. Their choices change their lives forever. This one is another story that will haunt me forever with how the choices you make can impact so many lives.
4. Ross Poldark by Winston Graham - I was on a book blog tour for this book with Austenprose and loved it. This is a new fascinating historical fiction author and series for me. I’ve read the first two books and vastly enjoyed them and also enjoyed the Masterpiece series based on them. Up next in 2016 is reading book 3. Ross Poldark has returned from fighting in the Revolutionary War in America to find his father dead, his estate ruined, and the woman he loved engaged to marry his cousin. Most interesting to me was Poldark starting up copper mining on his property in Cornwall again after my years in the Copper Country (Upper Peninsula of Michigan where many Cornish miners immigrated).
5. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – Another great book club pick for December, this was a very unique story that I found fascinating. It describes a young girl that was raised in a variety of foster homes without a family. She had one opportunity to have a family, but it all went very wrong. The book skips back in time to this missed opportunity and in the future she tries to make a life for herself. It also discusses how she uses the Victorian language of flowers to communicate and start a thriving business.
6. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Biography by LauraIngalls Wilder – I have loved Laura Ingalls Wilder since I first read Little House in the Big Woods as an eight-year old. Pioneer Girl was Wilder’s first draft of the story of her life told for an adult audience. Even better is that the editor added meticulous notes about the details that solved a lot of things I have been wondering since I was a child. This book is fascinating for those that love Wilder as well as those that just want to learn the history of the pioneers of this country.
7. The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck – Rinker Buck goes on a cross country journey along the Oregon Trail with his brother Nick using mules and a wagon. The journey is interesting and perilous at times. Buck also gives a lot of great historical information about the Oregon Trail and those who traversed it.
8. A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley – I loved the Jacobite mystery in this novel as well as the mysterious Scottish man who I thought was a great hero.
9. The Secret of Pembroke Park by Julie Klassen – I found a new favorite author this year – Julie Klassen. I read this book also on a tour with Austenprose and loved this regency romance. Part Jane Austen, part Charlotte Bronte, the mystery and sweet romance made this a page turner for me.
10. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell – This book was a strange one that made me wonder what the heck was going on when I got to the end. The ending still has me puzzled and thinking about it. Who did it – I want to discuss! A typist befriends an alluring new typist and has great adventures until everything takes a sinister twist.
Other books I loved this year but didn’t quite make my top ten include: The Wright Brothers by David McCullough, Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, and The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick.
What were your favorite books of 2015?