Look Back at 2011

I haven’t blogged or read as much this year because in September 2010 I started a full time job so I haven’t had as much time to read and spend on the blog. In 2010 I read 126 books and in 2009 I read 145. A list of my past reading can be found here. This year, I have only read 57 – not at all bad, but not nearly as many as past years! Here are some of my favourites:

The Woods by Harlon Coben

Paul Copeland’s sister went missing twenty years ago. Now raising a daughter alone, Cope balances family life with a career as a prosecutor. But when a homicide victim is found with evidence linking him to Cope, the well-buried secrets of the past are threatening everything. Is this body one of the campers who disappeared with his sister? Could his sister be alive…? Confronting his past, Cope must decide what is better left hidden in the dark and what truths can be brought to light…

I really enjoyed this thriller – was happy to give it 5 out of 5.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WWII. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

Morton once again enthralls readers with an atmospheric story featuring unforgettable characters beset by love and circumstance and haunted by memory, that reminds us of the rich power of storytelling

My review of this book is to come, but this was a gripping historical novel. It was long but very enjoyable. It was easy to give it 5/5.

The Summer House by Mary Nichols

A secret love that will haunt a family for ever England 1918. Lady Helen believes her parents when they say she will never find a better husband than Richard, but when he returns to the Front, she begins to wonder just who it is she has married. His letters home are cold and distant – and Helen realises that she has made a terrible mistake. Then Oliver Donovan enters her life and they begin an affair that leaves Helen pregnant and alone – she is forced to surrender her precious baby. Over twenty years pass and a second war is ravaging Europe, but that is not the only echo of the past to haunt the present. Laura Drummond is caught in a tragic love affair of her own and when she is forced to leave London during the Blitz, she turns to the mother she never knew.

This is another historical fiction novel that I really enjoyed! Set during both World Wars it follows two women who get caught in love affairs and fall pregnant, both outside of marriage. What they don’t realise is they are mother and daughter! I haven’t written this review yet but it will be rated 5/5 as I really enjoyed it!

The Glass Painters Daughter by Rachel Hore

A wonderful novel set in a hidden part of Westminster, steeped in the Victorian past, full of gothic churches and secret garden squares…

I was surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did. I really enjoy Rachel Hore novels but I’ve never rated any of them 5/5 until this one! The book is set in London, both in our time and in Victorian times, following the fortunes of one family and one shop. This is another historical novel and also a romance novel, and I loved it! Review is to come.

God Knows my Name by Beth Redman

In this powerful and deeply vulnerable book, Beth Redman writes to pass along a message that changed her life—that the God who made us also understands us intimately. He hears our cries and reaches out in love to help us and fight for us. He’s always at work shaping our character. And no matter what others do, He will never, ever leave or forget us. Drawing on Scripture and her own experience, Redman invites us to explore the revolutionary implications of being loved by a God who knows our name. And she invites us to call on His name as well—to respond to His heart and love Him as He has loved us from the beginning.

This book was given to me as a gift and I found it so helpful. I was facing something tough and this book was clear and helpful and let me see God and be comforted that He knows me and is looking out for me.I’m thankful for this present and can’t rate this book highly enough. The review is to come but I can easily rate this 5/5.

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan

Ever dreamed of starting over?

Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that – Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own café. It should be a piece of cake, right?

Wrong. As her friends point out, she has trouble remembering where she left her house keys, let alone trying to run her own business. But Issy is determined. Armed with recipes posted to her from Grampa, and with her local bank manager fighting her corner, Issy attempts to prove everyone wrong. Following your dreams is never easy and this is no exception. Can Issy do it?

This is the first Jenny Colgan novel I have read and I loved it! I was drawn by the cover and the title and very glad I took this out the library. The book had a great storyline and it had recipes – bonus! The review is to come but it will be glowing – I really enjoyed this book. Another 5/5!

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